Auckland Libraries: Democracy 2020

Democracy 2020

Tue 23, Wed 24, Thu 25, Fri 26 June 12pm to 2pm Free

Live webinar series hosted by Auckland Libraries, in association with Ancestry and Ancestry ProGenealogists 22-26 June 2020

Showing women voting at the Drill Hall in Rutland Street in 1899.

​Showing women voting at the Drill Hall in Rutland Street in 1899
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 7-A12353 

​Stories through the evolution of New Zealand’s democracy 

The 2020 New Zealand General Election is scheduled to take place on 19 September. 

The very first national elections in NZ occurred in 1853, when there were only 5849 registered voters. In order to be registered on that electoral roll, voters needed to be male, British subjects, and property owners. In addition, they were almost exclusively Pākehā. Over time, the franchise was extended to Māori and women. Today, the current electoral roll numbers more than 3 million people.

This webinar series features presentations which cover a broad range of stories from New Zealand’s elections and electoral rolls, going all the way back to 1853. 


Free access to the New Zealand Electoral Rolls, 1853-1981 on Ancestry.com.au 

In partnership with this series, Ancestry is offering New Zealanders the chance to explore for free over the week of the webinars, 22-28 June 2020, the millions of records contained in the New Zealand Electoral Rolls, 1853-1981. Electoral rolls were published consistently nationwide and provide a useful way to find out more about ancestors and family members over time and place. Over 20 million names have been indexed in this collection. Search the New Zealand, Electoral Rolls, 1853-1981 on Ancestry.com.au. 

Join host Seonaid Lewis, (Auckland Libraries) and co-host Michelle Patient, (Ancestry ProGenealogists) each day this week for a series of live webinars at 12pm from Monday 22 June to Friday 26 June 2020.


Register for each day in advance, and the Zoom link will be sent to you automatically so you can add it to your online calendar.



Five daily webinars


Māori and democracy

Monday 22nd June 12pm-2pm

  • Introduction: Individual stories from the NZ electoral roll collections on Ancestry, with Jason Reeve, family historian, Ancestry
  • The origins of the Māori seats – Professor Andrew Geddis, Otago University
  • Māori and voting - Dr Maria Bargh, Associate Professor, Victoria University of Wellington

Register in advance  


19th century: Voting and property ownership

Tuesday 23rd June 12pm-2pm

  • Introduction: Individual stories from the NZ electoral roll collections on Ancestry, with Jason Reeve, family historian, Ancestry
  • Development of the voting system, from propertied men to universal suffrage - Dr Jim McAloon, Professor of History, Victoria University of Wellington

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Women’s suffrage

Wednesday 24th June 12pm-2pm

  • Introduction: Individual stories from the NZ electoral roll collections on Ancestry, with Jason Reeve, family historian, Ancestry
  • The Women’s Suffrage Campaign - Megan Hutching, oral historian and author 
  • “From Suffrage to a Seat in the House” - Jenny Coleman, Director - Associate Professor of Feminist History, Massey University
  • The petition for universal suffrage 1893; stories from Taranaki, with Christine Clement, professional family and local historian

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New Zealand’s political figures

Thursday 25th June 12pm-2pm

  • Introduction: Individual stories from the NZ electoral roll collections on Ancestry, with Jason Reeve, family historian, Ancestry
  • NZ’s “top-10” Prime Ministers - Dr Michael Bassett, author and former politician 
  • Putting flesh on the bones; providing context for family history - Judith Bassett

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Modern politics – 20thC to MMP

Friday 26th June 12pm-2pmm

  • Introduction: Individual stories from the NZ electoral roll collections on Ancestry, with Jason Reeve, family historian, Ancestry
  • Why New Zealand is not a democracy - Dr Grant Duncan, Associate Professor, Massey University
  • Inequality and the Vote - Dr Toby Boraman, Massey University

Register in advance  



Webinar speakers


Jason ReeveJason Reeve

Jason Reeve is a family historian and the Content Acquisition manager at Ancestry. He will highlight the Electoral Rolls for New Zealand from 1853 to 1981, which contain over 20 million names. The rolls were compiled during election years and include the names of individuals from each electoral district who were qualified to vote. The information provides valuable insights into our ancestors; listings include number, name of voter, address, qualification, and property description.



Andrew GeddisAndrew Geddis

Professor Andrew Geddis studied law and political studies at Otago University before attending Harvard Law School on a Fulbright Scholarship, where he completed his LLM degree.

Andrew currently teaches parts of The Legal System and Public Law courses, as well as the Law and the Democratic Process and Bills of Rights: Theory and Practice papers. His research interests lie in the field of public law, rights jurisprudence and democratic theory, with a particular focus on the legal regulation of elections. He serves as the Faculty’s co-ordinator of external affairs.

Andrew's extensive media commentary on matters of public importance was recognised by his winning the 2019 Critic and Conscience of Society award. He writes frequent posts for pundit.co.nz, thespinoff.co.nz and rnz.co.nz.

