Melissa Cross

Mel is a Pākehā of English and Irish ancestry. She traces her family’s presence in Aotearoa New Zealand to Henry Mahon Jervis, who arrived at Pōneke on the London in December 1840. Mel grew up in Paraparaumu, worked as a registered nurse, and had two sons before pursuing her interest in music studies. Long-drawn toward better understanding Māori-Pākehā relations, during her BMus (Hons, first class) and MMus (Distinction) she investigated such relationships through socio-cultural analyses of historical and contemporary cross-cultural music-making. This led her to complete a PhD at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington titled ‘Five Lives Represented in the Waiata Collected by Alfred Hill: A Biographical Methodology for the Historiography of Aotearoa New Zealand Musics’ (2023). This work’s methodology is strongly influenced by Ngāti Porou historian Nēpia Mahuika’s argument for tikanga-based historical scholarship and Te Pūtaiora Writing Group’s Te Ara Tika ethical research model. The five biographees presented as cases studies are Ernest Hoben (Pākehā), Alfred Hill (Pākehā), Bella Papakura (Ngāti Wāhiao), Tuahine Rangiuia (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Porou), and Phyllis Williams (Pākehā). Mel now works part time as a reference librarian at Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo, University of Otago’s Medical and Health Sciences Library (Pōneke). She warmly welcomes opportunities to work collaboratively on music-related whānau, hapū, iwi, and cross-cultural histories.