Spiral’s interview protocols

Looking for information to complete Spiral’s history for the Women Together site, I found this. I have no memory of why I wrote it, or exactly when, at least a decade ago. But Bridie Lonie and I think it fills a useful gap in the information about how Spiral projects worked. So here it is, with a few amendments and with warm thanks to PĀNiA! for a right-up-to-date inspiration. – Marian Evans

PĀNiA!, The True Artist Helps the World by Asking for Trust (After Bruce Nauman) (2019). Neon (production sketch). Courtesy the artist, Te Tuhi and Mokopōpaki, Auckland.

I wasn’t well prepared for the interview, squeezed between other commitments at the end of a long year. So when a panel member asked “Could you tell us about your resolution of an ethical issue?” immediately after we’d been discussing the Getting Free research, I addressed the protocols Bridie Lonie and I developed for that project. If I’d been more alert, I’d have chosen something simpler.

Because to answer the next question accurately, about our reference points for the protocols ­– I realised later — I had to traverse a thirty-year history of our exploration of power relations. A history of friendships, art history and the women’s art movement; my involvement as a lawyer with the Domestic Violence Act and clients who were seeking compensation under the Accident Compensation Act in the early nineties; Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi; Irihapeti Ramsden’s theory of Cultural Safety in nursing. Without that history, at least part of the Getting Free project would have been managed according to the standard National Oral History Association of New Zealand (NOHANZ) agreement, using principles congruent with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1994.

This article describes the Getting Free project, how we came to formalise independent protocols, surveys the historical development of the principles behind the protocols and then briefly outlines the protocols themselves.

The Getting Free project

Getting Free started as a response to two events: Irihapeti Ramsden (1946- 2003) was ill; and relatively inexpensive digital cameras capable of producing broadcast quality videotape became available. At the time Irihapeti was coming out of a very demanding time, following many challenges to the theory and implementation of Cultural Safety; these included an inquiry into Cultural Safety by the Government’s Education and Science Select Committee in 1995.(1)

Realising that Irihapeti was very ill, and surprised that no-one had recorded her life in depth (2), I suggested to Bridie that I do so as a Women’s Gallery/Spiral project, on digital video, to show Irihapeti more vividly, with the option of turning the material into a documentary (3).


Juanita Ketchel (1946–2013), another old friend, agreed to help when the project became more complex, and Irihapeti, her son film director Peter Burger and I went to Europe to track down aspects of Irihapeti’s family history.

Irihapeti’s project led to other oral history projects, audio as well as video, that became known collectively as the Getting Free project. Each project recorded resilient individuals who had transcended the emotional effects of some kind of violence, ranging from the colonising process and verbal abuse to sexual and physical abuse, in institutional or domestic contexts.

Artist Allie Eagle’s project started when I asked her to help me understand better the principles in framing a shot. Her filmed oral history included material about her motherLorna Mitchell’s and her own experiences in psychiatric institutions.

Then a matakite, Wai Turoa Morgan, asked me to ghost write her autobiography and this too became part of the project, with a long audio oral history process as well as some video recording. Her story demonstrates how her matakite inheritance manifested itself in spite of and in some ways because of difficult childhood experiences, including exposure to colonising processes.

Around this time, Juanita started her audio oral history of a group of individuals who defined themselves as resilient, working largely autonomously, with support from Bridie (in the same city, Dunedin) and to a lesser extent from me, based in Wellington (4).

Galvan and Oskar-Ra, beside the Waiohine River

And then I met up again with gay man Galvan Macnamara (1942–2004), who as arts legend James Mack had been very supportive of the women’s art movement, and we began the oral history process that developed into a feature length video documentary, Sister Galvan.

How we came to resist the provisions of the Copyright Act & formalise our protocols

Each Getting Free project was negotiated on an apparently ad hoc basis with the individual concerned. There were two exceptions. Wai’s ghost-written biography involved a contract because — as a fundraiser for the overall project — we provided her with some services she paid for. And in her audio Getting Free project, Juanita decided to use the consistent, industry-standard agreement provided by NOHANZ to manage her relationships with a group of sixteen individuals.

