Francis McWhannell Writer and exhibition-maker

Dark arts

Twenty years of the Holloway Press

This retrospective celebrates the work of the Holloway Press, the University of Auckland’s fine press, which was founded by Associate Professor Peter Simpson and master printer Alan Loney in 1994. The Press was named for Ron Holloway (1909–2003) of the Griffin Press, who donated the printing equipment that formed its basis.

The publishing programme of the Holloway Press centred on works of special literary, artistic, scholarly and historical interest—ill-suited to commercial publication, but appropriate to the technology of handpress printing. The Press thus participated in the tradition of small press publishing in New Zealand pioneered by the likes of Ron Holloway, Bob Lowry, Denis Glover, and Leo Bensemann.

Loney oversaw the technical production of all Holloway Press publications until his retirement from the University of Auckland in 1998. After a short period of inactivity, the Press resumed publishing in 2001, under the sole management of Simpson. From that time, Tara McLeod of Pear Tree Press took on the design and printing of most Holloway books.

Upon his retirement from the Department of English in 2008, Simpson was appointed part-time Director of the Holloway Press, immediately responsible to the Dean of Arts. With this change, the rate of publication increased markedly, with 15 books released between 2009 and 2013, when the Press effectively ceased operation.

Throughout its life, the Holloway Press received broad support from the University of Auckland, and especially from Vice-Chancellor John Hood, who awarded it several grants from his Development Fund. The Press also relied on the support of authors, artists, craftspeople, promoters, and patrons, without whom it could not have flourished as it did.

Publications from the Holloway Press remain remarkable both for the quality of their content—with work by some of New Zealand’s most important creative personalities—and for their superb production values. Indeed, after 20 years of activity, it is clear that the Press has not only dabbled in the dark arts of printing, it has mastered them.


Download catalogue via Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.

Dark arts: twenty years of the Holloway Press
Curated by Francis McWhannell

4 July to 30 August 2014
Gus Fisher Gallery, University of Auckland
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

6 October to 16 November 2014
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū: Outer Spaces
Central Library
Ōtautahi Christchurch

Francis McWhannell Writer and exhibition-maker


Francis McWhannell (b. 1985, Aotearoa New Zealand) is a writer and exhibition-maker based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. He is Curatorial Adviser for the dealer gallery Visions, and Curator of the Fletcher Trust Collection, a major private collection of Aotearoa art founded in 1962.