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Free talk at Waikato Museum by award-winning author


Award-winning author Dr Catherine Bishop visits Waikato Museum from 1-2pm on Sunday 10 November to give a talk about the women who ran businesses in colonial New Zealand, and the extraordinary variety of enterprises they ran.

Dr Bishop’s latest book, Women Mean Business: Colonial Businesswomen in New Zealand (Otago University Press, October 2019), shows that a woman’s place was not necessarily “in the home”. Nineteenth-century Waikato businesswomen included Eliza Tye who took her Thames drapery “on the road” through Maaori villages in the 1870s, and Mary Ann Simpson who re-invented her Thames millinery business in the 1880s to import tea and fireworks from China.

Other colonial businesswomen ranged from milliners and dressmakers, teachers, boarding-house keepers and laundresses to colourful publicans, brothelkeepers and travelling performers, along with the odd taxidermist, bootmaker and butcher – and Australasia’s first woman chemist.

Born and raised in Whanganui, Dr Bishop is now a postdoctoral fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney. Her first book Minding Her Own Business: Colonial Businesswomen in Sydney (NewSouth Publishing, 2015) won the prestigious 2016 Ashurst Business Literature Prize. This is her second book.

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