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Centre for Research on Colonial Culture
Rethinking Colonialism & its Legacies

Ringing in the New Year

It’s that time of year – time for the annual blog post on Centre activities, forthcoming publications, and other exciting news from our members.

Helen May’s year started with the award of a new years honour for services to education, becoming an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Hugh Morrison has a new book appearing with Otago University Press in February called Pushing Boundaries: New Zealand Protestants and overseas missions, 1827–1939 and it will be launched in early April. He has also accepted an invitation to join the Grace Abbott Book Prize Committee (international Society for the History of Children and Youth), to decide on the “best book in the field published in English over the previous year”.

In February the Centre is hosting the Making Women Visible Conference, which honours Barbara Brookes, and features the launch of her new book, A History of New Zealand Women, on the conference programme.

In December Tony Ballantyne was awarded the W. H. Oliver Prize by the New Zealand Historical Association for his book Entanglements of Empire, published by Auckland University Press. In November Tony gave a keynote at the Race, Mobility and Imperial Networks Conference in Melbourne. He has contributed a chapter to How Empire Shaped Us (Bloomsbury) and his co-edited book with Antoinette Burton, World Histories from Below (Bloomsbury), will appear in September.

Tom Brooking is on Research and Study Leave, and will spend some time at the Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society in Munich, and as a visiting scholar at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University.

Angela Wanhalla and Lachy Paterson were promoted to Associate Professor.

Angela Wanhalla is co-organising the Making Women Visible Conference, and in October 2015 replaced Tony Ballantyne as co-editor, with Barbara Brookes, of the New Zealand Journal of History.

Annabel Cooper was one of four scholars awarded the inaugural University of Otago Prestigious Writing Grant to complete her book Screen Wars: Remaking the New Zealand Wars in Celluloid and Pixels, which charts changes to screen narratives about colonial conflict from the silent film era to the age of the phone app.

In 2015 Megan Pōtiki contributed an essay to a special issue of the New Zealand of History dedicated to Māori history, as did Michael Stevens.

The April 2016 volume of the New Zealand Journal of History is a special issue dedicated to ‘New Zealand Sexual Histories’. It is co-edited by Chris Brickell and Angela Wanhalla, and is an outcome of the workshop, supported by the Centre, they co-convened in July 2015.

Judy Bennett contributed a chapter to New Zealand’s Empire (Manchester University Press), co-edited by Katie Pickles and Cathy Coleborne. In 2015 the Chief of Army (Australia) invited Judy to address the Chief of Army History Conference in Canberra, on the theme Geo-Strategy and War: enduring lessons for the Australian Army, held at the Ballroom, National Convention Centre, 30 September-1 October. She spoke on “South Pacific: Using Indigenous resources in the Second World War”. Following the open conference, Judy also contributed to a ‘closed’ one-day teaching-learning session on scenarios for possible military and civil disturbances that may involve the Australian armed forces in the region, including the Pacific. Her visit was fully funded by the Chief of the Army.

Congratulations to all!

PhD Scholarship in New Zealand History

Centre member, Dr. Angela Wanhalla, is looking for a suitable candidate to take up a PhD scholarship attached to her Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Discovery Fellowship on ‘The Politics of Intimacy in New Zealand History’. Applications are invited from suitably qualified students, who hold a minimum of a BA (Hons) or equivalent, interested in working on an aspect of the history of marriage in New Zealand. Potential areas of investigation include, but are not limited to: marital violence; adultery, bigamy; arranged marriage; co-habitation; marital property; interfaith relationships.

The scholarship includes a $25,000 per year stipend, plus tuition fees. The tenure of the scholarship is for three years full-time, with a start date of 1 July 2016

For further information please contact Angela Wanhalla (


Colonialism, Archives and Mental Health

In February 2016 Associate Professor Sally Swartz, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who publishes regularly on psychoanalytic theory and psychotherapy, and the history of psychiatry in colonial settings, will be visiting the University of Otago with the support of the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture. Her 2015 book, from the University of Cape Town Press, is entitled Homeless Wanderers: Movement and mental illness in the Cape colony in the nineteenth century. In addition to attending the Making Women Visible Conference (15-17 February), Associate Professor Swartz will offer two talks, both open to the public.

On February 18 she will offer the following presentations:

1) A session on ‘The Archive and the Person: History and Psychotherapy’ reflecting how being a practitioner works alongside being an historian.

