Janet Holm Prize in History honours remarkable Cantabrian

The History Department is very grateful to have received a new prize in History in memory of Janet Holm, donated by her family.

The prize recognises students’ academic excellence in the study of New Zealand History at UC, an area of particular passion for Mrs Holm.

Environmental activist
Janet Holm originally studied at the University in the 1940s. She returned to UC in the 1980s to obtain an MA(Hons) in History, after decades of environmental activism.

Her activities included a significant role in the Clean Air Society, which introduced the open-fire ban in Christchurch resulting in an MBE in 1988 for her environmental activism. In 2004, Environment Canterbury recognised her with an Outstanding Contribution Award for her work in the Canterbury region.

Award-winning historian
In the 1990s and 2000s, she published three books; Nothing But Grass and Wind provided a history of the Rutherford family of North Canterbury. Caught Mapping studied New Zealand’s early surveyors, and brought her recognition as the first female Honorary Member of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors. On Zealand’s Hills, Where Tigers Steal Along explored aspects of nineteenth-century New Zealand society.

In 2005, she received the A.C. Rhodes Medal from the Canterbury History Foundation, awarded ‘to honour and recognise the work of a non-academic Canterbury historian who has significantly added to our knowledge of the past or has by various means advanced and popularised the subject of History in the wider Canterbury community.’

Mrs Holm passed away in July this year, at the age of 94.

The Janet Holm Prize in History will be awarded to a student majoring in History displaying excellence in 100, 200 or 300-level courses with substantial New Zealand content. It will be presented for the first time on 5 December, at the annual History Awards.