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Following protests by the Maori Women Welfare League Washday at the Pa was controversially withdrawn from circulation by the Department of Education.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: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news