2) An open lecture entitled ‘Families, Emotion and Attachment: Insights from the past to the Present’ .
Times and places to be arranged.

For further information please contact Professor Barbara Brookes (


Ballantyne wins W H Oliver prize

1426649733356Congratulations to Centre director, Professor Tony Ballantyne, for winning the W.H. Oliver prize.  This was the first time the prize has been awarded, for the best recent book on any aspect of New Zealand history. Tony’s book, Entanglements of Empire: Missionaries, Māori, and the Question of the Body, published by Auckland University Press, was the winning entry, announced yesterday at the New Zealand Historical Association conference in Christchurch.   The books of two other CROCC members, Tom Brooking’s Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own and Angela Wanhalla’s Matters of the heart: A History of Interracial Marriage in New Zealand were shortlisted, as was that of Melissa Matutina Williams, Panguru and the City: Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua.



Three Centre members finalists for best History book award

Professor Tony Ballantyne, Professor Tom Brooking, and Dr Angela Wanhalla, are three of the the four finalists for the inaugural W.H. Oliver Prize for best book on New Zealand history, to be awarded next week at the New Zealand Historical Association conference.  The books are Tony Ballantyne, Entanglements of Empire: Missionaries, Maori, and the Question of the Body (AUP); Tom Brooking, Richard Seddon, King of God’s Own: The Life and Times of New Zealand’s Longest Serving Prime Minister (Penguin); and Angela Wanhalla, Matters of the Heart: A History of Interracial Marriage in New Zealand (AUP).

All three finalists are academics within the Department of History and Art History, but also members of the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture. For the full story, read the latest article in the Otago Bulletin Board.

Puke Ariki Trust Scholarship

The Puke Ariki Trust Scholarship, valued at $5000, supports the studies of a postgraduate student whose research relates to Taranaki’s social history.  Puke Ariki is Taranaki’s Museum, Library, Archive Centre based in New Plymouth, renowned for its extensive heritage collections.  If you are interested in this scholarship, check out the Puke Ariki Trust Scholarship Terms and Conditions.

Stimulating symposium on Indigenous Photographic Histories

Practitioners, curators, archivists, scholars and others flocked to the Indigenous Photographic Histories Symposium held at the National Library in Wellington on 5 November, an immensely successful one-day event co-organized by Paul Diamond (Alexander Turnbull Library), Angela Wanhalla (CROCC/University of Otago) and Jane Lydon (University of Western Australia, Perth).

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Click to enlarge. Photo: Mark Beatty, Imaging Services, National Library

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Keynote speaker: Professor Sherry Farrell Racette. Photo: Mark Beatty, Imaging Services, National Library

The symposium kicked off with two keynotes. The first, Professor Sherry Farrell Racette (Manitoba) on “Enclosing some Snapshots”: James P. Brady, Photography and Political Activism, showed how photography was such an integral part of the work of this well-known Métis activist. A self-taught community-based photographer, Brady used it record Metis life at a time when these communities were impoverished and its people lacked rights.

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Keynote Speaker: Professor Jane Lydon. Photo: Mark Beatty, Imaging Services, National Library

Professor Jane Lydon then gave Aboriginal Transformations of the Photographic Archive on how Aboriginal communities are now using historic photographs. She traced the emotional and healing properties of photographs, and echoing Sherry Farrell Racette’s keynote, pointed to the link between photography, rights and political activism. Drawing upon her Australian Research Council-funded project that identifies and returns Aboriginal photographs held in European collections, Jane noted that while photographs carry the burden of the colonial past, Aboriginal families see them as ways to connect with family and place. To read more about that ARC project have a look at the website: Returning Photographs: Australian Aboriginal Photographs from European Collections

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From left: Edith Amituanai, Nina Tonga, Brook Andrew, Paul McNamara, Yuki Kihara, and Jeanette Wikaira. Photo: Mark Beatty, Imaging Services, National Library

After morning tea, a panel of shorter talks ensued, first from three practitioners/artists: Edith Amituanai (Unitec), on the ethics of taking photographs in terms of her own work. Edith spoke about her community-based photography, recording Samoan people and their everyday lives in New Zealand and beyond. She gave us one of the most evocative sentences of the day when she described a photograph as an ‘incomplete utterance of a sentence’; Brook Andrew of Wiradjuri (Monash)  discussed the complexities of representation, and his own obsession with the colonial archives, which he uses in his artwork; and Yuki Kihara gave a tour-de-force presentation on the intellectual work underpinning her recent “A Study of a Samoan Savage”, which was inspired by early “scientific” photographs of Samoans in the archive. These were followed by reflections from three people who deal with collections: Paul McNamara on how photographers had utilized the archives in various exhibitions at the McNamara Gallery  in Whanganui; Nina Tonga, Te Papa’s Curator Pacific Cultures, on the photography of George Crummer, a trader in the Cook Islands from 1890; and Jeanette Wikaira, Kaituitui Ratonga Māori  on how Kai Tahu families interact with the photographic archives of the Hocken Library.

