‘Born-again local historian’ Margaret Tennant honoured

Massey University Professor Emeritus, Margaret Tennant, has been honoured with the 2021 Palmerston North Civic Honour for her work in local history.

A specialist in social histories in Aotearoa, and a long serving member of the former Manawatu Historic Places Trust and Historic Places Manawatu Horowhenua, Margaret is one of five awardees. 

In her career as a professional historian, and in retirement as a ‘born-again local historian,’ Margaret has championed the accessibility and study of local history, encouraging and advising regional researchers and writers as they explore the histories and heritage of the Manawatu. 

In 2003, she was invited to be the inaugural chairperson of the Palmerston North Heritage Trust and continues in that role. Through the trust in 2005 she initiated the Manawatu Journal of History as a way of increasing engagement in and awareness of the region’s rich history.  

Margaret initiated and sought funding for, and co-edited 2020s City at the Centre, the first major history of Palmerston North in 50 years. She has been a long-standing supporter and contributor to the Te Manawa Museum Society and has been a committee member since 2019. 

Her Civic Award citation read: “Through her insight, experience, leadership, and dedication to making local histories known, Margaret has made an invaluable contribution to Palmy’s sense of place. It is particularly apt that the presentation of a Civic Award to our foremost local historian is made in Palmerston North’s sesquicentennial year.”