The University of Canterbury is the guardian of a rich and varied inheritance, which is reflected in the diverse material held by its libraries. These collections enable us to discover not only the history of Christchurch, the South Island of New Zealand's largest city, but also into the history of an emerging nation and the broader Pacific region. This book presents reflections on some of the distinctive and exceptional items in the University's keeping. Written by Canterbury academics and members of the wider community, it considers material ranging from medieval European manuscripts to Maori whakapapa books.
The items surveyed vary from an original printing of the 1611 King James Bible, to the papers of Karl Popper and the Pacific Leprosy Foundation Archive. Together these tell many stories. They offer insights into the minds of kings, intellectuals, musicians, artists and explorers.
They chart the development of a university and the building of a community. They are a history of the written word, but also of a settler society. Canterbury's treasures offer fascinating windows onto the past and occasion to reflect on the present; they highlight many of the opportunities for future research opening up in an increasingly digital age.
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Chris Jones is a senior lecturer in History at the University of Canterbury. His research focuses on the development of medieval political ideas and concepts of identity. His publications include Eclipse of Empire: Perceptions of the Western Empire and its rulers in Late-Medieval France (2007) and the edited collection John of Paris: Beyond royal and papal power (2012).
Bronwyn Matthews is the Liaison Librarian (Special Collections) at the University of Canterbury. She is particularly interested in security aspects of library collections and in the use of rare books for teaching.