Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Ans Westra’s “Washday At The Pa” Republished

(October 2011)

Ans Westra’s “Washday At The Pa” Republished After Forty-Seven Years

On 27 October {Suite} Publishing will launch a new edition of Ans Westra’s Washday at the Pa. The book will include images made for the 1964 first and second editions as well as images made by Westra in 1998 as part of a subsequent project: Washday at the Pa Revisited. Accompanying the images is text by Mark Amery, which chronicles the Washday chapter of New Zealand history.

Forty-seven years ago Westra provided the text and forty-four images for a Department of Education journal made for primary schools. Titled Washday at the Pa the book followed a day in the life of a rural Maori family of eight children awaiting relocation to a state house in the city. The family was given the fictitious name ‘Wereta’ to protect their identity, and their location was given not as Ruatoria (where the family actually lived) but ‘near Taihape’.

Following protests by the Maori Women Welfare League Washday at the Pa was controversially withdrawn from circulation by the Department of Education. The League condemned Westra's depiction of the poor, rural Maori family living in sub-standard housing as untruthful and inaccurate. Westra defended the integrity of the images and as copyright owner later in 1964 published the second edition through the Caxton Press. Westra took this opportunity to add twenty-two new images, some introducing whole new episodes to the story.

Westra kept in touch with the family and in 1998 photographed three of the grown up children and their families (Washday at the Pa Revisted). She was interested to see how things had changed.

“In many ways things hadn’t. They still had the very large families, which was interesting. The one daughter who was the key figure in the story, she still had no wallpaper on her walls and said “that is what I remember from Mum. I don’t want carpet, I don’t want wallpaper, it’s not important. That’s not the childhood I remember, and I feel comfortable.” It’s quite interesting” Westra is quoted as saying in the new book.
“The Washday episode/controversy still resonates with both Maori and Pakeha on a number of significant levels. The new book reflects on the ongoing relevance of the issues stimulated by the original publication and ensures that important historical images are accessible to a new and wide audience” said Luit Bieringa, former director of the National Art Gallery and coordinator of Handboek: Ans Westra Photographs.

Copies of Washday at the Pa are available from {Suite} Publishing via for $24.95. Supported by Creative New Zealand, the project is coordinated by David Alsop. An exhibition of prints from Washday at the Pa opens at {Suite} Gallery in Wellington on 26 October.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Leonardo da Vinci - The Graphic Work

The breadth of da Vinci’s work is incredible: from animals to weaponry, architecture to fabric, maps to botany. The works have been divided into themes such as Proportion Drawings, Anatomical Drawings and Drawings of Maps and Plans. Each section begins with a short essay. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: James Hector: Explorer, Scientist, Leader

Publication of this comprehensive 274-page account of the life and work of James Hector by the Geoscience Society of New Zealand marks the 150th anniversary of James Hector’s appointment as New Zealand’s first government scientist. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news