Archive for the 'In the news' Category

Te Tai Treaty Settlement Stories launched

Te Tai Settlement Stories: Ngāti Awa screenshot

On Friday 9 November 2018, Manatū Taonga along with Ngāti Awa launched Te Tai Treaty Settlement Stories at Te Mānuka Tūtahi marae in Whakatane. Te Tai is a bilingual multimedia web story project showcasing individual and collective stories about Treaty Settlements.

Ngāti Awa of Te Moana-a-Toi (Bay of Plenty) are the first iwi to share their story on Te Tai – you can read about their journey in te reo Māori or in English.

These are real human accounts – difficult and painful to tell, but also testament to the determination of many involved. Through them all New Zealanders can understand the events which have shaped modern Aotearoa.

Once you’ve immersed yourself in the story of Ngāti Awa on Te Tai, did you know that there are biographies to read in the DNZB? Wepiha Apanui, Ngāti Awa leader and carver who led a team of carvers to build the wharenui Mataatua. Carl Völkner and James Falloon who were killed. Chief Te Hura Te Taiwhakaripi who fought in 1865 and Ngāti Awa rangitira Eruera Mānuera, who tasked Hirini Mead with leading the Ngāti Awa Treaty claim.

We look forward to working on new stories in 2019.

25 new stories of trailblazing New Zealand women

Palaeontologist Joan Wiffen, transgender icon Carmen Rupe, politician Tirikatene-Sullivan, and writer Margaret Mahy, some of the women whose life stories have been published on the DNZB.

This week we’re publishing 25 new biographies of women in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (DNZB), to celebrate the 125th anniversary of women winning the right to vote:

Anderson, Amy Mona writer, rural memoirist

Bailey, Rona political activist, dancer, teacher

Bartlett, Patricia Maureen social morality campaigner

Blumhardt, Vera Doreen educator, potter, arts administrator

Clay, Marie Mildred teacher, developmental and child psychologist, literacy researcher

Donley, Joan Elsa midwife, home-birth advocate

Edmond, Lauris Dorothy poet and writer

Locke, Elsie Violet activist, writer

Mahy, Margaret May children’s and young adult writer

Paul, Joanna Margaret visual artist and writer

Raymond, Cherry broadcaster, journalist, feminist

Rehu-Murchie, Erihapeti researcher, health, human rights, and environmental campaigner

Rickard, Tuaiwa Hautai Kereopa (Eva) woman of mana, community leader

Rimmer, Eva Marion paraplegic athlete, disability rights advocate

Rupe, Carmen Tione drag queen entertainer, sex worker, entrepreneur

Sturm, Jacqueline Cecilia short-story writer and poet

Szászy, Miraka woman of mana, educator, leader

Te Atairangikaahu Korokī Te Rata Mahuta Tāwhiao Pōtatau Te Wherowhero Māori queen

Tinsley, Beatrice Muriel astronomer

Tirikatene-Sullivan, Tini Whetu Marama politician, fashion icon, wahine toa

TuiSamoa, Agnes Rosa social worker, community advocate

Wallace, Georgina Catriona Pamela Augusta judge, lawyer

Wark, Elizabeth Cecilia (Betty) community worker

Whitehouse, Davina actor, producer, broadcaster

Wiffen, Joan palaeontologist

These women came to prominence in their fields between the 1940s and the 1970s. It would be impossible for any group of 25 women to capture the complexity and variety of the lives of New Zealand women, but we hope this group will reflect some of the diversity of experience. It would be hard to find two more contrasting lives than those of social morality campaigner Patricia Bartlett and transgender sex worker and nightclub entrepreneur Carmen Rupe. The rest run the gamut from writers to judges, community workers to scientists, broadcasters to athletes, activists to actors.

The new entries have been written by subject experts, including Barbara Brookes, Sandra Coney, Tessa Duder, Margaret Tennant, Rebecca Priestley, Roger Robinson and Jill Trevelyan. The entries, which collectively amount to more than 50,000 words, include over 200 images, videos, and sound recordings, many drawn from private collections and not previously published. We plan to have te reo Māori translations of the entries relating to Māori subjects available in early 2019.

This is the first substantial group of new biographies to be released since 2011, as I discussed in my November 2017 Signposts blog. It is the beginning of an ongoing publication programme, in which we aim to publish at least 20 new biographies each year on an ongoing basis.

This week we are also launching a new-look DNZB homepage, reflecting the DNZB’s renewed vigour and focus on the future. We hope you enjoy it, and look forward to sharing many more New Zealand lives with you in the years to come.

Sporting life

All Blacks triumphant after winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup (pic: New Zealand Herald)

All Blacks triumphant after winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup (pic: New Zealand Herald)

2015 has been a great year for sport and world cups.

At the beginning of the year New Zealand hosted the Cricket World Cup. There were great cricketing moments from the Black Caps, like Martin Guptill’s double century over the West Indies, or the touching photo of Grant Elliott helping South African Dale Steyn up after the Black Caps’ win to make the finals. Although we lost to our sport nemesis, Australia, in our first cricket final, it will never be as bad as the unforgotten underarm bowling incident.

New Zealand also hosted the FIFA Under-20s World Cup in May.  This is FIFA’s second-largest competition for males. Our under-20 team managed to make the knock-out stages for the first time, but the ultimate champions were Serbia. Football in New Zealand has slowly gained more recognition thanks to the All Whites, the Phoenix and the growing number of New Zealanders playing football internationally.

In August, Australia hosted the Netball World Cup. As usual, it was a Silver Ferns-versus-Diamonds final, and (unlike 2003) the Silver Ferns couldn’t pull it off.

