Antarctic Collection

The McNab New Zealand Collection contains a small but notable number of books covering the Antarctic and the Pacific Islands.

In his capacity as Minister of Marine, Robert McNab had an interest in the Antarctic continent. McNab met Ernest Shackleton during the time the ship, Aurora was at Port Chalmers for repairs.

The highlight of the collection is the 3 volume facsimile set of the South Polar Times.

This magazine was produced during the time the ship Endurance wintered over in 1902-3 and on the Terra Nova during 1910-13.

There have been many expeditions to the Antarctic and New Zealanders have always had considerable involvement in exploration for scientific purposes.

Dunedin Public Libraries' Heritage Collections hold books covering many of these expeditions and more recently published material.

Our collection on the Pacific Islands contains around 200 volumes of older and more recently published material. However, there are some treasures to be found.

There are accounts written by men and women about time spent in the Pacific, voyages of exploration and discovery, and cruises undertaken for pleasure but with the hope of some adventure.

There are several books about Pitcairn Island and the famous Mutiny on the Bounty.

In 1806 William Mariner, a clerk, was a taken from British privateer Port au Prince while it was anchored off the Tongan Island of Lifuka and was kept prisoner for 4 years.

Fortunately, the Ha'apai chief Finau 'Ulukakaka placed him under his protection. When Mariner was eventually able to return to England, he wrote an account of his time in Tonga.

It was first published in 1817 with the help of John Martin and is a detailed account of Mariner's observations of island life and includes a vocabulary section. Dunedin Public Libraries copy has scraps of paper pasted in containing further words.

Another book held in the collection is the Visit of Members of New Zealand Legislature to the Cook and Other Islands, 1903, after the islands were annexed.

The book comprises of a volume of photographs taken during the trip and was designed to accompany the detailed report found in parliamentary paper A - 3B 1903.

McNab Collection