From a Maori leader of passive resistance to a colonial soldier accused of killing children, Massey students are presenting a second series of Sunday afternoon illustrated talks on Whanganui history.

The series of six started on March 20, with Professor Michael Belgrave speaking on Massey's early days, when young people were more political and university was deemed either "a home away from home or a dangerous place".

This Sunday's talk is about Lady Anna Stout, an early New Zealand champion of women's rights.

She was based in Wellington but had close links with the Ballances in Whanganui.


The talk takes place at 2pm in the Alexander Heritage and Research Library, now temporarily housed in Whanganui's former post office in Ridgway St and dubbed Alex on Ridgway.

Each presentation will be followed by a hot drink and a chance for attendees to talk to each other and to the speaker.

The series may be unique in New Zealand, giving history graduates a chance to brush up their presentation skills and local people a chance to hear about interesting research.

It was instigated by Whanganui District Council's former arts facilitator Deborah Wai Kapohe, and is convened by Massey Associate Professor Kirsty Carpenter, who lives in Whanganui. Dr Carpenter said it also couldn't happen without the help of Whanganui District Library's heritage services leader Gillian Tasker, a Massey history graduate.

Between 15 and 45 people have been coming to the talks, including secondary students, who can find them inspirational. Wanganui Collegiate School history head Peter Preston is planning to bring whole classes to two of the next ones.

The university hopes some attendees will have information to add.

It may publish some of the presentations in a book.

The series continues on May 15 with Whanganui's Dr Danny Keenan talking about Te Whiti o Rongomai and what happened at Parihaka during the Land Wars.

On May 29 Moyra Cooke will speak on John Bryce, the cavalryman in charge of the infamous 1868 incident at Handley's woolshed, when two boys were killed and others wounded.

The June 12 talk is by Erica Malloy, about her work mapping the sediments that came down the Whanganui, Waitotara, Whangaehu and Turakina rivers in June last year. It happens just before the anniversary of those floods.

The final talk is also on a Sunday but not at Alex on Ridgway.

It's from Whanganui's Huia Kirk and about the Reverend Richard Taylor and his Putiki Mission Station. It takes place at St Paul's Memorial Church, in Putiki, at 2pm on June 26.