“Those were Grand Days”: A New Zealand Teenager Writes her Own Life, 1928–1946
This article considers an “autobiography” written by a New Zealand school girl in 1946. This document is a family history artefact that, while possibly unique in terms of genre, has value for broader histories of childhood and youth, of adolescent writing and particularly for understanding the historicised educational experiences of girls in the interwar period. It provides a case study of how such sources can be used or interpreted, arguing in particular for a contextual and relational approach that considers the issues of historical setting, voice versus agency, and discursive influences. In the process it suggests that semi-autonomy rather than full autonomy emerges as a more useful interpretive concept when reading such adolescent life histories.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:The Journal of New Zealand Studies retains the copyright of material published in the journal, but permission to reproduce articles free of charge on other open access sites will not normally be withheld. Any such reproduction must be accompanied by an acknowledgement of initial publication in the Journal of New Zealand Studies.