The Missing Link: New Zealand European/Pākehā family memory

Learn about the first national study of multigenerational Pākehā family memory, a research project run within the Stout Research Centre.

What stories and memories are passed down within your family?

This is the first national study of multigenerational New Zealand European/Pākehā family memory. The research will focus upon the descendants of European settlers who came to New Zealand before 1914. Funded by the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand, the project is led by Associate Professor Anna Green from the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.

In contrast to the centrality of whakapapa/genealogy in Māori culture, very little is known about the content of family memory among New Zealanders of European descent. This constitutes a 'missing link' to our past. All families are storehouses of information, and their memories, written records, photographs and objects have the collective potential to transform our understanding of family life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

In this research project we are asking fifty multigenerational New Zealand families throughout the country, approached through a random sample of the general electoral rolls, to share their knowledge and memories of earlier generations.

If you have received a letter from us, and have one or more European ancestors who came to New Zealand before 1914, we warmly invite you and your family to take part. We will be recording oral history interviews with participating families during 2016 and 2017.
We would like to record what you know and remember about any of your forebears. It is not necessary to have researched your family history (although it's fine if you have). Those contributing to this research will be able to choose whether or not to remain anonymous.

Everyone participating in the project will receive an audio copy of their interview, which we hope will become a valued family resource for future generations. The research will culminate in a book about family memory and history in New Zealand.

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