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Victoria University of Wellington. Image Services

 Fonds — Box: 822/1-2 'VUW negs'
Identifier: vima

Scope and Contents

The following record series are held: Register of photographic work, 1970s-80s? Photographic negatives from the files of the first university photographer, Merv King, c1950-c1975 Photographic prints Photographic proofs Photographic negatives labelled Te A.1-Te A. 512 Miscellaneous photographic negatives Photographic prints of Brancepeth Station, c1966

Please note item records will change slightly as they are converted from a previous system. The conversion chiefly involves adding index terms (particularly for names). At June 2009 only Series 2, Photographic Negatives from the files of the first university photographer (ref. vimas02), has been fully converted.


  • 1945-

Biographical / Historical

Relationships: Previous name: Photographic Unit, c1946-1992 Subordinate of: Faculty of Science, c1946-c1992 Subordinate of: Information Technology Division c1993-

Historical Note

Source: Report: 'A snapshot on the future', August 1992, VUW archives file reference R 1/12/12.

'The geographer Professor D W McKenzie established a separately funded photographic unit shortly after the end of World War II in order to facilitate his research interest in aerial photography. Initially the unit operated from a Physics Dept. darkroom.

In 1951 Mr Merv King was appointed to the unit as a photographic technician. A little later Mrs Jean Benfield was appointed as a darkroom assistant attached to the Geography Department. In 1955 she moved to the photographic unit with Mr King. Professor McKenzie remained as manager until his retirement in 1973. Mr King retired as Senior Photographic Technician at the end of 1979, succeeded by Mrs Benfield until her retirement early in 1982. Later staffing is covered in internal reports on VUW Registry archives file R 1/12/12.

By the 1960s the unit was servicing a range of departments in several faculties, although the Science Faculty was responsible for its administration and funding. Even so, several science departments had established their own darkrooms or specialist photographic facilities and the School of Architecture in 1992 had in addition a photographic technician.

In 1979 accommodation was located in New Kirk 212-220, 83 Fairlie Tce, and Easterfield 020. Shortly after this the suite at 83 Fairlie Tce was replaced by NK200. Following the 1992 Review the unit was relocated to the south end of Level 1, New Kirk.

Reviews of the Unit were undertaken in 1979 (the 'Tippett Report'), in 1981 (the 'Ellerton Report'), and in 1992 by a Photographic Facility Review Committee (Prof. John Wells, Registrar Andrew Neeson, Manager Bernie Kernot, and Technician-in-charge Les Maiden). Following this Review the Unit was placed within the Information Technology division where it remains.

The Photographic Facility 'provides a range of still photographic services available to all departments and sections, as well as for research students. Its primary functions have been the production of illustrative materials for teaching and research to publication standard, but it has also included production for publicity, display and documentation as required. With exceptions, all general still photographic work for the University is carried out by the Facility'.

The 1992 Review noted that 80% of all work was copied onto 35 mm format, the remainder was copied onto larger (120 or 5x4) formats, and about 50% was black and white.


300 linear_centimeters

Language of Materials



This unit was established after World War II by Professor D. W. McKenzie (Geography) and was initially used and administered primarily within the Faculty of Science. Following wider use by Humanities and Architecture from the 1970s, and by the Public Relations Section of the Registry from c1990, the facility was moved to the Information Technology Division c1993. The unit undertook most still photographic work for the University, including the creation of teaching and publication resources as well as portraits of staff, of buildings, and of events. Prior to the 1990s most work was in black and white.

Administrative Information

All text and images are copyright to Victoria University of Wellington. Enquiries for re-use should be made in the first instance to the J C Beaglehole Room, VUW Library.

J C Beaglehole Room - archives and manuscripts
Edited Full Draft
Nicola Frean
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Finding aid is written inEnglish
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XML EAD edition

Repository Details

Part of the J C Beaglehole Room, Victoria University of Wellington Library Repository

P O Box 3438
Wellington 6140 New Zealand
+64 4 4635681