Friends of the Turnbull Public Programme: Vignettes from Wellington’s secret history, 11 June 2024

Tuesday 11 June 2024, 5:30pm to 6:30pm

Taiwhanga Kauhau — Auditorium, (lower ground) National Library Wellington. Entrance on Aitken Street or on Zoom.

In this talk Richard Hill and Steven Loveridge discuss their experiences of researching the elusive and murky history of security intelligence. Their recent book ‘Secret History’ is the first of a two-volume series on state surveillance in New Zealand during the 20th century.

Spies, seditionists, and state surveillance 

In 1900, a handful of New Zealand police detectives watched out for spies, seditionists and others who might pose a threat to state and society. The Police Force remained the primary instrument of such human intelligence in New Zealand until 1956 when, a decade into the Cold War, a dedicated Security Service was created. 

Local spycraft stories 

In this presentation authors Richard Hill and Steven Loveridge explore some of the research they did for their recently published book Secret History: State Surveillance in New Zealand, 1900–1956 (Auckland University Press, 2023). They canvas some sites around Wellington linked to local spycraft — including some close to the Turnbull Library. 

The first of two volumes chronicling the history of state surveillance in New Zealand, Secret History opens up the ‘secret world’ of security intelligence through to 1956.

About the speakers

Richard Hill has written four books on the history of policing in New Zealand and two on Crown–Māori relations in the 20th century. He is a Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, and Emeritus Professor at the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies where, among other things, he runs the Security and Surveillance Project. 

Steven Loveridge is an historian whose research focuses upon governance, security intelligence, and war and society. Besides Secret History, his recent publications include The Home Front: New Zealand Society and The War Effort, 1914-19 (co-authored with James Watson), and contributions to New Zealand’s Foreign Service: A History and Histories of Hate: The Radical Right in Aotearoa New Zealand.

More information can be found here.