Rebellious Minds at Victoria Seminar Series

Over September-October 2022, the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies will be hosting the Rebellious Minds seminar series as part of Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington’s 125th anniversary celebrations. The series is dedicated to exploring, assessing, and reflecting upon pivotal episodes of dissent, non-conformity, and critical-thinking which played out across the University. Sessions highlight histories of ‘rebellion’ in political, intellectual, social and cultural life, with subjects covering countercultural change, spirituality, indigenous rights, feminist activism, and student media, among others. The Stout Research Centre will also be producing an accompanying series of podcasts to showcase a broader range of ‘rebellions’ in the social, cultural, and political life of the University. Seminars will be held every Wednesday between 14 September and 19 October 2022 in the Hunter Building.

14 September 2022

Red Rantings and Hippie Happenings: Victoria University of Wellington and the Countercultural Rebellions of the 1930s and the 1960s

Across Victoria University of Wellington’s history, small but vocal cohorts of students have challenged New Zealand’s prevailing social and political norms. The 1930s and 1960s witnessed especially vibrant examples, with the former stimulated by economic crisis and the looming shadow of war, and the latter by the nuclear threat, the Vietnam War and a global countercultural movement. In both decades, students bucked against stultifying conservatism and embraced idealistic, progressive and even radical points of view. Young, energetic, committed, living at the forefront of social, cultural and political change, through vigorous debate, discordant protest and acts of defiance, they brought attention to new ways of thinking and attempted to bring about different and better ways of living. This talk explores, compares and contrasts the student subcultures of these two eras of change and upheaval.

Stephen Hamilton: Stephen Hamilton is a retired archivist. He has written on a broad range of topics, from New Zealand literary and student culture to media history and archival practice. He wrote his centennial history of VUWSA, A Radical Tradition (2002), as a Resident of the Stout Research Centre. As an archivist he worked in community and university repositories in New Zealand and Australia.

Nick Bollinger: Nick Bollinger is a Wellington-based writer, broadcaster and critic. He has been a columnist for the Listener and the voice of RNZ’s The Sampler. His book Goneville: A Memoir won the 2015 Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing and was longlisted for the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards. He was the 2021 JD Stout Fellow. His latest book is Jumping Sundays: The Rise and Fall of the Counterculture in Aotearoa New Zealand.



21 September 2022

Salient Legacies: Politics and Rebellion in Student Media at Victoria University of Wellington, 1970s and Today

Since launching in 1938, Salient has been a fixture of campus life at Victoria University of Wellington, gaining a reputation for alternative perspectives and irreverent commentary on the issues of the day. Organised and produced by students, it has been a testing ground for generations of young writers, journalists and activists. In this talk, current Salient editor Janhavi Gosavi and historian Max Nichol considered the unique place of Salient in New Zealand’s print landscape. Contrasting the Salient of the 1970s and today, the talk explored the legacy of the publication as well as the recent priorities and future direction of Salient.

Janhavi Gosavi: Janhavi Gosavi is the current Editor of Salient Magazine. She has been writing for Salient since 2019 and has previously held the roles of Staff Writer and Poetry Editor. She recently graduated from Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelor of Arts in History, Cultural Anthropology and Theatre.

Max Nichol: Max Nichol graduated from Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington with a Master of Arts in History in 2019. His thesis, ‘An Organ of Student Opinion?: Alternative Print, Protest, and the Politics of Education in Salient, 1973-1989’ explores the history of Salient during a period of student protest and political upheaval in New Zealand.


28 September 2022

Lloyd Geering: Heretic, Prophet, Activist, Priest

Lloyd Geering was already a household name when he was appointed founding professor of Religious Studies in 1971. Accused of heresy, he had been tried for doctrinal error and disturbing the peace of the church at the 1967 Presbyterian General Assembly. The trial was a sensation. Geering emerged as a polarising figure within the churches but also a public figure of exceptional note. A gifted communicator, he embraced his reputation as ‘heretical’ critical voice, becoming a popular lecturer and teacher as well as a prolific columnist and media commentator during his years at Victoria University of Wellington (1971-1984). This talk focuses on Geering’s work during these years, exploring his contribution as well as interpretations of his significance and remarkable appeal.

Geoff Troughton is Associate Professor and Programme Director of Religious Studies at Te Herenga Waka. His research focuses on religion in New Zealand and social and ethical questions in the history of modern Christianity. Major publications include New Zealand Jesus (2011) and two recent volumes on religion and peacemaking in New Zealand history: Saints and Stirrers (2017) and Pursuing Peace in Godzone (2018, with Philip Fountain). A new volume, Pacifying Missions: Christianity, Violence, and Empire in the Nineteenth Century, is forthcoming in 2023.


