2018 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.

7.15 for 7.30pm start [* Unless stated otherwise].

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


Wednesday 28 February 2018
The Scottish Harriers – origin and contribution to Wellington and NZ athletics

Founded by a Scot, Walter ‘Pop’ Ballantyne, now the Wellington Scottish Athletics Club – long known as the Scottish Harriers, has provided an opportunity for Wellingtonians to explore our local lowlands and highlands for over 100 years – since 1915! Grant McLean, a top marathon runner and historian, has written the Club’s history and will share stories from its founding and early years of struggle, to the club becoming the most successful athletics club in the country.

Wednesday 28 March 2018
New Zealanders in the Scottish Women’s Hospital units in World War 1

Wellington historian Jane Tolerton will talk about the New Zealand women who worked for the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service during WWI e.g. Wellingtonians Dr Agnes Bennett and Dr Mary Blair and Kate Fulton (aunt of Kate Harcourt) from Christchurch – she was awarded the Croix de Guerre for ambulance driving under fire on the Western Front. Jane is the author of Make Her Praises Heard Afar: NZ women overseas in WW1, published in November 2017.

Saturday 28 April 2018 at 2.30pm*
A very significant milestone! Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand in 1893!

A prime mover was Kate Sheppard, a Scotswoman, as were others. National Archives’ Stefanie Lash will take us on a tour of the Suffrage Exhibition at the National Library; she led the curatorial team.

Monday 28 May 2018
Scots scientists and climate change – a crucial contribution (mentioning a few!)

Meteorologist James Renwick, a climate scientist at VUW, will give an overview from his 30 years’ research in this science, weaving in some Scots’ key roles in the understanding of it e.g. origin of the ice ages (James Croll), formation of clouds (John Aitken), discovery of carbon dioxide (Joseph Black), and notably William Speirs Bruce whose Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (1902-4) established the first permanent weather station there.

Thursday 28 June 2018
Happy 150th Birthday Charles Rennie Mackintosh! (7th June 1868-1928)

Retired VUW School of Architecture Associate Professor David Kernohan enjoys extolling the work of this internationally known Scottish Architect and artist who designed the Glasgow School of Art and other buildings and their furnishings;  completed the concept of Glasgow’s Willow Tearooms (reputedly the first tearooms in the world), and was part of the group who designed ‘the Glasgow Rose’.

Saturday 28 July 2018 at 2.30pm
Film: The 39 Steps (based on John Buchan’s book published in 1915)

“It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that all contemporary escapist entertainment begins with The 39 Steps.” In 1935 Alfred Hitchcock, drawing on characters and situations created by the action novelist he adored, concocted a classic movie-thriller recipe, starring the then-current heartthrob Robert Donat, also a young Peggy Ashcroft. (B&W of course: not a ‘scary’ Hitchcock film!)

Thursday 28 August 2018
The Dramatic story of Comrie, a beautiful village in Perthshire

Margaret Kamester, a friend in Canada, has written about this village and the WWII POW camp at nearby Cultybraggan, where a very special man, Herbert Sulzbach, achieved wonders in the de-Nazification of prisoners, and how one of them, Heinrich Steinmeyer, rewarded Comrie with amazing generosity for the humane treatment accorded to the prisoners.

Friday 28 September 2018
“It is curious how keenly allied in character are the Scottish Highlander and the Maori” – Encounters in a New Zealand Colonial Settlement

Formerly Director of the VUW Stout Centre Irish/Scottish Studies, Brad Patterson will tell of his research into the intriguing story of this relationship.

Sunday 28 October 2018 at 2.30pm*
The beauties of Shetland knitwear and the skill of its creators

Members of the Shetland Society will come to share and ACTIVELY demonstrate how these marvellous pieces are created – traditional and modern designs including the fine lace. (This knitwear kept Sir Edmund Hillary cosy on Mount Everest!) Meeting will include a short review of VUWSIG in 2018 and look forward to 2019.

30 November 2018
A celebration of St. Andrew’s Day

No event will be held this year. However, there is an event in February 2019:

Pipes in the Park on Saturday 9th February 2019, 10am-4pm at Waitangi Park – Pipe band competitions and other entertainment stalls.

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