At first Bridie and I supported this although Bridie, whose own interviewing had alerted her to potential damage to vulnerable interviewees, was concerned about an interviewer’s — and the Women’s Gallery’s — legal position if the general public had access to unedited oral histories about abuse (5). But when I looked closely at the NOHANZ agreement I realised that our apparently ad hoc way of working was based on a number of principles that we could have articulated to Juanita from the outset, as well as some others we had not articulated to ourselves or to other participants in Getting Free.

Mothers exhibition catalogue, 1981 (cover image ‘Hinetitama’ 1980 by Robyn Kahukiwa, oil on board; design Sharon Alston)

In the past we offered resources, including spaces, sometimes named (for example, Mothers) but not usually theorised, for women to research and tell their stories on their own terms.

But now Juanita and I were the ‘authors’, asking the questions, and were likely to be shaping the interviews to make a film or publication from which we would benefit. In particular, once I had access to that digital camera, the excitement that I’d felt behind the Auckland Women’s Community Video Inc camera seventeen years previously had as much to do with me as a potential filmmaker as with opening space for others’ stories.

Given these conditions and our established principles, spoken and unspoken, the NOHANZ agreement seemed not appropriate, so as those with primary accountability for the overall project, Bridie and I then took responsibility for traversing our shared history and creating formal protocols that expressed an appropriate ethic for Getting Free, in spite of some concern at compromising Juanita’s autonomy and complicating the processes within her project.

The main reason we rejected the NOHANZ agreement was that it was based on an interpretation of the Copyright Act provision giving ownership of an interview to the person who “arranges” it. The Act says that the author of a work is the person who creates it and “In the case of a sound recording or film, the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the making of the recording or film are undertaken” (6).

This is generally interpreted as giving authorship (copyright) to the person who suggests that the interview takes place, and then edits it for publication, whether as text or sound or in association with images. Our view was that this provision was inadequate in our oral histories, for several reasons. Firstly, the interviewer is interpreted as being the person who undertakes “the arrangements necessary” as the author of a sound recording or film. However, making an arrangement for an interview involves two people. It is a negotiation between the interviewer and the interviewee. To reduce this two sided arrangement to a single sided one, made by the person who (probably) initiated it denies the agency of the individual interviewed (7).

Secondly, the interviewee shares her or his intellectual property by agreeing to be interviewed. However well an experienced interviewer has researched and structured the interview, the material generated is arguably a collaboration, the creation of both parties or owned by person being interviewed, who may be conveying precious ideas they have spent years developing as well as a story that is uniquely theirs (8). Why should the interviewer alone benefit from this, as sole author? In a long interview or series of interviews where the interviewee, like Irihapeti or Galvan, is a well practised communicator on complex topics the interview can be reproduced almost without editing, whether in sound, chapter, video or book form. Furthermore, “authorship” of the interview allows the interviewer to present the material generated in the context of the interviewer’s choice without reference to the person interviewed. The interviewee may then feel misrepresented or in some other way uncomfortable or exploited.

Finally, in general the artefact created in the interview remains in the ownership of the “author”, who in the case of film, is likely to ask the interviewee to sign a release form giving the interviewer all rights in the material. The interviewer (or the interviewer’s employer, if an interview is made in the course of employment, including a commission) can then offer the interview to others to use, for a fee. As a result, the interviewee, who was unlikely to have been paid for the interview, does not benefit from its sale. The interviewee who does not negotiate otherwise also loses any right to use the material in future without paying the interviewer, to have it copied for private use without cost, or to prevent its use in another, inappropriate, context where the interviewee’s story, or ideas may be misrepresented.