5 October 2022

From Protest to Celebration: Te Reo Māori Revitalisation

On 14 September 2022 we celebrated 50 years of the laying of the petition for te reo Māori on the steps of parliament. Over 30 thousand signatures were collected by two groups of university students: Ngā Tamatoa at Auckland University and the Te Reo Māori Society at Victoria University of Wellington. At a time when there were hardly any speakers of te reo Māori, these rebellious students set a course for the language to be widely heard and used in this country today.

Rawinia Higgins: Professor Rawinia Higgins (Tūhoe) is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. Professor Higgins is a member of the Waitangi Tribunal, a Board member of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, a Board member of Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga (Māori Centre of Research Excellence), and the current Chair and Commissioner of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori - The Māori Language Commission. Professor Higgins is the first woman to be appointed to this position.

She was elected as a Pacific Region representative on the Global Taskforce for the UNESCO International Decade of Indigenous Languages. Professor Higgins has been appointed to a number of governance and advisory board roles for government, Māori and iwi.Her research expertise is Māori language revitalisation and, more specifically, language planning and policy and she was instrumental in shaping the current Māori language legislation and policy framework.


12 October 2022

Identity, Change and Challenge: Two Accounts of Women and Rebellion at Victoria University of Wellington

This session explores two accounts of women’s efforts to navigate social changes and challenges in prior decades which remain relevant today. Barbara Brookes, in conversation with Margaret Sparrow, will examine the challenges the sexual revolution brought to young women at Victoria University of Wellington. Margaret Sparrow, who encountered these challenges at Student Health, was at the forefront of addressing the taboos around young women and sexuality, arguing that young women should have access to contraception and abortion. Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban found in her family, community and Pacific culture important models, great ideas, encouragement, inspiration and indeed ‘rebellious minds’. Her mother’s ‘rebellious mind’ led her to leave her homeland, but she did not leave her culture or language behind. She had the wisdom and foresight to take the strength of her culture with her and pass it onto her children and grandchildren.

Barbara Brookes: Barbara Brookes is Professor Emerita in History at the University of Otago. She is the author and editor of a number of books and academic articles, including the prize-winning A History of Women in New Zealand (Bridget Williams Books, 2016).

Margaret Sparrow: Dame Margaret Sparrow graduated in 1963 from Otago Medical School and practised with a special interest in family planning, abortion and sexual health. She retired from clinical practice in 2005 to write three books on the history of abortion in New Zealand. For many years she was President of ALRANZ (Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand).

Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban: Associate Professor Hon. Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, DNZM was appointed Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika), at Victoria University of Wellington in 2010. She previously served as a Member of Parliament (1999 – 2010) and was Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Associate Minister of Trade, Associate Minister of Economic Development and Associate Minister of Social Development and Employment. Seminar


19 October 2022

Changing the Law and Minds:The Influence of Victoria University of Wellington on LGBTI+ issues

This session explores campaigns on LGBTI+ issues, examining those involved, the challenges they faced and the position of Victoria University of Wellington within this history. The early 1960s were a very different time for what we now call the Rainbow community. Homosexuality was socially disapproved of and parliament had just reaffirmed laws avowed to protect society from it. From this time, however, Victoria University of Wellington staff played a prominent role in challenging such social and legal views and the Students Association backed Gay Liberation from the early 1970s. It, along with various departments of the University, supported the passage of Fran Wilde’s Homosexual Law Reform Bill in 1985/86. Changing attitudes towards transsexuals are more recent and until not long ago they were excluded from mainstream employment. In a Wellington context this meant making a living through a very narrow range of (sometimes dangerous and/or illegal) occupations along Vivian and Marion Streets. The dedicated activism of Carmen Rupe and Georgina Beyer, two people associated with this area of Wellington, helped bring about a shift in attitudes. This, and associated legislation, transformed New Zealand from a country to hide in or escape from into one of the most tolerant and accepting countries in the world.

Gavin Young: Gavin joined Gay liberation (VUW) in 1976 while completing a BCA degree. He held a number of other roles in the gay rights movement in the 1970s-80s including Co-ordinator of the National Gay Rights Coalition. His career has been in trade development where he served as New Zealand Trade Commissioner and Consul General in a range of countries. He is currently writing a book to tell many never before told stories of the fight for what would become LGBTI+ rights.

Catherine Churchman: Catherine studied Chinese and Dutch at the University of Auckland in the 1990s and received an MA in Chinese from the University of Waikato in 2002. She went on to study History in the Research School of Pacific and Asian studies at the Australian National University in Canberra, receiving her doctorate in 2011. In 2015 she took up the position of lecturer in Asian studies at Victoria University of Wellington.


Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington · Rebellious Minds: Kiwi Youth Sings – a kōrero with Dr Michael Brown