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My Body, My Business

April 2nd, 2019

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In this presentation, oral historian, writer and editor Caren Wilton talks about using oral history – ‘history from below’ – to document what can seem to be a secret or hidden world, and telling stories that are both extraordinary and ordinary.  

Her book 'My Body, My Business: New Zealand sex workers in an era of change’ is a collection of intimate portraits of New Zealand sex workers, based on her series of oral-history interviews carried out over a nine-year period.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand https://natlib.govt.nz/ and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage https://mch.govt.nz/.

Recorded live at the National Library of New Zealand, 3 April 2019.

 

 

Ocean: tales of voyaging and encounter that defined New Zealand

March 5th, 2019

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New Zealand, an island nation, the sea surrounds us. Both barrier and highway, it was the only way for people, goods and ideas to come to this country for hundreds of years.

In this first Public History Talk for 2019, Sarah Ell, author of the book 'Ocean: tales of voyaging and encounter that defined New Zealand', explores the relationship between our peoples and the sea, from the earliest Polynesian voyagers to explorers and entrepreneurs, immigrants and environmentalists.

https://www.penguin.co.nz/books/ocean-9780143772675

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand https://natlib.govt.nz/ and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage https://mch.govt.nz/.

Recorded live at the National Library of New Zealand, 6 March 2019.

 

The Saving of Old St Paul’s

November 6th, 2018

ec_thumb.jpgSoon after the opening of Old St Paul’s church in Mulgrave Street, Wellington, in 1866, Charles Abraham, the first Anglican Bishop of Wellington, said of the church that it was ‘a very handsome building of wood, and the interior is a great success. Being built of tōtara, it may last, unless some accident occurs to it, several centuries’.

However, less than a century later, the future of the church was under threat, as the Wellington Anglican authorities, at the time building a large new cathedral in nearby Molesworth Street, contemplated what do to with Old St Paul’s when its congregation moved to the new building.

The ensuing battle to save the church - which lasted over a decade - tested New Zealander’s understandings of heritage, community value, private property rights and spirituality.

In this Public History talk about the heritage battle to save Old St Paul’s, historian Elizabeth Cox will focus on this period of crisis in the 1950s and 1960s, when Wellington was divided over the future of the church, and follow the efforts of those trying to decide its future.

Elizabeth is a Wellington historian and heritage consultant, and a Senior Historian at the Ministry for Culture & Heritage. Her book A Friend Indeed: The Saving of Old St Paul’s was published earlier this year, and she writes about the social history of Wellington, through the lens of Old St Paul’s, on her blog www.osphistory.org She also blogs about Wellington heritage issues at www.bayheritage.co.nz/heritage-blog/

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand https://natlib.govt.nz/ and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage https://mch.govt.nz/.

Recorded live at the National Library of New Zealand, 7 November 2018.

 

 

The tragedy of the SS Talune and the 1918 influenza pandemic

October 3rd, 2018

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In October 1918 the SS Talune was permitted to leave Auckland bound for Fiji and Polynesia, even though the ship's master knew that influenza was rife in the city and that there were sick on board ship when it left port. The state of the ship was also known prior to its arrival in many of its destination ports.

Within eight weeks of berthing at Fiji, Western Samoa and Tonga, at least 5% of Fijians, 7% of Tongans and one-quarter of Western Samoa's population had died of influenza.

In this Public History talk, qualified nurse and communicable diseases specialist Ryan McLane discusses how and why this tragedy occurred.

Ryan McLane has worked in a variety of public health roles over the past two decades, including time spent leading a clinical team in an Ebola Treatment Unit in Sierra Leone and managing a public health unit in the Alaskan arctic. During his seven years in New Zealand he has worked with the Ministry of Health, the Southern District Health Board and the University of Otago Medical School. His PhD with the University of Otago focused upon the 1918 influenza pandemic in the Samoas, Tonga, and Fiji.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand https://natlib.govt.nz/ and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage https://mch.govt.nz/.

Recorded live at the National Library of New Zealand, 3 October 2018.

 

 

Polly Plum and the first wave of feminism

August 1st, 2018

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As we celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage, it's time to re-evaluate Polly Plum, once described as ‘a highly controversial public figure for a few years only’.

