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New Zealand Studies Seminar Group, Cambridge

New Zealand Studies Seminar Group, Cambridge: A meeting place for talented kiwis.

The New Zealand Studies Seminar Group is the University of Cambridge’s first forum exclusively devoted to New Zealand Studies. As well as presenting academic papers on aspects of New Zealand’s history and culture, it is hoped that the Seminar Group will attract high profile New Zealand business people, politicians and diplomats, as well as cultural and sporting leaders, to give talks on interesting and provocative topics. Furthermore it is hoped that the Seminar Group will prove to be an important intellectual and social contact point for the many New Zealanders based in the South East of England.

The University of Cambridge’s connection to New Zealand extends back to before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. In 1820 Thomas Kendall, of the Church Missionary Society, brought Hongi Hika and Hôhaia Parata Waikato to Cambridge to help compile a Mâori language dictionary under the guidance of Professor Samuel Lee, a scholar of oriental languages. Many New Zealanders have followed in their footsteps. Most famously Ernest Rutherford chose to come to Cambridge when he left New Zealand at the age of 23 in 1895, and later, in 1919, he became the director of the Cavendish laboratory. Today there are approximately a hundred New Zealanders at the University of Cambridge at all levels, from undergraduates through to professors.

The New Zealand Studies Seminar Group will hold its meetings in Corpus Christi College. Corpus is a college with a particularly strong bond to New Zealand thanks to the Girdlers’ Scholarship – an annual scholarship, generously supported by the Worshipful Company of the Girdlers in London, for one New Zealander to study any undergraduate subject of their choosing. At any one time there are at least half a dozen New Zealand undergraduate and postgraduate students at Corpus, and it is therefore a very appropriate venue for the New Zealand Studies Seminar Group.

The New Zealand Studies Seminar Group will commence its meetings in October, and a list of the seminars confirmed for the Michaelmas academic term will be issued in September 2005. If you would like to present a paper at a seminar, or you would like more information about the objectives of the Seminar Group, please contact Francis Reid by emailing

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