Learning & Research - Akoranga me Rangahau
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hard case from the glass case
The Taranaki Research Centre at Puke Ariki has an amazing collection of old and valuable books that tell the story of the development of the district.
These books are rare, often out of print and need particular care to make sure they survive to be available for generations to come. They are housed separately in locked cabinets with glass-fronted doors. So they have become known as the Glass Case Collection.
Within their covers are stories of practices, characters and episodes that range from the interesting to the bizarre. It is a valuable insight into the way-of-life and the thoughts of Taranaki people over the last 170 years.

Hard Case from the Glass Case aims to bring these treasures out into the open and let you share something of the weird and wonderful from our past.

Aunt Daisy: handy Hint and Cook Book

In her 30 year broadcasting career Maud Basham, aka Aunt Daisy, produced 10 cookbooks and a handy hint book. You can see examples of both in our Glass Case collection. Here is a little rundown of Aunt Daisy's exploits;

The Early Years

Coming from London’s Academy for Young Ladies, the 10 year old Daisy Taylor arrived in New Plymouth on the Gairloch in 1891. Daisy was at first taken by the outspoken children, the kindness of the people and the quality of the scones and sponge cake. She held some fears of what she describes as “all those wild New Zealanders”, but her sense of fun got her through.
Daisy attended Central School and New Plymouth High School. She went on to complete her teacher training and worked at Central, Waitara and Warea Schools. 

The Basham Family

Daisy Taylor married civil engineer Fred Basham in 1904. They had three children and later in their married life Daisy was to become the family breadwinner. It is ironic for someone promoting the joys of domesticity to say: “I’ve never cooked much since I’ve been in broadcasting”. 

Aunt Daisy and Uncle Sam

In 1944 Aunt Daisy visited the US saying “I went because I wanted to help Americans and New Zealanders to understand each other, to live as pleasant neighbours do, each gaining something from the other and especially to be on the watch against prejudice and sweeping generalisations”. She appeared on TV and radio and visited celebrities....touring as a celebrity herself.
Aunt Daisy launched ships and toured munitions factories. This was a goodwill visit backed by the New Zealand Legation, a diplomatic mission facilitating the war effort. 

The Aunt Daisy Brand

Aunt Daisy promoted products on her radio show as soon as it became legal to do so. Daisy started it all with these words on Friday 30th October 1936: “How lovely it is to be able to mention at last the very thing I’ve been trying to tell you about for so long. It’s Clever Mary! That’s what I use for cleaning. It doesn’t hurt your hands you see!” From this day on Daisy was irrepressible. She paved the way for product placement and consumerism, yet did so with integrity that’s hard to fault. She only endorsed products that she had tried herself.  

Left in the Past

Some of Aunt Daisy’s handy hints are best left in the past – smelling the kerosene is no longer a recommended practice! While some suggestions are down-right dangerous, others offer a more humorous look at our domestic past. 

Into the Future

Aunt Daisy has some real gems tucked away in her books. She had a keen eye for the economical and the practical. As we turn back to home baking, home crafts and all things home grown, Aunt Daisy’s recipes are a fabulous resource to take us into the future.


To delve deeper and discover more tasty Aunty Daisy gems, go to the New Plymouth kete!

rough notes
Check out Robert Scott's travel guide from 1860! There are some interesting observations!