In this Public History Talk, feminist historian and author Jenny Coleman shares some of the lesser-known parts of social reformer Mary Ann Colclough's (AKA Polly Plum) life, and her role in the “first wave” of feminism in New Zealand. She was also a leading educationalist and one of the earliest published female authors in New Zealand.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand https://natlib.govt.nz/ and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage https://mch.govt.nz/.

Recorded live at the National Library of New Zealand, 1 August 2018.

‘Researching kindergarten: the endeavours of women for the play of children’

July 4th, 2018

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In this Public History Talk about an iconic kiwi institution, two historians of early childhood education present the outline of their new book, Growing a Kindergarten Movement in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Emeritus Professor at the University of Otago Helen May, and retired senior lecturer Kerry Bethell, Massey Universtiy, have published and presented nationally and internationally on the subject of early childhood education.

This book is their first joint publication which saw them travelling extensively around historical kindergarten sites and delving into archives, allowing them to gather new sources for their research.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand https://natlib.govt.nz/ and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage https://mch.govt.nz/

Recorded live at the National Library of New Zealand, 4 July 2018.

‘The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, redux’

June 5th, 2018

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The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography was originally published in five print volumes between 1990 and 2000. It comprised 3000 biographical essays about a wide range of deceased New Zealanders who had come to prominence by 1960. The Dictionary went online in 2001. In 2010 it was merged with Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand to form the single largest reference work on New Zealand's history and society https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies

The combined Dictionary and Te Ara website is one of the largest works of scholarship ever undertaken in this country, and is unique in the world.

Since 2000 The Dictionary has been in hiatus, with the exception of a batch of 15 biographies that were published online in 2010-11. In 2017 the Ministry for Culture and Heritage decided to resume work on the Dictionary, and to publish a new batch of biographies online every year. The new programme commences with 20 new biographies of women which will be published in September this year to celebrate the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

In this presentation, senior historian Tim Shoebridge - the Dictionary’s programme manager, will speak about the challenges posed and opportunities offered by this new chapter in the Dictionary’s life.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand https://natlib.govt.nz/ and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage https://mch.govt.nz/

Recorded live at the National Library of New Zealand, 6 June 2018.

 

 

Jazzy Nerves, Aching Feet, and Foxtrots: New Zealand’s Jazz Age

May 1st, 2018

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Douglas Lilburn Research Fellow, Dr Aleisha Ward explores some of the many facets of ‘jazz’ in New Zealand’s Jazz Age. The image of 1920s New Zealand is frequently one of a quiet, staid society that ‘closed at 5’. Contrary to belief however, New Zealand had a flourishing, vibrant, urban landscape and a burgeoning jazz scene.

Dr Aleisha Ward is the 2017 Douglas Lilburn Research Fellow and a recipient of a 2018 Ministry for Culture and Heritage New Zealand History Research Trust Fund award investigating the Jazz Age in New Zealand.

Aleisha is an award-winning writer, freelance editor, and lecturer in music history. She writes about jazz in New Zealand for a number of publications including audioculture.co.nz and New Zealand Musician and on her own blog NZ Jazz https://nzjazz.wordpress.com/shameless-self-promotion/

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Recorded at the National Library of New Zealand, 2 May 2018.

 

 

 

How does a city make a writer?

April 10th, 2018

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Redmer Yska is a Wellington based writer and historian, and is author to many New Zealand history works.

Redmer presents his latest work 'A Strange Beautiful Excitement, Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington, 1888-1903’, and discusses a new connection between Mansfield's family and Women's Suffrage. He tried, as he put it, to ‘catch a glimpse of her in the open air: striding through the gale, long hair flying’.

His research into Thorndon’s festering, deadly surroundings also led him to propose a new theory for the family’s 1893 move to Karori.

Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Recorded at the National Library of New Zealand, 7 March 2018.

 

Māori Women, Politics and Petitions in the 19th Century

April 3rd, 2018

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Dr Angela Wanhalla teaches in the Department of History and Art History at the University of Otago, Dunedin. This presentation draws upon her most recent book, He Reo Wāhine: Māori Women’s Voices from the Nineteenth Century, co-authored with Māori-language scholar and historian, Lachy Paterson.

Collective petitions have helped force significant political and social reform in New Zealand. This talk introduces women petitioners and their concerns and argues that petitions are an important body of Māori writing that can offer insight into Māori women’s experiences of the colonial era.

These monthly Public History Talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Recorded at the National Library of New Zealand, 4 April 2018.