Culture & Events

Month of literature events at Waikato Museum

February at Waikato Museum is extra special for booklovers, with a feast of events headlined by a visit from one of New Zealand’s most treasured authors.

Coinciding with The Life and Times of Scarface Claw exhibition, Dame Lynley Dodd, creator of the Hairy Maclary and FriendsTM book series, will be at Waikato Museum this Saturday (16 February 2019).

From 10.30am to 12pm, there will be a book signing session, followed by a question and answer event led by Curator Penelope Jackson from 1.30pm to 2.30pm. Spaces for this session are limited, so registration is required.

Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham expects both events to be extremely popular.

“Dame Lynley held a book signing at Waikato Museum in 2013 and people were lining up out the doors and down Victoria St,” says Ms Meecham. “We want as many of her fans as possible to get  one of her books signed, so there will be a limit of one book per person.”

Waikato Museum is the first New Zealand venue to host The Life and Times of Scarface Claw exhibition, dedicated to Hairy Maclary’s nemesis. Open until 12 May 2019, it features original illustrations by Dame Lynley as well as the research, early drawings and preparatory work she does to produce a picture book.

On Thursday 21 February from 10.30am to 11am, staff from Hamilton City Libraries will be in the exhibition to read stories by Dame Lynley for younger visitors and their families.

February is also the final opportunity to see The Garden Party exhibition celebrating the famed story by internationally lauded writer Katherine Mansfield. Coinciding with the opening of the Mansfield Garden at Hamilton Gardens, the exhibition features botanical studies specific to the story, a replica of the typewriter used by Mansfield, and a selection of photos and paintings.

On 14 February 2019, from 5.30pm-7pm, Curator Penelope Jackson and renowned cellist Martin Griffiths will take visitors on an artistic and musical tour of the exhibition with a special focus on two portraits, painted a century apart. Dr Griffiths (Opus Orchestra) brings a unique perspective to the exhibition, as the subject of his PhD thesis was composer and cellist Arnold Trowell, a close friend of Mansfield.  Entry costs $5 and includes a complimentary beverage on arrival. Click here to book as numbers are limited.

Concluding the month of literature is a talk by University of Waikato English literature academic Dr Maebh Long on Thursday 28 February from 1pm to 2pm. Dr Long will link Katherine Mansfield’s contributions to New Zealand and European modernism with modernist writers’ engagements with gardens and nature.

“Waikato Museum is proud to be bringing these high-calibre exhibitions and events to our residents and visitors,” says Ms Meecham. “We are constantly looking for ways to extend and enhance the visitor experience and having the likes of Dame Lynley involved will create lifelong memories.”

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