BooksAugust 28, 2017

A brief history of the New Zealand teenager


What does adolescence look like in New Zealand?

Bloody teenagers. Always having a good time despite the deep boringness of New Zealand life. A new book on the history of Kiwi adolescence shows teenagers having fun in boring towns where they attend boring schools and get boring jobs; over 230 snapshots, plus writings taken from letters, diaries and other primary sources, make up Teenagers: The Rise of Youth Culture by Dunedin academic Chris Brickell.

We present five choice photos from the book.

Just shoot me: the Bicknell girls having a whale of a time, obviously, on a sunny afternoon near Oamaru, 1896. (Item ref 2014/45, North Otago Museum, Oamaru)


There’s this sheila in refreshments and she’s pouring cups of tea: Huia and Alena pose in their smart New Zealand Railways uniforms at the Wellington railway station cafeteria in 1959. (Private collection)


Ngapuhi OG: two unidentified but totally, languidly, sensationally cool dudes, 1950s, in Kaitaia. (Item ref: C117-6, Te Ahu, Kaitaia)


Police notebook, Timaru: A New Year’s Eve bonfire on the beach at Caroline Bay, Timaru, in 1962. (South Canterbury Museum, Timaru)


Kapiti ice: Naomi Highfield, Glenys Taylor and Beverley Nicholson near the skating rink in Paraparaumu, early 1965.  (Private collection)

Teenagers: The Rise of Youth Culture by Chris Brickell (Auckland University Press, $49.99) is available at Unity Books.

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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