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Centre for Research on Colonial Culture
Rethinking Colonialism & its Legacies

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



The Canadian Invasion.

It seemed like Dunedin had been invaded by Canadian academics at recent Centre events.

The first event was a half-day symposium, “Colonial Families: New Perspectives” on 20 August, organized by Angela Wanhalla and also funded through her Royal Society Rutherford Fellowship. This featured Laura Ishiguro (University of British Columbia), with ‘“Say nothing”: gossip, intimation, and the limits of intimacy in a colonial family’, a paper that investigated the mixed-race David-Phillipps family, and the gossip and silences around the marriage and children. Jennifer Ashton (Auckland), spoke on ‘Respectability and the Half-caste: The Russells and Manings in 19th Century Hokianga’, on the efforts of early elite Pākehā males for their mixed-race children to gain the cultural capital necessary to become respectable in the emerging settler society. Crystal Fraser (University of Alberta) gave a paper on ‘Reconciling the Future: Past and Present Understandings of Gwich’in Families in the Northwest Territories, Canada’ which looked at her own family’s history living in the “two worlds” of Indigenous and “modern” Canada.   Erica Newman (University of Otago) finished this session with the paper ‘The Care of Fiji’s Orphan’s During the Colonial Period, 1874-1970’ looking at guardianship, adoption and orphanages in colonial Fiji, with particular emphasis on Fijian Indian children.


Canadian guests at the Pūrākaunui Falls, in the Catlins, with members of Otago’s History programme, on the weekend. From left: Angela Wanhalla, Jane McCabe, Kate Stevens, Laura Ishiguro, Crystal Fraser and Kristine Alexander.

On 24 and 25 August the two-day symposium, ‘”Unpicking the Tapestry”: Children and Young People in British Colonial Contexts’ was held at the Hocken Collections.  CROCC member, Hugh Morrison, gathered a great range of scholars to look at colonial children’s history.  This began with a mihi whakatau (welcome) from Mark Brunton, Māori Research Officer (Office of Māori Development, University of Otago).

Mark Brunton

Kei te mihi atu a Mark Brunton (Ngāi Tahu) ki ngā tāngata i tae mai ki te hui rangahau. Mark Brunton (Ngāi Tahu) greeting the symposium attendees.

The first day’s talks were as follows: Crystal  Fraser (University of Alberta) ‘”We went through hell together me and my friend; we cried together, we got shit together, and we fought together”: Student Life at Hostels in Northern Canada, 1950s to 1980s’; Chris Brickell (University of Otago) ‘Transport, Modernity and the Making of Adolescent Cultures’;


Chris Brickell spoke about how modes of colonial transport operated as cultural spaces for New Zealand adolescents.

Susan Cahill (Concordia University) ‘Where in the Girl’s  Realm  are  the  Irish?:  Representations  of  Irish   Girlhood  in  British  Girls’  Periodicals  1880-1914′; Michelle Smith (Deakin University) ‘The Family and Maternal Feminism in Colonial Girls’ Literature’; Helen  May (University of Otago) ‘Froebel’s “New Child” in the “New World” Colony: Transforming the Kindergarten across Cultures and Continents’; Christina  Ergler (University of Otago) ‘Managed Childhoods? Questioning the notion of Urban Children’s Free play in Aotearoa over the Course of History’.  Kristine Alexander (Canada Research Chair in Child and Youth Studies, University of Lethbridge) closed off the first day with an evening public lecture, ‘A Tangled Web: Children, Colonialism and Archives’ looking at how the presence of children is marginalized within the Archives.


CROCC Director, Tony Ballantyne, who chaired the evening keynote, poses a question to Kristine Alexander.

The second day’s lineup included Lynette Townsend (Te  Papa) ‘Child-­made Material Culture: an Assemblage of Colonial History’; Jane McCabe (University of Otago) ‘From “Grandmama’s” to “Up the Hill”: Three Childhoods in One Empire Family; Hugh Morrison (University of Otago) ‘Children and Missions: Shifting Identities and Colonial Spaces’; Laura Ishiguro (University of British Columbia) ‘”The future of this country will depend on our children and children’s children”: the Aspirational Politics of Settler Futurity in Colonial British Columbia’; Bettina Bradbury (Victoria University (NZ) and York University) ‘”I don’t think I was ever a boy’: Edward Kearney Junior’s Memoir, Emotion, Memory and Colonial Childhood’;

anna gilderdale

Anna Gilderdale talked on the social presence of New Zealand children in colonial newspapers.

Anna Gilderdale (University of Auckland) ‘”Sunbeams”, “Cousins” and “Little Folk”: Constructing Young Folks’ Social Worlds through Print, 1880-­1920′; Kristine  Moruzi (Deakin University) ‘Colonial  Children  and  Charity’.  The event closed with a panel discussion headed by Kristine Alexander, Helen May, Kristine Moruzi and Hugh Morrison.