Use for the interviewee’s own publication purposes can be prohibitively expensive. For instance, Galvan Macnamara was interviewed many times by TVNZ. One of these interviews showed him in the 1980s demonstrating how a master potter obtained glazing effects. The interview was a fine example of Galvan’s insight and skills. We wanted to use it for his film. He wanted it included in his film. At the time TVNZ filmed him, he had not signed a release form. The footage had already benefited both him and TVNZ. TVNZ got a vivid interview; Galvan got publicity for the exhibition and artist he wanted to promote. However when we asked to use 86 seconds of the interview, TVNZ charged us $4000 for a five year license (10). TVNZ was completely within its rights to do this under the Copyright Act as generally interpreted. And as the TVNZ Archive pointed out, TVNZ had had costs in making the recording. However, those costs would have been far less than $4000.

The NOHANZ agreement provides for deposit of the interview tapes within an institution and for the interviewee to share decision making about access. However, if anyone wants to use the tapes in future, any payment made for the use goes back to the “author”, the interviewer, unless the interviewer has given the rights to the institution concerned, who then can charge for the use of the interview.

It was our view that an interviewee should share ownership of the entire interview, an essentially collaborative experience; and have the opportunity to share decision making about and financial benefits from its use by the interviewer in the short term and by others in the future. The interviewee and those the interviewee nominated should also be able to copy and use the material freely.

This view devolved from the thirty year history already referred to, within art history and the women’s art movement and in the uniquely New Zealand legal context including the presence of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi as New Zealand’s founding document and the development of a jurisprudence around domestic violence.

The principles we based our decisions on overlap with some of those behind the New Zealand Film Archive Mana Tuturu document, as articulated by Barry Barclay in his eponymous book (Barclay 2005), but were developed independently, from another reality. In particular, they endorse Barclay’s view that each person’s story is a treasure now and for the future; what he refers to as “stewardship” or “guardianship” of that story requires a kind of tenderness in recording, storage, access and use. Inevitably this tenderness can be at odds with commercial or academic use; it demands that oral historians acknowledge the collaborative nature of the work created, negotiate carefully with collaborators and be flexible about agreements and outcomes.

The historical development of the principles behind the protocols

Art history and the women’s art movement

Bill MacKay Poster Shop 2 oil on canvas 140x140cm [1977]

In the seventies, Bridie and I were associated with a gifted artist whose father had been drawn to the ideologies of Mao Tse Tung and the Russian view of art as a having primarily a political function. Bill MacKay was himself an ardent reader of Marxist theory and writers like Lukacs and Berger around art and capital. He was also aware of the development of popular culture and the implications of that for the fine arts. He refused to negotiate the institutions and commerce of the visual arts community of the time.

Bill MacKay Self Portrait as wine steward Royal Oak Hotel Wellington [1977]

This was challenging in relation to his domestic arrangements with which I, as the mother of his children, was intimately concerned.

Bill also alerted us to the kinds of practices that then (as now) meant that artists could sell paintings very cheaply and receive no benefit when they were resold at a profit. I remember being excited by an article in (I think) Art in America that proposed a system to give the artist a share of the sale price each time a painting was sold. Bridie and I began to ask, as a matter of course “Who benefits?” from an individual’s creativity.

Bridie and I also became involved in the Wellington Artists Co-op, which supported artists by providing an ongoing community as well as exhibition space and audiences for their experimental work without the expectations inevitable from dealer or an institution, with commercial and/or curatorial agendas. We came to understand the benefits of self-determination for artists.

Joanna’s poster

Then, in 1977, artist Joanna Margaret Paul (1945–2003) invited a small group of women to document a month in their lives in some way, for an exhibition called A Season’s Diaries, at Victoria University (10). Some of us were serious artists, some not artists at all. I was one of those who didn’t identify as an artist, and was surprised to realise that the gap between “artist” and “non-artist” could be surprisingly small.

Some of Saj Gurney’s A Season’s Diaries work 1977; Spiral later published a collection of her poems, Amazon Songs

While the more accomplished technical facility of the artists among us was obvious, the ideas and some of the images created by those who did not identify as artists were as interesting as those who did.

Bridie Lonie’s painting for A Season’s Diaries (1977, 2x1m acrylic on hardboard; no colour image available)

We learned that creativity and the ability to communicate visually was not limited to a chosen few. Around the same time we read Tillie Olsen’s Silences and learned to recognise silences and invisibilities in our own lives and those of other women, often because we had limited access to resources from the past and in the present.

When Anna Keir, Bridie and I set up The Women’s Gallery in 1980 (11) we took the opportunity to build on what we had learned although we did not then articulate this fully. We organised exhibitions on themes relevant to women in New Zealand at the time, with titles like Mothers; Women & Violence; Māori women artists; Women & the Environment; Diaries; and so on. Rather than focus on individual artists and only on artists, we offered space within the exhibitions to any woman who wanted to contribute a work on the theme and organised associated theme-based performances, film and book events, workshops and seminars as well as professional development opportunities.

Many established artists used the exhibitions to experiment, as we had hoped. Two exhibitions toured (12). The gallery began to sell work with considerable success but took a far smaller percentage of the sale price than a dealer gallery, though we did not develop contracts that gave artists a proportion of any subsequent resale of their work.

l to r Bridie Lonie with Maeve in front pack, Anna Keir, Barb McDonald, Marian Evans, Women’s Gallery Willis Street 1982 photo: Tilly Lloyd

Because of our previous experience, through all the work with artists and other contributors and then with writers we encouraged experimentation, individual autonomy and the representation of a diversity of views, knowing that the individualistic and male artist-oriented arts economy did not at the time work well for women or for others whose lives and work did not “fit” within the economy. We were also aware, along with many others, that art history did not include enough of our “cultural grandmothers” as models and that because we had so few mentors we generally had to mentor ourselves, often with less success than we hoped for. Exhibitors and visitors often had expectations that we did not have the resources to meet and that seemed not to be met elsewhere either.

The experiences from this process informed two major projects. One was the Spiral Collectives’ publication of Heather McPherson’s A Figurehead: A Face (poems, 1982), J C Sturm’s The House of the Talking Cat (short stories, 1983), Keri Hulme’s the bone people (1984), as publishers of last resort (where we could, we also helped to find publishers for other projects we were offered, like Joanna Paul’s The Lone Goose). The other was A Women’s Picture Book; Twenty-five Women Artists From Aotearoa New Zealand (1988). The projects further developed our knowledge of and commitment to self-determination and the question “Who benefits?”

Before we started the Women’s Gallery, I’d been involved with Kidsarus 2, producing children’s picture books that were counter-racist and counter-sexist. While working on that project I’d learned that the publishing process was surrounded by a mystique that masked its realities: publishing is a straightforward process and filled with power relationships similar to those in the visual arts communities. At the time, local publishers believed that children’s books set in New Zealand including picture books with Māori characters whether in Māori or English would not sell. We found New Zealand stories and illustrators, produced camera-ready picture books and raised funds to subsidise their publication with established publishing houses. One, Patricia Grace’s The Kuia and the Spider (1981) was particularly successful. It won the Children’s Book of the Year award and has become a classic.

Around the same time, Keri Hulme, who had been a founding member of the Women’s Gallery, gave me the bone people to read. She had had the manuscript rejected by every publisher she sent it to because she was not prepared to edit it. Each publisher wanted Keri to change the book and as I remember it each wanted different changes.

I was deeply moved by the the bone people, loving its structure and its themes, and, because of the Kidsarus 2 experiences, was distrustful of the publishers’ judgement, as I was of those who — years earlier — had rejected J C Sturm’s The House of the Talking Cat. It seemed no coincidence that the publishers who rejected The House of the Talking Cat and wanted to change Keri’s book were not Māori and mostly men.

From A Season’s Diaries and on into the Women’s Gallery we had learned to trust and support the artist/writer: she knew what she was doing. We also learned that responses to art works varied considerably according to who the viewer was. We also knew that viewers who did not usually go to art galleries were often drawn to art works by content rather than by who the artist was or the extent to which the artist’s work reflected contemporary art practices. Experience told us that this was likely to be true with readers as well.

