ISBN: 978 1 927322 02 4
The Lives of Colonial Objects is a sumptuously illustrated and highly readable book about things, and the stories that unfold when we start to investigate them. In this collection of 50 essays the authors, including historians, archivists, curators and Māori scholars, have each chosen an object from New Zealand’s colonial past, and their examinations open up our history in astonishingly varied ways. Some are treasured family possessions such as a kahu kiwi, a music album or a grandmother’s travel diary, and their stories have come down through families. Some, like the tauihu of a Māori waka, a Samoan kilikiti bat or a flying boat, are housed in museums. Others – a cannon, a cottage and a country road – inhabit public spaces but they too turn out to have unexpected histories. Things invite us into the past through their tangible, tactile and immediate presence: in this collection they serve as 50 paths into New Zealand’s colonial history. While each chapter is the story of a particular object, The Lives of Colonial Objects as a whole informs and enriches the colonial history of Aotearoa New Zealand.