Research Grant

The Friends of the Turnbull Library offers an annual research grant available to scholars whose research involves use of the Turnbull.

Research Grant

In 2003 the Friends of the Turnbull, using a substantial bequest from David Bilbrough, established an annual grant for researchers who plan to make significant use of the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library. No research grant was awarded for two years during renovations to the National Library but it has been offered each year since 2012.

The grant is intended to emphasise the distinctive contribution that a research and heritage library makes to public knowledge. It celebrates the significant role of ongoing research and publication based on the Turnbull Library collections and the knowledge of the staff.

From 2007 to 2016, thanks to the generous bequest of Wesley (“Bill”) Secker, the Friends were able to increase the size of the annual research grant to NZ$10,000. From 2017, the grant has been increased again to $15,000.


Applications for the 2018 Research Grant closed on 6 October 2017.


The 2017 grant has been awarded to Ryan Bodman of Auckland, whose project is a history of rugby league in New Zealand. Ryan’s research at the Alexander Turnbull Library will include the oral history archives and the photographic collections. His book will consider aspects of social class and links with marginalised communities as well as sport.

Photograph of Ryan Bodman by Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Jarrod Pic

The 2016 grant was awarded to Dr Jarrod Gilbert of Christchurch, who is researching a book, “Murder: A New Zealand History”. He will chronicle specific case studies to illustrate the crime of murder as a means of shedding light on New Zealanders’ relationship with violence.



Gerri KimberThe 2015 grant was awarded to Dr Gerri Kimber, a UK researcher, who is writing a book about the early years of Katherine Mansfield. Dr Kimber was in New Zealand in August 2015 (see Public Programme).




Lucy Treep

The 2014 grant was awarded to Lucy Treep of Auckland, who is working on a biography of Maurice Shadbolt.





Since its establishment in 2003, other recipients of the grant are:

Philip Norman

Philip Norman, biographer of Douglas Lilburn.

2_t_beaglehole-smTim Beaglehole, biographer of John Cawte Beaglehole.
3_a_bremner_2005-smAlex Bremner, for work on his publication, Ecclesiology and the Colonial Church; Architecture, Empire, and High Anglican Culture in Britain and the British Colonial World, 1840-70.4_Paul-Diamond-SmPaul Diamond for his photo-essay on Maggie Papakura.
5_J_Shennan-SMJennifer Shennan for a biography of Poul Gnatt.6_Paul-Meredith-sm Philip Simpson




Joint award ($10,000 each) to Paul Meredith for his account of the Maori King's 1914 UK visit and Philip Simpson for a study of the history and uses of the totara tree.

7_charlotte_wms-smCharlotte Williams for a history of relations between Maori and the National Party, 1936-2006.8_Doug_Munro-smDoug Munro for a history of the NZ Opera Company 1954-71.


Research Grant Application 2018

The Friends of the Turnbull Library (FoTL) Research Grant will be offered for the calendar year 2018.

Scholars undertaking research in the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library are invited to apply for the grant worth up to NZ$15,000 offered by the Friends of the Turnbull Library.

The closing date for applications is 6 October 2017. The APPLICATION FORM 2018 should be printed out, completed and returned by that date to:

The Friends of the Turnbull Library
PO Box 12 186
Wellington 6144
New Zealand.


1) A brief description of the scope and nature of the research work – setting out its aims and significance, its research plan, and the methods and techniques to be employed.

2) A statement of the relevance of the Alexander Turnbulll Library collections for your proposed research. If possible, you should provide specific information about the book collections or special materials (manuscripts, maps, photographs, etc) on which the proposed research will be based. Please indicate how much time (days, weeks or months) you expect to spend in the Turnbull Library.

3) An outline of your current state of progress on this research project and your estimated completion date.

4) Brief details of any other source of funding (received or pending) for the proposed research project.

5) A brief statement of the proposed form of dissemination of the results of your research, e.g. publication in book or serial, exhibition, lectures, film, etc.

6) Your curriculum vitae, including nominated referees and relevant educational and research achievements and any previous publications.



1) The FoTL Research Grant (up to NZ$15,000 in 2018) will be made to the approved applicant(s) to carry out a piece of research where there is significant use of the ATL collections. This does not preclude the use of other collections.

2) The grant may be split between more than one applicant, and payment may be made in lump sum or instalments, according to the decision of the FoTL Committee.

3) Applicants do not have to be New Zealand citizens.

4) The grant will not normally be awarded for research towards a university degree.

5) Nominated referees will be contacted for all short-listed applicants, to confirm that the applicant has the necessary skills and background to complete and present the research satisfactorily.

6) Applicants will be notified of the Committee’s decision on or before 30 November 2017.

7) Recipients will be required to submit a progress report by 20 September 2018.

8) Recipients will agree to publicity related to the FoTL Research Grant.

9) Recipients may be asked to address a meeting of Friends on the research topic, and/or to provide a report for publication in the Friends’ regular periodicals.

10) Any subsequent publication by the recipients relating to the research for which the FoTL Grant was received should carry an appropriate acknowledgement.
The Friends of the Turnbull Library Research Award is established to encourage research and use of materials held by the Alexander Turnbull Library as set out in the established Rules of the Friends of the Turnbull Library.

Applications for the 2018 grant will close on 6 October 2017.