We saw that The House of the Talking Cat and the bone people, like the art works we showed, were part of significant community-based conversations and needed to be out in the world. With all this in mind, and support from a great many individuals, as well as a lot of opposition, Irihapeti Ramsden, Miriama Evans and I published first the The House of the Talking Cat and then, without substantive editing, the bone people (13). It won the Booker Prize.

Our publishing experiences encouraged me to experiment further with ways of creating and presenting material, to trust artists and writers, including those who did not primarily identify professionally as an artist or a writer, and take risks. Regardless of conventional publishing wisdom there was an audience for lots of books that were either rejected by publishers or unwritten because “that isn’t how it’s done”.

A Women’s Picture Book, a mixture of oral history and an exhibition, was the experiment that followed.

We selected artists who reflected the range of Women’s Gallery contributors and included several we wished had contributed. It was important to Bridie and to me, who together initiated the project, that each contributor had the final say on her chapter, had the kind of self-determination that characterised work shown at the Women’s Gallery as well as the publication of the bone people.

Bridie’s choice to include herself as an artist as well as an editor, with her own chapter, and the inclusion of writers as well as visual artists continued the affirmation of fluid artistic identities that had characterised our own and others’ involvement at the gallery. We also wanted the artists, as well as ourselves, to benefit both from the process and the outcome. The cover of the book reflects this with each artist’s name as prominent as those of the editors.

Rather than represent each artist in a standard format we offered her the opportunity to contribute in a way that felt appropriate to her. Some chose to be interviewed. Two artists worked together on their chapter, another handwrote her contribution. Contributors who wished to could work with Irihapeti Ramsden the Māori editor or Tilly Lloyd, the editor with closer connections to lesbian communities than mine (I was always more committed to my identity as a single mother than to my identity as a lesbian with non-binary gender tendencies). Those who chose to be interviewed could also choose to edit their own interview. All participants had the final say on their chapters. Image selection was made collaboratively. The long process involved included the withdrawal of the Māori editor and most of the Māori contributors, who found part of one artist’s contribution unacceptable to their deeply held beliefs (14).

Eventually I was glad for this experience, to learn to accept that commitment to an ethic of self-determination presupposes mutual ease with one party’s withdrawal from a shared project, without necessarily a loss of goodwill. As well I learned how quickly a shared, safe space for engagement could become dangerous to one or more parties.

The law & our principles

While all this was happening, New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi was becoming increasingly significant in the daily lives of New Zealanders, following a series of landmark cases. The Waitangi Tribunal was preparing a series of reports into claims based on breaches of Treaty provisions. The Treaty, signed in 1840, guaranteed Māori sovereignty (self-determination) in a number of areas, including sovereignty over their “taonga” or treasures, that arguably include their language and their stories. The colonising process, which continues, often ignores Treaty rights and compromises Māori health. It is a violent process that compromises the safety of Māori as individuals and as a nation.

At the same time, led by feminists, women were drawing attention to violence against women and demanding changes to the law and that public resources be used to help women who had been violated. In 1995 New Zealand’s Domestic Violence Act acknowledged the many kinds of violence that do not involve physical contact and addressed “patterns of behaviour” (15). As a lawyer, I became aware that all other kinds of violence are subsets of psychological violence, the desire to exercise power and control over another individual. I found Heather McDowell’s elegant exposition of this view useful as well as her definition of abuse. She describes abuse as “an act of omission or commission that is judged by a mixture of community values and professional expertise to be inappropriate or damaging” (16). I also learned that violence compromises the immune system: for instance, every one of my sexual abuse clients had an immune system-related illness: asthma, excema, chronic fatigue, cancer (17).

Around the same time, Irihapeti Ramsden, who trained as a nurse and an anthropologist and was by nature a philosopher, deeply committed to the principles of Te Tiriti and influenced by the work of Paolo Freire among others, developed a nursing education concept that came to be called “Cultural Safety” .

