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Category Archives: Book Launch

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.

The Lives of Colonial Objects

On the evening of 21st July, Otago University Press launched The Lives of Colonial Objects co-edited by Annabel Cooper, Lachy Paterson and Angela Wanhalla. This sumptuous, beautifully designed book of 50 short essays is the outcome of the Centre’s inaugural conference, Colonial Objects, held at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum in February 2013. Kāi Tahu kaumatua Edward Ellison and Emeritus Professor Erik Olssen co-launched the volume before a large crowd, including a number of the contributors and friends. Now that the book is in the world (and reasonably priced) we encourage you all to buy it!

L to R: Rachel Scott (publisher, Otago University Press), Lachy Paterson, Angela Wanhalla, Annabel Cooper (editors), and Fiona Moffat (designer, Otago University Press).

L to R: Rachel Scott (publisher, Otago University Press), Lachy Paterson, Angela Wanhalla, Annabel Cooper (editors), and Fiona Moffat (designer, Otago University Press).

Celebrating Marsden

It’s been a busy few days at the Hocken Collections with the events around the Marsden Online Archive launch and opening of the associated “Whakapono, Faith and Foundations” exhibition, timed to coincide with the bicentennial of the arrival of missionaries in New Zealand.

Considerable publicity had led to these events.  For example:

Tony Ballantyne interview on National Radio

Otago Bulletin report

Television One News coverage (watch from 17.37)

Te Karere coverage (i roto i te reo Māori – in Māori)

For all the links see the Marsden Online Archive Storify page.


On Thursday afternoon Kāi Tahu and locally-based Northland Māori welcomed Hongi Hika, a self-portrait sculpture by the illustrious Ngā Puhi warrior. Bernard Makoare and Hinerangi Himiona of Ngāpuhi and Chanel Clarke, Māori Curator of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, accompanied this taonga who was installed in the Whakapono exhibition upstairs in the Hocken Gallery.  Click here for the full story.

In the evening a good crowd assembled in the Hocken foyer for both the opening of the exhibition and the official launch of the online archive. The event was opened by David Ellison of the Puketeraki Rūnanka of Kāi Tahu, Bernard Makoare, and Kelvin Wright, Anglican Bishop of Dunedin. Particular praise was given to Gordon Parsonson, present in the front row of the audience, whose painstaking work transcribing the Marsden archives over many decades made the creation of the online archive possible.

The Marsden Online Archive was created by the University Library and Hocken Library, with considerable input from Professor Tony Ballantyne and the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture.  This will be of great use to researchers interested in early missionary work, Māori-Pākehā interactions, and Māori culture.

The “Whakapono: Faith and Foundations” exhibition runs till 7 February, 2015.


Charlotte Brown, University Library

The following two days were given over to “Dialogues”, a symposium on New Zealand’s early missionary history, held in the Hocken Seminar Room organised by the Centre and the Hocken Collections. This was kicked off with Cate Bardwell and Charlotte Brown of the University Library telling the story of how the Online Archive was created, followed with a demonstration of how to get the most out of the collection.

Three well-known religious historians, Allan Davidson (St Johns), Peter Lineham (Massey) and John Stenhouse (Otago) made up the next session. Allan talked on the “dialogue or disputation” in the first Wesleyan mission at Whangaroa; Peter discussed the Anglican moves into the Bay of Plenty/Waikato district in the 1830s, and how this lead to the sacking of the Matamata Mission Station in 1836; and John focused on Octavius Hadfield, his relationship with his Māori parishoners, and how this influenced his opposition to the Crown’s military actions.

Alison Jones (University of Auckland) and Kuni Jenkins (Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi)

After lunch Angela Middleton (Otago) gave an account of the powerful and influential Hariata, Hongi Hika’s daughter, informed by both historical and archaeological sources. Kuni Jenkins (Awanuiarangi) and Alison Jones followed on with a discussion their interpretation of the encounter at Hohi between Ngā Puhi and missionaries in December 1814.  In the afternoon Donald Kerr gave an account of Dr Hocken’s collecting, and how he managed to amass so much of the original missionary papers, now housed in the Hocken Collections. Anna Blackman, the Archives Curator at the Hocken, then gave a talk on exploring the Marsden Collection, and earlier archival practice.

