Teaching Module

New Zealand Childhoods (18th–20th c.)


  1. Ihimaera, Witi, ed. Growing Up Maori. Auckland: Tandem Press, 1998.
    This collection of 37 personal accounts covers a wide spectrum of experiences and provides the best single introduction to Maori childhoods, rural and urban, throughout the 20th century.
  2. Gifkins, Michael, ed. Through the Looking Glass: Recollections of Childhood from 20 Prominent New Zealanders. Auckland: Century Hutchinson, 1988.
    In seeking a common theme from the variety of childhood experience reflected in this collection, Gifkins concludes (p. viii) that "the anarchy of childhood" predominates. Each of the contributors attained prominence in his or her chosen field; the majority are writers or poets. Most of the childhoods outlined are set in the 1940s and 1950s.
  3. O'Regan, Pauline. Aunts & Windmills: Stories from My Past. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 1991.
    A Catholic nun and social activist, O'Regan recounts childhood episodes of the 1920s and 1930s, set in the small West Coast farming community of Cronadun. School, church, and community activities are complemented by evocative memories of sounds, smells, and tastes.
  4. Langkilde Christie, Poula. Candles and Canvas; A Danish Family in New Zealand. Auckland: New Women's Press, 1987.
    Emigrating as a child to New Zealand in 1907, Poula Christie and her sister encountered intolerance, hostility, and suspicion as "foreigners" in a British-dominated society. Her autobiography highlights the cultural difficulties of young "aliens" who sought to be accepted by their peers despite parental anxieties that they should not ignore their cultural heritage.
  5. Archie, Carol. Skin to Skin: Intimate True Stories of Maori-Pakeha Relationships. Auckland: Penguin Books, 2005.
    A highly respected Pakeha journalist, Archie has had extensive experience covering Maori/Pakeha issues. This book is based upon her interviews with the members of ten New Zealand families of mixed ethnicity. Particular emphasis is given to the recollections of the (now adult) children. Some 70,000 New Zealand couples were in Maori/non-Maori relationships at the beginning of the 21st century.

How to Cite This Source

"New Zealand Childhoods (18th–20th c.)," in Children and Youth in History, Item #93, https://cyh.rrchnm.org/items/show/93 (accessed August 10, 2021).