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Paulien Martens 

Curator Human History

Paulien Martens

Paulien is a historian whose current research interests include gender relations and the history of the family in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

These interests cover a wide range of topics such as childhood, parenting, marriage and sexuality. She first worked with a Canterbury Museum Collection in 2015, when she researched the Barker family letters for her History Honours project at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha University of Canterbury.

This research sparked a curiosity for Paulien about the topic of fatherhood, which led her to complete her PhD, entitled ‘Founding Fathers: Fatherhood, Family and Aspiration in Colonial Dunedin.’ This was submitted in 2022 and completed at Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou University of Otago, in Ōtepoti Dunedin. Her research explored the roles and experiences of fathers in colonial Dunedin, discussing the intersection between masculinity, family and settler colonialism. This research was based on a rich array of material, including family correspondence, business archives, newspapers, and published sources related to a select number of Dunedin families.

Paulien has been in her role as Curator since 2022, and she is looking forward to researching the extensive collection at the Museum, particularly around Canterbury’s social history. She is also excited to explore her broader research passions, including doing collaborative work and making historical research widely accessible.


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