8 Jul 2011: The Launch Event



Friday 8th  July

Keynote Address by

Emeritus Professor Andrew Sharp

“Special rights for Maori in New Zealand since 1980”

Professor Andrew Sharp will discuss the reasoning behind the expansion of Maori rights to property, political power, and group expression in the last thirty years. He will reflect on  what this could teach the British and Irish about the potential of a way of thinking that originated with them.

Andrew Sharp’s main interests are the history of political argument and political philosophy, particularly in England and New Zealand.  He has published in those specialist areas in a number of journals and books, and in book form as an author or editor of: The Political Ideas of the English Civil Wars (1983), Justice and the Maori (1990, expanded 1997), The English Levellers (1998), Histories Power and Loss: Uses of the Past – a New Zealand Commentary (2001 with P G McHugh), and Bruce Jesson, To Build a Nation: Collected Writings 1975-99 (2005). He is currently working on Samuel Marsden and the Prince of Darkness, a book on an early anglican chaplain and missionary and his encounters with evil in New South Wales and New Zealand.  Andrew Sharp is currently Acting Chair of the New Zealand Studies Network.


Readings by New Zealand Writers

 Saturday 9th July

Introduction by Professor Janet Wilson

The Network, since its informal inception in December 2010, has already hosted seminars and poetry readings, and has been involved in discussion sessions through its allied Reading Group. The official launch, on Friday 8th July, will have seen the adoption of a formal constitution, and a talk on the history and philosophy of Maori rights. The launch will have been an auspicious moment in the development of studies of New Zealand abroad. It will continue their association with Birkbeck College, University of London; it will broaden their reach into Ireland; it will extend beyond the customary literary and cultural studies into the areas especially of history, politics, and philosophy, economics and business studies, and the learned professions.

These texts and the readings on 9th July, though, serve to reassert the importance of New Zealand literary talent currently in the UK as it has developed in its international and European contexts. They offer a window into the formative power of New Zealand in the lives of its peoples.

We look forward to an upward curve of interest in New Zealand Studies, and to developing affiliations with other Associations and Societies with linked interests. The Network intends to meet regularly. New members, and ideas and suggestions for further events such as conferences, seminars, readings, and public presentations are very welcome.

Janet Wilson (Visiting Research Fellow in New Zealand Studies, Birkbeck, University of London, Professor of English and Postcolonial Studies, University of Northampton)

Andrew Sharp, (Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Auckland, Acting Chair, New Zealand Studies Network),

On New Zealand Studies at Birkbeck;

 On the New Zealand Studies Network:

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 Six New Zealand writers read and discussed their work on 9th July

Fleur Adcock was born in New Zealand but spent the years 1939-1947 in England, subsequently returning to New Zealand, and has lived in London since 1963.  Her previous collections of poetry, now out of print, have been replaced by Poems 1960-2000 (Bloodaxe, 2000), and a new collection, Dragon Talk, is to appear in May 2010.  She has also published translations from Romanian and medieval Latin poetry, and edited several anthologies, including The Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry.  In 2006 she was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

Mia Farlane was born in New Zealand. When she was twelve, her play The Only Thing in Common, about a husband and wife who kill each other, was shown on New Zealand national television. She has a degree in French Language and Literature from Victoria University, Wellington, and lived for several years in France.  She now lives in London, where she completed an MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University.  Footnotes to Sex (Viking 2009, Penguin 2010), her first novel, is about procrastination and ‘what happens in a long-term relationship when the sex isn’t happening’.

Kirsty Gunn was born in 1960 in New Zealand and educated at Queen Margaret College and Victoria University, Wellington, and at Oxford, where she completed an M.Phil.  Her fiction includes the acclaimed Rain (1994), the story of an adolescent girl and the break-up of her family, for which she won a London Arts Board Literature Award.  Recent books are The Boy and the Sea (2006), winner of the 2007 Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award; and 44 Things (2007), a book of personal reflections over the course of one year.

Paula Morris (Ngati Wai) is a fiction writer from Auckland. Four of
her novels, including the forthcoming Rangatira, are published by
Penguin. She also publishes YA novels – Ruined  (2009) and Dark Souls
(2011) - with Scholastic US. Paula writes book reviews and art features for the Listener, and is the editor of The Penguin Book of  Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories. Her short story collection, Forbidden Cities, was a regional finalist for the 2009 Commonwealth Prize. She recently moved from the
US to the UK, where she teaches creative writing at the University of  Stirling.

Maori poet Robert Sullivan has won New Zealand awards for his poetry (Jazz Waiata), children's writing (Weaving Earth and Sky illustrated by Gavin Bishop) and editing (Whetu Moana: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English) with Albert Wendt and Reina Whaitiri. Mauri Ola, the follow-up anthology to Whetu Moana, is currently a poetry finalist in the NZ Post book Awards. He also collaborated with composer John Psathas on a choral work about the journeys of Captain Cook performed by the Orpheus Choir and the NZ Symphony Orchestra. In August this year a poem he was commissioned to write will be permanently installed on the front steps of Auckland City Central Library.

His seven collections of poetry include Star Waka, Captain Cook in the Underworld, Voice Carried My Family, while he has two collections recently published, Shout Ha! to the Sky (Salt Publishing, UK) and Cassino City of Martyrs (Huia Publishing, New Zealand). Originally with a professional background in librarianship, he was for a time Director of Creative Writing at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa before returning to New Zealand last year to head Manukau Institute of Technology’s new School of Creative Writing. His visit to the UK is for a conference at the University of Oxford about improving access to endangered and invisible archives, sponsored by New York University.

Briar Wood grew up in Mangere in Auckland, New Zealand and is currently Senior Lecturer in English Literature. She teaches Creative Writing and New Literatures at London Metropolitan University. Her poetry and critical writing has been widely published. In 2001 she wrote poems for the  Glorified Scales  installation by Maureen Lander at Te Papa Whakahiku/The Auckland War Memorial Museum, which referred to their Ngā Puhi whakapapa.