Medieval History in Ōtautahi
Lecture by Madi Williams and Chris Jones
Given at the University of Canterbury on October 16, 2023
“Can studying medieval Europe in New Zealand, with a New Zealand context, ever really be relevant?”
As the University of Canterbury celebrates its 150th year, two historians will investigate medieval links in modern Ōtautahi Canterbury via a 600-year-old document. The Canterbury Roll is a five-metre-long 15th-century genealogical text. Created nearly six centuries ago, it was subsequently modified on a number of occasions in the course of the English civil war known as the Wars of the Roses. Created in the late 1420s to early 1430s and purchased by the University of Canterbury in 1918, it is now available online through the Canterbury Roll Project.
Madi Williams will explore concepts of place, space, and identity in Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) and the medieval world. Using the Roll as an example, she will discuss the synergies and divergences between these two worlds and their conceptions. Chris Jones will examine the way the Roll has opened new doors on the exploration of similar documents in the United Kingdom.
Dr Madi Williams (Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Kōata) is a Lecturer in Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Canterbury. Her 2021 book Polynesia, 900-1600, looks at the European Middle Ages in South Polynesia.
Dr Chris Jones FSA is an Associate Professor in Medieval History at the University of Canterbury. He is particularly interested in medieval and Early Modern legacies in Aotearoa New Zealand.