Manuka Henare (University of Auckland) launching Angela Middleton's new book Pēwhairangi.

Manuka Henare (University of Auckland) launching Angela Middleton’s new book Pēwhairangi.

In the evening more people assembled for the launch of Angela Middleton’s new book, Pēwhairangi: Bay of Islands Missions and Māori 1814 to 1845. Manuka Henare (Auckland) formally launched the book, along with speeches by the Rachel Scott, Otago University Press publisher, Sharon Dell, the Hocken Librarian, and Paul Diamond, Curator Māori at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Listen here to Angela’s Radio New Zealand interview, 4 November 2014.

Ian Smith (university of Otago) discussing the site of the Hohi Mission Station.

Saturday was a shorter day. Ian Smith (Otago) gave an account of the archaeological dig and Hohi and how this informs our understanding of this first mission site and its inhabitants. Chanel Clarke and Rose Young (Auckland War Memorial Museum) discussed “Taonga Tuku Iho – Objects in Dialogue”, objects from their collection that spoke to the early interactions between missionaries and Māori.


Paul Diamond (Alexander Turnbull Library)

After morning tea, Lachy Paterson (Otago) discussed Thomas Kendall’s dialogues with Marsden and the CMS on developing a working orthography for the Māori language.  Paul Diamond (Turnbull) followed on, bringing to light a Māori vocabulary created by the Wesleyan missionary, Rev James Buller, in the 1830s and what this can tell us the Māori language of that time. After lunch, Tony Ballantyne (Otago) rounded off the symposium with a discussion on how applying new techniques from the field of digital humanities can give new historical perspectives, particularly when working with large collections.


As usual, these events create opportunities for conversation. Chanel Clarke (Auckland Museum) and Allan Davidson (St Johns).

Elemental Histories Programme

Colonial Worlds, Elemental Histories Symposium Programme,

Hocken Collections Seminar Room, Friday 31 October

To register email Tom Brooking (


 9-10: Associate Professor Grace Karskens, University of New South Wales, ‘Colonial worlds, elemental histories.’


Session 1: 10-11.15

Professor Tom Brooking, University of Otago, “Yeotopia Gained: New Zealand 1840-1914’.

Associate Professor Katie Pickles, University of Canterbury, ‘Elementally United: The Case of Canterbury’s Nor’west Wind’.

Dr Michael Davis, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Sydney, ‘Entangled Knowledges: Indigenous and Environmental Histories across the Tasman’.


11.15-11.30: morning tea


Session 2: 11.30-12.20

Emeritus Professor Holland, University of Otago, ‘Getting to Know You: People and Rabbits in Southern New Zealand’.

Dr. Vaughan Wood, University of Canterbury, ‘Mapping the network of a nineteenth century Canterbury farm’.


12.20-1.20: Lunch


Session 3: 1.20-2.35

Professor Michael Roche, Massey University, ‘The Forest as an Elemental Natural Resource in Colonial New Zealand and the First Failure of Scientific State Forestry 1874 to 1877.’

Dr André Brett, University of Melbourne, ‘Forests and Provincial Abolition: Did Conservation Kill the Provinces?’.

Dr James Beattie, University of Waikato, ‘Expanding the Horizons of Chinese Environmental History: Cantonese gold-miners in colonial New Zealand, 1860s-1920s.’


2.35-3.00 afternoon tea


Session 4: 3.00-4.15

Lucy Mackintosh, PhD candidate, University of Auckland, ‘Shifting Grounds: Narratives of Identity in Auckland Landscapes’.

Dr. Joanna Cobley, University of Canterbury, ‘The Nineteenth Century Landscape: economics, heritage and national identity.’

Professor Eric Pawson, University of Canterbury, ‘Writing environmental history’.


4.15-5.00: Grace Karskens wrap up and general discussion


5.15: Book launch of James Beattie, Matthew Henry and Emily O’Gorman (eds)., Climate, Science, and Colonization: Histories from Australia and New Zealand, Palgrave MacMillan, London, 2014.

Elemental Histories

Professor Tom Brooking’s symposium ‘The Colonial World: Elemental Histories’, which will be held at the Hocken Collections on 31 October, has attracted a great line up of speakers. Featured on the programme are Associate Professor Grace Karskens (UNSW) who will open and close the day’s proceedings, and there will be presentations by James Beattie (Waikato), Mike Roche (Massey), Eric Pawson (Canterbury), Katie Pickles (Canterbury), Peter Holland (Otago), Rachael Egerton (Environment Southland), Lucy Mackintosh (Auckland), Tom Brooking (Otago), Andre Brett (Melbourne) and Michael Davis (Sydney). The symposium will end with the launch of James Beattie’s latest book, Climate, Science and Colonisation in Australasia (Palgrave Macmillan), co-edited with Emily O’Gorman and Matt Henry.

There is no cost to go this event but if you wish to attend this one-day symposium please register your interest with Prof. Tom Brooking ( Further details about the programme will appear on this blog in October.


Launch of “Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own”


A great crowd filled the Hocken.


Erik Olssen, with by Sharon Dell and Tom Brooking [left], launch the new book on Richard Seddon.

Well over 100 people packed into the Hocken Collections foyer last night to help launch CROCC member Professor Tom Brooking’s latest book, Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own, giving a great indication of both Tom’s wide circles of friends and his reputation of one of New Zealand’s leading historians.  As anyone who knows Tom would expect, there was a range of interesting wines and beers to help the celebration.

Hocken Librarian, Sharon Dell, introduced the event, and was followed by Emeritus Professor Erik Olssen who formally launched the book.  As Erik pointed out, there had not been a comprehensive biography since R.M. Burdon’s 1955 biography on New Zealand’s most successful Premier perhaps due to the the giant shadow that Seddon cast.  Tom’s biography opens up considerable new perspectives and information on the man.


Budding new historians listening to the master.

Tom Brooking then discussed the topic of his research, recounting Seddon’s many achievements and his ability to connect with Māori, with workers, and the general public. However he was also a man of his own times, and his imperialist jingoism and anti-Chinese sentiment would not meet with such popular acclaim today.

At 584 pages this is a substantial book, but also one destined to be a classic within  New Zealand historiography.


Working Lives Book Launch

Dave Cull, the Mayor of Dunedin, launched Erik Olssen's new book, Working Lives c1900.

Dave Cull, the Mayor of Dunedin, launched Erik Olssen’s new book, Working Lives c1900.

A good crowd came to the Hocken Library for the launch of Erik Olssen’s new book, Working Lives c.1900: A Photographic Essay.  Erik, an Emeritus Professor of the Department of History and Art History, is a particularly engaged member of the Centre.  This book came out of his research for An Accidental Utopia?: Social Mobility & the Foundations of an Egalitarian Society, 1880–1940, a book he published with Clyde Griffen and Frank Jones in 2009, also with Otago University Press.

Rachel Scott, the Otago University Press Publisher addressed the crowd to begin  the formal part of the evening

Rachel Scott, the Otago University Press Publisher addressed the crowd to begin the formal part of the evening

Erik gave an entertaining speech to those who came to the Hocken Library to help him launch his new book.

Erik gave an entertaining speech to those who came to the Hocken Library to help him launch his new book.

Erik encountered a lot of photographs that he was unable to include in An Accidental Utopia, and it was on the advice of the previous Otago University Press publisher, Wendy Harrex, that he went on to produce this wonderful volume.

