30/07/2004

Emigration lecture to highlight New Zealand links

Links between Ulster and New Zealand come under the spotlight this week as the University’s Institute of Ulster-Scots Studies hosts a lecture on the career of Limavady-born William Ferguson Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1912-1925.

The conference, which focuses on 'The Hidden Irish, Ulster/New Zealand Migration and Cultural Transfers', will seek to throw new light on migration patterns, to identify just who the emigrant settlers were, and to highlight their long-term contributions to the development of New Zealand society.

It is thought that up to half of all the Irish immigrants who emigrated to New Zealand came from Ulster.

Dr Billy Kelly, of the University’s Institute of Ulster-Scots Studies, based at the Magee campus said: "Just how far Ulster/New Zealand migration constituted a transfer of Ulster Scots culture to the New World, as well as the often ignored contributions of Ulster settlers from other cultural and religious groups, is an import, but as yet under-explored field of study."

The conference will also see the launch of a new book, 'From Ulster to New Ulster'. The book is a series of lectures given by New Zealand speakers during the Institute of Ulster Scots Studies’ New Zealand week held last October in Northern Ireland. It also includes new material from New Zealand scholars working in this field.

In addition, researchers from the Institute of Ulster Scots Studies and the Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages are taking part this weekend in a joint conference with the Stout Research Centre at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

(MB)

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