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New Zealand European pioneer women made the long voyage, in the vivid words of Eliza White, over a ‘wide and trackless sea’, to lead lives they could have barely imagined.

Some of the women may be familiar – Lady Barker wrote two well-loved books about her time in NZ, and Betty Guard, captured by Taranaki Maori, has been the subject of a novel. Amey Daldy was a renowned suffragist and Kirstine Nielsen a founding member of the Country Women’s Institute, while others in this salute to the petticoat pioneers are, at best, remembered only by their families. Their stories paint a fascinating picture of a new country, from mission stations and Dalmatian gum-diggers in the north to South Island whaling stations and the landed gentry of Canterbury.

Pioneer women suffered the loss of children, armed conflict and economic hardship, enduring natural and man-made disasters and endless labour – but their lives were more than a struggle for survival. There was time for friendship, laughter, picnics, visits, exquisite handcrafts and hearty celebrations, as the ‘gentle practitioners of the domestic arts’ made homes in the wilderness and gave birth to a nation.

Megan Hutching author, HarperCollins 2008, 304pp, s/c, b/w photos.

Some wear/creasing to covers. A reasonably tidy copy.

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R1G
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  • Seller location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, NZ

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