Margaret Tennant


While I am a flexible and experienced historian, my specialist research fields include women’s history and welfare history, with recent commissions relating to the history of voluntary organisations. I have written for the DNZB, Te Ara, Phanzine, museum websites, and newspapers as well as in more academic contexts.
My most recent research has taken me into local history, most notably that of the Manawatu, but with a broader interest in the techniques and questions surrounding the study of ‘the local’. In 2021 I was awarded a Palmerston North Civic Honour award for services to history and heritage in the Manawatu.
I have written 80+ academic articles and book chapters, five major books, and have co-edited four books.
Publications include:
-City at the Centre: A History of Palmerston North (co-edited with Geoff Watson and Kerry Taylor), Massey University Press, 2020, 382 pp.
-Across the Street, Across the World. A History of the Red Cross in New Zealand 1915-2015, New Zealand Red Cross, 2015, 366 pp.
-The Fabric of Welfare. Voluntary Organisations, Government and Welfare 1840-2005, Wellington, Bridget Williams Books, 2007, 274 pp.
-Past Judgement: Social Policy in New Zealand History, (co-edited with Bronwyn Dalley), Otago University Press, 2004, 281 pp.
-Children’s Health, the Nation’s Wealth. A History of Children’s Health Camps, Bridget Williams Books/Historical Branch, N.Z. Department of Internal Affairs, 1994, 295 pp.
-Paupers and Providers. Charitable Aid in New Zealand, Allen and Unwin/Historical Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, 1989, 245 pp.
Following an academic career, I served on the PHANZA national committee for six years.



  • Biography
  • Childhood
  • Family
  • Gender
  • Government administration
  • Health and medical
  • Heritage
  • Housing
  • Institutional
  • Labour
  • Local
  • Medical and health
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Urban and suburban
  • Welfare
  • Women