Oblong Large Octavo album ca. 16x22,5 cm (6 ¼ x 9 in). 50 card stock leaves. With 100 mounted gelatin silver photos, all ca. 10,5x15 cm (4x6 in). All photos are mounted on the leaves within printed black frames; all are supplemented with printed numbers (from 1 to 100) and captions (on paper labels, mounted under the images). Period olive half sheep album with cloth boards; front board with a gilt-lettered title; marbled endpapers. Two printed paper labels, identifying the owner (“Hon. H. Scotland, Pahi”), and the history of the creation of the album, are mounted on the front pastedown endpaper. A paper leaf with printed presentation note tipped onto the front free endpaper. First leaf with a minor scratch and a very small hole on the mount, not affecting the images; mounts with occasional foxing, a few photos mildly faded, binding mildly rubbed on extremities, but overall a very good album of rare strong interesting photos.
Rare, historically significant collection of original photographs documenting the first official tour of the members of the New Zealand Parliament to the Cook Islands and several adjacent territories (Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Niue, Fiji, and Sunday Island). Thirty-three parliamentarians, headed by Charles H. Mills (1843-1923), then “Minister in Charge of the Islands Administration”, travelled from Wellington and Auckland on board the New Zealand “Union Steamship Co.’s” ship “Mapourika,” visiting Cook Islands (Rarotonga, Mangaia, Mauke, Atiu, Aitutaki, Penrhyn and Manihiki atolls), Tahiti (Papeete), Samoa (Tutuila, Apia), Niue, Tonga (Vavau, Nukualofa), Fiji (Suva, Levuka) and Sunday Island.
According to the printed note mounted on the front pastedown endpaper of the album, “the voyage, of which the accompanying photographs form a partial record, was undertaken in April-June, 1903, for the purpose of giving Members of the New Zealand Legislature an opportunity of seeing the Cook and other Islands, which were annexed to the colony in June, 1901. In all, fifteen islands were visited, eight of them being within the extended boundaries of New Zealand, and the remaining seven belonging to one or other of the adjacent groups – viz., Society Islands, Samoa, Tonga or Friendly Islands, and Fiji. The total distance travelled was 8015 miles, and the time occupied seven weeks. A detailed report on the visit will be found in Parliamentary Paper, 1903, A.-3B.”
The abovementioned official report was published under the title “Cook and Other Islands…” in the “Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives of New Zealand” (Wellington, 1903, Vol. 1, A-03B; full text available online at: paperspast.natlib.govt.nz ). According to the report, the parliamentarians were accompanied by “Mr. G.A. Read, Official Photographer, and Messrs. R.B. Walrond, H. Winkelmann, A.J. Wilkin, and G.H. Hicks, the photographers representing respectively the New Zealand Graphic, Auckland Weekly News, Canterbury Times, and Otago Witness” (Cook and Other Islands…, p. 2). National Library of New Zealand attributes the photos in the album to G.A. Read “of the New Zealand Government Printing and Stationery Department” and “Henry Winkelmann of Auckland ([images under] numbers 1, 38, 50-51, and 79)” (natlib.govt.nz).
Most likely, the albums were produced in a small copy run specially to be handed to the members of the New Zealand Parliament. Our copy includes a paper leaf with the following printed presentation note from the head of the tour, Charles H. Mills: “With Mr. Mill’s compliments, Minister’s Office, Cook and other Islands Administration, Wellington, N.Z.” Additional small printed label, mounted on the front pastedown endpaper, indicates that this album was intended for Hon. Henry Scotland, a long-time member of the New Zealand Legislative Council (1868-1910) and the father of a noted aviator James W.H. Scotland (1891-1963).
Out of one hundred photos in the album, fifty-three document the visit to the Cook Islands, including scenes of official ceremonies and dances and group portraits, taken in Rarotonga, Mangaia, Mauke, Aitutaki, Penrhyn and Manihiki. Among the local leaders featured are King Pa Maretu Ariki (1848-1906), Queen Makea Takau Ariki (1839-1911), Queen Tinomana Mereana Ariki (1848-1908), King Numangatini Tione Ariki (King John), King Nohoroa Ariki, as well as members of the travelling party, British resident officials, students and teachers of local boarding schools, and others. There are also views of a Christian mission station in Rarotoga and churches in Mangaia and Manihiki.
Other interesting photos show Tahiti (Pomare’s lighthouse, Captain Cook’s memorial, &c.), Pago Pago in American Samoa, Apia in what was then German Samoa (including two group portraits taken during the meeting with a Paramount Chief of Samoa Mata’afa Josefo, views of the wreck of German warship “Adler” and the grave of R.L. Stevenson), Niue (meeting with King Togia-Pulu-toaki, presentation of New Zealand Ensign, war dance, schoolhouse, &c.), Tonga (Neiafu village, Vavau harbour, entrance to the Cave of the Bats, group portrait with King George Tupou II in Nukualofa, King George’s Palace), Fiji (views of Suva, group portrait with the Governor of Fiji Sir Henry Jackson, French Catholic mission station in Naililili, views of Levuka), Sunday Island of the Kermadec Group (taken from the sea). Several photos made on board the “Mapourika” portray H.C. Mills and other parliamentarians “working out the position,” resting in folding chairs, looking at the approaching Rarotonga, posing in traditional pareus, &c. One photo portrays “Mapourika” Captain George Cramshaw and three officers. Overall a rare content-rich early visual source on the history of the Cook Islands and neighbouring countries of the South Pacific in the early 20th century.