New Zealand School Journal

A few weeks ago I was in Christchurch and had the chance to see an exhibition celebrating the existence of the New Zealand School Journal. Being born in South Auckland in 1941, by the time I went to Primary School these journals were at the height of their power, luckily for me I believe as they used many of the best, from Baxter to E. Mervyn Taylor whose work is shown in the upper image.

Kaka Beak

While at Primary School, one of the biggest influences on me were the School Journals, which arrived perhaps two three times a year. They were remarkable publications, filled with writing and illustrations by our very best.

One contributor whose work made a big impression on me was E. Mervyn Taylor. The woodcuts had a lot of presence I felt, like this image of a Kaka Beak, although some I liked more than others of course. I came from a home that had very few books, there was no TV then, and the two primary schools that I went to had no libraries, so the importance of these Journals was heightened.

The colour photo of Kaka Beak is one that I made last year. It’s planted it in my garden.

There has recently been a book published about his work, called E.Mervyn Taylor. Bryan James pub Steele Roberts.I recommend it. It’s an attractive book with a great deal of material about the art scene in NZ at the time.