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Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa/New Zealand further records.

Identifier: MSS-Archives-2008/10

Scope and Contents

This collection of ASAA/NZ records parallels some of those in the earlier MSS & Archives 90/5, but includes significant additional material from the late 1980s and 1990s. Many of the documents were received still enclosed in the Association’s labelled file dividers and in some instances, such as Items 20, 24 and 25, the title on the label was retained as the Item title. Others were records held by individuals in various states of order. In addition there were several floppy computer disks, select contents of which were preserved in hardcopy and digital format. Associated materials: Earlier deposit at 90/5.


  • 1975 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

Not restricted

Biographical / Historical

At the Conference of University Teachers of Social Anthropology held in Auckland in May 1975, and attended by staff from the University of Otago, University of Canterbury, Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University, University of Waikato, and University of Auckland, it was discussed and agreed that a professional organisation for social anthropology be established. A committee was formed to draw up recommendations for a constitution. In August 1975, Michael Jackson convened and chaired a meeting at Massey University that established the New Zealand Association of Social Anthropologists (NZASA). It decided to hold a conference during a vacation period the following year at which the Association’s first annual meeting would be held. This took place on 25-28 August 1976 and the pattern of combined annual conference and Annual General Meeting continued.

Documents of particular interest that pertain to the establishment and early business of the Association may be found in Item 3 and Item 41. The latter is the personal file of Henry Barnard of Massey University. Barnard’s name appears on the inaugural membership list of 1976 and he was Secretary and, occasionally, Treasurer, of the Association for periods in the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1997 the name of the Association changed to Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa/New Zealand (ASAA/NZ). At the same time the original constitution was repealed and replaced with a new constitution.

A newsletter began in 1980 to provide news and reports to members, much of which pertained to the annual conferences. The first issue, edited by the then Secretary, Michael Goldsmith of the University of Waikato, cited a resolution from the AGM of that year: That there be a half yearly newsletter for members conveying news of the projects and information which has been gathered by the executive. It should also report on this conference and on the planning for the next. He named the inaugural periodical the New Zealand Association of Social Anthropologists Newsletter – Spring 1980. The newsletter was issued at least once a year, with the exception of 1996-1997, when none appeared. Jeff Sluka, Chairman of ASAA/NZ in 1998, revitalised it. The Association also recognised that papers presented at its conferences should be published and, during the 1990s, the multidisciplinary journal Sites became a platform for this. In 2000 ASAA/NZ took over its publication. Volumes of conference papers, sometimes termed working papers, were also published and are available in libraries. Those at the University of Auckland General Library are shelved in the New Zealand and Pacific Collection at 301.2 N531 1977, 301.2 N531 1978, 301.2 N531 1990 and 301.2 N531 1992.

The organisation and administration of the Association took place as proscribed in its constitution, which allows for elected officers, namely, the Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. Occasionally a President is named in the papers, the first being Hugh Kawharu in 1976. However, it is unclear if there was always a President. The office of Chairperson is more commonly referred to. The Secretary and Treasurer were key positions and, in some years, one person held both offices. From 1983 to 1985 the Association was administered by a President and Secretariat of three. In subsequent years, however, the former offices were re-established. Holders of these particular offices since 1976 include Joan Metge, Max Rimoldi, Eleanor Rimoldi, Henry Barnard, Nancy Bowers, Bob Mahuta, Michael Goldsmith, Ian Frazer, P. J. Wilson, Cathy Wylie, Elizabeth Sammons, Theresa Sawika, Keith Ridler, Cheleen Mahar, Patricia Laing, Hal Levine, Jeff Sluka, Terry Weblemoe, Julie Park, Wendy Cowling, Susan Joffe, Annette Beasley, and John Waldmann.

The Executive Committee consisted of the officers and at least four other members. These members had specific roles that developed over time to reflect affiliations with other institutions and organisations and included representatives of the regional universities, the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Humanities Society of New Zealand (HUMANZ), and the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES). Other roles were the result of the special focuses of ASAA/NZ and included co-ordinators of the Kakano Fund, which offered financial assistance to graduate social anthropology students, and the Ethics Committee, which was established in 1990, produced a code of ethics, and provided peer review in academic research. In 1988 the role of Archivist was established with Eleanor Rimoldi appointed to the position. She oversaw the gathering together of the diverse extant papers of the Association and deposited them with the University of Auckland Library in 1990, 1996 and 2002.


0.5 metres (5 boxes)

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Early records of the Association can be found in MSS & Archives 90/5.

Inventory of further records of the Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa/New Zealand, 1975-1999.
Yvonne Sutherland and Stephen Innes.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand