Spiller collection reveals gems
About a million photos taken by a Hawke’s Bay photographer spanning back to the 1940s will be digitised and preserved for future generations.
The Spiller family have donated the images taken during while Russell Spiller ran Batchelor’s Candid Studios in Napier from 1946 to 1981. The photos reveal a pictorial record of life in Hawke’s Bay over those 35 years.
Last week the Knowledge Bank, local councillors and two of Spiller’s children, Perry and Sherrise, were at Stoneycroft Homestead in Hastings to look at the images through a scanner. The new scanner was expected to cut the time of cleaning, viewing, digitising, and putting the images online, from decades to within about four years.
It was ordered after the Spiller family loaned 22,000 rolls of film to the Hawke’s Bay Digital Archives Trust to digitise them.
Perry Spiller said while a lot of his father’s commissions were weddings, balls were also very popular.
‘‘The police ball, the plumbers’ ball, the hairdressers’ ball – every sector had one. One of the big annual events was the Napier Mardi Gras which everyone went to.’’
Events that may seem small through today’s lens were cause for celebration in earlier times.
‘‘I remember going with him to
a little settlement way up in the hills where they were being connected to the national grid. It was a big occasion and they booked our father to photograph the event.’’
Perry and Sherrise both remembered constantly being photographed.
The Hawke’s Bay Digital Archives Trust was set up in 2011 to ensure the ‘‘wealth of fading photographs, letters, recordings and much more stashed away in old shoeboxes and family collections’’ was not lost forever, trust chairman Peter Dunkerley said. The trust opened the doors of The Knowledge Bank in Decem- ber 2012. The scanner was purchased using funds provided through the Hastings District Council annual contestable grants round. A pest which has cost the New Zealand potato industry over $120 million since 2006 may be on the way out thanks to a wasp which has been released in Hawke’s Bay.
Tomato potato psyllid (TPP), a plant-eating insect, was first found in New Zealand 11 years ago in greenhouses growing tomatoes near Auckland.
Since then, it has spread throughout fields of solanaceous crops, such as potatoes, across the country.
The TPP pest is less than two millimetres and usually found on the underside of leaves of their plant hosts. The tamarixia trioaze, a wasp that comes from the United States and Mexico, destroys the pest by laying an egg on the psyllid.
The wasp eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the TPP.
Vegetable Research and Innovation Board coordinator Sally Anderson said the arrival of the wasp was a relief for greenhouse growers. The wasp has also been released in Canterbury. It had to pass rigorous testing standards to see whether it posed any risk to native flora.
From left, Hawke’s Bay Knowledge Bank technical manager Rachel Johnson, Hastings District councillor Ann Redstone, acting mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, councillor Rod Heaps, and Sherrise Spiller, with the new digital scanner. Left, a photo being processed.