History of the NZ Cartoon Archive

1989-91

Ian Grant visited cartoon museums and archives in the UK and USA, wrote a report for the Minister of Arts and then, with seeding money available, talked to an enthusiastic Jim Traue at Alexander Turnbull Library about establishing a cartoon archive. It was decided that a partnership between the Turnbull (which would process, index, conserve and archive the collection) and an archive trust (which would raise money to fund day-to-day operations and to publicise the collection) would be the best model to follow.

August 1991

First meeting of NZ Cartoon Archive Trust. Its members were Ian F. Grant (chair), Margaret Calder, Hugh Rennie, Mike Robson, and Tom Scott. (Initial planning had been done by the ‘National Cartoon Collection Committee’, with Ian Grant, Margaret Calder, Mike Robson and Jim Traue.)

Late 1991

Appointment of Susan Foster as curator/manager

1 April 1992

Launch of the NZ Cartoon Archive at National Library by then prime minister Rt. Hon. Jim Bolger.

December 1992

The first exhibition, ‘A Bit of Cheek’ in December 1992, showed the many sides of Robert David Muldoon.

November 1994

The second exhibition, in November 1994, ‘the Daily Smile’ was a tribute to the cartooning career of the Dominion’s Eric Heath.

November 1995

The Cartoon Archive’s third exhibition, and one of its most ambitious was‘David Low: Kiwi Cartoonist on Hitler’s Blacklist’ – cartoons by New Zealand’s most famous cartoonist from the pre-war and Second World War periods. It toured the country.

Duke of Edinburgh at David Low launch.
Duke of Edinburgh at David Low launch.

July-August 1996

Lecture tour by Dr Colin Seymour-Ure, David Low biographer.

September-October 1997

Lecture tour by Nicholas Garland, prominent British cartoonist who grew up in New Zealand.

November 1997

Charity Cartoon Auction at Government House, hosted by then-patron Sir Michael Hardie Boys, raised nearly $25,000 for the Archive.

July 1999

The ‘Guts & Glory’ exhibition was a many-faceted examination of rugby, the country’s national sport, which toured extensively.

September 1999

Lecture tour by Roger Law, the originator of the ‘Spitting Image’ puppet show.

January 2000

Following Susan Foster’s resignation, Ian Grant became executive chairman and Rachel Macfarlane joined the Archive as his assistant.

August 2000

The Archive’s fifth exhibition was ‘Fun & Games’, a New Zealand perspective on the Olympics, 1952-2000

June 2001

The next exhibition, ’30 from 2000’, featured cartoons chosen by Rt. Hon. Jonathan Hunt, the Listener’s Denis Welch and Turnbull’s Margaret Calder.

June 2001

A Cartoonists’ Convention organised by the Cartoon Archive brought together New Zealand’s leading cartoonists plus three prominent Australian practitioners.

Malcolm Evans’ NZ Herald take on Cartoonists’ Convention.
Malcolm Evans’ NZ Herald take on Cartoonists’ Convention.

November 2001

‘The Other Side of the Ditch’ exhibition, and accompanying book, were launched in the National Library Gallery by Sir Frank Holmes.

April 2002

The Cartoon Archive celebrated its 10th anniversary with ‘The Line Up’, an exhibition featuring the work of 36 prominent cartoonists in the archive’s burgeoning collection.

May 2002

The first of the Archive’s three ‘commissioned’ exhibitions was ‘The Famous Five: Manawatu’s cartoonists on show’, curated for Massey University and Palmerston North City Council. The exhibition – featuring the work of Malcolm Evans, David Henshaw, Garrick Tremain, Murray Ball and Tom Scott (all with Manawatu associations) – opened at Te Manawa Gallery in Palmerston North on 13 May.

March 2003

In 2003, ‘The Other Side of the Ditch’ exhibition was chosen by the Australian Government as the centrepiece of celebrations to mark 20 years of the CER agreement. The exhibition, at Old Parliament House in Canberra, was opened by Alexander Downer, the Australian foreign minister, on 25 March and was on display for three months.

July 2003

The Cartoon Archive’s 10th exhibition was ‘Harpies & Heroines’, a cartoon history of women’s changing roles in New Zealand.

Rachel Macfarlane, Helen Courtney, Dales Williams and Cerridwyn Young at ‘Harpies & Heroines’ launch.
Rachel Macfarlane, Helen Courtney, Dales Williams and Cerridwyn Young at ‘Harpies & Heroines’ launch.

October 2003

Public Lives: New Zealand’s Premiers and Prime Ministers 1856-200 , combined text, cartoons and caricatures to tell the stories of New Zealand 36 premiers and prime ministers, was launched at the Grand Hall of Parliament on 29 October.

