Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Revisiting “The Folk Culture of the Dispossessed”

Stout Research Centre seminar series

4.10pm 01 May 2024

In collaboration with the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies this talk is part of the seminar series Re-Reading Works on Poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand which takes a fresh look at some major Aotearoa cultural works on poverty. Across six weeks historians, curators, researchers, writers, and performers ‘re-read’ books, plays, novels, songs, and academic analyses from across the 20th century shedding light on the historic trajectories of poverty in our country. In looking back this series invites an evaluation of our contemporary situation, providing context for current issues such as inequality, our low wage economy, beneficiary shaming, gendered poverty and the long-lasting effects of colonisation.

The Folk Culture of the Dispossessed is an article by Tony Simpson published in the Journal of the New Zealand Folklore Society in 1972. It is possibly the earliest study to consider how folklore (specifically song and verse) reveals the experiences and attitudes of the impoverished in New Zealand. Michael Brown, Music Curator at the Alexander Turnbull Library, considers questions such as: What was the context around the article's original publication and how was it received?; What issues does it raise?; In what other ways has poverty been represented in New Zealand vernacular culture?

Michael Brown was the 2023 JD Stout Fellow at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. He works as Music Curator at the Alexander Turnbull Library.


This event will also be a live streamed webinar

Photograph of the cover of The Maorilander: Journal of the New Zealand Folklore Society 5 Autumn 1972. Image supplied.