Born to a Changing World: Childbirth in Nineteenth-century New Zealand
Emerging from diaries, letters and memoirs, the voices of this remarkable book tell a new story of life arriving amidst a turbulent world. Before the Plunket Society, before antibiotics, before ‘safe’ Caesarean sections and registered midwives, nineteenth-century birthing practice in New Zealand was typically determined by culture, not nature or the state. Alison Clarke works from the heart of this practice, presenting a history balanced in its coverage of social and medical contexts. Connecting these contexts provides new insights into the same debates on childhood – from infant feeding to maternity care – that persist today. Tracing the experiences of Maori and Pakeha birth ways, this richly illustrated story remains centered throughout on birthing women, their babies and families: this is their history.
Alison Clarke is a freelance historian, who also works part-time at the Hocken Collections, University of Otago. She previously worked as a nurse for twenty years. She completed a PhD in history at the University of Otago in 2003. This was published in her first book, 'Holiday Seasons', and in various book chapters and articles, one of which won the Bruce Mansfield Award for the best article published in the 'Journal of Religious History, 2002-2003'. Ali has continued to research various aspects of the social and religious history of nineteenth-century New Zealand, writing further book chapters and articles. She has also written a centennial history of Dunedin student residence Knox College.
Paperback / softback