Tag Archives: history

11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – aftermath and legacies to be discussed

An Evening With Kate Hunter (VUW) and David Monger: The eleventh hour of the eleventh day – Tuesday, 6 November 2018

In October 1918 New Zealander Robert Gilkison was sitting beside his ‘dangerously wounded’ son’s hospital bed in France. He wrote to his daughter Norah ‘Poor old Robbie still has his ups and downs, and I was warned at the first it would take a long time to effect a cure’. Robert’s letter, written within a few weeks of the signing of the November Armistice, was prescient in warning that it would ‘take a long time to effect a cure’. It is a useful way to think about the end of the war, and not just for the wounded and the family members who had to care for them.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is so etched in our minds as the moment that the guns supposedly fell silent, we risk forgetting or ignoring what that actually meant. The Armistice declared on 11 November 1918 signalled the end of what H.G. Wells called ‘the war to end war’. Yet we know that conflict and strife continued. What the Armistice signalled in some places was the beginning of the really difficult work of reconstruction – rebuilding towns and cities, people and their relationships, bodies and minds. In others it signalled nations’ abandonment or disavowal of wartime activities, concerns or promises.

In this conversation, Victoria University of Wellington’s Kate Hunter and the UC’s David Monger discuss the aftermath and legacies of a global conflict.

David Monger has lectured at the UC History Department since 2010 and is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History. An expert on British First World War propaganda, he is the author of Patriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain: the National War Aims Committee and Civilian Morale (2012), co-editor of Endurance and the First World War: Experiences and Legacies in New Zealand and Australia (2014) and has published several articles on First World War topics.

Associate Professor Kate Hunter (VUW) has been researching and teaching the cultural history of WWI for more than 15 years. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, many of which use the letters and diaries of those separated from kin and friends to explore family and romantic relationships. Her most recent book on WWI was a collaboration with Te Papa curator Kirstie Ross, Holding on to Home: New Zealand Stories and Objects of the First World War, which used the material culture of war to focus on the enduring relationships between those serving overseas and their loved ones in New Zealand.

  • Date: Tuesday, 6 November 2018
  •  Time: 06:00pm to 07:30pm
  •  Location: Recital Room, UC Arts, Arts Centre of Christchurch, 3 Hereford St, Christchurch City
  •  Ticket: Free but REGISTER NOW>

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.

First World War research – staff member awarded scholarship

Robyn Anderson, a nurse at UC Health Centre, was the recent recipient of the 2018 Brockenhurst Scholarship.

Jointly funded by the Christchurch RSA and CCC, the scholarship provided funding for Robyn to travel to England where she researched the links between New Zealand First World War soldiers and the area known as the New Forest. Brockenhurst was the site of the first General Hospital run by New Zealanders.

Her project will follow three soldiers who were wounded on the Western Front and treated in Brockenhurst. Robyn would be happy to hear any First World War soldier’s stories that staff members would like to share. She can be reached on internal email.

Artefact series offers gripping NZ historical dramas

Artefact is an exciting six  part series presented by Dame Professor Anne Salmond (pictured below), which takes viewers on adventures through time with a focus on artefacts and taonga at the heart of gripping and often surprising historical dramas.

A number of Ngāi Tahu people participate in this series, including  a UC doctoral graduate.

Artefact also shines the light on contemporary themes and challenges viewers to think about what sort of Aotearoa we want to leave our children. Created by Greenstone TV, for Māori TV, Artefact connects today’s New Zealanders with our ancestors’ experiences and aspirations, through the powerful stories of the artefacts that have survived them. 

Episode 1 – Star Travel – 7 May 
In this episode we find taonga that open the window to our Pacific voyaging tradition – a feat likened to space travel which saw Polynesians navigate their way across the Pacific to Aotearoa. Dame Anne travels around our country as well as England to find taonga and people to tell these stories of voyaging and adventure. A group of Toi Hauiti whānau are reunited with the voyaging tipuna Paikea who is housed in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Episode 2 – Tangata Whenua – 14 May
Dame Anne introduces us to taonga that shine the light on the remarkable innovations Polynesian settlers made once they reached Aotearoa. Their adaptations to new resources meant that they became tangata whenua in Aotearoa – Māori. The taonga we find show innovations in all things – clothing, gardening, stone tools and includes a map that illustrates a remarkable and intimate knowledge of the land as well as a distinctively Māori world view.

