The Lives of Colonial Objects is a sumptuously illustrated and highly readable book about things, and the stories that unfold when we start to investigate them.
In this collection of 50 essays the authors, including historians, archivists, curators and Māori scholars, have each chosen an object from New Zealand’s colonial past, and their examinations open up our history in astonishingly varied ways.
Some are treasured family possessions such as a kahu kiwi, a music album or a
grandmother’s travel diary, and their stories have come down through families. Some, like the tauihu of a Māori waka, a Samoan kilikiti bat or a flying boat, are housed in museums.
Others – a cannon, a cottage and a country road – inhabit public spaces but they too turn out to have unexpected histories. Things invite us into the past through their tangible, tactile and
immediate presence: in this collection they serve as 50 paths into New Zealand’s colonial history.While each chapter is the story of a particular object,The Lives of Colonial Objects as a whole informs and enriches the colonial history of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Annabel Cooper is Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work at the University of Otago. Her edition of Mary Lee s" The Not So Poor "and her contributions to" Sites of Gender: Women, men and modernity in southern Dunedin "explored gender, place and poverty in nineteenth-century New Zealand. Lachy Paterson is a Senior Lecturer at Te Tumu: School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, and a member of the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture at the University of Otago. To date he has published the only monograph on Maori-language newspapers, "Colonial Discourses: Niupepa Maori 1855 1863." Angela Wanhalla teaches in the Department of History and Art History at the University of Otago. Her most recent book is "Matters of the Heart: A history of interracial marriage in New Zealand," which won the Ernest Scott Prize for best book in Australian and New Zealand history in 2014."