Former PMs Jim Bolger and Geoffrey Palmer at ‘Public Lives’ launch.
Former PMs Jim Bolger and Geoffrey Palmer at ‘Public Lives’ launch.

May 2004

The Cartoon Archive was asked to curate an exhibition for the Museum of Wellington City & Sea and took the opportunity to celebrate the life and work of Nevile Lodge, Evening Post cartoonist for 42 years.

Eric Heath at ‘Lodge Laughs’ Wellington exhibition opening.
Eric Heath at ‘Lodge Laughs’ Wellington exhibition opening.

October 2005

Final meeting of NZ Cartoon Archive Trust. A special National Library function on 27 October commemorated the end of the Trust era and welcomed the Cartoon Archive’s Alexander Turnbull Library future. Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, the Cartoon Archive’s patron, launched Between the Lines.

At ‘Between the Lines’ launch, Ian Grant, Peter Cartwright, Dame Silvia Cartwright and Rachel Macfarlane.
At ‘Between the Lines’ launch, Ian Grant, Peter Cartwright, Dame Silvia Cartwright and Rachel Macfarlane.

November 2008

The Cartoon Archive assisted the Alliance Francaise to organise the international ‘Cartooning for Peace’ symposium in Wellington, curating the exhibition at the Michael Fowler Centre featuring the work of the 14 international and four NZ cartoonists. The Cartoon Archive hosted a panel discussion at the National Library auditorium.

May 2010

In conjunction with the Dominion-Post, the Cartoon Archive presented, in Wellington on 13 May, a special illustrated lecture ‘What Is This Thing Called Political Cartooning?’ by Alan Moir, the Sydney Morning Herald’s award-winning cartoonist.

August 2011

The NZ Cartoon Archive was commissioned to curate an exhibition, ‘Having a Ball’, for the opening of the new NZ Rugby Museum at Te Manawa Museum in Palmerston North.

April 2012

At the Cartoon Archive’s 20th anniversary celebrations in Wellington, Sir Geoffrey Palmer launched the first in a series of monographs, Sarah Murray’s A Cartoon War.

Sarah Murray and Sir Geoffrey Palmer.
Sarah Murray and Sir Geoffrey Palmer.
Turnbull Library’s chief librarians during the Cartoon Archive’s first 20 years – Chris Szekely, Margaret Calder and Jim Traue with Ian Grant
Turnbull Library’s chief librarians during the Cartoon Archive’s first 20 years – Chris Szekely, Margaret Calder and Jim Traue with Ian Grant.
Cartoon Archive staff over the 20 years: Pauline Hannah, Susan Foster and Rachel Macfarlane with Ian Grant
Cartoon Archive staff over the 20 years: Pauline Hannah, Susan Foster and Rachel Macfarlane with Ian Grant

June 2012

Ian Grant delivered the Turnbull Founder Lecture: ‘Drawing a Line: 20 Years of Cartoons, Cartoonists and Caustic Comment at the NZ Cartoon Archive’.

December 2012

The NZ Cartoon Archive launched, in conjunction with the NZ Listener, the Young Cartoonists’ Award at a function in Auckland on 5 December.

May 2013

The winners of the Young Cartoonists’ Award were announced at a function in APN’s Auckland boardroom on 9 May.

September 2013

At the ‘Going West’ readers and writers festival at Titirangi on 15 September, Ian Grant’s ‘ Very, Very Short History of NZ Political Cartoons’ presentation was followed by a panel discussion with Peter Bromhead, Malcolm Evans and Malcolm Walker.

October 2013

‘Next in Line’, an exhibition based on Young Cartoonists’ Award entries, opened in the Turnbull Gallery on 1 October. A series of linked events were held at the National Library over the next two months.

February 2014

The Australian Humour Studies Network Colloquium – ‘Anything Goes’ – was held at the National Library from 13-15 February. Ian Grant gave the keynote address at the opening session. Melinda Johnson also spoke, as did Valerie Love (ATL Research Librarian for digital materials). Susan Foster, former Cartoon Archive curator and manager, also presented a paper.

May 2014

The Cartoon Archive contributed to Auckland University ‘s ‘Cartoons, Comics & Caricatures – Evidence or Ephemera?’ Symposium on Saturday 3 May. Ian Grant, Melinda Johnson (with a link from Germany) and Paul Diamond (ATL Maori curator), along with Alan Moir, contributed papers in the morning.

May 2014

The Cartoon Archive brought Alan Moir from Australia for the Auckland University Symposium and for his ‘The Pointed Pen’ presentation at the National Library in Wellington on 6 May.

May 2014

Canon Media Award – The Cartoon Archive sponsored the Canon Cartoonist-of-the-Year award announced at the Canon Media Awards in Auckland on 9 May.