Dr Lucy Mackintosh

Dr Lucy Mackintosh’s PhD in History explored long histories, both natural and human, that have been woven together in the landscapes of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She recently published a book based on her research, which won the 2022 Ernest Scott Prize for History and was shortlisted for an Ockham New Zealand Book award.

Programme: PhD in History
Supervisors: Professor Caroline Daley and Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond
School: Humanities, Faculty of Arts
Book: Shifting Grounds: Deep Histories of Tamaki Makaurau Auckland (published by Bridget Williams Books, 2021)

Journey to doctoral research

“My deep interest in Auckland history began when I was working as a historical and museum consultant for various government agencies. The stories I came across were very different to those I had come across in published histories of Auckland. These histories were layered, deep, complex and often unresolved. They had shaped local communities, and wider Auckland, yet they were invisible in published histories of the city.

“I decided to do a PhD in History because I realised that these stories needed to be told in a different way. I wanted to tell more grounded histories of the city – ones in which lived experiences have not only been crafted in words but also built into the physical environment.”

Highlights of doctoral research

“Through my research, and in writing my book, I was able to explore untold stories in-depth, and that’s when the rich texture of people’s lives came into view: individuals and communities who have had a significant influence on Auckland but had been completely overlooked, such as the Ah Chee family; painful and poignant moments in history that are still relevant and present for those communities, such as the forced evictions at Ihumātao; places where important events occurred that have been erased or forgotten; and international connections beyond Britain that have not yet been explored, such as John Logan Campbell’s olive grove.

“It’s not a comprehensive or authoritative history of the city, but I found that following the deep, layered stories crafted into our landscapes can change the way we understand the past and present in the places we live."

Throughout my research, I was extremely fortunate to have two outstanding supervisors, Professor Caroline Daley and Professor Dame Anne Salmond, who provided exceptional guidance and support.

Dr Lucy Mackintosh

Writing Shifting Grounds: Deep Histories of Tamaki Makaurau Auckland

“I had always wanted to publish my work as a book, so that it was able to reach a wider audience. My book explores long histories, both natural and human, that have been woven together in three sites in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland – Pukekawa/Auckland Domain, Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill, and Ihumātao. Looking at these three places across time – from early human arrivals to today – it considers how the histories in each of these places, might open up new stories and perspectives that can challenge the way we currently tend to think about Auckland’s history.

“It’s wonderful to know that the book is being well-received in the literary world. Historians should be good story-tellers – it’s an important part of our discipline that sometimes gets forgotten, and it means that we can potentially reach a wide audience in ways that other disciplines can’t. I hope that readers will realise the rich, deep and complex histories this city has, and how those histories still impact those who live in Auckland today.”