Three days after his third son’s birth, Michael Stevens, a lecturer in the Department of History and Art History at the University of Otago, was awarded the Royal Society of New Zealand’s prestigious and highly competitive Marsden Fund Fast-Start Grant worth $300,000. The grant enables Michael to carry out a three-year research project entitled “Between Local and Global: A World History of Bluff.” The major output of Michael’s work will be a monograph looking at the port’s evolution between 1800 and 2000.

Michael believes his historical case study of the port – writing about the Māori past – will re-shape thinking about New Zealand’s economic development and race relations.

“We know about later 19th century landlessness and its resultant poverty but the positive consequences of agriculture for Bluff-based Māori and the relationship between land and sea in the colonial economy are not well understood. I think there is a real sense in which southern Māori were not just victims of but also participants in, the British Empire.”

Michael intends to weave the experiences of his own whānau and other Bluff Māori whānau into the port’s wider history.

More information on the project can be found at the following webpages:

Dr Michael Stevens.

Dr Michael Stevens.