New Zealand History

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New Zealand’s Foreign Service: A History

November 30th, 2022

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) is a remarkable organisation that has represented New Zealand for more than 75 years.

Cover of New Zealand's Foreign Service: a History by Ian McGibbon

A new book, New Zealand’s Foreign Service: A History examines how MFAT (and its predecessors) responded to ever-evolving political and military allegiances, trade globalisation, economic threats, natural disasters and military conflict on behalf of a small nation that seeks to engage on the global stage while maintaining the principles that underpin its political institutions.

Commissioning editor Ian McGibbon and two of the authors Steven Loveridge and Anita Perkins will discuss what is distinctive about MFAT's approach to diplomacy in New Zealand and globally, and reflect on the process of researching and writing the book. Facilitated by Malcolm McKinnon.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the Alexander Turnbull Library and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded live on 12 October 2022.

Download a transcript of this talk: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/files/pdfs/transcript-mfat-pht-2022-10-12.pdf

A Biography of Lake Tūtira

October 25th, 2022

This talk sketches Lake Tūtira’s history from formation to today. Historian Jonathan West will follow in the traces of Herbert Guthrie Smith, whose obsessive records of the changes witnessed while farming by the lake made him the founder of environmental history here. He will take his cue from Guthrie Smith’s first book’s opening lines: ‘The lake on Tutira may be considered the heart of the run. It is the centre of all the station’s life and energy.’ Guthrie Smith preserved the lake as a sanctuary for his beloved birds.

Lake Tutira and surrounding hills

But since the 1950s Lake Tūtira has faced problems – now posed much more widely – of invasive weeds, nutrient pollution, poisonous algal blooms, and mass fish kills. Jonathan will conclude considering the lessons its history provides for our future.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the Alexander Turnbull Library and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded live on 6 July 2021.

Download a transcript of this talk:
https://nzhistory.govt.nz/files/pdfs/transcript-jonathan-west-2022.pdf

Women Will Rise! Recalling the Working Women’s Charter

October 11th, 2022

It's over 40 years since the Working Women's Charter was adopted as policy by the New Zealand Federation of Labour. The 16-clause Charter demanded rights for women in all aspects of life and work, including equal pay; ending discrimination; education and health rights; improved working conditions; quality child care; family and parental leave, and reproductive rights. But persuading the male-dominated trade union movement to adopt the Charter wasn't an easy job.

Cover of Women will Rise book

A panel of authors from the book Women Will Rise will trace the earlier working women's charters in New Zealand, and the work and organising done by trade union women and their supporters to achieve the Charter. Finally, a feminist historian of the generation following the 1970s Charter women reflects on their work. Songs from the period are included.

The speakers are among 11 co-authors of the book Women Will Rise! Recalling the Working Women's Charter:

  • Sue Kedgley is a women’s advocate, author of a recent memoir Fifty Years a Feminist, and a former Green MP.
  • Hazel Armstrong worked for women's liberation and unions. She is a lawyer specialising in health, safety and ACC work.
  • Therese O'Connell has been active (and singing) in unions and other social justice movements.
  • Grace Millar is a feminist, unionist and historian, currently working for the Public Service Association.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the Alexander Turnbull Library and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded live on 3 October 2021.

Download a transcript of this talk:
https://nzhistory.govt.nz/files/pdfs/transcript-women-will-rise-2022.pdf

Mahuru Māori: Māni Dunlop and Jamie Tahana

September 22nd, 2022

Māni Dunlop (Ngāpuhi) and Jamie Tahana (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Makino, Te Arawa) are journalists and national broadcasters who actively champion te reo Māori me nga tikanga Māori through their work.

Matariki, Mani and Jamie sitting down with microphones

Māni was the first Māori journalist at RNZ to host a weekday show, while Jamie is one of RNZ’s youngest Māori News Directors. They began their careers as RNZ interns, Māni in 2011 and Jamie in 2014. Māni initially worked in the general newsroom focusing on housing and social issues. Jamie started at Radio New Zealand Pacific (formerly International) with a focus on climate change and political undulations.

Now, they’re incredibly popular Māori broadcasters. Every week, more than 600,000 people listen to RNZ and in 2021 the listenership of Te Ao Māori shows increased 55%. Thousands of Twitter followers want to know what their ‘takes’ are, beyond the stories they write and produce to the public.

For Mahuru Māori, Māni and Jamie spoke about their experiences, challenges, and triumphs of being at the front line of change in public radio. The past decade has seen dramatic changes in public radio, influenced by iwi radio, social media, politics, and pandemics. Today, these two young Māori journalists are now major decision-makers in the inclusion of Māori content and te reo Māori at a national level.

Facilitated by Pou Matua Mātauranga Māori, Senior Historian Mātauranga Māori, Matariki Williams (Tūhoe, Ngāti Hauiti, Taranaki, Ngāti Whakaue).

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the Alexander Turnbull Library and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded live at the Wellesley Boutique Hotel on 6 September 2022.

Download a transcript of this talk:
https://nzhistory.govt.nz/files/pdfs/transcript-mahuru-maori-2022-09-07.pdf

Shifting perspectives about colonial conflict: The Wairau Affray and the Battle of Boulcott’s Farm

August 1st, 2022

Liana MacDonald (Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne o Wairau, Ngāti Koata) is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Victoria University of Wellington. She is interested in how racism, whiteness, and settler colonialism manifest in national institutions.

Liana MacDonald

In this talk, Liana focusses on two significant conflicts between mana whenua and British and settler militia during the early stages of the New Zealand Wars and how they are remembered today. Interviews reveal how the Wairau Affray (1843) is remembered differently by settler and Indigenous people from the Marlborough region. Researcher observations are the basis for thinking about how sites associated with the Battle of Boulcott's Farm (1846) reflect settler perspectives about the past. The research in this talk is part of a large-scale ethnographic study called He Taonga te Wareware? Remembering and Forgetting New Zealand’s Colonial Past. 