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Helen Brown (left) enjoying a break in proceedings with Lyndon Fraser (Canterbury University), and Lynette Shum, Oral History Advisor at the Turnbull. Photo: Mark Beatty, Imaging Services, National Library

The suite of papers reflected on community, place and family. Natalie Robertson of AUT was unable to be at the symposium, but her Siting Mauri through Living Film and Photography using material relating to Ngāti Porou and the Waiapu River was wonderfully and elegantly presented for her by AUT doctoral candidate and photographer Ngahuia Harrison. Helen Brown of Ngai Tahu Archives presented on Wiremu Teira and his Māori Friends where she discussed the Pākehā writer and photographer William A. Taylor and his relationships with Ngāi Tahu communities.

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Karen Hughes & Aunty Ellen Trevorrow. Photo: Mark Beatty, Imaging Services, National Library

New Zealanders are probably unaware that Aboriginal families, not allowed to live alongside white Australians were relegated to “fringe camps” on the outskirts of outback towns. Karen Hughes (Swinburne University) and renowned Ngarrindjeri weaver Aunty Ellen Trevorrow (Camp Coorong Race Relations Cultural Education Centre) showed life in Ngarrindgeri camps through the intimate and familial portraits made by Aboriginal women photographers.

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Chanel Clarke. Photo: Mark Beatty, Imaging Services, National Library

Chanel Clarke, Māori Curator, Auckland Museum, rounded off the after-lunch session with Dressing the Part: Queen Victoria’s Māori Subjects, on the intersections of dress, photography and colonialism during a visit of Māori to England in the early 1860s. The symposium was lucky to have three “keynote listeners” who all gave their impressions and reflections on the earlier sessions: Damon Salesa (Auckland), Jo Smith (Victoria), and Tina Makereti (novelist, Curator Māori, Museums Wellington). All three touched upon several important themes that united all the presentations: the affective power of photography, the ethics of photography, the rich and varied methodologies being deployed, and the ongoing power of colonial images in the present day.

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Wonderful “keynote listeners”: Damon Salesa, Jo Smith, and Tina Makereti. Photos: Mark Beatty, Imaging Services, National Library

It was wonderful to be exposed to insights from so many indigenous scholars and practitioners. It was also gratifying to hear how indigenous communities are now using the photographic archives, even those heavily underlain with the violence of colonialism, for their own purposes, as art, for rediscovering histories, and reconnecting communities.

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The symposium organisers: Jane Lydon, Paul Diamond, and Angela Wanhalla. Photo: Mark Beatty, Imaging Services, National Library

He haerenga ki Awarua

On Thursday 29th, CROCC member Michael Stevens hosted a number of fellow members, and other guests at his home marae, Te Rau Aroha, at Bluff, to look at Māori/maritime history and how this aligns with Michael’s Marsden-funded project, A World History of Bluff.

As well as visiting a number of the locales that inform Michael’s work, we were also able to give short presentations to local people at the marae on the Thursday evening.  These included: Atholl Anderson (Retired, ANU): “Archaeology in the Southern Margins”; David Haines (Waitangi Tribunal): “Tuhawaiki’s Cannon”; Tony Ballantyne (Otago): “An Indian Sailor in the South”; Jonathan West (OTS): “A triangulated moment in the Tasman Triangle: Port Pegasus, 1826”; Angela Wanhalla (Otago): “‘Granny Harrold’: The Transnational Life of an Indigenous Woman”; Lachy Paterson (Otago): “Southern Kāi Tahu and Māori-language newspapers”; and Jane McCabe (Otago): “Kalimpong Kids in Southland”.  Regular draws also saw a number of books given to attendees.


From left: Tony Ballantyne, David Haines, Frances Steel, Ryan Jones, Angela Wanhalla, Atholl Anderson, Jane McCabe, Jonathan West, Lachy Paterson, Michael Stevens.

