Public History Talk: The spaces in between – Pioneering Pasifika women in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne, 3 July 2024

Wednesday 3 July 2024, 12:10pm to 1pm

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

Join Kesaia Walker for a talk following the trailblazing journey made by two young Pasifika women from Auckland to Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne in the 1950s and 1970s.

Establishing a new community far from home

Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne, on the East Coast of the North Island, is the site of many historical firsts. A windy 500-kilometre drive from Auckland, two young Pasifika women — Piula and Liliana — arrived in Tūranga in the 1950s and 1970s. 

What makes their individual stories unique is that geographically and culturally they inhabited ‘the spaces in between’. That is, they were a long way from their Pacific homelands and from established Pacific diasporas in Aotearoa. But, despite their isolation, they forged, from the ground up, a new and burgeoning Pacific community in small-town provincial New Zealand. Their lives were centred around family, faith, education, language, and culture. 

In this talk Kesaia Walker traverses aspects of the lives of these Pasifika Pioneers, using snippets from family archival material and recollections.

About the speaker

Kesaia Walker works as a historian in the public sector. She is interested in Pacific migration stories and Pacific language revitalisation. She is of Tongan and Pākehā heritage and has an MA from the Stout Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington.

More information can be found here.