In praise of my aunty, and something to go to in Wellington

I admire and like my aunty. She is feminist, a reader, a writer, a thinker, a singer, a musician, a maker of radio programs (is there a word for that?), an academic, a social researcher, a student (she’s part way through her PhD), and now, a film maker. Also, she has the most beautiful speaking voice. She was the first person I knew of as feminist; other people around me were, and are, feminist (notably, my mother, from who I learned my feminism), but my aunty explicitly used the title, “feminist.” I got to know her a little better over the past few years when we were living in Wellington, because in one of those two degrees of separation moments that delight and plague New Zealanders, when my book group wanted to invite some more people to start coming along, one of the other women, whom I had met only through the book group, said, “What about Marie Russell?” I sat quietly for a moment, and then said, “You mean my aunty, don’t you?” And she did. Thanks to Marie, our group read some of Elizabeth Gaskell’s books; if you haven’t read them already, I recommend them. North and South and Wives and Daughters are my favourites.

Marie’s first film is going to be screened at the Paramount Cinema in Wellington, on Saturday 11 July, 11.30am. Entry is by a gold coin donation. It’s a 35 minute documentary called “A Place to Stay,” looking at the social history of Salisbury Garden Court in Wadestown (Wellington).


How does urban design affect community? Through the stories of past and current residents, historical and family photographs, and newsreel footage, this film tells some of the unique social history of Salisbury Garden Court (Wadestown, Wellington) and presents a case study of the various connections between architecture and people.

You should go if you can. It looks fascinating. I wish I could be there myself to see it, and to celebrate with Marie. If you do go, say hello to her for me.


4 comments on “In praise of my aunty, and something to go to in Wellington

  1. Mikhela says:

    She sounds great! How I would have loved a role model like this as a child.

  2. Marie says:

    Thank you dear niece for your kind comments and international publicity. Now I have to tell you that the launch was a very satisfying event with over 300 people attending and the film was very warmly received. A couple of book group members came along too which was very good of them. I have copies on DVD for sale if people want to view. Will take a copy to show to the extended family on next trip.

  3. Aruna Cornish says:

    How can I get a copy of the DVD ?

  4. Deborah says:

    I think you can get it from Marie. Her e-mail address is on the flyer, but if you can’t read it there (the font is very small in the jpg I put in the post), she uses an Otago university address, with the standard firstname.lastname format.

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