Author(s): Barbara Brookes
What would a history of New Zealand look like that rejected Thomas Carlyle’s definition of history as ‘the biography of great men’, and focused instead on the experiences of women? One that shifted the angle of vision and examined the stages of this country’s development from the points of view of wives, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and aunts? That considered their lives as distinct from (though often unwillingly influenced by) those of history’s ‘great men’?
In her ground-breaking History of New Zealand Women, Barbara Brookes provides just such a history. This is more than an account of women in New Zealand, from those who arrived on the first waka to the Grammy and Man Booker Prize-winning young women of the current decade. It is a comprehensive history of New Zealand seen through a female lens.
Brookes argues that while European men erected the political scaffolding to create a small nation, women created the infrastructure necessary for colonial society to succeed. Concepts of home, marriage and family brought by settler women, and integral to the developing state, transformed the lives of M?ori women. The small scale of New Zealand society facilitated rapid change so that, by the twenty-first century, women are no longer defined by family contexts.
In her long-awaited book, Barbara Brookes traces the factors that drove that change. Her lively narrative draws on a wide variety of sources to map the importance in women’s lives not just of legal and economic changes, but of smaller joys, such as the arrival of a piano from England, or the freedom of riding a bicycle.
Winner - Illustrated Non-Fiction - Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2017.
Barbara Brookes is Professor of History at the University of Otago. Her research interests include gender relations in New Zealand, and the history of health and disease in New Zealand and Britain. She has written a book on abortion in twentieth century England, and co-edited several collections of essays on New Zealand history.
IntroductionChapter 1 Origins, Traditions and 'Civilisation' Before 1814Chapter 2 A Civilising Mission 1814-1856Chapter 3 Settling Pakeha Families, Unsettling Whanau 1850s-1860sChapter 4 War, Gold and Dispossession 1860s-1880sChapter 5 The Quest for Citizenship 1885-1890sChapter 6 New Expectations for a New Century 1900-1919Chapter 7 Motherhood, Morality and a Voice for Women in the Interwar Years 1919-1940Chapter 8 The 'Modern Woman' of the Interwar Years 1919-1940Chapter 9 On the Home Front: From Dependence to Independence 1939-1951Chapter 10 Suburbia: Expansiveness and Confinement 1950s-1960sChapter 11 Decade of Discovery 1967-1977Chapter 12 Into the Corridors of Power 1977-1986Chapter 13 Reckoning with Women 1984-1990sChapter 14 Shaping the New Millennium 2000-2015Acknowledgements 484Editorial Note 485Endnotes 486Index 544