Downloads and podcasts

Page 1 – Introduction

On this page you will find an archive of New Zealand history podcasts. They are also available to listen to and download on our Podbean website.

See also: document downloads


Crossing the lines: the story of three homosexual New Zealand soldiers in WW2

Brent Coutts discusses his recently published book, Crossing the Lines a history of New Zealand homosexual soldiers in the Second World War. While he uncovered fifty homosexual men who served in the military during the war, his research focused on Ralph Dyer, Douglas Morison, and Harold Robinson, three men who were female impersonators in the Pacific Kiwi Concert Party and Tui Concert Party. (7 July 2021). Transcript of Brent Coutts talk (PDF)

Reflecting on the value of social media as a history-research tool

Historian Ryan Bodman explores the value of social media as a history-research tool. Over the past five years, Ryan has been researching and writing Rugby League: A New Zealand History, which is a social and cultural history of the football code in New Zealand. (2 June 2021). Transcript of Ryan Bodman's talk (PDF)

Dissenting voices - New Zealand and the South African War

In this talk, Nigel Robson, author of Our First Foreign War (Massey University Press, 2021), examines opposition within New Zealand to the South African War 1899–1902. (5 May 2021). Transcript of Nigel Robson's talk (PDF) .

Kei roto i te miru: inside the bubble

Inside the Bubble : Kei Roto i te Miru is a collection of human stories recorded during Covid-19 lockdown in Aotearoa New Zealand. In this talk, two people involved in the project, Tuaratini (community interviewer) and Teresa Cowie (radio producer and journalist), will describe their experiences. The resulting weekly podcast series, ‘Kei roto i te miru: inside the bubble’, launched on 25 March 2021 based on the interviews undertaken during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.

'Palmy Proud'? Audience and Approach in Writing the History of a Provincial City

Co-editor and a writer for City at the Centre: A History of Palmerston North Margaret Tennant will discuss the dilemmas faced by its editors and the question of audience for such a volume: whether to take a thematic, ‘slice’ or chronological approach, how much to assume in terms of local knowledge, and whether to link with a commemorative event (3 March 2021).


Tamihana Te Rauparaha's life of Te Rauparaha

He Pukapuka Tātaku i ngā Mahi a Te Rauparaha Nui is a 50,000-word account of Te Rauparaha’s life written by his son Tamihana Te Rauparaha in the late 1860s. In this talk, the book’s translator and editor Ross Calman will discuss the historical context that led to the creation of Tamihana’s manuscript, give an overview of how the manuscript has been represented by various writers and translators over the past 150 years and describe some of the challenges he faced in interpreting the manuscript for a modern audience (2 December 2020).

Te Mana O Te Reo Māori

Te reo Māori champions Piripi Walker and Justice Joe Williams speak about their own journeys in te reo Māori revitalisation and the wider movement across the country. A facilitated discussion with Dr Vincent Olsen-Reeder follows. This talk is in support of the new Te Mana O Te Reo Māori online story, part of Te Tai Treaty Settlement Stories, a programme initiated by Manatū Taonga which aims to enhance understanding of the past by exploring Treaty settlements and their enduring impact (4 November 2020).

Unpacking the suitcase

While the Jewish refugee migration story is well known, less so is the story of those objects they brought with them. In this talk, Louisa Hormann shares findings from a research project exploring the relationships between Holocaust survivor refugee families, their descendants, and the material objects they have inherited (7 October 2020).

Māori women and the armed forces in WWII

Angela Wanhalla (Kāi Tahu) looks at the recruitment of Māori women into the auxiliary services, why they joined, and how their wartime service impacted on their post-war lives (2 September 2020).

Inside the Bubble

Inside the Bubble : Kei Roto i te Miru is a collection of human stories recorded during Covid-19 lockdown in Aotearoa New Zealand. For 'Jack's Story' oral historian Will Hansen interviewed his flatmate Jack Hitchcox on ‘Queerintine’; living in an all queer flat during lockdown, being a frontline health worker, making art, watching films, reading books, transitioning, coming out to family and friends and future plans. Download a transcript of this interview here (pdf).

Memorials, names and ethical remembering

Host Professor Joanna Kidman and panelists Morrie Love, Nicky Karu and Ewen Morris discuss colonial memorials, history and memory (15 July 2020).

Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistance and Defiance

Stephanie Gibson, Matariki Williams and Puawai Cairns will provide insights into the stories and objects that fill the recent publication Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistence and Defiance, their material history of activism in Aotearoa New Zealand 4 March 2020).


Wairoa Lockout: an oral history

Since 2010, the small town of Wairoa has been at the centre of the most bitter and protracted industrial dispute in New Zealand’s recent history. The agri-business giant, Talley’s Group, took over the town’s meat plant in 2010 and commenced a campaign to ‘draw the line on union influence’. Drawing on oral histories, Ross Webb focuses on the campaign by meat workers to save their union, the sacrifices involved, and the legacy of three successive lockouts on workers and the community (2 October 2019).

Pūkana: moments in Māori performance

Paul Diamond (Ngāti Hauā, Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi) is lead curator for the Pūkana exhibition, and talks about the background to the exhibition which celebrates Māori performance across time (4 September 2019).

This Mortal Boy

Dame Fiona Kidman talks about her latest work which explores one of New Zealand's last executions, and the events that followed (7 August 2019).

100 years of the Tararua Tramping Club

Freelance writer and photographer Shaun Barnett and author Chris Maclean will explore the context of 100 years of the Tararua Tramping Club, how the club formed, why it was a success and how it set a model for other clubs to follow (3 July 2019).

The Hidden Women of the Public Stage

Inge van Rij, Associate Professor of Musicology at Victoria University of Wellington, explores the paradoxical position of women in New Zealand’s early orchestral history (1 May 2019).

My body, my business

Oral historian, writer and editor Caren Wilton discusses her book My Body, My Business: New Zealand sex workers in an era of change and using oral history – ‘history from below’ – to document what can seem to be a secret or hidden world, and telling stories that are both extraordinary and ordinary (3 April 2019).

Ocean: tales of voyaging and encounter that defined New Zealand

Sarah Ell, author of the book Ocean: tales of voyaging and encounter that defined New Zealand, explores the relationship between our peoples and the sea, from the earliest Polynesian voyagers to explorers and entrepreneurs, immigrants and environmentalists (6 March 2019).


The Saving of Old St Paul's

Historian Elizabeth Cox talks about the heritage battle to save Old St Paul's church, focusing on the 1950s and 1960s when Wellington was divided over the future of the church, and follows the efforts of those trying to decide its future (7 November 2018).

The tragedy of the SS Talune and the 1918 influenza pandemic

In October 1918 the SS Talune was permitted to leave Auckland bound for Fiji and Polynesia, even though the ship's master knew that influenza was rife in the city and that there were sick on board ship when it left port. Within eight weeks of berthing at Fiji, Western Samoa and Tonga, at least 5% of Fijians, 7% of Tongans and one-quarter of Western Samoa's population had died of influenza. Qualified nurse and communicable diseases specialist Ryan McLane discusses how and why this tragedy occurred (3 October 2018).

Polly Plum and the first wave of feminism

As we celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage, it's time to re-evaluate Polly Plum, once described as ‘a highly controversial public figure for a few years only’. Feminist historian and author Jenny Coleman shares some of the lesser-known parts of social reformer Mary Ann Colclough's (AKA Polly Plum) life, and her role in the “first wave” of feminism in New Zealand (1 August 2018).

Researching kindergarten: the endeavours of women for the play of children

Historians Helen May and Kerry Bethell present the outline of their new book Growing a Kindergarten Movement in Aotearoa New Zealand (4 July 2018).

The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, redux

In 2017 the Ministry for Culture and Heritage decided to resume work on the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (DNZB), and to publish a new batch of biographies online every year. In this presentation, Tim Shoebridge, the DNZB programme manager, will speak about the challenges posed and opportunities offered by this new chapter in the DNZB's life (6 June 2018).

Jazzy nerves, aching feet and foxtrots: New Zealand's jazz age

Dr Aleisha Ward explores some of the many facets of ‘jazz’ in 1920s New Zealand’s Jazz Age (2 May 2018).

How does a city make a writer?

Redmer Yska presents his latest work 'A Strange Beautiful Excitement, Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington, 1888-1903’, and discusses a new connection between Mansfield's family and Women's Suffrage (7 March 2018).

Māori women, politics and petitions in the 19th century

Dr Angela Wanhalla's presentation draws upon her most recent book, He Reo Wāhine: Māori Women’s Voices from the Nineteenth Century, co-authored with Māori-language scholar and historian, Lachy Paterson. It introduces women petitioners and their concerns and argues that petitions are an important body of Māori writing that can offer insight into Māori women’s experiences of the colonial era (4 April 2018).


The Great War for New Zealand

The Great War for New Zealand tells the story of the defining conflict in New Zealand history. In this presentation, Vincent O’Malley reflects on his book’s key messages and its reception, just over a year after publication, and following the inaugural national day of commemoration for the New Zealand Wars. Has the call for New Zealanders to own their history, warts and all, been heeded (1 November 2017)?

Counting redcoats: Who were the imperial soldiers serving in New Zealand during the 1860s?

Charlotte Macdonald and Rebecca Lenihan will discuss the development of a database of men serving in the imperial regiments in New Zealand, the nature of the ‘big data’ generated by the War Office, issues, limitations and possibilities to date, and goals for the database’s continuing development, along with some preliminary analysis (4 October 2017).

The broken decade: 1928–1939

In this presentation, Malcolm McKinnon considers the significance of the year 1932 in New Zealand’s history (5 September 2017).

Past caring? Gender, work and emotion

Professor Barbara Brookes addresses the history of caring, the changing landscapes of care and their implications in the twenty-first century (2 August 2017).

Hearth and home: Reconstructing the rural kitchen, c1840–1940

In this talk, Dr Katie Cooper offers a peek through the window of New Zealand’s rural kitchens, addressing the history of domestic space and its benefits for the social or cultural historians (1 July 2017).

The Māori War Effort at Home and Abroad 1917

In this talk historian Monty Soutar, (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Ngai Tai) presents a recently delivered paper from the Myriad Faces of War Conference at Te Papa.

It invites the audience to contemplate the development of the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion and their results during 1917, so that they may understand the Māori situation after the First World War. It also includes waiata by Tā Apirana Ngata sung live by Hine Parata Walker, Te Mihinga Tukariri and Te Aniwa Nelson (7 June 2017).

New Zealand Rivers: can we learn from history?

The government recently announced a proposal to make more of our rivers ‘swimmable' by 2040 – it has attracted significant controversy, demonstrating the level of concern about the state of our rivers among ordinary New Zealanders. In this talk, Catherine Knight, author of New Zealand’s Rivers: An environmental history, will provide important context to this debate by exploring some of our complex – and often conflicted – history with rivers since humans first settled in Aotearoa New Zealand. Introduction by Chief Historian Neil Atkinson (3 April 2017).

Reflections on the Big Smoke

In this presentation Ben Schrader offers some reflections on the writing of his recent book The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities, 1840-1920 (Bridget Williams Books, Wellington, 2016).


Kūpapa - the bitter legacy of Māori alliances with the Crown

Many people believe the 19th-century New Zealand Wars were fought solely between the Crown and Māori, when the reality is Māori aligned with both sides, resulting in three participants from differing viewpoints. In this episode, lawyer and writer Ron Crosby discusses his most recent book, Kūpapa (7 October 2015).

Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own

Although he was no saint, Richard Seddon was a far more complex and multi-faceted character than the often rather one-dimensional revisionist portraits within our historical literature. Professor Tom Brooking is the author numerous books and publications, including the 2014 biography, Richard Seddon: King of God's Own (2 September 2015).

New Zealand Society at War

Dr Stephen Loveridge explores the dynamics of the mobilisation process and considers what it might add to our comprehension of wartime New Zealand. Introduction by Gavin Maclean (6 August 2015).

James Prendergast: ‘Legal Villain’

Dr Grant Morris explores James Prendergast, the most infamous figure in New Zealand’s legal history. Known mainly for his condemnation of the Treaty of Waitangi as 'a simple nullity' in 1877, Prendergast was a highly respected lawyer and judge and his good reputation remained intact until the 1980s, when the Treaty of Waitangi finally returned to the centre of New Zealand political life (1 July 2015).

Enemy aliens and the New Zealand experience

Andrew Francis discusses a still under-researched aspect of New Zealand’s war on the home front. It assesses the government, press and public’s conduct interwoven with German-born settlers’ wartime experiences. (3 June 2015).

New Zealand’s First World War heritage

Imelda Bargas and Tim Shoebridge are Senior Historians in the Ministry for Culture and Heritage's History Group. In this talk Imelda and Tim will explain how they came to work on their book, New Zealand's First World War heritage, and some of the challenges they faced putting it together. They'll also explore the themes covered in the book, using some of their favourite stories and sites (6 May 2015).

Rough on women: abortion in 19th-century New Zealand

Dame Margaret Sparrow has had a long career in general and reproductive health. She was awarded an MBE in 1987, the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal in 1993, and the DCNZM for services to medicine and the community in 2002, which in 2009 became a DNZM. Here she talks about researching the lives of women who had abortions in 19th century New Zealand (1 April 2015).

New Perspectives on Māori History

Lecturer in History at the University of Auckland, Aroha Harris (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) talks about her latest book, Tangata whenua: an Illustrated history, a collaboration between Harris, Judith Binney and Atholl Anderson (4 March 2015).


Coal: the rise and fall of King Coal in New Zealand

Historian Matthew Wright discusses his recent publication on the chequered history of coal (5 November 2014)

Holding On To Home: New Zealand Stories and Objects of the First World War

Kate Hunter and Kirstie Ross discuss their recent publication (1 October 2014).

New Zealand English: is there more here than meets the eye and ear?

Language expert Dianne Bardsley discusses geographic and social conditions that have produced the distinctive form of New Zealand English (3 September 2014).

I am the island of Niue, a small child that stands up to help the Kingdom of King George - Niue Island involvement in World War I

Historian Margaret Pointer discusses why 150 Niueans were accepted for service in the Maori Contingent, their experiences in Auckland, Egypt, France and England and what life was like for the men returning home (6 August 2014).

Judgements of all Kinds: Economic Policymaking in New Zealand 1945-84

In this talk Jim McAloon sheds light on the perceptions, ideas, and competing interests which shaped the views and actions of ministers and officials in managing a small externally dependent economy in the decades following the Second World War (2 July 2014).

Captain Kindheart’s Crusade

In this talk Nancy Swarbrick discusses pet culture in New Zealand in the context of the international movement that began in the 19th century and still resonates today (4 June 2014).

A Tasman tale?: New Zealand's Depression and Australia, 1930-39

In this talk Malcolm McKinnon discusses ways in which a trans-Tasman frame of reference expands our understanding of the economic depression in 1930s New Zealand (2 April 2014).

The History of Gangs in New Zealand

Dr Jarrod Gilbert looks at the problems of researching gangs, but also the problems encountered when research findings clash with popular and official understandings (5 March 2014).


The White Ships: New Zealand's First World War Hospital Ships

Gavin Maclean looks at the liners Maheno and Marama, which the New Zealand government converted into state-of-the art floating hospitals during the First World War, 'the public face of our merchant marine's war' (6 November 2013).

The Great Strike of 1913: ‘Industrial War’ in ‘the Workers’ Paradise’

Peter Clayworth gives an overview of the strike and examines some of the questions the events of 1913 raise concerning the nature of New Zealand society on the eve of the Great War (2 October 2013).

