He Kitenga is the University of Otago’s annual publication highlighting leading research at the university. This year’s theme is Horizons. Click here to read more about the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture.
All photos by Llewelyn Jones.
A successful one-day symposium was held at the National Library on Friday 21 February, a joint event run by Annabel Cooper of the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture and Ariana Tikao of the Alexander Turnbull Library. It attracted more than 65 attendees, including academics, librarians, archivists, professional and governmental historians, and other interested people. Chief librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Chris Szekely, welcomed people to the event, and suggested that it was a good start to CROCC’s relationship with the Turnbull and National Library, and hopefully the first of many events. Chris’s welcome was followed by a mihi from the Turnbull’s Curator Māori, Paul Diamond.
Chris Hilliard (University of Sydney) returned to Cowan, a subject of research earlier in his career, with the keynote address ‘Stories of an Era Not Yet So Very Remote’ in which he asked us to look beyond Cowan’s grand statements – ones with which he can so easily be tied to the colonial project – to his love of detail, and it was through these that we could get a better understanding of the man. Chris stressed Cowan’s love of New Zealand history, and his connection with place and people.
The themes that Chris set out were picked up by the three speakers who followed. Paul Meredith of Ngāti Maniapoto, like Cowan, grew up in the Kihikihi area, and values the writer’s work, in particular his oral history, as a means of unlocking the voices of his tūpuna. He pointed out too that Cowan collaborated with Raureti Te Huia and the methods they used have parallels with the kaupapa Māori methodology of today.
Te Kenehi Teira of Ngāti Raukawa, Kaihautu Māori for the Historic Places Trust, spoke about the Trust’s development of interpretation and other resources for the Ōrākau commemorations, and a smartphone driving app for the Waikato battle sites. As Te Kenehi said, the app was a means of bringing Cowan into the modern world. The researchers utilised Cowan’s writings as a means of adding detail to the interpretations, and in the case of Ōrākau, of pinpointing the actual site of the pā.
This session was closed by Ariana Tikao of Kāi Tahu, Research Librarian Māori, who discussed the Turnbulls’ recent acquisition and description of 202 folders of Cowan manuscript material (acquired at the end of 2012) that now complements the Library’s existing collection. Ariana also talked about putting together Borderland: The World of James Cowan, (running to 26 April in the Alexander Turnbull Gallery), her exhibition exploring the writer’s life, work and legacy.
After lunch, we heard from Greg Woods who talked on Cowan’s years as a journalist at the Auckland Star (1888-1903). During this time Cowan wrote at least 370 feature articles, some of which he incorporated into his later books. Cowan was a “Māori specialist” perhaps due to his language skills, and unlike most reporters of the time, was able to add his name to these articles. While also shipping reporter Cowan met some famous writers, such as Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson, and Greg argued that Cowan took Stevenson as a sort of literary model for his writing. Kathryn Parsons, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Waikato, discussed Cowan’s later writing for children in The Enzed Junior, a weekly Saturday supplement that ran from 1934 to 1941. Cowan wrote 255 articles for this publication, 190 of which were on Māori-related topics. Staying with young people, the final speaker in this session, Jim Frood, a history teacher at Kings College, Auckland spoke on the secondary schools history curriculum and the value of Cowan’s work as a resource in the teaching of Year 11-13 history.
Roger Blackley of VUW began the last session with a discussion on Pictures of Old New Zealand, comprising Lindauer portraits of Māori men and women with bibliographical information supplied by Cowan. Roger showed how Cowan re-used text written by earlier writers, such as James Mackay, but moderating some of the sentiments for the sensibilities of his own day. Although Cowan’s writing is about the people, rather than the art itself, Roger argued that Pictures of Old New Zealand might be considered New Zealand’s first art monograph. Lydia Wevers (Stout Centre, VUW) then spoke about Cowan’s travel writing, in particular his work on the Main Trunk Line written for railway tourism purposes. This work shows Cowan’s contradictory attitudes to colonialism, on the one hand accepting the inevitable march of progress, while also lamenting the loss of the bush, and the old Māori ways of life. Annabel Cooper (University of Otago) and Diane Pivac from New Zealand Film Archive, looked at Cowan’s influence on New Zealand films of the New Zealand Wars, from Rudall Hayward (for whom he worked as an advisor) to Geoff Murphy’s Utu, which was inspired by one of Cowan’s stories, to Vincent Ward’s River Queen. We were treated to excerpts from Hayward’s Te Kooti Trail, a silent movie in which Hayward used descendants of the historical figures as actors, and his last movie, Rewi’s Last Stand. Tony Ballantyne (University of Otago and CROCC Director) wrapped up the day, reminding us that Cowan is a more complex personality than superficial reading of his work might suggest.
If you are planning to attend the James Cowan Symposium (21 February) in Wellington, please remember to register for it via registration portal (click the highlighted text). Registration costs $50 and closes on Monday February 17th, so get in quick!
Migrant Cross-Cultural Encounters: A Multidisciplinary Conference
24-26 November 2014
University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Historical and contemporary global migration involves a range of cross-cultural encounters, but how are these interactions discussed, debated, and defined? This three-day multidisciplinary conference seeks to examine past and present migrant encounters with other peoples in a diverse range of locations. Papers from various disciplinary angles are welcome from a variety of themes and from any historical period or region.
Themes may include but are not limited to:
- Race, ethnicity and citizenship
- War, migration and cross-cultural contact
- Labour, migration and cross-cultural encounters
- Empire, contact and mobility
- Gender, migration, and cross-cultural encounters
- a title
- a 250-word abstract of your paper
- brief biographical information (including institutional affiliation and contact details).
All proposals will be assessed after the deadline of Friday 11 July 2014. If you require an earlier acceptance please advise us.
Proposals or requests for further information should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The conference is sponsored by four key multidisciplinary research hubs in the Division of Humanities at the University of Otago:
- Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies
- Centre for Research on Colonial Culture
- Asian Migrations Research Theme
- Comparative and Cross-Cultural Studies Research Theme
For further information see the website (click the highlighted text).
With a keynote address by Professor Miles Taylor, Director of the Institute for Historical Research, University of London, on Queen Victoria and India
Department of History,
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry
University of Sydney
11-13 June 2014
From the time of Alexander the Great and the Roman Caesars down to the empire of Queen Victoria and beyond, monarchism and imperialism have often been linked – indeed, republican colonial empires have been notable exceptions in international history. Napoleon III dreamed of constructing an ‘Arab kingdom’, Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India, King Leopold created his own realm the Congo, and Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel III was named Emperor of Ethiopia. Even today the Commonwealth of Nations is bound together by the figure of the British monarch, and the Danish queen reigns over Greenland and the Faeroe Islands.
Outside of Europe, as well, monarchs ruled over disparate peoples, their hereditary and often sacred positions bringing together under a crown the empires of China, Japan, the Ottoman state and several pre-colonial African empires. Non-Western monarchs – Zulu chieftains, Indian maharajahs, Emperor Haile Selassie, the king of Korea among others – were themselves often displaced by imperial conquest. Nationalist movements sometimes campaigned for the restoration of dynasties, at other times for abandonment of ‘feudal’ rule.
This international conference, and a proposed collection of essays commissioned from participants, explores the links between crowned rulers and their colonial possessions. Paper proposals are invited on any historical period or region.
Themes may include but are not limited to:
- different theories of kingship in relation to colonial empire;
- royal initiatives in colonial expansion and patronage of colonial expeditions, chartered companies and learned societies;
- the legal position and prerogatives of monarchs in colonial systems;
- interventions by monarchs in colonial politics and governance;
- royal visits to colonies (and visits by colonial rajas, sultans and other rulers to colonial metropoles);
- royal personages in the colonial military and administration; representations of monarchs in colonies (statues, buildings, artwork) and commemoration of royal births, anniversaries and deaths; royal honours, decorations and investitures;
- movements for the restoration of indigenous dynasties abolished by colonial authorities;
- the repercussions of metropolitan and nationalist republicanism and dissolution of monarchies in the colonial world;
- and links between former colonies and monarchies (as in the Commonwealth).
Please send proposals of papers by 15 February 2014
Please include the following:
- Your academic or professional affiliation and full contact details (email, telephone and postal address)
- The title of your proposed presentation
- A 250-word abstract
- A one-page cv or list of your major publications
All proposals will be assessed after the deadline of 15 February 2014.
Please note that there will be no registration fee for the conference. There will be a conference dinner at participants’ own expense.
The draft programme for the forthcoming James Cowan Symposium (21 February at the National Library, Wellington) is now available.
9-9.30: coffee, muffins
9.30-10.45: Mihi and welcome followed by a Keynote lecture from Chris Hilliard, University of Sydney
Chair: Annabel Cooper
11.00-12.30: Session One (Chair: Paul Diamond)
Robert Joseph and Paul Meredith/On The Maniapoto O&T Report
Te Kenehi Teira/Historic Places on Rangiaowhia/recording sites
David Green /Commemorating Chivalry and Unity?
1.30-3.00: Session Two (Chair: David Colquhoun)
Ariana Tikao/ Tales from the Border
Kathryn Parsons/ The Enzed Junior
Jim Frood/ Cowan for Secondary School Students
3.15-5.00: Session Three (Chair: Angela Wanhalla)
Roger Blackley/ The Plutarch of Maoriland
Lydia Wevers/ Romance of the Rail
Annabel Cooper and Diane Pivac/ Filmed History: Cowan’s Screen Legacy
Wrap-Up Comments: Tony Ballantyne, University of Otago
The recent New Zealand Historical Association Conference, which held at the University of Otago from 20-22 November 2013, was special for a number of reasons. For the first time a panel session was offered in te reo Maori. Organised by CRoCC member Lachy Paterson, the te reo panel was both pioneering and well-received. Congratulations to Lachy and his co-panellists, Megan Potiki (Te Tumu) and Migoto Eria (Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery) on this fine achievement.
