Friday, October 07, 2011

William Colenso Bicentenary confirms award winning author Peter Wells as New Zealand Keynote speaker

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Peter Wells has been awarded the 2011 Creative New Zealand Michael King Fellowship, Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Gallery (HBMAG) is delighted to confirm Mr Wells, MNZM, leading author, filmmaker and co founder of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival as the New Zealand keynote speaker for the upcoming William Colenso Bicentenary conference, organised by Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Gallery and to be held in Napier from 9 -13 November 2011.

It is only today that we can see William Colenso (1811-1899) in the round: a talented polymath, at home crossing the Ruahines, providing Kew Gardens with knowledge of New Zealand plants, or writing the only published eyewitness account of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
“Printer of some of the most significant documents in New Zealand history, missionary, explorer
and botanist, a free-wheeling politician and controversialist – William Colenso was a maverick.”
said Peter Wells The aim of the Bicentenary is to explore the breadth of Colenso’s life and ideas. Not only one of the fathers of New Zealand, he is a central character in 19th Century Hawke’s Bay life, so it is
fitting his bicentenary be celebrated in, what became his home town.

To coincide with the Bicentenary, Wells will be launching his book The Hungry Heart – A Journey
with William Colenso, a contemporary look at William Colenso published by Random House. In
2009 Wells won Copyright Licensing Awards to help fund the writing of The Hungry Heart – A
Journey with William Colenso. Several speakers have already been confirmed from overseas and
though-out New Zealand.
The Hungry Heart: Journeys with William Colenso“The calibre of the speakers is impressive, the depth of subject matter that will be considered as part of the Bicentenary is extremely high. We were immensely pleased to have received by the quality of speakers, with presenters travelling from overseas, and a variety of New Zealand universities will be represented in the programme” says Director, Douglas Lloyd Jenkins.
The Bicentenary will be centered on an academic conference, and an accompanying programme of events across Hawke’s Bay, hosted by HBMAG and partners.
Registrations will open and a detailed events programme for the Bicentenary will be available in August 2011.
There are still opportunities for interested organisations to get involved.
For more information please visit

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