Tramping in New Zealand; a history

Chris Maclean and Shaun Barnett discuss the the history of tramping in New Zealand, and talk about the process of researching and writing a book on the subject. Introduced by Jock Phillips (4 September 2013).

The Red Cross lens on New Zealand social history

Historian Margaret Tennant discusses how her research for the institutional history of the Red Cross has cast light on broader historical themes (13 August 2013).

Writing fiction as a non-fiction writer

Historian David Young discusses the question of how much his recent fiction writing (the novel Coast) is influenced by his previous historical endeavours and his own life (9 July 2013).

Friendly fire: what happens when allies quarrel

Former diplomat and Head of the Prime Minister's Department Gerald Hensley discusses the anti-nuclear policy of the newly elected Labour government in 1984 and how this collided with the United States policy of nuclear deterrence (5 June 2013).

IPANZ seminar series, 2012

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage and IPANZ co-hosted a series of four public history seminars to mark the centenary of the Public Service Act. The speakers explored the political context in which the 1912 Act was enacted, the long period of continuity until 1988, the 1980s “revolution”, and the present and the future. Download them here:


The search for Anne Perry

Seminar by Dr Joanne Drayton given at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Dr Drayton discusses her biography of crime writer Anne Perry, better known in New Zealand as the convicted muderer Juliet Hulme (5 September 2012).

Life on the Battlefields 94 years later

Belgian historian Charlotte Descamps, who has lived her whole life in the First World War battlefields of the Ypres Salient, talks about her experiences at Varlet Farm, how evidence of the conflict is unearthed every year, how modern technology is helping to identify human remains almost a century after the war, the ‘iron harvest’ in the salient (over 200 tonnes of live ammunition is still collected very year) and the work of the bomb disposal squad, how other items like helmets, rifles, rum jars, badges, buckles and silent pickets help tell the history of the area, and the ongoing research efforts to locate tunnels, ammunition dumps and dugouts (1 August 2012).

Scandal Sheet Confidential: voyages around NZ Truth (1977-2008)

Redmer Yska recalls his involvement with New Zealand Truth newspaper over three decades: first, as a journalist, second as a historical researcher, and lastly as its biographer, resulting in the 2010 book NZ Truth: the rise and fall of the people's paper (5 October 2011).

Charles Mackay: The fall and rise of New Zealand's first 'homosexual'

In 1929 Charles Mackay, a former mayor of Wanganui bled to death on a Berlin street corner – a victim of violent clashes between police and communist protesters. How did he get there? An earlier incident triggered Mackay’s tragic trajectory: in 1920 he shot the returned soldier-cum-writer Walter D’Arcy Cresswell, who was blackmailing the (secretly homosexual) mayor. Paul Diamond’s research into the events surrounding both shootings has uncovered new information about this hidden aspect of New Zealand history (7 September 2011).

The 2010–2011 NCEA 3 history seminar series

Read more about these seminars, including related links here.

Governors and Premiers of New Zealand Gavin McLean - Senior Historian, Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Shame and scandal — women criminals in the late 19th Century 
Bronwyn Dalley - Chief Historian, Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The peaceful conquest — the Vogel era
Neill Atkinson - Senior Historian, Ministry for Culture and Heritage

An overview of NZ 1800-1900
Steve Watters - Historian, Ministry for Culture and Heritage
Gregor Fountain - Deputy Principal, Wellington College

How to attack scholarship questions
Gregor Fountain - Deputy Principal, Wellington College

Seminar PowerPoint slides (pdf)

Associated podcast:

Don’t Mention the (Taranaki) War
Peter Adds -Victoria University of Wellington


'Sticky Beak the Kiwi' song (mp3, 3.2mb) - related information

See also: Roadside Stories - 140 downloadable mp3 files relating to New Zealand places.

How to cite this page

'Podcasts', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 6-Oct-2021