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Libraries and Archives

The University of Otago and the City of Dunedin boast exceptional library and archival resources in the field of Scottish Studies. The most significant collections are the following:

Hocken Collections

The University of Otago's Hocken Collections contain a wealth of documents relating to the Scottish settlement of New Zealand. These include: shipboard diaries; records of Caledonian Societies, pipe bands, Burns Clubs, clan societies and Masonic lodges; family papers of Scottish settlers; business archives; maps; photographic and pictorial records of Scottish settlers; and papers and manuscripts of important New Zealand writers of Scottish extraction, notably Janet Frame and James K. Baxter. Details of other holdings can be found here: Hocken Bulletin number 21, September 1997. For enquiries, see: Hocken Collection contacts

Edward, Immyns Abbot, Dunedin from Little Paisley, 1849

Edward Immyns Abbot, Dunedin from Little Paisley, 1849. Image reproduced with permission from the Hocken Pictorial Collections, University of Otago Library (14,414).

Scottish Studies Subject Guide

The Scottish Studies subject guide, compiled by Charlotte Brown at the University of Otago Library, is an invaluable resource for information and resources pertaining to Scottish Studies. It includes relevant books, articles, websites, and specialist resources.

Central Library Special Collections

A strength of holdings relating to Scotland is the Hogg Collection, consisting of some 100 volumes associated with James Hogg, (1770-1835), the Scottish poet known as the Ettrick Shepherd. Many of the titles were part of Hogg's own library, presented to the University by Hogg's descendants, the Gilkison family of Dunedin. There are also some original manuscript materials. Pertinent to literature and belles lettres, there is a select number of works on authors such as James Beattie, Allan Ramsay, Sir Walter Scott, and individual titles such as James Watson's A choice collection of comic and serious Scots poems (1713).

John McGlashan (1802-64) was a prominent Otago politician, churchman, lawyer and educationalist, who emigrated to Otago from Edinburgh in 1853. His library of one hundred volumes contains books of law (some written by McGlashan while a solicitor in Scotland), religion and philosophy as well as recreational titles such as an illustrated text on deer-hunting.

Scottish Print Culture is represented by those books printed and published in Scotland (mainly Edinburgh). These works have their own designation (S) within the de Beer Collection and the Shoults Collections, the earliest being John Forbes's Irenicum amatoribus veritatis et pacis in Ecclesia Scoticana, printed in Aberdeen in 1629 (Shoults Sb 1629 F).

Three of Esmond de Beer's collecting areas included travel, philosophy, and politics. There are a few select travel books such as Cobbett's Tour in Scotland (1833), the much older Respublica, sive, Status regni Scotiae et Hiberniae (1627), and facsimile editions of Early views and maps of Edinburgh, 1544-1852, with 11 maps and 21 illustrations (Royal Scottish geographical Society, 1919); works by Scottish Enlightenment writers David Hume and Adam Smith; and State-papers and letters addressed to William Carstares ... : Relating to public affairs in Great-Britain, but more particularly in Scotland (1774), and hard-copies of selected issues of The Edinburgh Evening Courant, The Edinburgh magazine and literary miscellany, and the Gentleman's Magazine, which although London printed, contains numerous articles on Scotland and its people.

The books and manuscripts in Special Collections are well catalogued and it would be possible through subject access searches to tease out other relevant publications. For further information contact the Special Collections Librarian, Donald Kerr.

Otago Settlers Museum

The Otago Settlers Museum was founded in 1898 to mark the 50th anniversary of the planned Scottish settlement of Dunedin. The Museum's archives include: shipping lists; an index of passenger lists; shipboard diaries; photographs and letters from Scottish settlers; period newspapers; school records; church records; a database of early settlers in the provinces of Otago and Southland; military lists; New Zealand civil registrations and electoral rolls. Further information is available from the archivist, Jill Hayley.

Dunedin Public Library

Dunedin's Scottish heritage is well reflected in the holdings of its public library, established through the benefaction of Andrew Carnegie in 1908. The city's first public librarian, William Barker McEwan, was born in Perthshire, and the library's first acquisition was a four-volume set of poetry by Robert Burns (Edinburgh, 1896). In addition to books on Scottish and Irish literature, history and genealogy available for borrowing, the Heritage Collections Department, located on the Third Floor of the City Library, maintains four distinct collections pertaining to Scottish literature and language. The collections include: the only Robert Burns Collection in New Zealand (donated by Dunedin Burns Club); works by Henry Johnston and some by J. M. Barrie, both members of the Kailyard School; the novels and poetry of Sir Walter Scott; and a collection of primers and dictionaries, song books, scrapbooks, language resources and periodicals in the Scottish Gaelic language.

The Heritage Collections also hold material on Scottish ancestry throughout the McNab New Zealand Collection. The Autograph Letters & Manuscripts Collection holds original documents by notable eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Scottish personages, including a draft of James Hogg's 'The Stuarts of Appin' in the poet's hand.

Heritage Collections material does not circulate, but is available for research purposes. Please contact the Heritage Collections by phone or email for more information: (03) 474–3690 / library@dcc.govt.nz.

Presbyterian Archives Research Centre

Among the holdings of the Presbyterian Archives Research Centre are: shipboard diaries; microfilmed copies of correspondence with the Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland Colonial Committees; religious artefacts from Scotland; personal collections and photographs of Scottish ministers to New Zealand; records of the purchase of land in Otago by Scottish settlers; education records relating to the establishment of the first Free Church school in Otago (1848 onwards).

Archives New Zealand, Dunedin Office

Archives New Zealand, Dunedin Regional Office, has holdings of Government archives for Otago and Southland (south of the Waitaki River) from the 1840s onwards. Holdings include records relating to personal property (probates), education, customs, courts, mental health treatment, companies, forestry, railways, works, mining (coal and gold), land ownership and settlement.

Archives with direct links to Scotland include: probate files for early settlers, records of New Zealand Company land selections (dating from 1844), and records documenting land administration and ownership, for example Waste Land Board Minute Books, allotment books, Crown Grant maps, Crown Grants, and leases for pastoral runs. The Wardens' Courts archives document gold mining activities of early settlers (these records date from 1861). The Otago Provincial Government archives, dating from 1853 to 1877, document the establishment and administration of the Otago and Southland provinces.

For more information, visit the Archives New Zealand website: http://www.archives.govt.nz, and consult the Research Guides: http://www.archives.govt.nz/resources/research-resources. Archives New Zealand holdings are on the ARCHWAY database: http://archway.archives.govt.nz.

Technology and Study Space

Scottish Studies students are provided with email and network accounts which allow them to access the Otago network from on or off campus. Scottish Studies does its best to ensure that postgraduate students are housed in the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, a short walk both from the Central Library and the Hocken Collections.

International Students

Comprehensive information for international students, including assistance with immigration matters and support in adjusting to life in New Zealand, is available from the University's International Student Office.


The University of Otago maintains one residential college – Abbey College – exclusively for postgraduate students. Fully catered accommodation for single students and a limited number of couples is available. For further information, including how to apply, see www.otago.ac.nz/abbeycollege/. Private accommodation in Dunedin is highly affordable, with a variety of options within walking distance of the University campus. For more information, see the Accommodation Office at http://www.otago.ac.nz/about/accommodation/index.html.

Postgraduate Study

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