CONTACT US: P. 0. Box 12 499 Wellington New Zealand

About us

Illustration from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" drawn by John Tenniel.

The Society

The society which is based in Wellington, New Zealand is associated with The National Library of New Zealand . It was formed in 1983 to support the work of the Dorothy Neal White Collection.
In 2005 it was extended to support the National Children’s and Susan Price Collections.
How to view the collections supported by Friends of DNW
Membership is by annual subscription, the details are on the membership page.

Good News!!   Following post-Kaikoura earthquake damage and subsequent checking, many of the collection areas  at the Library are now open again, including the DNW and NCC collections. Please see for further information.

More Good News!! Nicola Daly’s article based on work on books in the Dorothy Neal White Collection has been published electronically.

Death of Dick Bruna 23 August 1927 – Saturday 21 January 2017



Mary Hutton was instrumental in the creation of the Dorothy Neal White Collection and of this Society, The Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection. She was life-long advocate for children’s literature and active in the wider community as a driver for Meals on Wheels and weekly volunteer at the Mary Potter Hospice for many years. When she died suddenly but peacefully in August she was still regularly guiding visitors to the Wellington Botanic Gardens.

While most members of the Friends are likely to be aware of her role with this Society, many are unaware of her long and influential career as Co-ordinator of Book Selection for School Library Service. Mary began in this role in 1950 and retired from it in 1990. As well as co-ordinating and managing the budget for all genre, including non-fiction and adult titles of interest to teenagers, Mary selected all the children’s fiction for School Library Service. This includes the National Children’s Collection (NCC), which was initially the repository of headquarters review copies and is now a research collection supported by this Society.

Several of Mary’s colleagues have gathered together their reminiscences of Mary’s career. Also see our current newsletter.

The Sapling – a new online magazine all about children’s books – reached 73% of its target funding goal in a staggering five days. “We always knew there’d be a healthy level of support for the website, but we had no idea just how passionate or how numerous our supporters would be.”
Coming soon:


End of Year Function was held 7 December 2016

On Wednesday 7 December 2016 we enjoyed our End of Year Event followed by Chris Szekely who discussed his latest book, Rona, a chapter book for 7-9 year-olds, published by Huia Publishers – and getting excellent reviews.

The Current Display Cabinet

May Gibbs and Avis Acres: Flower Fairies in Australia and New Zealand

Turnbull Librarian Mary Skarott has gathered together some fabulous works by May Gibbs and Avis Acres. These titles were taken from the Dorothy Neal White Collection and the National Children’s Collection and can be viewed outside the Turnbull Library reading rooms. Mary writes– Cecilia May Gibbs, (1877-1969), is one of Australia’s best loved authors and illustrators, famous for her fantasy stories featuring native plants and animals. She was born to English parents and her family emigrated to Australia in 1881, settling first in Adelaide and later moving to Perth. May became a proficient botanical artist while still a teenager, and later studied at several art schools in London. She settled in Sydney in 1913, where she worked on a range of illustrative assignments and developed her ideas for characters based on Australia’s native flora. These appeared on bookmarks, greetings cards and in her wild-flower baby booklets, the first of which was ‘The Gum-nut babies’. Her first major book, ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’, was published in 1918 to great success, and the rest of her career was devoted to writing and illustrating children’s books. She also produced the long-running cartoon strip, ‘Bib and Bub’, which ran in the ‘Sydney Sunday News’ from 1924-1967. Avis Acres (1910-1994) was born in Wellington, but her family moved to Auckland before Avis started school. She was a student at St Cuthbert’s College, and then worked in a variety of jobs which utilised her artistic talents, including drawing a cartoon, ‘The Adventures of Twink and Wink, the Twinkle Twins’, for the ‘Auckland Star’ children’s page. She moved to Taupo in 1950, with her husband Bob, and shortly afterwards she was inspired by May Gibbs’ book, ‘The Gum-nut babies’, to create Hutu and Kawa, two little pohutukawa fairies. Her ‘Hutu and Kawa’ cartoon strip ran in the ‘New Zealand Herald’ from 1950-1960. Between 1955 and 1957 three picture books featuring Hutu and Kawa and their friends were published by A.W. & A.H. Reed. Like May Gibbs, Avis had a great love of the natural world, and her artwork is notable for its accurate depiction of New Zealand’s plants, birds and animals. The Alexander Turnbull Library holds a number of original artworks by Avis Acres, and some personal papers. -Mary Skarott, Research Librarian, Children’s Literature

boo d e f g kang tua

These can also be viewed at:

The New Zealand Book Council invites you to join us for the 2016 NZ Book Council Lecture:

Tala Tusi: The Teller is the Tale in 4 Tales. Delivered by Selina Tusitala Marsh.
Where: National Library of New Zealand, 70 Molesworth St, Thorndon, Wellington
When: Friday 11 November, 6pm
RSVP: This is a free event, but spaces are limited. Please email to secure your seat
This event is brought to you in partnership with the National Library of New Zealand.

Applying for DNW Scholarship
Through its lectures, meetings, research grant and publications the Society helps to foster interest in the general development of children’s literature.
Interested? Download the application form.

Links to this site

Index to Newsletters
AGM 2016 Minutes
Biography Dorothy Neal White
The collection
Membership form
Links to other organisations


Your comments or questions about the Society, the Collection, and this website are welcome
Enquiries about membership of the Friends may be directed to the Secretary, Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection
P0 Box 12-499, Thorndon, Wellington 6144.
Membership form

For research enquiries relating to the collection use the webform

Telephone: 64-4-4704488.
Facsimile:  64-4-474 3035

Charitable Status:

New Zealand law allows non-profit organisations to apply for charitable status. This gives advantages over exemptions from some tax returns and allows members to claim tax exempt status for donations.

Our registration number is CC51738

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2 thoughts on “About us”

  1. Rose Allan says:

    I am writing from Auckland Libraries serials department regarding the latest newsletter for June 2016 no.53. We should be on your mailing list to receive hard copies of the newsletter, but may have dropped off the list.
    Could you please send a hard copy of the newsletter for June 2016 to the following address:

    Serials department
    Auckland Libraries Central
    P.O. Box 4138
    Shortland Street
    Auckland 1140

    Thank you very much in advance,
    Rose Allan

  2. Hi Rose

    We will certainly amend this.

    Kind regards

    Corrina Gordon(FDNW President)

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