Skip to main content

Riemke Ensing collection of Mary Stanley literary papers and research materials

Identifier: MSS-Archives-2023/11

Content Description

Collection of material collated by Riemke Ensing on life and work of New Zealand poet Mary Stanley. Includes Ensing's [?] correspondence with Stanley regarding her work, typescript copies of Stanley’s poems, some annotated and photographic material. The collection also includes and an interview conducted by Ensing with Alwyn Jones re Mary Stanley. Some of the materials may relate to research undertaking by Ensing for Private gardens : an anthology of New Zealand women poets published by Caveman Press in 1977.


  • 1970s-1980s


Conditions Governing Access

Not restricted

Conditions Governing Use

Issue with gloves

Biographical / Historical

Riemke Ensing (born 1939) is a Dutch-born New Zealand poet. She has published and edited numerous books and is notable for synthesising European and New Zealand influences in her work. Ensing was born in Groningen, The Netherlands in 1939. She immigrated to New Zealand in 1951 at age twelve. She studied at Ardmore Teachers' Training College, then taught for two years, returning to the College to lecture in English literature for a year.

Ensing earned a master's degree in 1967, and taught literature for the English Department at the University of Auckland until 1999 when she took early retirement. She remained an Honorary Research Fellow with the Faculty of Arts. In 2002 she was awarded a Sargeson Fellowship, sponsored by the law firm Buddle Findlay, and received an Honours List Award from the New Zealand Society of Authors in 2019.

In 1977, Ensing edited Private Gardens: An Anthology of New Zealand Women Poets . It was the first anthology of women's verse published in New Zealand. Ensing has an interest in art, publishing catalogues of exhibitions by Stanley Palmer in 1992 and Len Castle in 2008.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Stanley(1919-1980) was a poet and teacher, she best known for her collection Starveling year (Pegasus Press, 1953). She attended to Auckland University College in 1936 (eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1947) and later became a trained teacher. In January 1943 Mary Stanley married, Brian Neal, who was killed in action in Italy in July 1944 while serving with the 4th Field Regiment, New Zealand Artillery.

In 1946 she married Kendrick Smithyman, with whom she had three sons. For many years she suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, but showed a determination to rise above this condition, returning to primary school teaching and working with remedial reading cases and school music.

Mary Stanley died in 1980.


0.1 metres (7 folders)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Riemke Ensling, October 2019

Related Materials

Mary Stanley papers. 1936-1994. MSS & Archives 2002/1. Special Collections, University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services.

Riemke Ensing's collection of Mary Stanley literary papers and research materials
Nigel Bond
March 2023
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand