One of the key goals of the AHI is student engagement. The Summer Research Scholarship programme run at the University of Auckland recruits high achieving student scholars and aims to give recipients research experience, an opportunity to work with leading researchers at the University of Auckland and contribute to the wider research community. It also allows students to explore the potential of postgraduate study.
The Auckland History Initiative views Summer Research Scholarships as an integral way to engage students in Auckland history and to strengthen relationships with the Auckland GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) sector. To continue this successful programme, the AHI is seeking potential private sponsorship, please contact: email@example.com
A passion for history, along with a desire to give back led to the establishment of the Jonathan and Mary Mason Summer Scholarship in Auckland History. Read more
2022 Summer Research Scholars
Tommy de Silva
Tommy is an Auckland local, who’s interest in local history was sparked as a child by driving around with his grandfather and hearing how the face of Auckland has changed over time. Coming from a mixed Māori and Pākehā whakapapa Tommy can empathise and connect with diverse stories of Auckland’s past. Currently, in his final semester of an undergraduate BA in history and politics, Tommy plans to pursue postgraduate study in the humanities.
The focus of Tommy’s summer research was finding historical evidence to support the argument that historic Māori lived fluid lives, with his iwi Ngāti Te Ata Waiōhua as the case study. The article’s written with this evidence first explain the Ngāti Te Ata claim to mana in Tāmaki Makaurau, then explore the fluid rohe (territory) of the iwi and the diverse opinions and actions within it around the time of the Waikato War (1863-1864).
Tommy would like to thank his supervisors Jess Parr and Linda Bryder of the Auckland History Initiative for their guidance, the Auckland Libraries staff who helped him find sources and Roimata Minhinnick from Ngāti Te Ata and Te Awhitu from Ngāti Tamaoho for enriching his research with the Māori viewpoint. He is also grateful to Erica O’Flaherty and her team for funding this research as part of their larger project related to developing resources for the Aotearoa New Zealand history curriculum.
Sarah Oliver is in her third year of studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and Anthropology at the University of Auckland. Sarah’s project examines the nineteenth-century Jewish community of Central Auckland, focusing on case studies of successful Jewish merchants who lived in the beautiful villas on Princes Street and Waterloo Quadrant.
Sarah is originally from Rotorua and remembers being awed by the magnificent villas next to the University in Albert Park when she first moved to Auckland for study. It was not until a tour of Central Auckland for a second-year heritage conservation paper that she learnt of the former Jewish Synagogue on the corner of Princes Street and Bowen Avenue. Using the Jewish built heritage of Central Auckland as a starting point, Sarah investigated the tight-knit Jewish community that lived there and uncovered a story of religious sanctuary, excellence and community in the nineteenth century.
Sarah would like to thank her supervisors, Dr Jessica Parr and Professor Linda Bryder, for their support and insight, the University of Auckland Special Collections and Auckland Central Libraries librarians. She would like to give special thanks to Lesley Max and David Robinson of the Auckland Jewish community for their insight into Jewish traditions and to Sheree Trotter of the Auckland Synagogue Archives and Jewish Lives (www.jewishlives.nz) for sending information remotely while Sarah was living in Rotorua. Lastly, Sarah would like to acknowledge Erica O’Flaherty and her team for funding this research as part of their larger project related to developing resources for the Aotearoa New Zealand history curriculum.
Saana has just finished her BA at the University of Auckland, majoring in Politics and Anthropology, and is starting her Honours year in Politics and International Relations.
Saana’s project focused on three women’s political groups operating in Auckland at the turn of the twentieth century and their perspectives on the Contagious Diseases Act 1869. A controversial and divisive topic at the time, the conversations around the C.D. Act exposed a split in the feminist consciousness of late-nineteenth century Auckland. By analysing the difference in opinion between the groups, and the criticism that one group received for their stance, Saana’s project revealed the presence of a dominant feminist narrative and the idea that there was a ‘right’ way to be a feminist in Auckland at the turn of the twentieth century. Turning the mirror towards contemporary society, Saana’s project forces us to question whether there remains a ‘right’ way to be a feminist today?
Saana would like to thank her supervisors Dr Jess Parr and Professor Linda Bryder for their support and guidance throughout the Summer Scholarship. She would also like to thank Katherine Pawley and the rest of the staff at Special Collections at the University of Auckland, whose assistance with primary source material was greatly appreciated.
Flynn McGregor-Sumpter has recently graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in History (Hons) and Psychology. This year, he is studying to become a secondary school History teacher. Having been born and raised in Auckland, the opportunity to research something of significance from his hometown under this scholarship was very exciting. Flynn’s project focuses on the Pacific population of ‘Greater Ponsonby’ in the second half of the twentieth century. In particular, Flynn explored the attempts of Pacific migrants to remain true to their identity and culture in a new country. Through institutions such as churches, sports groups and schools, the influence of Pacific peoples remains evident in the central Auckland suburbs to this day, despite the gentrification of the area in the late-1900s.
Flynn would like to extend his thanks to his project supervisors, Dr Jess Parr and Professor Linda Bryder, for their expertise and guidance throughout the process. Further, the efforts of the University of Auckland and Auckland Council Special Collections staff were instrumental in helping him find and access important resources. He is also grateful to Erica O’Flaherty and her team for funding this research as part of their larger project related to developing resources for the Aotearoa New Zealand history curriculum. Lastly, Flynn would like to acknowledge the Auckland History Initiative and his fellow scholars for helping him construct a narrative that he can be proud of.
Angela Black is going into her fourth year of a Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Arts conjoint degree, majoring in History and Economics. Having moved to Auckland from overseas 5 years ago, Angela was delighted by the opportunity afforded by this scholarship to explore the history of the city she now calls home. Her project centres around one of the North Shore’s most iconic landmarks, the Chelsea Sugar Factory, which has been operating as New Zealand’s only sugar refinery for 138 years and everyday delivers sugar to thousands of manufacturers and household kitchens throughout Aotearoa. In particular, Angela’s project explores the historical reasons for a collective anxiety which tore through Birkenhead residents in 2006, when it was feared the factory would be relocated due to an application to rezone the land for residential purposes.
Angela would like to extend a massive thank you to her supervisors, Dr Jess Parr and Professor Linda Bryder for their support and guidance throughout this project; as well as to the librarians at Auckland Council; and Ian Brailsford and the rest of his colleagues at the University of Auckland Special Collections for assistance in accessing resources for this project. Angela would also like to acknowledge the Auckland History Initiative, the generous donors of the Jonathan and Mary Mason scholarship in Auckland History and her fellow scholars – thank you for all your support along the way.
Blair McIntosh is a postgrad student at the University of Auckland who is currently completing his honours year in history. Growing up, Blair spent endless hours helping his Mum prepare materials for her weekly social studies lessons — a past-time which clearly rubbed off on him considering his love for history and desire to eventually train as a secondary school teacher too.
Intrigued to know more about the history behind one of Auckland’s most iconic landmarks, Blair’s project delves deep into Rangitoto’s past to reconsider what this Island represented for generations of Aucklanders drawn to its shores during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century. Blair would like to acknowledge his supervisors, Dr Jess Parr and Professor Linda Bryder; the generous sponsorship of Jonathan and Mary Mason; the wonderful team from Auckland Libraries, especially Elspeth Orwin, special collections archivist and member of the Rangitoto Island Trust; Danielle Carter from New Zealand Maritime Museum; Gretel Boswijik, for her input on the earlier stages of this project; Susan Thomas from Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust, and finally his fellow summer scholars who grew on this journey with him. He cannot thank all the insights, support, and guidance these individuals gave enough.
Finally, Blair would like to dedicate his work to the memory of his late Nana, Maureen Freeman, who unfortunately passed away during the writing of his research. Like many Aucklanders, Blair’s Nana had a strong affinity to Rangitoto Island which she always looked out at from the living room window of her house. Hopefully, this project does justice to the memory of her and many others who have considered Rangitoto Island as part of the place they called ‘Home’.
2021 Summer Research Scholars
Laura Prahash is currently in her final year of a conjoint Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in History, Chemistry, and Physics. Her project examined the history of international students in Auckland over three time-periods: the first international students who came in the 1950s as part of the Colombo Plan, the Malaysian students in the 1970s who faced several discriminatory policy changes, and the influx of Chinese students in the early 2000s.
Laura uses the experiences of international students to explore foreign aid and immigration policies, as well as how the media impacts and influences the relationship between these students and the wider Auckland community. She would like to acknowledge her supervisors, Dr Jessica Parr and Professor Linda Bryder; Katherine Pawley and the rest of her colleagues in the University of Auckland Special Collections; Renée Orr and the Research Central team; and her fellow AHI scholar Helena Wiseman – their knowledge, support, and assistance has been invaluable, and this project would not have come together if it wasn’t for their input.
Helena Wiseman is a 4th year student studying History and Law at the University of Auckland. She cannot remember the time before she loved history, and has studied it throughout her education. Helena’s project examines the experiences of Dalmatian immigrants who moved into Auckland’s central suburbs after the wars.
Inspired to investigate the story of her own family, the research has revealed that the relationship between Dalmatians and Auckland is symbiotic, and full of tension, politics, and the search for home. Her research was generous funded by a Jonathan and Mary Mason scholarship in Auckland History. Helena would like to thank her supervisors, Dr Jessica Parr and Professor Linda Bryder, for their support and insight, and the University of Auckland Special Collections and Auckland Central Libraries librarians. She would also like to give special thanks to the archivists at the Dalmatian Genealogical and Historical Society Archives. Their wealth of knowledge and support have been invaluable to this project.
2020 Summer Research Scholars
Hanna Lu attended Epsom Girls Grammar School, where she enrolled in History on impulse and found herself unable to leave. She continued into the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics, which she due to graduate from in the latter half of 2020.
Hanna was one of four students awarded a 2020 Summer Scholarship out of a highly competitive field. Her project focused on a group of Chinese families in Auckland in the twentieth century and she describes this topic as a timely one. As we grapple with the urgent need for ethnic diversity in history, this research highlights moments of grace in Auckland’s past, and suggests a reorientation in the way we write about ethnicity and what Auckland has been to its people.
Hanna would like to acknowledge her supervisors Dr Jessica Parr and Professor Linda Bryder from the University of Auckland; David Wong and Lisa Truttman from the Chinese New Zealand Oral History Foundation; staff from the Auckland Libraries’ research centres and the Sir George Grey Special Collections, Sue Berman and Natasha Barrett in particular; summer scholarship alumnus Nicholas Jones; and of course her fellow scholars, friends and family — sincerest thanks for their trust, support and wisdom.
Isabella is in her third year of a conjoint Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws, majoring in History and Politics at The University of Auckland. Prior to university, she attended Epsom Girls Grammar School.
Out of a highly competitive field, Isabella was one of four students awarded a 2020 Summer Scholarship at the University of Auckland. Her research project centred on one of Auckland’s most iconic spaces; Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill. Isabella used this space to examine the different meanings and uses that have been applied to this iconic green space throughout the twentieth century. This wide topic allowed for the exploration of a range of themes including Māori activism, the relationship between residents and their local greenspaces and the tensions this creates. The history of this area reflects how external events, changing social attitudes and beliefs, and changing political influences have shaped Auckland and its people.
Isabella would especially like to thank Philippa Price and the Cornwall Park Trust Board, the Auckland Council Archives, the Auckland History Initiative and her supervisors Dr Jessica Parr and Professor Linda Bryder for their assistance in accessing resources and their expansive knowledge.
Tom is currently completing a Master of Arts in History at the University of Auckland. For his undergraduate study he completed a conjoint Bachelor of Arts (honours) and Bachelor of Science in History, Anthropology, and Geography. Out of a highly competitive field, Tom was one of four students awarded a 2020 Summer Scholarship at the University of Auckland.
Before moving to Auckland for tertiary study, Tom grew up in Christchurch, where the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 radically altered the city’s built environment and stripped the city of some of its heritage. It was with this in mind that he chose to look at Parnell over the course of his summer research project. His project examined the history of the suburb of Parnell during the post-war period and explored the social and physical changes which occurred over the latter half of the twentieth century.
Tom extends his warmest thanks to staff at Auckland Central City Library, Auckland Council Archives, and the Parnell Heritage Society for their assistance over the summer. He would also like to acknowledge the incredible assistance granted by the Auckland History Initiative, Professor Linda Bryder and Dr Jessica Parr over the course of the Summer Scholarship.
Brooke is currently completing her final year of a Law and Arts conjoint degree at the University of Auckland, double majoring in History and Ancient History.
Brooke was one of four students that was awarded a 2020 Summer Scholarship at the University of Auckland and her award was funded by a Jonathon and Mary Mason Scholarship in Auckland history. Her research project explored women in Auckland politics. She focused her efforts on two women, studying the motivations, methods and achievements of Mary Dreaver and Mere Newton.
Brooke would like to acknowledge the generosity of Jonathon and Mary Mason for funding her scholarship. She would also like to extend a special thanks to Vicky Spalding and the team at Auckland Council Archives, and her supervisors Professor Linda Bryder and Dr Jessica Parr.
Nathan McLeay is currently completing his honours year in History at the University of Auckland, having completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and Geography in 2018. Before moving to Auckland for study, he attended Hillcrest High School in Hamilton.
Nathan was one of four students awarded a 2019 Summer Scholarship at The University of Auckland out of a highly competitive field and his award was funded by a Jonathan and Mary Mason Scholarship in Auckland history. His research project explored the history of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It followed the development of the bridge since its earliest imaginings, discussing how the bridge was received by the public and it reflected on some of the lessons that we in the present can learn from the bridge’s history.
Nathan would like to extend his warmest thanks to staff at Takapuna Library, Central City Library, and Auckland Council Archives, as well as to his supervisor, Linda Bryder (Professor at the University of Auckland), and to Bill McKay (Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland), for their generous assistance throughout the project.
Kia ora, I whakapapa to Tuhoe and Nga Puhi.
Nicholas attended Trident High School in Whakatane. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Auckland with a major in History and a minor in Art History, graduating in 2018. Nicholas went on to complete Honours in History, graduating with first class honours. He is now beginning Masters in Asian Studies at the University of Auckland.
During his summer scholarship, Nicholas was fortunate enough to partake in the Mana Whenua project, supervised by Professor Linda Bryder. His project was focused upon fleshing out the social history of Auckland’s Maori Community Centre.
This research benefited greatly from the guidance and help from the Auckland Libraries staff. Nicholas would like to extend special thanks to Rob Eruera, Jane Wild, and the staff from the Sir George Grey Special Collections.
Nancy is currently completing her honours year in History at The University of Auckland, having completed a Bachelor of Arts. She attended Epsom Girls Grammar, where her interest in history was fostered.
Nancy was one of four students awarded a 2019 Summer Scholarship at The University of Auckland out of a highly competitive field and her award was funded by a Jonathan and Mary Mason Scholarship in Auckland history. Her research project focused on the efforts to Pedestrianise Queen Street in May of 1979. Nancy describes this area of study as a niche topic, but one that is interesting as it allowed the examination of council planning and bureaucracy, the impact of urban sprawl, and the process of establishing purpose for Auckland’s central area. With multiple streets in Auckland’s CBD soon to be closed to cars, these lessons from 1979 are becoming increasingly relevant.
Nancy would like to extend special thanks to Vicky Spalding and the team at Auckland Council Archives, the team at Sir George Grey Special Collections, her supervisor, Linda Bryder (Professor at the University of Auckland) and to Bill McKay (Senior Lecturer at The University of Auckland) for their help and expansive expertise.
Sample our Scholar’s Work:
by Helena Wiseman*
Dalmatians came to Aotearoa from a relatively small area – only a few hundred kilometers, a handful of villages – on the Adriatic coast of what is now Croatia but was historically the culturally distinct Roman region of Dalmatia.
by Laura Prahash*
Many of us, myself included, tend to take the presence of international students for granted. With this pandemic preventing many international students from staying in or entering Auckland, it’s become increasingly clear how valuable their participation on campus and in our society is.
By Isabella Wensley*
The Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill obelisk is one of the most distinctive landmarks in Auckland. Standing at odds with its natural landscape, it rises 100ft above the summit, its sharp concrete angles contrasting with the rolling grassy hilltop it sits upon.
by Tom Wilkinson*
Parnell, as one of Auckland’s oldest suburbs, has a history extending back to the early settlement of the area. When Pākeha arrived in New Zealand and began obtaining land, the area which we now call Parnell was one of the earliest acquisitions.
by Hanna Lu*
History is not about us. I mean, the people involved are usually not us. But the stories we tell are about ourselves, and who we’ve been, and what we mean when we say ‘ourselves’. Are there concepts of who we are that rest on the exclusion of certain groups?
by Brooke Stevenson*
Auckland’s female political history has been more vibrant and diverse than one might assume. After trail blazers such as Elizabeth Yates and Ellen Melville, we see the emergence of women who become experts in mastering the art of networking and public speaking, bringing their own feminine approach and experiences into local and national level politics.