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Conference to mine Central Otago's golden legacy

Conference to mine Central Otago's golden legacy

The University of Canterbury will play a leading role in the 150th celebrations of the Central Otago gold rush next year.

The University will host, in conjunction with local partner the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust, a significant academic conference at the Golden Gate Lodge in Cromwell from 29-31 August.

The “150 Years of Riches: The Central Otago Gold Rush, 1862-2012” conference will take a critical new look at this gold rush and the events surrounding it.

Lead organiser for the event is University of Canterbury doctoral candidate Lloyd Carpenter, whose PhD thesis is examining how the Central Otago Gold Rush 150 years ago shaped New Zealand culture, society and literature. Based around a case study of the Central Otago mining town of Bendigo, Mr Carpenter’s research is exploring the myths and stories that came out of the gold rush and assessing the impact they had on New Zealand society at the time and how we see ourselves today.

Mr Carpenter believes “people are hungry for New Zealand history” and have an appetite to have it served up to them in a fresh way.

“We want this conference to be about casting these events in a new light. We don’t want celebrations to be just re-enactments and looking at nice old stone ruins, but assessing these events as a significant historical transformation that transformed our landscape, the population and created the legacy we have now.”

Mr Carpenter says organisers are keen to receive papers focused on the Central Otago gold rush from a wide range of disciplines and fields, including – but not limited to – history, archaeology, Maori studies, fashion, literature, heritage studies, tourism theory, sociology, anthropology, art history, cultural studies, gender studies, geography, museum theory, political sciences and urban development.

“If you have a new perspective on the Central Otago gold rush, let’s hear it.”

The “150 Years of Riches” conference website, and details about how you can submit an abstract, can be found at: (

Mr Carpenter is keen to get the local community engaged in the event, so plans to hold a “Writing Goldfields History in the New Millennium” seminar later this month in Cromwell to share some tips with history enthusiasts from the surrounding district. The seminar will take place on Saturday 26 November from 9am-12.30pm at the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust premises, corner of Erris and Donegal Streets, Cromwell, at a cost of $25.

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