New Zealand History

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KŪPAPA - the bitter legacy of Māori alliances with the Crown

December 13th, 2015

RC176.jpgThe Treaty of Waitangi struck a bargain between two parties - the Crown and Māori. Its promises of security however, were followed from 1845 to 1872 by a series of volatile and bloody conflicts commonly known as the New Zealand Wars. Many people believe that these wars were fought solely between the Crown and Maori, when the reality is Maori aligned with both sides, resulting in three participants from differing viewpoints.

In this episode, lawyer and writer Ron Crosby discusses his most recent book, Kūpapa.

Introduction by Chief Historian Neil Atkinson. Recorded at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 7 October 2015. 

Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own

September 15th, 2015

Seddon_cover.jpgTom Brooking is Professor of History at the University of Otago. He specialises in New Zealand rural and environmental history, political history and historical links between New Zealand and Scotland. He is an author, co author and biographer of numerous books and publications, including the 2014 biography: Richard Seddon King of God's Own.

Although he was no saint Seddon was a far more complex and multi-faceted character than the often rather one-dimensional revisionist portraits within our historical literature. In this presentation, Tom Brooking will attempt to explain how he tried to challenge this increasingly orthodox view by attempting to understand Seddon according to the values of his own times rather than condemning him from a comfortable, presentist distance.

Introduction by Chief Historian Neil Atkinson. Recorded at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 2 September 2015.

Dr Steven Loveridge: New Zealand Society at War

August 6th, 2015


Steven Loveridge holds a PhD in history from Victoria University of Wellington and has researched, taught and written on various aspects of the First World War. This talk explores the dynamics of the mobilisation process and considers what it might add to our comprehension of wartime New Zealand.

Introduction by Senior Historian Gavin McLean, and recorded at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 6 August 2015.  

Dr Grant Morris: ‘Legal Villain’

July 1st, 2015


Dr Grant Morris is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Victoria University of Wellington. In this podcast he explores James Prendergast, the most infamous figure in New Zealand’s legal history. Known mainly for his condemnation of the Treaty of Waitangi as “a simple nullity” in 1877, Prendergast was a highly respected lawyer and judge and his good reputation remained intact until the 1980s, when the Treaty of Waitangi finally returned to the centre of New Zealand political life. The more the Treaty has been celebrated, the more Prendergast has been condemned. Who was this legal villain? Was he really a villain at all?

Introduciton by Chief Historian Neil Atkinson, and recorded at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 1 July 2015.

Andrew Francis: Enemy aliens and the New Zealand experience

June 3rd, 2015

This presentation by Andrew Francis discusses a still under-researched aspect of New Zealand’s war on the home front. It assesses the government, press and public’s conduct interwoven with Germans settlers’ wartime experiences. It considers the government’s task in attempting to safeguard the dominion’s security while remaining fair and just to New Zealand’s German communities; it analyses the role of the press, in particular those who fostered an increasingly hostile anti-German spirit; and it discusses the extent to which the public’s reaction to the ‘enemy in our midst’ was both a pseudo-patriotic response to wartime conditions and the culmination of an anti-foreigner campaign developed throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Introduction by Imelda Bargas, Senior Historian at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Recorded at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 3 June 2015.

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.

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