Tuesday 10th December 2019

12.00pm - 3 Abbey Street, Newton, Auckland

Art+Object are delighted to announce the auction of the collection of the late Professor Ron Keam. Ron was Associate Professor of Physics at The University of Auckland and had a life-long fascination with the mystery of geothermal activity and the history associated with Mount Tarawera, its eruption, and the active geothermal districts which surround it. He was the leading world authority on the Tarawera eruption and geothermal activity in New Zealand and had been publishing on that region for many years. In 1988 he produced the magnificent book, Tarawera: The Volcanic Eruption of 10 June 1886.

In the late 1970s Professor Keam and geothermal scientist Ted Lloyd became so concerned about the decline of geyser activity in Rotorua that they made the risky and unpopular decision to take a series of court cases against those wanting to drill bore. They were successful and the Government subsequently closed all bores within 1.5km of Whakarewarewa. Keam and Lloyd were awarded the prestigious New Zealand Science and Technology silver medals by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

This important historical collection, much of which relates to the eruption of Mount Tarawera, the destruction of the Pink and White Terraces in 1886, and the surrounding areas includes a superb collection of works by Charles Blomfield along with a very rare painting of the eruption by Ina Haszard. Other highlights of the collection include a number of photograph albums by Josiah Martin, the Burton Brothers, Elizabeth Pullman, Illes and others; a very large collection of New Zealand postcards as well as rare New Zealand books, pamphlets, booklets and brochures on early tourism. Of major historical importance relating to the eruption, is a Para Kiekie [rain cloak] provenanced to Te Wairoa. The cloak was taken to America by Alfred Fairbrother, the early Baptist missionary, and later returned to New Zealand. Also of importance is a large original map of the Geothermal Area drawn in ink by S. Percy Smith.

Image: A Nineteenth Century Para Kiekie (rain cloak), provenanced to Alfred Fairbrother, the early Baptist missionary at Te Wairoa.


Friday 6th December 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 7th December 11:00 - 16:00
Sunday 8th December 11:00 - 16:00
Monday 9th December 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 10th December 09:00 - 11:00


Pam Plumbly, Rare Book Consultant
0800 80 60 01
+64 9 354 4646
+64 21 448 200
Conditions of Sale