Mid-September saw the start of the Rugby World Cup. The opening of course featured Rugby School and William Webb Ellis.  The All Blacks are the defending champions, with no team ever yet winning two cups back-to-back. Let’s hope it doesn’t end up like 2007.

Long to reign over us

Queen Elizabeth II on the observation platform of her royal car, 1954 (pic: Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga)

Queen Elizabeth II on the observation platform of her royal car, 1954 (pic: Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga)

On Wednesday, after more than 63½ years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II surpasses her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, as the longest-reigning British monarch. Because New Zealand did not become part of the British Empire until several years after Victoria’s accession, Elizabeth has been this country’s longest-reigning monarch since 2013. Between them, Victoria and Elizabeth have been New Zealand’s head of state for more than 70% of its existence as a separate colony, dominion or ‘realm’.

The two reigns have an inverse symmetry. Victoria became monarch in an era of imperial expansion accompanied by economic and social upheaval (think Chartism). She lived long enough to experience the high point of empire – absolute British rule over India – but also anxiety about the rise of Germany and the United States, and trouble with the Irish.

Elizabeth’s era has been one of imperial decline. By the time she succeeded her father, King George VI, in 1952, the country that had stood alone against Hitler in 1940 was no longer a great power. The Indian subcontinent was already independent, and the rest of the Commonwealth soon followed suit. In 2015 the United Kingdom is a middling country on the edge of Europe whose internal unity can’t be taken for granted.

The monarch’s role has shrunk along with her domain. Victoria – especially while her husband Albert was alive – expected ‘her’ ministers to at least take her views seriously. Even after the Reform Act 1832, only 5% of Britain’s population had the vote, and Parliament and government were dominated by an elite steeped in deference. Today, Elizabeth acts only on the advice of the people’s representatives.

Queen Victoria never visited New Zealand – or India, even though she was installed as its Empress and studied Hindustani. Elizabeth II was the first reigning monarch to visit New Zealand, in 1953, six months after her coronation. She has been back nine times, on the last occasion in 2002 as part of a golden jubilee tour of the Commonwealth. Since then younger members of the royal family have visited this country frequently.

The significance of the monarchy today is largely cultural. In the 1950s every household seemed to have a souvenir of the first visit by the young Queen and her dashing naval officer husband. Tea towels hung proudly on walls and commemorative booklets graced mantelpieces. Watching the Queen’s Christmas message on television remains part of the Christmas Day ritual for many households.

Though Elizabeth retains an aura of authority – or at least, mystery – royal pomp and ceremony isn’t what it used to be. One milestone, in Wellington in 1970, was the Queen’s first so-called ‘walkabout’ (as it was dubbed by the British press corps, in a misguided reference to Australian Aboriginal custom). There was a strict ‘no-touching’ policy in relation to the royal person – yet today, a selfie with Prince Harry is probably the most sought-after souvenir of a royal visit.

As the silken bonds of empire continue to fray, the record royal reign is also likely to be one of the last, at least for New Zealanders.

Saluting Jack Perkins

Jack Perkins on the job

Jack Perkins on the job

It was the end of an era last month, when Jack Perkins hung up his headphones, or mic, or whatever it is that radio documentary producers hang up when they retire. Now 75, Perkins has spent 56 years in radio, producing Radio New Zealand National’s weekly Spectrum programme since 1972, when it was set up as a human-interest complement to the more current-affairs-focused Insight (also still running).

Portable recording gear (unwieldy though it was by today’s standards) was introduced in the 1960s, allowing radio producers to get out in the field, talking to people in their own environments. It brought a freshness and immediacy to radio, and Perkins made the style his own. ‘Radio had been a bit stuffy, it had been tied to the studio, largely,’ muses Perkins in Spectrum’s life and times’, an endearing two-part Spectrum about, well, itself, in which he chats with the programme’s founder, 88-year-old Alwyn ‘Hop’ Owen. ‘We were able to get out and get ordinary New Zealanders telling their own stories in their own voices, and that was a huge change … They were hearing their own stories fed back to them and the people in their community.’

In its 43 years Spectrum has been everywhere and met everyone, it seems – to a kākāpō-saving project in Fiordland, to the Nelson tip, up in Tiger Moths and helicopters, to rugby matches and protests and tattoo parlours and railway stations and many, many people’s lounges, from one end of the country to the other. And it has amassed a remarkable body of recording, of New Zealanders talking about themselves and their lives, and on subjects of all sorts, from long-line fishing to caravans to tsunamis to skydiving to boarding schools. It has recorded our voices and thoughts and memories and lives, and played them back to us, and preserved them. ‘We didn’t really know just how valuable in terms of social history we were going to be,’ says Perkins. ‘That’s right, you just got on with the job,’ chimes in Owen.

I was lucky myself to work with Jack in 2003 and 2004, when I was commissioned as a freelancer to do a couple of Spectrums, and was trained in the Perkins approach – which I mostly remember as a kind of stepping back, an intent listening, an allowing. In a guide for journalism students, he writes, ‘At the back of the farm, on the city street or on board the fishing boat, we talk to people in their own surroundings, capturing the activity and “feel” of everyday life – their feelings, attitudes, prejudices, stories and experience – first-hand and unfiltered – up close and personal.’ His work is often rich with layers of ambient sound – listen, for instance, to these clips from 1973 abortion protests and from a fruit and vege auction, and to the grizzled, lovely voices of these two interviewees – old mates, clearly – talking about coal mining.

I emailed Jack today, asking for a photo to use for this blog post, wishing him the best, and asking what his plans were. Unassuming as ever, he responded, ‘I feel as though I’m on holiday, it’s a bit unreal after 56 years. I’m just going to see how things go, I’ve nothing specific planned.’

You can catch part 2 of ‘The life and times of Spectrum’ this Sunday – 6 September – at midday on Radio New Zealand National.