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.
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.
Last year CROCC member, Dr Michael Stevens won a Fast Start Marsden Award to research how the Southland port of Bluff connected with the rest of the world, and how this impacted on the town (and vice-versa), in particular the local Kāi Tahu people. As the Royal Society stated, “As a “Bluffie” of Kai Tahu descent, Dr Stevens is ideally placed to carry out a research project that is meaningful to both academics and the local inhabitants.” In order to share his on-going research, Michael has created a new website “A World History of Bluff” with an associated Facebook Page.