Vera Wyse Munro, Radio Pioneer

Vera Wyse Munro (1897-1966) was a pioneering New Zealand ham radio broadcaster, improviser, and sonic experimenter. Her primary media were amateur radio broadcasts, Morse poetry, and sono-topographical scores. Via her broadcasts, which were frequently received by amateur radio operators as far afield as the United States and Europe, Munro initiated some of the earliest telematic performances, in which she would perform prepared violin in structured improvisations with other musicians broadcasting from elsewhere in the world. Munro’s work was often necessarily clandestine, as a result of legislation curbing amateur radio activity in New Zealand. As a result of this, as well as the absence of extant documentation about her life and her ephemeral practice, Munro’s work is only now starting to be regarded amidst New Zealand’s cultural history.

reconstructed score excerpt of the Skywave Symphony (1940)

With thanks to Celeste Oram. Information from (also check out the radio documentary  on her page)

An expanded biography on Monro is available at

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Concept for a “processional way” for new Auckland war memorial


The project will see a “processional way” built down the grassy bank in front of the Auckland War Memorial Museum to Domain Drive. Photo / Supplied
New war memorial designs questioned (Jan 9, 2016)

Outside of this blogs usual chronological concerns perhaps but it is both noteworthy and heartening to see an evolution in the kind of ritual engagement asked of participants in ANZAC services, as well as the intertwining of ritual and landscape, whatever form the monument itself ends up taking.

The creation of a “hard” processional imperative in the memorial layout has its precursors in the psychological suggestions on crowd movement imposed by road layouts and pathways surrounding established memorials.

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Some pieces relating to blackbirding from New Zealand papers

At first relatively small ships – cutters, and ketches, and schooners – from New Zealand’s more northerly ports made up the bulk of the Kiwi blackbirding fleet, but as time went on, and the profits to be made from the trade in humans became clear, businessmen from New Zealand’s wealthy south funded larger ships. In 1871 JR MacKenzie, one of the richest men in Dunedin, launched a steamship called the Wainui, which was soon busy ‘recruiting’ labour in Melanesia.

Although missionaries like Coley Patteson produced detailed exposes of the trade, governments in Wellington were at first very reluctant to take any sort of action against blackbirding. Frustrated by their own failure to create prosperity in New Zealand, the country’s political elite hoped that the sugar and cotton booms in Queensland and Fiji would spread. Auckland might become a profitable ‘depot’ for Fijian exports destined for Europe, and the newly-wealthy planters of Fiji and Queensland might import large quantities of consumer goods from New Zealand.






The Minister tor Defence



With thanks to the National Library of New Zealand.


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Evil eye on the train


With thanks to the National Library of New Zealand

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Pirates in New Zealand

Taken from Wikipedia:

Charlotte Badger

Charlotte Badger (1778 – in or after 1818) is widely considered to be the first Australian female pirate. She was also one of the first two white female settlers in New Zealand.

Badger was born in 1778, the daughter of Thomas and Ann Badger. She was baptised on 31 July 1778. Her family was poor, and one day in 1796, she stole several guineas and a silk handkerchief in an attempt to support them, but was caught and arrested. She was sentenced to seven years’ penal servitude in New South Wales.

Badger arrived on the Earl Cornwallis in 1801. In 1806 she was serving at the Parramatta female factory, during which she gave birth to a daughter.

In 1806, she travelled with her child aboard The Venus, with plans to become a servant in Van Diemens Land. The captain of the ship, Samuel Chase, was in the habit of flogging the women for entertainment, until his charges and crew mutinied. Badger and another convict, Catherine Hagerty, talked the men on board into seizing the ship, while the captain was ashore at Port Dalrymple in northern Tasmania.

In 1806, Badger and Hagerty and their lovers, John Lancashire and Benjamin Kelly, went to the Bay of Islands in the far north of New Zealand, where they settled at the pa at Rangihoua. By April 1807, Hagerty had died and by the end of the year Lancashire and Kelly had also left.

In 1826, the American ship the Lafayette landed in Vavaʻu. On the ship’s landing in Sydney, they reported that Charlotte Badger and her daughter had stopped there eight years earlier. Badger could speak Māori fluently and could communicate in tongan and was travelling on a whaling ship to America.

Some stories suggest that the other mutineers all fled but were eventually caught and hanged, while others suggest that they went pirating after Badger, Hagerty, Lancashire and Kelly left, despite not knowing how to navigate the ship. Then the Māori captured The Venus, and burned it to retrieve the scrap metal, and cooked the men on board. Meanwhile, Lancashire, and Kelly were also recaptured and Hagerty died of a fever.

In the 1825 convict muster there is listed a Charlotte Badger, with 10-year-old daughter Maria, who arrived on the Earl Cornwallis in 1801. While the birth date is estimated at 1785, it’s highly unlikely there were two Charlotte Badgers – one who became a pirate and another who was listed in Parramatta in 1825

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The New Zealander of the future

Part of the impetus behind this blog is to underline moments of unfulfilled potential in the overlooked literary output of this country. When that potential is couched in a body of irredeemable dreck the question of whether the author is capable of raising a point worthy of examination will always linger. All the more so when the writing in question is wholly lacking in original ideas such as the piece from which the following excerpt was taken.
The piece as a whole is reflective of the received and unexamined cultural logic that informed the author stitched together without any deep thought to produce a vacuous puff piece for the economic potential of the colony and the work ethic of the colonists. It is as a transmission of unmediated cultural currents that the excerpt is interesting. Hidden amongst the ignorant stereotyping and just so stories vaunting European superiority lies a method of reading the character of an emerging culture that is worth a moments consideration.

The New Zealander of the future.

New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 11, 1 August 1900, Page 26



These aspirational examples are both more productive and nuanced than the conclusions the author draws from his reading of the landscape, which boil down to nascent exceptionalism in their most generous reading and vapid cheer leading for New Zealand industry when assessed coldly.

Had the article been written by someone with a focus on poetics and not on economics, perhaps something worthwhile and coherent could have been made from it.

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New Zealand troops with tanks, World War One

New Zealand troops march with Whippet light tanks on the first day of (the tanks) deployment, during the spring offensive 1918

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