By GRAHAM REID
Any researcher curious about the popular culture of the country in the past four decades knows that Phil Warren was as generous with his archives as he was as a host.
And Warren had some swag of archives: boxes of press clippings, posters, concert tickets and programmes lined his huge garage at the family home in Remuera. The room in the back garden was equally stacked, some papers filed scrupulously and others simply stowed.
The entrepreneur-turned-local-body-politician, who was chairman of the Auckland Regional Council for almost a decade until his death in January at 63, had stored hundreds of documents and memorabilia dating back to the days when he recorded and toured New Zealand's first rock'n'roll star, Johnny Devlin, in the late 50s.
Since his death there has been speculation as to what might happen to this invaluable historical resource. The boxes - more than 150 of them - are sitting in Warren's son Reece's garage, but they are destined for proper storage and archiving. The intention is that they go to the Auckland City Library.
"Dad was essentially an Auckland person, so we'd prefer to see them housed up here, and it's where Dad's grandchildren can have access to them also. They are going to be made available to the public," says Reece Warren.
"He kept absolutely everything and clearing out the house was a nightmare. I'm sure there will be a cull, but I would certainly like to be party to that because anything someone else thinks isn't important may be important to me or my sister [Keeley]."
Theresa Graham, heritage manager at the library, who will be seeing the full collection on Monday, is already enthusiastic. "We would love to have the collection because of the significance of Phil Warren to Auckland and Aucklanders, both as a politician and an entrepreneur," she says.
"In the manuscript and archive collection we have a particular strength in the performing arts, so the entertainment element of his papers would fit very well with our collection's strength.
"We do have an area in our storage facility for large collections. If we were a very cautious organisation and didn't take anything we thought we couldn't cope with right at that moment, we would never have what we have. So my view is to be bold and say, 'Yes', and see how we deal with that.
"We take the long-term view. As an organisation we can investigate ways of caring for that collection very well, and I'm personally committed to it."
By GRAHAM REID