Ans Westra: Washday at the Pa

NEW ZEALAND – Forty-seven years ago Ans Westra provided the text and forty-four images for a Department of Education journal made for primary schools. Titled Washday at the Pa the book followed a day in the life of a rural Maori family of eight children awaiting relocation to a state house in the city. Following protests by the Maori Women Welfare League Washday at the Pa was controversially withdrawn from circulation by the Department of Education. The League condemned Westra's depiction of the poor, rural Maori family living in sub-standard housing as untruthful and inaccurate. Westra defended the integrity of the images and as copyright owner later in 1964 published the second edition through the Caxton Press. Westra took this opportunity to add twenty-two new images, some introducing whole new episodes to the story. An new exhibition at the Suite Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand supports the publication of a new edition of Washday at the Pa, which features images made for the 1964 first and second editions of the book as well as images made by Westra in 1998 as part of a subsequent project: Washday at the Pa Revisited.Accompanying Westra's 35 uncropped images is text by Mark Amery. Washday at the Pa is on view at the Suite Gallery until November 26.