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Get out your bell bottoms – back to the 70s!

MEDIA RELEASE 29 November 2004
Public Affairs

Get out your bell bottoms – we’re going back to the 70s!

Key public figures from the 1970s in New Zealand – the decade of women’s liberation, the ‘Mâori renaissance’, eye-popping fashions and strong alternative beliefs – will come together at a national two-day conference later this week.

Former politicians, activists and commentators, along with researchers and academics, will examine this turbulent decade at the symposium, organised by Victoria University’s Stout Research Centre and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, from 3 - 4 December.

The line-up includes: Marilyn Waring, feminist economist and former MP; Ranginui Walker, academic and prolific writer on Mâori issues; Tim Shadbolt, political activist, now Mayor of Invercargill; and Spiros Zavos, journalist, writer and sports commentator.

The conference is being held at Te Papa in association with its exhibition Out on the Street: New Zealand in the 1970s Tutû te puehu.

The Seventies in New Zealand: A decade of change will examine the place of the 1970s in our cultural consciousness. Speakers will re-evaluate the political and social upheavals of the 1970s and their impact on art, design, popular culture, the environment, Mâori, politics, gender, sexuality, and class.

Stout Research Centre Director, Associate Professor Lydia Wevers, says now is the right time to look back and reflect on this “explosive time”.

“Up until now, the 1970s were thought to be too recent in our history for us to reflect upon. But lately an abundance of very interesting research focusing on this period has been undertaken. The conference will provide the first major opportunity for us to share and consider these findings.

“The Seventies were a time of enormous social change and upheaval in our society. Many matters that had been taken for granted, such as the role of women and Mâori /Pâkehâ relations, exploded into major public issues. It was a very exciting time to be alive and a period that shaped who we are today.“

Other speakers set to take part in The Seventies in New Zealand include Sandra Coney (activist, editor and author on women’s health), Sue Kedgley (Green MP and active feminist in the 1970s), Roger Horrocks (academic and film analyst), Alister Taylor (publisher), Erik Olssen (historian and academic), Chris Laidlaw (broadcaster, former All Black and diplomat), Robert Leonard (curator of contemporary art at Auckland Art Gallery), along with more than 30 other contributers.

For more information contact Associate Professor Lydia Wevers on 04 463 6434 or A full conference programme is available from Kate Fox (details below).


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