Video - Paul working on Heritage NZ books

Caring for chapters from our past

A new short clip on YouTube shows how a selection of rare books from the Te Waimate Mission collection is being restored by Auckland-based book conservators, Spiral Path Book Studio. The work has been funded by a grant from the Stout Trust.

The video was created by Nicole van Heerden of Huia Films, and features Paul Taylor from Spiral Path demonstrating some of the conservation techniques he used on the Te Waimate collection.

"The collection is an important library of books owned by early New Zealand missionaries and their families," says Heritage New Zealand's Heritage Advisor Collections, Rebecca Apperley.

Numbering almost 700 volumes in total, the book collection represents the largest-known single collection of Church Missionary Society (CMS) and missionary-owned books in New Zealand, with 400 predating 1850. Many were donated by missionary descendants when Te Waimate Mission was acquired by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1959.

"These books are particularly important in light of the upcoming bicentennial of the establishment of the first Church Missionary Society mission at Hohi. Many of the original owners of these books – identified through bindings, monograms, inscriptions and signatures – were associated with the Hohi mission, and other missions established by the CMS," she says.

Among the taonga are A Treatise on Land Surveying (1819) signed by missionaries Richard Davis and 'Mr Puckey', which bears witness to the need for missionary land acquisition.

"Because of the age, rarity and significance of these books, this conservation project is very important," says Rebecca.