Women Mean Business: Colonial Businesswomen in Christchurch and Beyond

This talk took place on 29 October 2019.

"The greatest comefort to me is to get an honest living for my familey." Boarding-house-keeper Susannah Wall’s words in 1845 echo the sentiments of many colonial women in New Zealand throughout the nineteenth century.

Women Mean Business: Colonial businesswomen in New Zealand by Catherine BishopLike Susannah, many of them ran small businesses, though not all were as concerned about the "honesty" of the living they got.

Christchurch’s nineteenth-century residents, educated by ‘the great moral engine’ Maria Thomson, wearing hats bought from Esther Clarkson or Isabella Williams, downing a ‘nobbler’ at Agnes Hossack’s Clontarf House, or visiting the less respectable premises of notorious Catherine Mason, would have been well aware of the entrepreneurial women in their midst.

In this talk Catherine Bishop, author of Women Mean Business: Colonial Businesswomen in New Zealand (Otago University Press), explores the stories of some of New Zealand’s colonial entrepreneurs – the successful and the outright failures, the heart-warming and the tragic, the everyday and the scandalous. 

Born and raised in Whanganui, Dr Catherine Bishop is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney. Her first book Minding Her Own Business: Colonial Businesswomen in Sydney (NewSouth Publishing, 2015) won the prestigious 2016 Ashurst Business Literature Prize. This is her second book.

The talk is free to attend but spaces are limited, so register using the button below if you'd like to attend. Copies of Women Mean Business will be for sale thanks to Scorpio Books.

This talk took place on 29 October 2019.

29 October 2019 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm Register
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