This environment influenced Bridie and me, both consciously and subliminally. It reinforced what we had learned from experience, that as interviewers, arts workers and publishers, we had to do what we could to honour individuals’ stories and images. We wanted to ensure that as project organisers we found ways to ensure that we created patterns of behaviour that avoided compounding the effects of violence on people who had been abused in other processes.

We became committed to finding ways to work with individuals that enhanced their well-being rather than compromising it, to be aware of ways we might compromise their integrity. It helped that we had learned to trust the capacity of individuals to present their own stories and images in ways that satisfy audiences. We had also learned that offering space for people to tell their life stories — within or outside an interview — sometimes liberates them through the use of narrative. Telling a good, careful, listener an otherwise unarticulated and unstructured life story gives that story power, and may embed resilience (18).

Finally, we appreciated that for us our daily lives did not depend directly on economic benefits from our projects. We have always worked without payment, apart from intermittent, small, shared, project payments at the Women’s Gallery. Economic dependence on income from our projects might have led to different principles.

The principles

By the time we articulated our formal principles in 2003, developed from the gallery’s original incorporation document and practices, we felt able to state that we worked from a philosophy that aimed to give individuals control over their own stories.

The preamble to the principles states that the women who founded the Women’s Gallery in 1980 wanted to hear, present and preserve stories, particularly stories by and about women that might otherwise be untold or disappear, because the existence and telling of the stories threatened established ideas of the way things are. We’d also learned that those with resources to record, present and preserve material often did not value certain kinds of stories.

We noted that the stories might be fictional or non-fiction and that we wanted them to collect them in a public archive for the use of future generations, so that people looking, as we had, for cultural grandmothers and their work, could find what they wanted.

We also acknowledged that the ways the stories were recorded gave them a degree of intimacy that amplified and enriched them, and that in their telling distinctions between the public and the private were neither attempted nor considered possible. The combination of volume and texture offered by unedited material would allow future researchers to explore processes as well as endpoints, with the stories emphasising connections rather than being organised hierarchically (i.e. stories by self-defined ‘authors’ were collected on the same basis as stories by those who did not identify as ‘authors’) (19).

Within this context, the protocols provide that anyone included in a Women’s Gallery project had the right to decide where their stories are stored and who can access all or part of their words or images. While the artefacts created in these projects — tapes, transcripts and so on — belong to the Women’s Gallery, deposit of and access to the artefacts must be negotiated with each contributor. The National Library’s research library, the Alexander Turnbull Library, holds almost all of the Women’s Gallery/Spiral archives. However if anyone wants to have their videotapes deposited at the New Zealand Film Archive under the Mana Tuturu protocol or other conditions, that can be negotiated. If contributors choose, their work can be destroyed or access closed to all or some for a defined period.

Contributors also retain the right to decide who would use their stories and how they are used; and to negotiate payment for use. In practice this has usually meant that the raw material is available for those who “arrange” the project, who initiate the collaboration between interviewer and interviewee. However the context in which the raw material is used may also have to be negotiated and its final form subject to approval. The gallery reserves its own right of access to all open access material it helps create and to restrict access to secondary material generated by its workers, for instance, transcriptions, copies of tapes and abstracts.

The protocols in action

Although the work — and ongoing negotiation ­– with them was well under way when we started thinking about formal protocols, Irihapeti Ramsden’s and Galvan Macanamara’s decisions offer contrasting examples of how the protocols, now formalised, work. Both were living with cancer when we recorded them, aware of their mortality and focused on what they wanted to leave behind them. Both projects were careful collaborations between peers, involving similar negotiations but contrasting outcomes, with the interviewers and interviewees acknowledging the need to address who was to benefit and how, while recording and in the future.

