Public History Talk – Small stories of colonisation: An uncomfortable settler family history, 1 May 2024

Wednesday 1 May 2024, 12:10pm to 1pm
National Library Wellington or on Zoom.

Richard Shaw, whose great-grandfather took part in the 1881 invasion of Parihaka pā and farmed land taken from Taranaki iwi, will discuss the entanglement of the small histories of settler families with the large history of the colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Untold family stories

On the morning of 5 November 1881, an Irishman called Andrew Gilhooly formed up alongside other members of the Armed Constabulary at the entrance to Parihaka pā. He was there for the invasion, the occupation and — much later — for the farming of land taken from Taranaki iwi. But those events dropped out of the family stories handed down to Gilhooly’s descendants.

Exploring historical amnesia

In this presentation, Richard Shaw, one of those descendants, will explore the possible reasons for and purposes of this historical amnesia, and discuss the entanglement of the small histories of settler families with the large history of the colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand.

About the speaker

Richard Shaw is a professor of politics at Massey University, where he teaches New Zealand politics and undertakes research on political advisers in the executive branch of government. His publications include The Edward Elgar Handbook on Ministerial and Political Advisers (2023) and Core Executives in a Comparative Context (with K. Koltveitt, 2022). His work has been published in journals such as GovernancePublic AdministrationParliamentary Affairs, and Public Management Review. He is also the author of two books that address matters of memory and forgetting amongst settler families in Aotearoa New Zealand — The Forgotten Coast (2021) and The Unsettled: Small Stories of Colonisation (2024) — both published by Massey University Press.

More information can be found here.