Spiller col­lec­tion re­veals gems

The Hastings Mail - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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