Last Thursday saw the successful launch of Jane McCabe’s new book, Race, Tea and Colonial Resettlement: Imperial Families, Interrupted at the Hocken Collections. Launched by Centre Co-director, Angela Wanhalla, this monograph (published by Bloomsbury) explores the experiences of the “Kalimpong Kids”, mixed-race children of tea planters in India, from their missionary-run boarding school, to their migration to New Zealand. Jane is descended of one of the children, and a number of other descendants came to the launch.
Jane, who works in the Department of History and Art History is a keen member of the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture. A Marsden Grant recipient, she is now researching land and inheritance in Aotearoa New Zealand.
A reunion was held today (28/11/14) at St Margarets College of descendants of migrants from the St Andrews Colonial Homes. The Homes, now known as the Dr Graham Homes, made up a boarding school in Kalimpong (West Bengal, India) mainly for children of indigenous women and European tea planters. Set up by Reverent Dr. John Anderson Graham in 1900, this Christian school educated the “Anglo-Indian” children, some of whom as teenagers were then sent to New Zealand between 1908 and 1938. The women worked as domestic servants, and the men as farm labourers.
The “Kalimpong Kids” were the subject of Jane McCabe‘s PhD thesis in the Department of History and Art History, supervised by Professor Tony Ballantyne and Dr Angela Wanhalla, both Centre members. The Centre has also supported the reunion, organised by Jane. About 65 descendants and family are attending and they have two days of planned events ahead of them.
Jane McCabe is herself a descendant of one of the original migrants, and her research involved contacting and interviewing some of the families. Her PhD was examined recently and judged “exceptional” by the examiners. Check out her website to find out more about her work.