In 2017, Andrew's article, The Trans-Pacific Partnership in New Zealand's Constitution won both the Sir Ian Barker Published Article Award and the Rex Mason Prize for Excellence in Legal Writing.

Maria BarghMaria Bargh

Dr Maria Bargh is an Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington where she previously studied, before completing her PhD in Political Science and International Relations at the Australian National University in 2002.

Her research interests focus on Māori politics including constitutional change and Māori representation, voting in local and general elections, and the Māori economy including hidden and diverse economies such as Māori in the private military industry. She also researches on matters related to Māori resources, such as freshwater, mining, and renewable energy.

Maria is a member of the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand Council, the Editorial Board of the New Zealand Political Science Journal, the Counterfutures Advisory Board, Canadian Research Chairs, College of Reviewers and the All Universities Working Party on Civics, Citizenship and Political Literacy.

Jim McAloonJim McAloon

Dr Jim McAloon is Professor in History at the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington. He has a wide range of interests in the economic and social history of New Zealand and other places, including settler societies, colonial development, class and history, labour history, migration, and twentieth century political history.




Megan HutchingMegan Hutching

Megan Hutching is a freelance historian, oral historian and author. She is a member (and past president) of the National Oral History Association of New Zealand Te Kete Korero a Waha o te Motu (NOHANZ) and was a member of the Council of the International Oral History Association between 2006-10. She has worked on large and small oral history projects and pieces of writing, particularly in these areas of Pakeha New Zealand history in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She has written 15 books and booklets (some co-authored), as well as article-length pieces, and content for museum and website exhibitions. 

Megan is experienced at managing oral history projects and has recorded a large number of oral history projects, covering a wide range of topics. She also has a great deal of experience at transcribing and editing interviews for publication. She has taught many oral history training workshops and works to the standards of the NOHANZ Code of Ethical & Technical Practice using high-quality digital recording equipment for her interviews. 

Jenny ColemanJenny Coleman

Dr Jenny Coleman is an Associate Professor in feminist history and former head of the Women’s Studies programme at Massey University. She has published articles on a range of topics in women’s history and has written biographies on New Zealand’s most notorious female fraudster (Mad or Bad? The life and exploits of Amy Bock) and on nineteenth-century women’s advocate Mary Ann Colclough (Polly Plum, a firm and earnest woman’s advocate) and has introduced and edited a reprint of the earliest sensational novel written by a woman in New Zealand (Alone in the World, A tale of New Zealand, 1866). Her current research on women and parliamentary representation in New Zealand focuses on three books, From Suffrage to a Seat in the House: The path to Parliament for New Zealand Women (2020), a history of women in the Legislative Council (Women in the Upper House, forthcoming), and Maiden Speeches (forthcoming).

Christine ClementChristine Clement

Christine is a professional genealogist, local historian and a consultant to Ancestry. She is author of 18 books on specialist family history subjects such as Migration to New Zealand : a guide for family history researchers and The pioneers, settlers and families of Te Puke and district. She also compiled and co-edited books such as Women of South Taranaki, their stories = Nga wahine toa o Taranaki tonga, o ratou korero and Women and the vote : extracts from the Hawera Star, (1892-1893) as well as numerous articles in genealogical publications.



Michael BassettMichael Bassett

Dr Michael Bassett was an MP with eleven of the first 24 Prime Ministers, and on a first name basis with all of those who held office after 1957. He spent six years as a Cabinet Minister, kept cabinet and caucus notes throughout his time, and has produced substantial biographies of Sir Joseph Ward, Gordon Coates, Peter Fraser and David Lange, plus the long entry in the DNZB on Norman Kirk. In 2017 he published "New Zealand’s Prime Ministers from Dick Seddon to John Key". He is a historian by profession, teaching at the University of Auckland, the University of Western Ontario and as Fulbright Professor at Georgetown University in 2002. He is the author of 15 books, most with a political theme. He is married to Judith Bassett.

Judith BassettJudith Bassett

Judith Bassett is a graduate of the University of Auckland in History and Law. She has published books and articles in NZ history and legal history. In recent years she has offered courses in European and NZ History to the public programmes section of the University of Auckland. 

Judith is a trustee of the Auckland Libraries Heritage Trust and an enthusiastic user of Auckland’s libraries. 



Grant DuncanGrant Duncan

Dr Grant Duncan is Associate Professor of Politics at the School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University. His most recent published book is The Problem of Political Trust: A Conceptual Reformulation (Routledge 2019), and he is currently completing another book with the working title How to Rule? Arts of government from antiquity to now.




Toby BoramanToby Boraman

Dr Toby Boraman is a lecturer in politics at Massey University, has studied many social movements in Aotearoa New Zealand, worked at the Waitangi Tribunal previously and been secretary of the Labour History Project. 





Register now to attend

Register for each day in advance, and the Zoom link will be sent to you automatically so you can add it to your online calendar.




Showing women voting at the Drill Hall in Rutland Street in 1899.

​Showing women voting at the Drill Hall in Rutland Street in 1899
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 7-A12353 

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