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Friend of the Maori

Here’s a photograph from the January 26 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman from New Zealand who was familiar with the culture of the indigenous people of that country.

The Encyclopedia of New Zealand website has an entry for Bathia “Bathie” Stuart (1893-1987). After losing her husband to the 1918 influenza pandemic, she became a vaudeville and musical comedy artist in her native New Zealand, creating a show that included Maori women. The women taught her Maori songs and dances; she used this knowledge to become a New Zealand cultural ambassador in California, where she eventually relocated. She also appeared in movies, including The Adventures of Algy (1925).

She eventually expanded her cultural endeavours to include tours of North America. She also became a filmmaker, producing travelogues of most of the countries in the South Pacific area. For her efforts, the New Zealand government awarded her the Queen’s Service Medal in 1986.

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