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the Alexander Turnbull Library and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded live via Zoom, 1 June 2022.

Download a transcript of this talk:
https://nzhistory.govt.nz/files/pdfs/transcript-liana-macdonald-pht-2022-07-26.pdf

With the Boys Overseas: radio listening during World War II and New Zealand’s first broadcast war correspondents

August 1st, 2022

In the 1940s radio played a central role in the life of the New Zealand household as a source of news and entertainment. Sound historian Sarah Johnston is researching radio during this era, particularly the role of our first radio war correspondents, who travelled with the New Zealand forces in North Africa, the Middle East, Italy and in the Pacific as mobile broadcasting units.

Three soldiers around a microphone

Sarah outlines details she has uncovered in her research, including the way demand from listeners back home shaped the work of the broadcasting units. Her talk includes archived radio recordings from the era, courtesy of RNZ and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

This talk is also available on YouTube.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the Alexander Turnbull Library and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded live via Zoom, 5 May 2022.

Download a transcript of this talk: 
https://nzhistory.govt.nz//files/pdfs/transcript-sarah-johnston-pht-2022-06-14.pdf

Learning in and from primary schools: Teaching Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories at Years 1 to 6

July 7th, 2022

In September 2019, Hon Chris Hipkins announced Aotearoa New Zealand's histories would be taught in all schools and kura from 2022 (later extended to 2023).

Genaro OliveiraIn this talk Dr Genaro Oliveira shared findings from a comprehensive survey of primary school teachers across the Manawatū region about history teaching at Years 1 to 6.

Answers from the ten local schools corroborate the anecdotal evidence many teachers and people involved with primary education have known for a while: first, despite differences of approach, focus and depth, primary schools have already been teaching Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories long before the announcement and through creative and critical approaches; and second, despite prior experience teaching history, most teachers still lack confidence teaching New Zealand histories and welcome Professional Learning Development (PLDs).

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the Alexander Turnbull Library and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded live via Zoom, 6 March 2022.

Download a transcript of this talk:
https://nzhistory.govt.nz/files/pdfs/transcript-genaro-oliveira-pht 2022-07-01.pdf

‘There was no honour in it’: Two aspects of New Zealand’s military history

June 7th, 2022

Please note: This talk contains material that may be distressing to some listeners, including the discussions of war crimes. If you wish to skip this discussion, it runs from 9:19 through to 16:36. Please take care of yourself, and if you don't think this talk is for you, no worries, and we hope you'll listen again soon.

John Crawford and Michael Buck sitting with archives on desk

In this talk, military historians John Crawford and Matthew Buck talk about results from their recent research projects. 

Over the last 35 years, John Crawford has written on many aspects of the history of the New Zealand Armed Forces and defence policy. His recent research into New Zealand’s campaigns against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War has uncovered several interesting aspects of New Zealand’s involvement in the Senussi Campaign, fought in Libya in 1915. John’s talk will focus on the Christmas Day attack on the Senussi forces, an under-researched episode in New Zealand’s military history thus far.

Matthew Buck is Senior Advisor Heritage at the New Zealand Defence Force. His focus in recent months has been on veterans’ issues and the way in which the services of veterans were recognised following the two world wars. His work on how medals were distributed after the Second World War is just one aspect of this work. How this came to be a public policy issue lies at the heart of his presentation.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the Alexander Turnbull Library and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded live at the National Library of New Zealand, 3 November 2021.

Download a transcript of this talk:

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/files/pdfs/transcipt-john-crawford-and-matthew-buck-2021-11-03.pdf

The Platform: the radical legacy of the Polynesian Panthers

March 3rd, 2022

Protest march featuring sign saying 'Save my freedom'

In this talk, Melani Anae, Associate Professor in Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland discusses aspects of her recent book, The Platform: the radical legacy of the Polynesian Panthers. In the book she writes, ‘Fifty years ago the Polynesian Panther Party began to shine a light on racism and oppressive systems, and we made small changes. But these small changes were and are so much greater than the sum of their parts; they are writ large by the liberating education some of us are still involved in and the snowballing effect it has.’

The book is both deeply personal and highly political and recalls the radical activism of Auckland’s Polynesian Panthers. In solidarity with the US Black Panther Party, the Polynesian Panthers were founded in response to the racist treatment of Pacific Islanders in the era of the Dawn Raids. Central to the group’s philosophy was a three-point ‘platform’ of peaceful resistance, Pacific empowerment and educating New Zealand about persistent and systemic racism.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded live at the National Library of New Zealand, 6 August 2021.

Download a transcript of this talk:

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/files/pdfs/melani-anae-transcript.pdf

Crossing the lines: the story of three homosexual New Zealand soldiers in WW2

October 4th, 2021

Cover of Crossing the Lines book

In this talk author Brent Coutts discusses his recently published book, Crossing the Lines, a history of New Zealand homosexual soldiers in the Second World War.

While he uncovered fifty homosexual men who served in the military during the war, his research focused on Ralph Dyer, Douglas Morison, and Harold Robinson, three men who were female impersonators in the Pacific Kiwi Concert Party and Tui Concert Party. Coutts discusses their lives before, during, and after the war, and how he uncovered this new historical narrative which enriches our understanding of the New Zealand soldier experience during this conflict.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded live at the National Library of New Zealand, 7 July 2021.

Download a transcript of this talk:

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/files/pdfs/brent-coutts-transcript.pdf

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