Historians and Archivists Conference 25-30September 2010

The last week of this month was an important week for the Sisters and staff of the Whanganui Archives of the Sisters of St Joseph as they hosted the biennial meeting of Josephite Historians and Archivists from Australia and NZ.

The Historians’ Conference featured a History Day, which was highlighted by the presentation of papers on the chosen topic ‘Josephites and Music’. From music lessons in the early outback days to church music and on to school operettas, these papers covered the powerful thread of music in the lives of Josephites and their pupils and associates.

On the day following the Historians’ Conference and before the Archivists’ Conference began, participants of both groups made a journey following in the footsteps of three Sisters of St Joseph when they travelled in 1883 to Hiruharama/Jerusalem up the Whanganui River to help establish a school there.   The visitors experienced the first part of the journey to Upokongaro by river boat, with Kaumatua Morvin Simon introducing them to the historical features along the way. 


Transferring to coach for the remainder of the journey, they were able to view the various marae/villages and the beauty of the awa/river and native bush.  Of special interest were Parikino and Koriniti Marae , where the early Sisters spent an overnight, before rejoining the waka/canoes to continue their journey.

On arrival at Hiruharama/Jerusalem, the group experienced a powhiri/welcome to the Patiarero Marae, and in sharing a korero/talk discovered links between the Marae and Tasmania. 

After lunch, the Sisters of Compassion showed the visitors the beautifully renovated church of St Joseph, and the Convent built by their founder Mother Aubert.

The visitors were interested in the newly completed history panels in the Convent which told the story of Suzanne Aubert.  Compassion Sister Jo Gorman and Josephite Sister Margaret McKenna of Queensland are shown
discussing some of Mother Aubert’s letters


The group then journeyed back down river to the Kaiwhaiki Marae where a very warm welcome awaited them.  Time together after the welcome became a celebration of the many connections of the Kaiwhaiki people with the Sisters of St Joseph over many years. 

Of particular interest was the heritage of music and song, and a recognition and honouring of those who had helped keep this tradition alive particularly in the place known as the ‘Valley of Voices’.

Archivists were then joined by staff of Archives New Zealand for an enriching seminar day. Together with participants from other local archives, they learned about disaster preparedness and how to care for audio-visual materials and equipment. They were also introduced to the Community Archive website.

“A thoroughly practical day,” said Sister Catherine Shelton, “and a wonderful week of mutual exchange of stories and ideas.”


Gallery / Whakaahua

Members Login