New book on the Scots in New Zealand

Last night the book, Unpacking the Kists: The Scots in New Zealand was launched at the University Book Shop, Dunedin, written by Brad Patterson, Tom Brooking, and Jim McAloon, with Rebecca Lenihan and Tanja Bueltmann.  One of the authors,  Professor Tom Brooking, is also a member of our Centre.  The publication is one of  many outputs still emerging from Brad and Tom’s Marsden Grant awarded in 2004.

2014-03-25 19.19.18

Brad Patterson and Tom Brooking celebrating the launch of their new book, Unpacking the Kists. University Book Shop, 25 March 2014.

There was a great turn out for the launch.  Distinguished guest included Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Scottish Government; Vicki Treadell, British High Commissioner; and Dave Cull, Dunedin mayor.

The term “unpacking the kists” refers to unpacking the many different items from the large boxes that the Scottish immigrants brought with them to the New World.

Unpacking the Kists is being sold last night under a Otago University Press imprint.  It is also published by McGill-Queens University Press in Canada.

Pacific History Association Conference 2012

Conal McCarthy and Lachy Paterson

Several members of the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture attended the biennial Pacific History Association Conference recently. Hosted by Victoria University of Wellington from 6-8 December, the conference drew together historians from across the Pacific.
Faculty and post-graduates from the University of Otago were there in large numbers, including two Centre members Lachy Paterson and Megan Ellison of Te Tumu: the School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, who presented papers on the benefits and difficulties of utilizing indigenous-language texts within the practice of writing history. Megan focused specifically on Kāi Tahu writings and manuscripts, while Lachy presented a paper based on his current project, an anthology of Māori women’s writings from the 19th century.

Jacqui Leckie (Anthropology), Alumita Durutalo (USP), Louise Mataia (NUS) and Rosey Anderson (Otago), along with two Centre members, Angela Wanhalla and Judy Bennett, reported results from their collaborative Marsden funded research project tracing the fate of children born to indigenous mothers and American servicemen in the South Pacific during World War II.

Rosey Anderson

Rosey Anderson’s paper based on her MA thesis research was a particular highlight. Her MA explores the history of a New Zealand Government scheme to bring Cook Island women to the country as domestic servants, while also tracing the impact of that migration on the women and their families.

The Centre for Research on Colonial Culture is based in the History and Art History Department at the University of Otago. This department has a proud record of producing excellent post-graduate research on colonial history and culture, and it was heartening to see this tradition continued at the Pacific History Association Conference this year.


Kate Stevens

Several former students gave well-received papers on their current research: Kate Stevens, who completed her BA (Hons) in History and Anthropology at Otago in 2008 and is now undertaking a PhD at Cambridge, gave a paper on British and French colonial legal regimes in the Pacific, focusing specifically on Vanuatu; Antje Lubcke (MA, Otago), gave an illuminating and excellent paper on photography in late 19th century Papua, which is the subject of her PhD at ANU; and Dr. Jonathan West, now working at the Waitangi Tribunal, presented new research on the effects of the earliest epidemic disease, known as rewharewha, upon Māori communities. The Centre has heard great things about the presentations of Otago’s current post-graduate students too and congratulates Rosey Anderson (Cook Island domestic servants), David Haines (shore-whaling on Banks Peninsula), and John McLane (Influenza Pandemic in the Pacific).

We also wish to congratulate Professor Judy Bennett whose new book, An Otago Storeman in Solomon Islands: The Diary of William Crossan, Copra Trader, 1885-86, was launched by Doug Munro at the Pacific History Association Conference. It is co-edited by Tim Bayliss-Smith (University of Cambridge), and was published by ANU-E Press. Congratulations Judy and Tim!

Doug Munro and Judy Bennett


Tony Ballantyne’s new book

Join us to celebrate the publication of Tony Ballantyne’s new book. It’s being launched by Professor Charlotte Macdonald and Bridget Williams Books on Monday, November 12th in the Dunningham Suite, Dunedin Public Library at 5.30.


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