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The Women of New Zealand

Preface to First Edition

page vii

Preface to First Edition

The Story of the women of New Zealand, especially in the early years, is so largely the story of the men of New Zealand that it has been impossible in this survey always to avoid trespassing on the ground covered by other volumes in the series. I have, however, stepped as delicately as seemed to me possible; and whereever trespass has been avoidable I have avoided it: where brevity was essential the slaying of other men's wasps could be no advantage. If therefore I have seemed to deal somewhat cavalierly with, for instance, the artists among New Zealand women, this only is the reason, that I believe them to be elsewhere given their due. Similarly, incidental reference only has been made to the women of the Maori people—it is even less easy to consider them separately from the men of their race, to whose story a special volume is devoted.

page viii

A further difficulty has been the comparative lack of records other than those written by men and from the man's point of view. It will therefore be necessary for readers of this volume to read it, as I have tried to write it, with imaginative sympathy. The early chapters particularly may appear at first sight to contain too little specific reference to the women and their life and occupations as distinct from the men and theirs. I can only affirm that in writing them I have never in fact lost sight of my subject, and that they have been written throughout from the woman's point of view.

I have to acknowledge the help of numerous correspondents who have supplied details of various kinds; and to assure them that, although they may not recognise their contributions in the form in which they appear, they have actually all been of great assistance, and none has in fact been ignored. There may be some disappointment felt at the almost complete suppression of names. My task as I saw it was to write, not of women, but of the women, of New Zealand. And for every one of these that I could name there are thousands that I could not. If I had given all those page ixsupplied, my survey would have been little more than a series of lists, and still justice would not have been served.

Special acknowledgements are due to Mr A. H. Reed, of Dunedin, who generously allowed me to use the unpublished journals of Mrs J. W. Stack; and to Miss E. H. Hyndman, of Christchurch, to whose enquiries I owe a great part of my information with regard to the hours, wages, and conditions generally, of early women workers in New Zealand.