Episode 3 – The Power of Gifts – 21 May 
From the very first encounters between Māori and Europeans, gifts were exchanged, signaling a desire to forge relationships and strong connections that would last over time and generations. Dame Anne finds taonga that tell these stories: they include hoe given to crew of the Endeavour; Hongi Hika’s korowai which he gave to King George; a medal given by Governor King to the northern rangatira Te Pahi and gifts exchanged between Ngāti Huia and the Onslow family.

Episode 4 – Threads that Bind – 28 May
Clothing is more than adornment, clothes can carry political messages, they often signal identity and status and can be used to satirise. Dame Anne leads us to taonga that tell stories of remarkable people and moments in time where clothes have provided powerful statements. A kaitaka that literally saves the life of a young boy; Tame Iti speaks about the way clothes can carry a political message.  The extensive clothing collection of Whetu Tirakatene-Sullivan demonstrates how she used clothes to make strong political statements.

Episode 5 – In Pursuit of Harmony – 4 June 
Dame Anne finds taonga that tease out the story of music and musical instruments in Aotearoa. From earliest taonga puoro, to introduced Western instruments, these taonga tell the story of traditional music nearly silenced, a new music arriving and the way two musical traditions have intersected. The taonga in this episode include a magnificent carved Steinway grand piano, an ancient pūtorino that hasn’t been played in living memory, a treasured Gibson Les Paul guitar and a website that celebrates the traditional percussive instrument – the poi.

Episode 6 – The Call of the Huia – 11 June 11
Beginning with some remarkable Huia bird specimens this episode challenges us to learn from our past and to think carefully about the sort of Aotearoa we want to leave our children. Taonga featured include huia birds and feathers, and living taonga such as Whanganui River, Te Urewera and the remarkable Te Kura Whare / Living House in Taneatua. How can we learn from our past and the tragic story of the Huia bird. What are the exciting possibilities for the future?

(Text and photo published with the permission of Greenstone TV)

Christ Church/Christchurch historic ties

The University of Canterbury’s foundation in 1873 owes much to the graduates of Oxford University’s cathedral/college Christ Church and the UC graduation ceremonies reflect that tradition through to the modern day.

The University’s mace provides a tangible link with Christ Church, Oxford, where it was designed and made. The shaft of the mace is made of oak from a beam removed from Big Tom Tower when the bell was rehung in 1953. Even in 1680, when the beam was installed in the Sir Christopher Wren-designed tower, the timber was described as ‘well-seasoned oak’. The mace has been used for every UC graduation ceremony since 1957.

UC celebrates its foundation in 1873, but the inspiration for a college of higher education in Christchurch dates back to 1848 in the aims of the Canterbury Association. Of the 53 Association members, 30 were Oxford graduates, including 17 “Christ Church men”.

Most prominent of these was Christ Church graduate John Robert Godley, a key figure in the establishment of an Anglican settlement on New Zealand’s South Island, who was responsible for naming the city at the heart of the new settlement ‘Christchurch’. From Godley’s day until the 1940s the universities of Oxford and Canterbury remained closely linked. Maintaining the close connection today the Wakefield Scholarship allows UC PhD students to spend a year studying at Godley’s old college.

The Association saw a university as a necessary part of the social cement that would bind together their newly planned colony. As early as 1850 the Association published a paper on a Scheme for the Establishment of Christ-Church College. The scheme laid out plans for a college with two departments that would cater for public school boys and young men over 17 years of age. Young men in the upper department would be required to study theology, classics, mathematics, civil engineering and agriculture, all dressed appropriately in academic cap and gown.

These grand plans were further elaborated upon in the Plan of College which described a new college built firmly on the traditions of Oxford and Cambridge. The Association was determined that “Our settlement will be provided with a good college, good schools, churches, a bishop, clergy, all those moral necessities…”