Irihapeti’s project, an 80 hour oral history created over six years, included film of her teaching and lecturing as well as casual footage, formal interviews and film of family and about family issues. She called it Something For the Grandchildren to Hold. Generously funded by a wide range of institutions and individuals, the project generated material for several possible documentaries. Annie Collins and Keri Hulme assembled a rough cut of one. Then Irihapeti consulted with her family and decided that the material needed to settle before being further developed for public viewing. She hoped that Peter would make a documentary after her death. When Irihapeti died without our having made a formal agreement we came to an arrangement with her children about ownership of the material, where the tapes and associated material should go, and under what conditions of access and use.

Penn Evans & Galvan discuss Colin McCahon

Galvan wanted his oral history developed into a documentary, preferably before he died, and he did not want to see it before its first public showing. The content was entirely the interviewer/ producer’s responsibility. Galvan chose to focus on making the process as interesting as possible for all concerned. He also gave the gallery copyright ownership of all the material generated, now lodged at the Alexander Turnbull Library, and the right to decide access issues. He had no children and no interest in what happened after his death. We showed Sister Galvan about six months before he died and he was able to share the joy that others felt in viewing it.

In both cases it has been intensely satisfying to reach the end of the projects and know that gathering the histories and archiving them for future use has been worthwhile. Sometime in the future a young researcher will find the raw footage of Sister Galvan and perhaps find it illuminating. And I believe that even though it may not be completed in my lifetime Something For the Grandchildren to Hold will be a stunning film. I like to think that the tenderness that accompanied negotiations about creation, use and access of the material for both projects will extend to other projects using the protocol we have formulated.

(from the original piece) With many thanks to Bridie Lonie and her challenge, support and stimulus for all this time. I have tried to include her views as recently expressed but acknowledge that they are probably inadequately represented here. Thanks also to Juanita Ketchel, for many things.

Irihapeti Ramsden, Marian Evans, Miriama Evans

(1) Irihapeti and I had worked together on and off over a long period, and were two of the three Spiral collective members who published J C Sturm’s The House of the Talking Cat and Keri Hulme’s Booker Prize winning the bone people, with Miriama Evans (1944-2018).

(2) Later, Irihapeti included an autobiographical chapter in her PhD thesis Cultural Safety and Nursing Education in Aotearoa and Te Waipounamu (2002).

(3) From 1980–2005, The Women’s Gallery was an incorporated society with charitable status. From 1981 it used Spiral as its publishing name. Spiral was founded in 1975 by poet Heather McPherson (1942–2017), in Christchurch and became a “floating” imprint, as a recognisable feminist “brand”.

(4) For an account of the Getting Free audio oral history see Ketchel (2005).

(5) See Lonie (1998).

(6) Copyright Act 1994 section 5 (1) and (2).

(7) In a ghost written — and commercially lucrative — autobiography of an All Black (say) where the ghost writer may have undertaken arrangements to make sound recordings and use oral history techniques, there are no doubt contractual arrangements about the benefits generated by publication. These may rely on the ghost writer being commissioned by a publisher. Without these arrangements, the ghost writer would be “the author” of the autobiography. A commission changes ownership of copyright: Copyright Act 1994.

(8) The Copyright Act section 6(1) provides for joint ownership in the following way: “in this Act, the term “work of joint authorship” means a work produced by the collaboration of 2 or more authors in which the contribution of each author is not distinct from that of the other author or authors.” This could be useful for oral history recordings except that an interviewee’s story is readily distinguishable from that of the other “author”, the interviewer.

(9) We were told that this was “mates rates”, following the intervention of one of Galvan’s old friends who approached Ian Fraser, then CEO of TVNZ, who had worked with Galvan.

(10) The exhibitors were: Allie Eagle, Anna Keir, Bridie Lonie, Gladys Gurney, Heather McPherson, Joanna Margaret Paul, Marian Evans. The work later toured to Waikato University and Christchurch.

(11) 26 Harris Street Wellington 1980–81; 323 Willis Street Wellington 1982–84.

(12) Political Posters (1981) to university venues within New Zealand; Mothers (1981–1982), to public galleries around the country and to Sydney.

