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The Butcher Shop

How do meat, wine, dairy and wool influence our social and cultural — as well as economic — life? Join us for the Butcher Shop series of public discussions.

Is New Zealand a butcher shop or a milking shed? Do we live on the sheep’s back with our glass of sauvignon blanc? New Zealand’s long economic dependence on primary products has had a profound effect on our national imagination. What weight do they carry in the social and cultural, as well as economic, life of New Zealand?

Victoria University of Wellington—Te Whare Wānanga o Te Ūpoko o Te Ika a Māui—is hosting a series of lively public discussions on the culture surrounding four of this country’s primary products: meat, wine, dairy and wool. The series comes under Victoria’s Enriching National Culture theme, one of the university’s eight areas of academic focus.

The title of the series, ‘The Butcher Shop’, evokes the presence of our frozen lamb in British high streets for more than a century. It is borrowed from Jean Devanny’s 1926 novel, which asked hard feminist questions about life in New Zealand and was immediately banned on publication. Participants include contemporary figures in primary production as well as writers, art historians, fashion designers and lawyers.