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New research into Katherine Mansfield’s life benefits from NZHRT award

The impact of Katherine Mansfield’s formative Wellington years is the focus for new research by historian and author Redmer Yska who is this year’s major recipient of a New Zealand History Research Trust Fund (NZHRT) Award in History.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to tell the full story of how Mansfield was shaped by the city of her birth and how it left an enduring, undimmed mark on her writing,” says Karori-born Redmer Yska, author of Wellington: Biography of a City.

“I hope to fill the gaps in our knowledge of Katherine Mansfield’s life, mapping the historical, cultural and physical landscapes where she grew up,” he says.

“I also want to pursue my theory that infectious disease epidemics cast a shadow over both Mansfield as a child and her family, precipitating the move from Thorndon to then rural Karori.”

Six awards totalling $118,000 have been awarded through the NZHRTF with Redmer Yska’s application, The formative years: Katherine Mansfield’s New Zealand 1888-1908, receiving a $60,000 grant, Neill Atkinson, Chief Historian, Ministry for Culture and Heritage said today.

The other awards went to:

  • Elizabeth Caffin, A history of book publishing in New Zealand, $12,000
  • Peter Franks, Centennial history of the New Zealand Labour Party, $12,000
  • Roger Horrocks, The evolution of the arts in New Zealand, $10,000
  • Catherine Knight, An environmental history of rivers in New Zealand, $12,000 and
  • Jane Tolerton, New Zealand Women in the First World War, also $12,000.

“Administered by the Ministry, the NZHRTF was setup in 1990 to provide financial assistance to people and groups carrying out projects that significantly enhance the understanding of New Zealand's past,” Neil Atkinson said.

“Since 1990 the Awards in History have supported almost 300 projects, totalling almost $2.8 million.”

Coupled with this the NZHRTF Publisher Grants totalling $20,000 have been awarded to:

· Auckland University Press, for Tony Ballantyne, Missionaries, Māori and the Entanglements of Empire, $5,000

· Auckland University Press, for Hazel Petrie, Outcasts of the Gods: ­Slavery and Freedom in New Zealand, $5,000

· Bridget Williams Books, for Vincent O’Malley, The Waikato War, $5,000 and

· Penguin Books, for Ron Crosby, Kūpapa: The Bitter Legacy of Māori Alliances with the Crown, $5,000.

“The strength of applications received for these Annual awards and Publisher Grants always makes the panel’s task difficult. We are pleased this year’s Awards will give historians the opportunity to complete projects that will canvas everything from the arts to the environment and political history as well as offering a new insight into a woman who has put New Zealand on the world stage for literature,” Neill Atkinson said.

Updated on 23rd July 2015