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Thu 7 Sep 2017, 5:30pm–6:45pm

Where: Te Ahumairangi Ground Floor, National Library, cnr Molesworth & Aitken Streets, Thorndon, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Space is limited, so book your spot by emailing

New research on Te Tiriti
Each of these speakers has held a Treaty of Waitangi Fellowship at Victoria University. Their presentations draw on the new research they have undertaken during these fellowships.

British Poetry and Māori Diplomacy: Thomas Babington Macaulay and Māori Land Rights.
Dr Nikki Hessell, Senior Lecturer, English Programme.

This talk will discuss Dr Hessell's research on the use of lines of poetry by the British writer, intellectual and MP Thomas Babington Macaulay in negotiations around Māori land in the East Cape. She'll be discussing the ways in which Macaulay’s lines are reimagined and redeployed in communication between Māori and the government in early twentieth-century Aotearoa to help emphasise key Māori conceptions of land rights and create a common dialogue between negotiating parties.

Stories of Māori Constitutional Traditions
Dr Carwyn Jones, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law

This talk will explore ways in which Māori stories communicate Māori constitutional traditions. Constitutions, whether written or unwritten, speak to the exercise of public power. They provide the framework for the regulation of public power – the process for setting the rules, making and amending law; who is empowered to make decisions and the constraints under which they do so. Dr Jones will discuss examples of Māori stories that illustrate a Māori approach to constitutional issues.

Classical Scholarship and Māori Oral Tradition: The Curious Case of Agathe Thornton
Dr Simon Perris, Senior Lecturer, Classics Programme

Agathe Thornton was a German classicist at Otago University and expert on the epic poems of Homer and Vergil who, after retirement, began a second career working on Māori oral tradition and written manuscripts from the nineteenth century – including Te Rangikāheke’s famous retelling of the life story of Māui. Dr Perris' talk will explore Thornton’s work, its strengths and weaknesses, and some of the implications of using classical scholarship to understand Māori texts.

Space is limited, so book your spot by emailing

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