(13) While we did well, I believe, not to edit the book substantively, we did not so well with our copy editing. Some chapters were copy edited by skilled editors like Juliet Raven and Pauline Neale; others were not. Much of the subsequent controversy about editing confuses substantive editing with copy editing.

(14) In 2019, while perusing our archives held at the Alexander Turnbull Library, with Bridie and Tilly, I was reminded of another major conflict, about whether to include a poem written by a man about one of the artists, within her chapter. The artist had no strong feelings either way and the poem was not included.

(15) The kinds of injuries covered by the Domestic Violence Act 1995 involve exercise of power and control through a “pattern of behaviour” designed to damage someone by depriving them of resources essential to well being and a sense of physical, spiritual and emotional integrity. Common tactics (as well as or instead of physical and/or sexual abuse) include sexual or racial harassment; making someone do something humiliating or degrading; threats; insults; controlling someone’s time, space, material resources, speech, body language or gesture; through defining their reality and motivations; through shame and blame; through assigning status. Some of these behaviours are also addressed in other legislation, for instance the Human Rights Act 1993.

(16) McDowell 1996:88.

(17) See Romans, S., Belaise, C., Martin, J., Morris, E., & Raffi, A. (2002).

(18) Ketchel 2005:100.

(19) In 2019 I realise that these principles also influenced our unedited collection of archives from our projects, deposited at the Alexander Turnbull Library; and generated challenges associated with access to and use of them, because in a collection that mixes the personal and organisational over many years, some material may be hurtful to individuals and/or their families.


Barclay, B. (2005) Mana Tuturu; Māori Treasures and Intellectual Property Rights Auckland, Auckland University Press

Evans, M. (2003) Sister Galvan Wellington, Spiral

Grace, P. (1981) The Kuia and the Spider/Te Kuia Me Te Pungawerewere illustrated by R. Kahukiwa and translated into Māori by Syd Melbourne and Keri Kaa, Longman Paul and Kidsarus 2, Auckland

Ketchel, J. (2005) ‘Getting Free: Oral Histories of Violence, Resilience and Recovery’ in Remembering: Writing Oral History eds A. Green and M. Hutching, Auckland University Press, Auckland, 90–103

Lonie, B. (1998) An Examination of the Image and Spoken Word in the Production of Meaning in Art Therapy. Unpublished Master of Arts thesis, Dunedin, University of Otago

Lonie, B. (1978/2016) ‘Diary of a Season: A Proposal for a Women’s ExhibitionSpiral Collectives

McDowell H. Emotional Child Abuse and Resiliency: An Aotearoa/New Zealand Study (1995) Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Auckland, Auckland

Olsen, T. (1978) Silences Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, New York

Ramsden, I.M. (2002) Cultural Safety and Nursing Education in Aotearoa and Te Waipounamu PhD thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington

Romans, S., Belaise, C., Martin, J., Morris, E., & Raffi, A. (2002) ‘Childhood abuse and later medical disorders in women’ in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 71, 141–150.

A Women’s Picture Book: Twenty-five Women Artists of Aotearoa New Zealand (1988) eds M. Evans, B. Lonie and T. Lloyd, Government Print, Wellington

Looking French(ish) on location at the Bibliotheque Nationale with Irihapeti and Peter, one of whom took the photo. (Probably one too many photos of me, but I like this one; and I think as a group the photos help give a sense of the spread of time & people & projects involved. V happy to add more of others if you have them!!!)

Spiral Collectives

Open research project on Spiral Collectives of Aotearoa New Zealand, their founder Heather McPherson, & associated women & organisations. For, & then following, Mokopōpaki’s 2018 exhibition. Welcome! Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/1304706129559197/


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Marian Evans. Stories by & about women artists, writers and filmmakers. Global outlook, from Aotearoa New Zealand.

Spiral Collectives

Open research project on Spiral Collectives of Aotearoa New Zealand, their founder Heather McPherson, & associated women & organisations. For, & then following, Mokopōpaki’s 2018 exhibition. Welcome! Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/1304706129559197/

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