The NZHA conference also saw the premiere of a documentary, Children of War, a major outcome from Professor Judy Bennett’s Marsden-funded project on the fate of the children fathered by American servicemen with Indigenous women during the Pacific War. This was a particularly special event because Arthur Beren, who features in the documentary, was in attendance and spoke at the premiere as did Steven Talley, the producer of the documentary. Click on the highlighted text to read an Otago Daily Times story on the film.
Congratulations to the NZHA on a fine event and for making history by including a te reo panel and a film screening at the biennial conference for the very first time!
Congratulations to Tony Ballantyne of CRoCC in winning the inaugural Mary Boyd Prize for the best published history essay. The judges were Margaret Tennant (Massey) and Felicity Barnes (Auckland) and was awarded at the NZHA conference dinner at Otākou Marae on Thursday 21 November for his essay “On Space, Place and Mobililty in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand” in the New Zealand Journal of History April 2011.
This past few days have been a veritable “history week” in Dunedin, providing a diverse and fruitful time for historians with a string of connected events. One, a specifically CROCC workshop – “New Historical Perspectives on New Zealand and the Sea” – discussed below, capped off the week, but CROCC members were present at all events, and were involved in the organisation of most of them.
Things kicked off on Tuesday with the one-day conference of the Religious History Association of Aotearoa New Zealand at the Presbyterian Archive Research Centre (Hewitson Library, Knox College). I heard from John Stenhouse and Hugh Morrison (CROCC members) that this ran really well. On Tuesday CROCC also ran a successful workshop for postgraduate students working on empire and colonialism at St Margaret’s College. Tony Ballantyne and Maya Jasanoff (Harvard University) led discussions with about 15 postgraduates from Otago and other New Zealand universities.
The main event was of course the New Zealand Historical Association’s biennial conference held in the St David Lecture Complex, at the University of Otago, with about 200 attendees enjoying three days of multi-streamed presentations and five brilliant keynote speakers: Maya Jasanoff, Damon Salesa (University of Auckland), Elizabeth Elbourne (McGill University) Atholl Anderson (Australian National University), and Henry Yu (University of British Columbia). It is worth noting that while not an official Centre event, the organising committee (Tony Ballantyne, Angela Wanhalla and Michael Stevens) and NZHA executive (Tom Brooking, John Stenhouse and Barbara Brookes) are all CROCC members. One of the highlights of the conference was the conference dinner (and Atholl Anderson’s keynote address) out at Otākou Marae, on the Otago Peninsula. No doubt, there will soon be much more information on the NZHA conference on the History Department’s Facebook page.
On Saturday the CROCC-sponsored event, New Historical Perspectives on New Zealand and the Sea, organised by Frances Steel (University of Wollongong), was held in the History Department at the University of Otago. It began with Jonathon West offering a short discussion remembering Ian Church who passed away recently. Ian was a well-published local historian with a keen interest in maritime history who was very generous with his time and knowledge with a number of younger historians. Frances then opened the conference proper posing some ideas and questions with relevance to oceanic and maritime histories.
The first speaker was Michael Stevens (University of Otago) who has recently won a prestigious Fast-Start Marsden research grant to look at the “global” aspects of Southland’s coastal port of Bluff. Michael of course discussed Bluff, but in particular explored how the colonial history of Māori might be reframed to incorporate the sea. Jonathan West (Waitangi Tribunal) followed with a talk that investigated what lies beneath the surface of the sea, and how it was the nature of the ocean current currents and the coastal and marine topography that provided such a bounty in the surrounding waters for first Māori, and then for the Pākehā settlers. Alison MacDiarmid (NIWA) then gave a fascinating talk on how humans have affected the marine ecosystems around New Zealand. While some species have disappeared from some areas, there is some good news, with some other species now regenerating. Her research is just part of wider multi-disciplinary research involving scientists as well as archeologists and historians.
After a short break, Susann Liebich (James Cook University) discussed her current research on magazine culture, and how maritime themes and stories appeared in their content of Australian magazines between the wars. Philip Steer (Massey University) followed with an analysis of how a number of recent New Zealand historical novels have incorporated the sea and sea travel within the plot lines. After lunch David Haines (Waitangi Tribunal) took us back to the pre-Treaty days when Māori were active in sea travel, not just to New South Wales, but also as far as London. He sketched out the stories of two voyages by Māori rangatira between Sydney and New Zealand, one to the Bay of Islands, the other from southern New Zealand, illuminating the ways that Māori chiefly status might manifest itself on board these sailing ships. Peter Gilderdale (AUT University) then brought us to the late Victorian and Edwardian colonial period when “Hands Across the Seas” postcards linked New Zealand (and other colonies) to Britain, and sometimes to the USA. These postcards proved particularly popular with migrants, often featuring oceanic steamship travel. Tony Ballantyne gave the last prepared presentation on transport, communication and the flow of ideas, and how the speed and pace of colonial life changed as technologies developed. The afternoon was then brought to an end by two thoughtful responses from Jonathan Scott and Damon Salesa (both University of Auckland) on what they heard, followed by a discussion on how this collaboration might be continued in the future.
The Centre for Research on Colonial Culture congratulates all those involved in the events that ran so successfully this week.