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Imelda Bargas and Tim Shoebridge: New Zealand’s First World War Heritage

May 6th, 2015

Imelda Bargas and Tim Shoebridge are Senior Historians in the Ministry for Culture and Heritage's History Group.

In this talk Imelda and Tim will explain how they came to work on their book, New Zealand's First World War Heritage and some of the challenges they faced putting it together. They'll also explore the themes covered in the book, using some of their favourite stories and sites.

Recorded at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 6 May 2015.

Margaret Sparrow: Rough on Women Abortion in 19th Century New Zealand

April 1st, 2015

Dame Margaret Sparrow has had a long career in general and reproductive health. She was awarded an MBE in 1987, the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal in 1993, and the DCNZM for services to medicine and the community in 2002, which in 2009 became a DNZM.

The women who had abortions in 19th century New Zealand are all long dead and little is known of their shortened lives. Most of what we know about them comes from coroners’ reports and newspaper accounts, and in many cases we know more about the abortionists than the women themselves. Those who survived had engaged in criminal activity so they were unlikely to talk about it.  Abortion was not written about or mentioned in their correspondence to family and friends. 

The information we have is biased towards events with a tragic ending but even this gives us some insight into the lives of ordinary women.  At a time when contraception was frowned upon by the medical profession women obtained abortions by whatever means they could, despite the dangers of poisoning, haemorrhage and infection. Abortionists did their work despite the threat of long prison sentences.

Recorded at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 1 April 2015. Introduction by Neil Atkinson of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

‘I am the island of Niue, a small child that stands up to help the Kingdom of King George - Niue Island involvement in World War I’

March 25th, 2015


Historian Margaret Pointer discusses why 150 Niueans were accepted for service in the Māori Contingent, their experiences in Auckland, Egypt France and England and what life was lie for the men returning home.

Recorded at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 6 August 2014.


Aroha Harris: New Perspectives on Māori History

March 18th, 2015


Lecturer in History at the University of Auckland, Aroha Harris (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) talks about new perspectives on Māori history. Her latest book 'Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History' is a collaboration between Harris, Judith Binney and Atholl Anderson and is published by Bridget Williams Books.

Recorded at Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 4 March 2015. Introduction by Ripeka Evans.


Coal- the Rise and Fall of King Coal in New Zealand

November 9th, 2014


Recorded on 5 November 2014. Historian Matthew Wright discusses his recent publication on the chequered history of coal.


Kate Hunter and Kirstie Ross: Holding On To Home

November 9th, 2014


Kate Hunter and Kirstie Ross discuss their recent publication Holding On To Home: New Zealand Stories and Objects of the First World War.

Recorded at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 1 October 2014.


New Zealand English: is there more here than meets the eye and ear?

November 9th, 2014

Recorded on 3 September 2014. Language expert Dianne Bardsley discusses geographic and social conditions that have produced the distinctive form of New Zealand English.


Judgments of all Kinds: Economic Policymaking in New Zealand 1945-84

November 9th, 2014

In this recording from 2 July 2014 Jim McAloon, Associate Professor of History, Victoria University, sheds light on the perceptions, ideas, and competing interests which shaped the views and actions of ministers and officials in managing a small externally dependent economy in the decades following the Second World War.


‘Captain Kindheart’s Crusade’

November 9th, 2014

In this talk recorded on 4 June 2014 Nancy Swarbrick discusses pet culture in New Zealand in the context of the international movement that began in the nineteenth century and still resonates today .


A Tasman tale?: New Zealand’s Depression and Australia, 1930-39

April 8th, 2014

Seminar presented by Malcolm McKinnon at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage on 2 April 2014.

In this talk Malcolm McKinnon discusses ways in which a trans-Tasman frame of reference expands our understanding of the economic depression in 1930s New Zealand. Investors moved their money, workers their labour, politicians their laws and economists their advice back and forth across the Tasman.

Malcolm McKinnon is a Wellington historian who is working on a study of the 1930s depression in New Zealand. He is a former writer and theme editor for Te Ara, was the editor of the New Zealand historical atlas (1997) and has published books on New Zealand foreign relations, immigration history and economic history.