Past JD Stout Fellows

Meet past Stout Fellows and explore their research and publications.

Nick Bollinger

2021 John David Stout Fellow Nick Bollinger, a Wellington-based writer and broadcaster, has won a 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Award this year for his book, Jumping Sundays: The Rise and Fall of the Counterculture in Aotearoa New Zealand published by Auckland University Press.  The book was recognized in the Illustrated Fiction category. Presented annually, Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are the country’s premier literary honours for books written by New Zealanders.

Jumping Sundays takes its title from the weekly gatherings in Auckland’s Albert Park in 1969, that blended anti-war activism, live music, and cultural celebrations, and marked the beginning of a powerful counter-cultural movement in Aotearoa/New Zealand. “To me, Jumping Sundays represented a larger culture clash between a conservative post-war New Zealand and a new youth-led movement, as young people challenged their parents’ attitudes to everything from war and religion to sex, drugs, music and the shape of society,” Bollinger said.

The book goes beyond capturing the cultural zeitgeist of the counterculture in Aotearoa/New Zealand to explore the connections between local, national, and international countercultural expressions during the 1960s and 1970s.  Illustrated Non-Fiction convenor Jared Davidson commented that the book, with its extensive archival research, striking photographs, and vivid storytelling, is “a triumph of production and design.”

Bollinger's inspiration for the book came from his childhood experience. Growing up in the 1960s, he was stepping into a world that had just been shaped by people only a few years older. Having learned about the period through music, journalism, and literature growing up, Bollinger became inspired to revisit and better understand this turbulent period in the history of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

As a JD Stout Fellow, Bollinger spent his residency at the Stout Centre for New Zealand Studies researching and writing Jumping Sundays and organizing a seminar series on countercultural movements at Victoria University. He credits the financial and institution support provided by the Stout Fellowship with enabling him to finish the manuscript. He especially appreciated the physical space the Stout provided. From his office at Victoria University, he could “see the trees and the harbour” whilst being just “one minute’s walk from the library,” he recalled. Bollinger also expressed gratitude for the Stout’s supportive and generative scholarly community. “I honestly can’t think of a better place, anywhere, to do this book,” he said. In particular, “[The Stout Centre] really understands interdisciplinarity. There’s no sort of 'stay in your lane’ there.” Whilst at the Stout, he drew inspiration from the interdisciplinary network of academics, authors, cultural critics, and social activists, who would gather for Thursday lunches or stop in for casual conversations. “Those little chance meetings would so often lead to a little piece of the bigger puzzle I was working on. Constantly, someone would say ‘Oh, I know someone you should talk to, or, I know someone that was involved in alternative theatre during that period,” Bollinger recalled.

Brigitte Bonisch-Brednich, Director of the Stout Centre, expressed similar appreciation to Bollinger for his many contributions during his residency. “Nick’s time at the Stout generated lively discussions, and he was generous with his time and supported other scholar’s work as much as the community supported his,” she observed. Beyond his award-winning writing career, Bollinger is also a widely-known broadcaster, journalist, music reviewer, and cultural historian. A recipient of the prestigious Lilburn Research Fellowship for 2023, he is now working at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, on a new project that explores popular music in Aotearoa/New Zealand as a window into its culture, class, and identity.