William Blake. Europe [and] America. Lambeth: Printed by William Blake, 1793-4.

William Blake. Europe [and] America. Lambeth: Printed by William Blake, 1793-4.

The Library's copies of "Europe" and "America", are bound together in one volume.

Words and music for 'God Defend New Zealand'

Words and music for 'God Defend New Zealand'

When Sir George Grey visited Lawrence, as Premier of the country, in March 1878, a large gathering of local school children sang God defend New Zealand to him, with Woods conducting. Deeply moved, he asked the composer for the original music to add to his collection of New Zealand artifacts. He later wrote to Bracken requesting the original manuscript of the words. Both are now in the Library’s safekeeping.

Speculum humanae salvationis. (The mirror of human salvation). Augsburg: printed by Gunther Zainer, 1473.

Speculum humanae salvationis. (The mirror of human salvation). Augsburg: printed by Gunther Zainer, 1473.

The 1473 Speculum is considered one of the masterpieces of the early printing period. The library’s copy donated by Sir George Grey, is one of only twenty-five complete specimens known to exist.

William Shakespeare. Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories & tragedies. London: William and Isaac Jaggard and Edward Blount, 1623.

William Shakespeare. Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories & tragedies. London: William and Isaac Jaggard and Edward Blount, 1623.

Few would dispute the claim that the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays – commonly known as the First Folio – is the most highly prized book in English literature

Besancon Missal, Med. MS G.138

Besancon Missal, Med. MS G.138

First appearing in Europe in the tenth century, missals are books containing the texts used in the service of the Mass throughout the year. The manuscript now in the Library’s safekeeping is an especially beautiful example, illuminated throughout with burnished gold initials and containing many miniatures

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The Grey Collection

Over the decades, Auckland has been fortunate in attracting a number of remarkable benefactors. However, pride of place must surely go to Sir George, whose many gifts to the city include the magnificent Roman Missal from 15th Century Besançon, Shakespeare's 'First Folio' and the original words and music to 'God Defend New Zealand'.

More about the Grey Collection »
More about Sir George Grey »

  • Science
    Sir George Grey had a particular interest in science, especially natural history.
  • Languages
    Grey was interested in languages and displayed good linguistic ability.
  • Māori
    Grey’s collection of Māori manuscripts and printed Māori is one of the most significant in New Zealand.
  • Performing Arts
    Grey's collection contains the original words and music to God Defend New Zealand.
  • Auckland History
    Grey used Auckland as his base for his first term and later became superintendent of the Auckland Province.
  • 19th Century New Zealand
    Grey’s collection is pivotal for research into the history of 19th century New Zealand.
  • Literature
    Grey bought contemporary 19th century novels and poetry and collected works of well-known authors.
  • Exploration
    Grey had a keen interest in exploration and corresponded with a number of famous explorers.
  • Religion
    Grey’s collection contains a significant number of bibles both in English and many other languages.
  • Rare Books: New Zealand
    Included in this collection are the earliest New Zealand printings along with other historically important works.
  • Rare Books: Māori
    The collection includes early New Zealand works printed in Te Reo.
  • Rare Books: International
    Grey recognised the importance of some international works, collecting duplicate copies.
  • Manuscripts: New Zealand
    The collection contains documents from Grey’s own political career.
  • Manuscripts: Māori
    The collection includes records of Māori traditions, whakapapa and waiata written in Te Reo.
  • Manuscripts: International
    The collection includes documents by influential and important international personalities.
  • Letters: New Zealand
    The letters are a record of the correspondence he received during his career in New Zealand.
  • Letters: Māori
    Grey's large circle of correspondents includes Māori leaders writing in Te Reo.
  • Letters: International
    Grey's correspondents includes other colonial politicians, and famous Englishmen and women.
  • Medieval Manuscripts
    The 27 medieval manuscripts ranges from the 12th to the 15th century.
  • Photography
    Photographic records of Grey himself exist only for the latter part of his career.
  • Sketches & Drawings
    The Grey collection contains a number of drawings and sketches by amateur artists.
  • Ephemera
    Ephemera is a term used to describe throw away items.

Did you know?

Only seventeen copies of  William Blake's "America: A Prophecy" and twelve copies of "Europe: A Prophecy" are known to exist. They are among the many treasures held at Auckland City Libraries in the Sir George Grey Special Collections. View