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Living taonga in place at MTG

Kay Morris Matthews MTG

There are some precious treasures at MTG Hawke’s Bay. One of them is Kay Morris Matthews, Emeritus Professor and Associate Research Curator.

Kay thought she’d retired when she stepped down from her most recent academic post, Research Professor at EIT, playing a significant role in developing that institute’s research strengths. But a quick trip to MTG to see if she could lend a hand as a casual volunteer has seen her appointed in an important role.

Kay’s main focus will be conducting research for an exhibition, scheduled for late 2024, focused on Hawke’s Bay women who have been Hidden in History (working title). To start the project, she will chair an advisory group of local experts that will support and guide the work. From there, Kay will get work in the MTG archives to begin piecing together the show, finding ways to illustrate and bring to life some of the key themes and milestones found in her research of the subject.

Laura Vodanovich, who heads up MTG as its Director, says Kay is a real treasure the MTG is lucky to have.

“Kay’s considerable knowledge of women’s history and Hawke’s Bay history as well as her extensive research background will be invaluable to this project,” says Laura.

Once the exhibition is ready to go, and subject to funding, Kay will put on her other hat, that of author, to write a book to accompany the show.

Kay is no stranger to writing. As well as holding academic positions at universities in Waikato, Auckland and Wellington, she has written a number of tomes. Kay’s research over thirty years includes historical studies with a focus on women and education, childhood, and women’s work during World War I.  Her books include, with Kuni Jenkins, Hukarere: the politics of Māori girls’ schooling 1875-1995 (1995); In their own right: Women and Higher Education in New Zealand before 1945 (2008); Who cared? Childhoods within Hawke’s Bay Children’s Homes and Orphanages 1892-1988 (2013); with Jean Johnston, First to See the Light: EIT 40 years of higher education (2015); Recovery: Women’s Overseas Service in WW1 (2017) and Lifting horizons: Anna Elizabeth Jerome Spencer: a biography (2021).

4 October 2022

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