The Scots in New Zealand

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 14.14.53This time a decade ago I had just started packing. I had sold my car and a good number of other items. And all that because I was soon to head off to New Zealand to commence my PhD at Victoria University in Wellington, investigating the Scots in New Zealand.

Coincidentally I’m back in New Zealand just now for a visit and a number of activities (see here for details). So I though it would be a good opportunity to post a few stories about  the Scots in New Zealand here on the Blog – one of which already came, as it fit so well with Burns’s birthday, at the end of last month (see here). New Zealand, described a report published in Wellington’s Evening Post in 1931, was …

The monumental poet: Burns statues in New Zealand

BurnsAuckThroughout this week and over the weekend many a Scot around the world will join in a toast to Scotland’s National Bard, Robert Burns. But Burns is not only remembered through these toasts, there are also a good number of visible reminders, with statues of the poet traceable all over the world, from Vancouver in Canada to Ballarat in Australia. While the Burns statue in Dunedin, New Zealand, is well known, the same cannot be said of the country’s three other Burns statues in Timaru, Hokitika, and Auckland. The latter was erected in the Auckland Domain and, as that in Sydney, is a replica of the Paisley Burns statue produced by F. W. Pomeroy. Burns is represented in peasant costume, standing next to a plough. Donated to the city by …

Join me Down Under

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 22.57.57Interested in the history of Scottish migration and the migrants’ community life and culture after arrival? Then come and join me to learn more.

Hokitika, 3 February 2016

Talk: ‘Scottish Migration to the West Coast’, followed by walk to Burns statue on Cass Square for a twilight poetry session

7pm, Carnegie Gallery, Hokitika Museum

click here for full details (opens image file)

Dunedin, 7 February 2016

Talk: ‘Scottish Migration to New Zealand’

2pm, Auditorium, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum; click here for full details

Melbourne, 17 February 2016

Talk: ‘Beyond Kilts and Bagpipes: Scottish Associational Culture’

1pm, Theatre, Lower Ground Floor, Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens; click here for full details

Each talk has a distinct focus, paying attention to developments in the respective location, as well as the ‘bigger historical picture’. …

Waipu and its Scottish heritage

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.51.15A few days ago the Waipu Caledonian Society in New Zealand held its 145th annual Highland Games – Games the Society has thus organised since its foundation in 1870, though the first Caledonian sports meet in Waipu took place even earlier than that. This does not make the Waipu Society New Zealand’s oldest Caledonian Society, but the Games are among the longest-running Highland Games in the country. While the 145th Games were marred by poor weather, the tradition is still going strong (let’s just ignore that hurling of a hairy haggis … or even of a whole haggis family).

What makes the Scottish heritage in Waipu even more interesting than its long-standing Highland Games, however, is how Scots came to settle in Waipu in the first place. While …