Auckland City Tāmaki Makaurau is situated amongst many volcanoes on an isthmus that is flanked by the Manukau and Waitemata harbours. The cones punctuate the skyline and the ocean is never far from view. These iconic features have not only shaped the landscape but also the people who have settled in this diverse environment. The Auckland History Initiative (AHI) seeks to engage with and capture the historical and cultural development of the city as well as the wider Auckland region, extending from Northland to the Waikato. Our aim is to develop Ngā Ara o Haere – A Framework for Auckland History. In collaboration with stakeholders including iwi, Council, central government agencies, the GLAM sector (galleries, libraries, archives and museums), research institutes and local historical societies, we will advance a common framework of overarching, high-level themes with which to approach the history of Auckland. The AHI will reach beyond the University to build strong and enduring connections with Auckland’s many history and heritage institutions and communities with the intention to put our history at the heart of an energetic conversation about Auckland City and the future of Aotearoa New Zealand.

2019 AHI Symposium

The Auckland History Initiative is pleased to announce its first symposium to be held at the Waipapa Marae, The University of Auckland, 9am-4pm, 15 April 2019, with an evening lecture and function at the Auckland Museum.

Please register for the Symposium and Lecture separately using the ‘register’ buttons provided.



Symposium Programme

Speakers at the symposium will include Professor Grace Karskens (University of New South Wales), Emeritus Professor Russell Stone, Emeritus Professor Raewyn Dalziel, Professor Charlotte Macdonald, Dr Ben Schrader and Dr Hazel Petrie.

The event will also feature the work of Summer Scholars from the University of Auckland who will talk on aspects of Auckland history, an update on Auckland Museum’s proposed Tamaki Galleries and a panel discussion on urban history from different disciplinary perspectives to take the AHI forward.

To conclude the symposium, Auckland Museum is hosting the first AHI Annual Lecture, to be presented by Ms Margaret Kawharu and Professor David Williams. Please register separately for the evening lecture.

2019 AHI Symposium Draft Programme

Keynote Address

Going Public: Historians, Public History and the Power of Place


What is the role of historians in public history? Are they revered experts and instigators? Equal collaborators? Or do they just provide the ‘colourful’ stories in public history projects?  Drawing on historians’ work with archaeologists, museum curators, local historians, film-makers and Aboriginal people over the past thirty years, this paper will argue that public history is a distinctive kind of historical practice, indeed a distinctive kind of history, because of its connections to places and people. Historians need to go public. Public history has the power to foster historical consciousness of place, to connect people in shared understandings of the past and present, in ways that are essential for caring for places, and for social justice and reconciliation.

Speaker’s Bio

Professor Grace Karskens teaches Australian history at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She is a leading authority on early colonial history and also works in cross-cultural history and environmental history. Grace began her career as a public historian and is committed to promoting historical understandings and awareness to wide audiences. She has served as a Trustee of Sydney Living Museums and of the Dictionary of Sydney. Her latest book The Colony: A History of Early Sydney won the 2010 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and the US Urban History Association’s prize for Best Book 2010. Her next book, People of the River, is a history of Aboriginal and settler peoples on the Hawkesbury-Nepean River from deep time to about 1830.

AHI Inaugural Lecture

The first Auckland History Initiative (AHI) Annual Lecture will be hosted by the Auckland Museum following the AHI Symposium, 5-7pm, Monday 15 April 2019. Ms Margaret Kawharu MA (Hons), (Ngāti Whātua) and Emeritus Professor David Williams FRSNZ will speak.

 The Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei journey towards an historical account in Treaty Settlement negotiations (1999-2011): Hapū perspectives and some comments on ‘legislated history’

 Please register for the Symposium and Lecture separately using the ‘register’ buttons provided


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