There were several highlights.  Serendipitously Sir Tīpene O’Regan, the upoko of the local Awarua Rūnaka was in town, and kept us entertained with stories on the Friday night.  And on Saturday we were lucky to visit Stewart Island and visit several historical spots, including the “Travellers Rest”, a boarding house run by a Agnes Harrold, a nineteenth-century Metis woman from Manitoba.  A big thank you to Michael and his whānau for their hospitality, and the ringa wera at the marae who kept us so well well fed while we were there.


Trying to keep warm at Omaui Beach. Not only a site of shipwreck, but of the long and continuing presence of a number of Kāi Tahu whānau.


Michael at the Travellers rest, Stewart Island. Click to enlarge.



Michael showing Atholl a knot used by Kāi Tahu specifically to tie green harakeke.

Seminar on “Digital Interventions”

Apologies for the late notice.  Dr. Tim Sherratt, one of Australia’s leading scholars of digital humanities will be talking today 1.00-3.00pm about some of his current projects, and explore some useful digital tools, in the Science Library Seminar Room (Ground Floor, University of Otago Science Library).  Dr Sherratt works both as an academic at ANU, and as part of the management team of Trove – Australia’s version of our Papers Past.  Click here for more details.


Conference on Dress, Clothing and Bodies

Dressing Global Bodies: Clothing Cultures, Politics and Economies in Globalizing Eras, c. 1600s-1900s

7-9 July 2016, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Co-Organized with the Pasold Research Fund, UK


The clothes on our backs are intimately connected with bodily experiences, cultural, social and gender portrayals, as well as the economies of fashioning and re-fashioning across place and time. Garments reflect the priorities of local and international economies, collective and personal inclinations, religious norms and conversions. These materialities are shaped by global flows of cloth and beads, furs, ready-made and second-hand apparel, in dynamic processes of fashion exchange. Dress is a charged cultural instrument, as evident in colonial and decolonization processes, social and political agendas, animated by cross-cultural and commercial flows, industrial and institutional innovations.

This international conference will showcase new historical research on the centrality of dress in global, colonial and post-colonial engagements, emphasizing entangled histories, comparative and cross-cultural analyses. This scholarship redefines national and collective communities, in the practice of fashion and the dynamics of re-fashioning and re-use, from the seventeenth through the twentieth century.

Themes could include, but are not limited to:

Cross-cultural practices and patterns of dress and / or body adornment
Production and distribution of clothing (across cultures, entangled, comparative)
Gendered and ethnic shaping of dress and dress practice
Fashion politics of dress in globalizing contexts
Circulation and re-use of dress and dress idioms
Design in globalized contexts
Representations of clothing cultures
Appropriation / acculturation of designs, materials, motifs
Dress in colonial / post-colonial contexts
We especially welcome themed panels, maximum three speakers.

We welcome individual papers as well.

Submission Requirements:

For individual speakers: a 200-word proposal and a 1 page CV

For full panels: a 200-word panel rationale, plus 200 word proposals for each panel participant along with their individual 1 page CVs.

Send all submissions to:

Deadline for submissions: 1 October 2015.

Acceptances of papers to be announced: 1 December 2015.

Plenary Speakers:

Antonia Finnane, Professor, School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne. Author of Changing Clothes in China: Fashion, History, Nation. She will address fashion in Qing/Early Republican China

Karen Tranberg Hansen, Professor Emerita. Department of Anthropology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, Northwestern University. Author of Salaua: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia. She will address cultures of dress within Global Africa.

Dana Leibsohn, Priscilla Paine Van der Poel Professor of Art, Department of Art, Smith College. She will address colonial practice, cross-cultural influences in the dress of colonial Spanish America.


Principal Organizers:

Beverly Lemire, Professor & Henry Marshall Tory Chair, Department of History & Classics, University of Alberta

Giorgio Riello, Professor, Department of History and Director, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Warwick


International & Local Organizing Committee Members:

Anne Bissonnette, Associate Professor & Curator, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta

Lisa Claypool, Associate Professor, Department of Art & Design, University of Alberta

Lianne McTavish, Professor, Department of Art & Design, University of Alberta

Ann Salmonson, Masters Candidate, Department of Art & Design, University of Alberta

Ashley Sims, Doctoral Candidate, Department of History & Classics, University of Alberta

Meaghan Walker, Doctoral Candidate, Department of History & Classics, University of Alberta

Sophie White, Associate Professor, Department of American Studies, University of Notre Dame




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