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Out of the Shadows: The Life of Millicent Baxter

Out of the Shadows: The Life of Millicent Baxter

On Thursday 2 November 2015, Penny Griffith will launch her new book Out of the Shadows - The Life of Millicent Baxter

Millicent Baxter was the pivot and driving force of her husband and sons’ lives. In some ways they lived inher shadow. Throughout her 96 years, Millicent was surrounded by fame but untouched by it.

Her son - Dunedin’s son - James K. Baxter, was arguably the country’s most celebrated poet. Her husband Archie Baxter was New Zealand’s most renowned WW1 conscientious objector, subjected to shocking brutality. Plans are currently moving rapidly to have a memorial created in memory of Archie and New Zealand’s other conscientious objectors in the museum reserve.

Millicent’s mother – Helen Connon - was the first woman in the British Empire to earn a degree with honours. Her father – John MacMillan Brown - was a founding professor of the University of Canterbury and Chancellor of the University of New Zealand. Millicent’s surviving son Terence, also has a story to tell as a man transformed by his experiences of being imprisoned as a ‘conchie’ in World War 2.

A forceful and sometimes daunting character with a crushing wit, lucid intellect and sharp political mind, Millicent declined an MA at the University of Cambridge and became a leading promoter of pacifism in New Zealand at a time when women just did not do such things. A strongly independent young woman, she defied her controlling father and turned her back on a life of privilege and prosperity to live with a poor rabbiter from a remote part of New Zealand’s South Island.

Penny will talk about this outstanding New Zealand woman, and will be very happy to sign copies of her book. Her website is

Venue and Details:
Centre for Sustainability. University of Otago
563 Castle Street) opposite Selwyn College)
Monday 2 November at 5.30pm

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