Bodgies, widgies, midlife OEs and the Red Hat Society

Five generations of the same family

Five generations of the same family

Three new Te Ara entries look at New Zealanders of different ages – teenagers and youth, midlife adults and older people. Together with the recent entry on childhood, they explore what it means to move from childhood to adolescence, middle age and old age.

What is it like to be six, 16, 56 or 66? Why did The little red schoolbook generate so much fuss? When did people start to talk about ‘teenagers’? What can older people learn from adolescents? What does it mean to be ‘the sandwich generation’? Who gets to live longest, and what do older people do all day? These entries have answers to these and many other questions.

Find out about bodgies and widgies, milk-bar cowboys, beehives, rugby heads, tweens and what happened at the Hutt Valley Youth Club in the 1950s. Look at statistics on births to teenage mothers from the 1960s and find out about programmes to keep young mothers at school.

These entries show what people of different generations have in common, but also differences among them. People of all ages enjoy being with family, playing games with their friends and physical challenges. Older people as well as children and adolescents are engaged in study – some, like Marie Bell, even complete PhDs in their 80s. But the rates of death are different across these age groups, and for women and men.

New directions for midlife adults include embarking on an OE or a change in lifestyle at home. Older people both receive care and provide services for others. Some, like John Blundell, clean up the beaches while riding their mobility scooter.

Connections across generations are important. In these entries teenagers introduce older people to texting, parents in their 50s help adult children to purchase their first homes and grandparents care for grandchildren while their parents are in paid work. Older people provide emotional and financial support to middle-aged children but also receive help from them.

People of the same age group also enjoy time with one another. You can access a film clip of scouts on their way to the Pan Pacific jamboree in 1959, enjoy the flamboyant outfits of members of the Red Hat Society or connect to the pleasures of skateboarding and the Socialist Sunday School outing.

Political issues are also explored, including strategies to inform children about their rights as citizens and the activities of Grey Power. Debates about raising the driving age and parental support for tertiary students receive attention alongside the leisure activities of midlife adults.

Next month attention shifts to religious institutions with new entries on missions and missionaries, the Anglican Church and the Salvation Army…

2 comments have been added so far

  1. Comment made by Te Ara’s life stages « Christchurch City Libraries Bibliofile || August 24th, 2010

    […] find out more about these themes, read Bodgies, widgies, midlife OEs and the Red Hat Society – a blog post on the new additions from Signposts, the Te Ara blog. […]

  2. Comment made by Kiwi teenagers through the ages « Christchurch City Libraries Blog || August 24th, 2010

    […] find out more about these themes, read Bodgies, widgies, midlife OEs and the Red Hat Society – a blog post on the new additions from Signposts, the Te Ara […]

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