Migration in a context of colonisation

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Some thoughts from the recent Presbyterian Research Network lecture with Tony Ballantyne.

A larger than average attendance, I think I saw a good representation from the Friends of Toitu Settlers Museum.

The leadership of the settlement in the first generation was atypical.  As pastoral leader of the colony for the Free Church of Scotland Rev. Thomas Burns was sounded out by a delegation of workmen before landing in support of their request for a eight hour working day.  He was in favour.  The secular leader of the expendition, Captain Cargill, was a traditional classist in favour of the Good Auld Scotch Rule — a ten hour working day.  His leadership was muddled, perhaps it’s no surprise that the other ship’s captain, Captain Elles, settled further south in Invercargill.  The union question in first-generation Dunedin was decided to the workers’ advantage.  So much for the good auld Scotch rule!

Originally supporters of the new colony and benefactors, local indigenous Maori were quickly sidelined as further ships arrived bringing new settlers on whom it was easy to capitalise.

The colony was defined by its identifying boundaries.  Two thirds were Presbyterians, the minority were the Little Enemy, mostly Anglicans and Methodists.  It was not homogenous.  The discovery of gold expanded the size of the colony, the old identities labelled the influx of the miners as the new iniquity.  That did not stop them by profiting on stocking the new chums.

Even so when the Early Settlers Museum was established its identity of the Early Settlers took the cut-off date as 1861, late enough to cover six months of the arrivals of the New Iniquities.

Surprisingly while there is a surfeit of original documentation for the settlement of colonial settlement of Southern New Zealand the study of its history is overlooked, taking New Zealand’s history to the North Island.  There is a new history waiting to be written here, as well as a historical identity to discover.

The John Wickliffe and the Philip Laing in Otago Harbour, see http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=36533 for information.

The John Wickliffe and the Philip Laing in Otago Harbour, see http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=36533 for information.

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Fighting the Cheap Sweat Trade in the Nineteenth Century

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In case people are looking for me tomorrow I will be at this:

Perhaps I might see some of you there?

Hobbit Spotting through Lent

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Whom do I like better when it comes to guitar fanfares?  Malcolm Gordon’s One Voice, orCold Chisel?  It’s a tricky choice.

I started my lunchtime reading this week by picking out Bonaventure because I wanted to read St Francis’ abandonment of his old family life for sainthood.  There is also a passage where Bonaventure describes John Francisco facing a crisis in the darkness of a winter’s night and creating an imaginary family out of snowmen to destroy the temptation.  It’s in there somewhere but I couldn’t find the reference.

After that I decided to read a bit of Sir Gibbie by George MacDonald in the 1980s redaction.  The danger of reading MacDonald is that he writes in diabetic levels of Scottish sentiment.

I only got to the gym once this week.  It leaves me to toss and turn at nights as the muscles in my shoulders pull into uncomfortable positions before I sleep. 

There were two lectures in the latter part of the week: an Anniversary Day lecture where a local historian from the Maniototo looked at the poetry of his grand-uncle and what his poetry tells of the context of his life, one of those single working men who drift on the margins of our society in the years before their death; and the Centre for Theology and Public Issues hosted a discussion on Religion and the Republic: the American elections.  It was a sedate discussion which said nothing new and allowed ex-patriate Americans to consider their homeland’s politics from a distance.  There were a handful of absentee voters in the audience.  They decide the direction of the Free Empire for the rest of us.

The Art Gallery is providing me with entertainment this weekend.  Saturday: Samurai 3.  Third in a series of incomprehensible Japanese films where the swordsman Musashi Miyamoto protects a mediaeval village from bandits.  I watched Samurai 2 last weekend.  It is a spiritual ancestor between the cowboy movies from the wild west and the Jedi movies.

Then on Sunday, a Dickens Talk: Health & disease in Victorian Britain.  How can I resist a subject like that ?!

Transcending the Boundaries

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You can learn stuff while travelling with bus drivers. I imagine it’s a bit like taxi drivers. I was travelling on the Intercity bus between Dunedin and Invercargill. The bus driver announced that we had crossed an imaginary line, into the Province of Southland. In the Nineteenth Century when the Southland pioneers wanted a provincial government that represented their interests more than the Provincial Council of Otago based in Dunedin they pushed for their own council based in Invercargill. It’s not mentioned that the area set up for the province was smaller than later territorial bodies, an autonomous enclave in the much larger province of Otago. I mentioned it to Southern Dave while I was visiting, who put its historic boundaries between the Mataura and Waiau rivers, carefully keeping most of the gold-mining areas under Otago’s jurisdiction, and in Dunedin’s pockets. This was where the money was at the time, and a significant number of the male workforce in Southland followed it. Money talks, it says Good-bye. Eventually after fifteennine years (which is not a bad run, the same length of time as Labour in government under Helen Clark) Southland merged back into Otago. A few years later provincial government in New Zealand was disbanded and replaced with local district authorities. The latter bodies identified as Southland covered a wider area. Southlanders continue to maintain their identity as independent-minded provincials ever since. Fair enough. Just don’t mistake the historic facts with the myth of our identity.

Day two of the Snowpocalypse

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Archives office down to two people today.  The snow was still powdery so two of us could walk in.  Others phoned in and stayed at home.  We kept in touch with the archivist all day.  If the snow turns to ice tomorrow then I will be leaving later for work.

Finished reading Michael King’s History of New Zealand.  I’m no historian, it still made enjoyable reading and what I know of my history all slotted in the right places, from the coming of the Maori 800 years ago to the beginning of the new millennium.  I think I can recommend that one as a modern history.  I will have to return that one to D. when I see her next.

What to read next?  I am still involved with Charles Brasch and am on the verge of his departure from New Zealand to further his studies at Oxford in England.

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I took Friday off because I was expecting to be traveling to Cromwell for Southern Presbytery’s annual meeting.  I was waiting at one o’clock to be picked up.  By the time it got to two o’clock I knew something was wrong and it was beginning to rain.  I sent a text to Yew Tree Woman and she phoned me to say that she had contacted my ride and I had got my dates wrong.  The annual meeting is the second weekend in August and not the first weekend.  This is frustrating because it meant I had taken a day’s leave for no purpose and would have to do the same again next week.  I had told everyone that I will be away on Saturday.  All I can do for now is keep breathing.

The day was not a complete write-off as I spent some time on the computer working on the lexicon for my imaginary eclectic language.  I had made some notes on Indo-European words from Gamkralidze and Ivanov’s text book of the proto-language and worked my way through a third of them seeing which of them I could work into my lexicon for the language.  It’s so wonderful living so close to a university library.  I hope I can finish incorporating the list over the weekend.  Then I can return to making notes from the Descriptive Dictionary of Bislama.

Also I got an extra session in at the gym which is nice.  It keeps the knots out of my shoulders.

And today I got to watch the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra playing at the Madrid Royal Theatre on cinema at the Rialto.  They did two of my favorite pieces: Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez from his guitar concertos, I think this is a lesser known piece, which is undeserved; and Sergei Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2.  It was a delight to watch these pieces played out under conductor Simon Rattle and the cameras helped to guide the eye to the activity of the orchestra.  I would liked some commentary and interaction that the New York Metropolitan Opera has incorporated into Live on High Definition series.  The concert was still rewarding and I await to see the next one.

Back to reading Michael King’s History of New Zealand.