New Zealand History

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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.

The History of Gangs in New Zealand

March 6th, 2014

Seminar presented by Dr Jarrod Gilbert at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage on 5 March 2014.

Rape, murder, violence and drugs: gangs are synonymous with them all. Despite having a significant presence in New Zealand since the 1950s, though, our gangs have been under-researched and remain poorly understood. One reason for this is the difficulty of doing fieldwork.

This seminar looks at the problems of researching gangs, but also the problems encountered when research findings clash with popular and official understandings.

Between 2002 and 2010 Jarrod Gilbert undertook the most comprehensive study ever done on gangs in New Zealand, and in 2013 he published Patched: The History of Gangs in New Zealand. Patched won the Peoples Choice category at the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards and was a finalist for best non-fiction book.

Jarrod lectures at the University of Canterbury and is the lead researcher at Independent Research Solutions. He is currently working on a book titled Murder: A New Zealand History.

The White Ships: New Zealand’s First World War Hospital Ships

November 17th, 2013

Seminar presented by historian Gavin McLean at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage on 6 November 2013.

In 1915 the New Zealand government converted the liners Maheno and Marama into state-of-the art floating hospitals. Fitted out partly with funds raised by high profile public appeals, the ships had a busy war, eventually carrying 47,000 people. Painted distinctively in accordance with international requirements, they were the public face of our merchant marine's war, with the Maheno's crew making a direct civilian contribution to the Gallipoli campaign. Not everything went according to plan. There were tensions between the governor and ministers and shipboard disputes between army officers and mariners and between doctors and nurses. The political left also muttered about profiteering by the Union Steam Ship Company. Come along and hear the story of New Zealand's white ships.

Gavin McLean is a senior historian in the History Group of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. He is about to start on writing a book on New Zealand's First World War at sea.

The Great Strike of 1913: ‘Industrial War’ in ‘the Workers’ Paradise’

October 1st, 2013

Seminar presented by historian Peter Clayworth at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage on 2 October 2013. 

The Great Strike of 1913 was one of the largest and most disruptive in New Zealand’s history. From October 1913 to January 1914 a strike wave swept across the country, involving about 14,000 workers, hundreds of police and thousands of special constables.

In this talk Peter Clayworth gives an overview of the strike, with a closer look at events in Wellington. He examines some of the questions the events of 1913 raise concerning the nature of New Zealand society on the eve of the Great War. Peter also briefly discusses events being organised to commemorate the strike centennial.

Peter works as a writer for Te Ara the encyclopedia of New Zealand. He has a PhD in history from the University of Otago. He is a committee member of the Labour History Project and is currently involved in organising a series of commemorative events for the centennial of the 1913 strike. He is also working on a biography of Red Fed leader Pat Hickey. Peter hails from a family of mechanics in Stoke, Nelson, and is descended from a long line of West Coasters.

Tramping in New Zealand, a History

September 5th, 2013

Seminar presented by historians Chris Maclean and Shaun Barnett at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage on 4 September 2013.  Introduced by Jock Phillips

New Zealand offers some of finest tramping anywhere with some of the most striking scenery on the planet, arguably the best hut and track network in the world, a small population, no dangerous wild animals, poisonous snakes or toxic spiders, good access, 14 national parks, 19 forest parks, 10 conservation parks, and no entry fees. Around these attributes a uniquely New Zealand culture of tramping has developed, reflecting broader national characteristics. In this presentation we will talk about the history of tramping in New Zealand, and also about the process of researching and writing a book on the subject.

Shaun Barnett began tramping as a teenager in Hawke's Bay during the 1980s and has since tramped extensively around New Zealand and also overseas. In 1996, he became a full-time outdoors writer and photographer. He edited Wilderness magazine for three years, has authored several tramping guidebooks, and served on the Federated Mountain Clubs executive for nearly 10 years. Shaun's most recent book, Shelter from the Storm, The Story of New Zealand's Backcountry Huts, co-authored with Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint, is a finalist at this year's NZ Post Book Awards.

Chris Maclean graduated from Victoria University with a B.A. in History, and has since made a career out of writing historical books. His book Tararua, highlighted the history of a previously underrated mountain range, while his subsequent book Kapiti won a Montana Book Award in 2000. A keen tramper and sea kayaker, Chris has wide experience of the New Zealand outdoors, and his most recent book Stag Spooner, Wild Man from the Bush, is also a finalist at this year's NZ Post Book Awards.

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