2021 Programme

Meetings are on the 28th day of the month (Feb-Oct), held at the Victoria University of Wellington Law School*, Old Government Buildings, Lambton Quay (between Bunny and Whitmore Streets);  entrance door from Bunny Street.

Vehicle access to Bunny Street is allowed on VUW business; to park in the grounds enter by Lambton Quay gate.

Weekdays: 7.15 for 7.30pm start
Weekends: 2:15 for 2.30pm start [* Unless stated otherwise].

Visitors are welcome (no charge for regular meetings), Scottish blood not necessary! Other events may also be held.


Sunday 28 February 2021 at 2.30pm
The Declaration of Arbroath of 1320 – 700 years ago last year!

CANCELLED due to COVID-19

A bit similar to England’s Magna Carta, this important document is very significant to Scotland’s story. Sent to the Pope, it sought recognition of Scotland’s sovereignty and that of its king. Covid cancelled many 700 year celebrations, however a Strathclyde University Project continued; it explored various aspects of the document, tracing the genealogy of the 48 people whose names are included in the text. The University has generously shared some of their intriguing research findings. Kathleen Major will supply background information

Sunday 28 March 2021 at 2.30pm
The Picts of the North –  “Scotland before Scotland” PART 2

Maureen Johnston (an Aberdonian) will continue with her “Part 2”, updating how the busy Aberdeen University archaeology team have discovered a surprising amount of Roman artefacts, adding to vaguer aspects relating to the Picts in the North. She hopes to show these Picts were not the barbarians described by the invaders.

Wednesday 28 April 2021
There and Back Again: The Geography and Radicalism of the Ulster-Scots

The Scots, early emigrants from Ireland, gave the country its name. David Hannah (VUW History Dept) will explain how James VI found it politically prudent to settle some back in Ulster and their struggle to reconcile their devout Protestant faith with a radical attitude towards the emancipation of their Irish Catholic countrymen.

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August meeting cancelled

We have received notification from Victoria University that, due to the extended COVID-19 Level 2 restrictions, its facilities are being closed to external visitors.

As a result, the meeting this coming Friday 28th August 2020 on the Declaration of Arbroath is postponed until 2021.

Several events in Scotland planned for 2020 to celebrate 700 years since the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath have also been postponed until 2021, including a major exhibition, so we shall aim to tie in with that.

Hopefully the arrangements for our September 28th meeting on Mrs. Barbour’s Army will go smoothly!

28th June meeting confirmed back at the University

The VUW Law School in the Government Building has reopened so we can hold our meeting there – “Scottish Favourites” – on the afternoon of Sunday 28th June at 3pm (as originally advertised in the brochure).

Contributions from members are welcome; please give details to Edith 388-8069 or Linda 567-0557 ASAP (two to ten minutes talk).

(The possible alternative venue – Pipe Band Hall – has been cancelled.)

2020 Programme

Meetings are on the 28th day of the month (Feb-Oct), held at the Victoria University of Wellington Law School*, Old Government Buildings, Lambton Quay (between Bunny and Whitmore Streets);  entrance door from Bunny Street.

NB: The May and July events have swapped – see below.

Vehicle access to Bunny Street is allowed on VUW business; to park in the grounds enter by Lambton Quay gate.

Weekdays: 7.15 for 7.30pm start
Weekends: 2:45 for 3.00pm start [* Unless stated otherwise].

Visitors are welcome (no charge for regular meetings), Scottish blood not necessary! Other events may also be held.


Friday 28 February 2020
James Cook born 1728, son of a Lowland Scots labourer and a Yorkshire village woman

“An infant strong, tough, large-boned with a clutch on survival,”* he went on to a remarkable career. The epic story of Wellingtonian John Cawte Beaglehole’s ascendance as the greatest Cook scholar of the twentieth century in the context of the Cook collections at the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, will be discussed by Dr. Oliver Stead, Curator of Drawings, Paintings and Prints.
[*from J.C. Beaglehole The Life of Captain James Cook, London: Hakluyt Society 1974]

Saturday 28 March 2020 at 3.00pm*
Film: The Belles of St. Trinian’s with brilliant Scottish actor–Alister Sim

CANCELLED due to COVID-19

He heads a great cast of well-known faces–Joyce Grenfell, George Cole, Hermione Baddeley, Irene Handl, Sid James – for this hilarious tale by Ronald Searle (makes a brief appearance!)

Tuesday 28 April 2020
Glamis Castle: mystery, murder and a monster !

CANCELLED due to COVID-19

Glamis Castle (near Forfar, north of Perth) was the childhood home of the late Queen Mother.  NZ Writer Julia Millen will talk about her Scottish family connection with Glamis.

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2019 Programme

Meetings are on the 28th day of the month, held at the Victoria University of Wellington Law School*, Old Government Buildings, Lambton Quay (between Bunny and Whitmore Streets);  entrance door from Bunny Street.

Vehicle access to Bunny Street is allowed on VUW business; to park in the grounds enter by Lambton Quay gate.

Weekdays: 7.15 for 7.30pm start
Weekends: 2:45 for 3.00pm start [* Unless stated otherwise].

Visitors are welcome (no charge for regular meetings), Scottish blood not necessary! Other events may also be held.


Thursday 28 February 2019
300 years of Scottish education

Convenor of the NZ Society of Genealogists Greater Wellington Scottish Interest Group, Max Kerr will talk on 300 years of Scottish education, from the mid-sixteenth century to the Education Act of 1872, setting out how the system developed and what makes it distinctive.

Thursday 28 March 2019
Charles Cameron, architect extraordinaire to Catherine the Great of Russia

Catherine II (1762-96) kept an eye on the courts of Europe to recruit people for hers! She found Charles Cameron (1745?-1812); he served her as interior decorator of palaces, architect for many buildings and other projects. Pauline Quinn has investigated, and will tell us about this Scotsman’s unusual life (aged 30 to death at 67) Unknown in his homeland; lauded, with a great reputation as an architect, in Russia!

Sunday 28 April 2019 at 3.00pm*
Bigger than the Bayeux? Today’s tapestries tell Scotland’s (and other) stories

Recent years have seen several grand scale embroidery projects illustrating history – and it all started in Scotland (inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry)! The Prestonpans Tapestry tells of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s exploits from France to Prestonpans; the Mt. Felix Tapestry – WWI with NZ connections. Kathleen Major has been exploring the stories behind these colourful embroideries and two others. Andrew Crummy is their Scottish designer.

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