Panel. From left: Kristine Moruzi, Kristine Alexander, Helen May & Hugh Morrison.



Click to enlarge. Presenters (mostly), from left: Helen May, Hugh Morrison, Christine Ergler, Jane McCabe, Anna Gilderdale, Crystal Fraser, Angela Findlay, Kristine Alexander, Susan Cahill, Kristine Moruzi, Bettina Bradbury, Laura Ishiguro, Lynette Townsend, and Michelle Smith.

Extra Media options:  Dunedin TV (the local station) broadcast a two-minute television clip on the “Unpicking the Tapestry” symposium, with short cameos from a few of the presenters.  Click here to view.

This was also the first time we have actively used Twitter at a CROCC event, with Angela Wanhalla (and a few others) disseminating regular tweets of snippets of presentations, and the odd photo, as the symposium progressed.  These can be accessed on Twitter through #cyccs.  Angela has also created a Storify package where the tweets have been collected together, and can be seen without having to have a Twitter account.  Click here to access.

Thanks to Hugh and Angela for organizing these two amazing events, and to all the  scholars (from Canada, Australia and New Zealand) who made their way to Dunedin to share their research.

Wellington celebration

The Centre would like to thank Professor Charlotte Macdonald who organized a celebration for The Lives of Colonial Objects on Monday evening at the Thistle Inn in Wellington.


Thanks to Charlotte Macdonald (right) for organizing this event.

Folk from the capital (from VUW, Te Papa, and others) are well represented in the book, and it was a great opportunity to come together, along with friends and colleagues.  Two of the co-editors, Annabel Cooper and Lachy Paterson, were able to attend from Dunedin.  He mihi nunui, Charlotte, for your passion and your hospitality.


Annabel Cooper (right) chatting with people celebrating the publication of The Lives of Colonial Objects (centre)


Sydney Shep (VUW) and Chris Szekely, Alexander Turnbull Library.

Soldiers of Empire Marsden Project

We’d like to congratulate our colleague Professor Charlotte Macdonald (Victoria University of Wellington) on her Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Project, Soldiers of Empire, and alert you to the project website. Charlotte is working with Dr. Rebecca Lenihan “to put a face to the British army and navy presence in New Zealand. In doing so we aim to link the service of men in this part of the world to the wider British empire. Our interest focuses on the ways in which war takes people, goods, ideas and habits around the world. Engaged to suppress resistance to British expansion, the armed forces also served as vectors of empire. We are focusing on the world beyond the battlefields.” We encourage all interested in the project to look at their fantastic website, and bookmark it so you can keep up-to-date on the progress of their research.

Orphanages, Residential Schools, Colonial Gossip

All of these topics will be discussed at a half-day symposium on “Colonial Families: New Perspectives” taking place on Thursday 20th August from 9-12 in Central Library Seminar Room 3, University of Otago. This event is sponsored by the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, with support from a Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Discovery Fellowship and features four speakers who will present new research into the history of the family in Canada, New Zealand and the Pacific:

Laura Ishiguro’s (University of British Columbia) research is trans-imperial and global in scope. She will speak about colonialism, mobility, and intimacy in the “long” nineteenth century through the story of one Metis family from British Columbia. Her talk draws upon her SSHRC-funded research project, “Settler colonialism, global families, and the making of British Columbia, 1849-1871″ (Insight Development Grant 2014-16). She guest-edited a 2013 issue of the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History on “Imperial Relations: Histories of Family in the British Empire,” and in it called for a rethinking of the meanings of, and relationships between, family, intimacy, and imperialism.

Crystal Fraser (University of Alberta) is a high-profile young Gwich’in scholar who is undertaking research on the impacts of colonialism on her home community, Inuvik, located in northern Canada. She has been identified as “one of the most important Canadian historians of the next generation” whose research on residential schools, gender, and sexuality in Gwich’in society and the Canadian North is “actively shifting both fields as aboriginal people and northerners start writing and directing research in their own history on their own terms”. She is also a leading voice in Indigenous social media, which included hosting @IndigenousXca where she discussed racism in Canadian academia. Crystal will speak about the current debates within Canadian history and society about residential schooling.

Jennifer Ashton (Auckland) will speak about family, race and respectability in northern New Zealand during the nineteenth century. Jennifer’s talk draws from her recently published, and highly regarded first book, At the Margin of Empire: John Webster and Hokianga, 1841-1900 that “takes us into Hokianga to reveal how the evolving intimate relationships and economic transactions of everyday life reflected larger shifts in colonial power” through a biography of the trader and colonist John Webster and his networks.

Erica Newman (Otago) will talk about her original and exciting doctoral research on orphanages and adoption in colonial Fiji. Erica’s research in this area has been recognized internationally in the form of invitations to participate in pre-read workshops at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and an invited publication on her previous work on Māori adoption in the highly regarded American Indian Quarterly.

Contact Dr. Angela Wanhalla ( for further information about this free event.


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