Photo Courtesy of Rosalie Elliffe.

Kia ora! My name is Rosalie and I live in the small town of Kerikeri, New Zealand. I moved around a lot as a girl – Auckland, Alexandra, Oamaru, Oturehua, Wellington – so I have been lucky enough to explore the many varied climates, cities and towns of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

I spent most of my girlhood growing up in Oamaru – (in)famous for its little blue penguins, its steampunk-crazed residents, and its general love of all things historical. Oamaru has a wonderful nineteenth-century historic precinct, and every year it holds a ‘Victorian Fete’ where everyone gets dressed up in true Victorian fashion to celebrate the history of the town. My first year living in Oamaru, my two younger sisters and I were dressed up in scullery maid outfits, with ‘mop caps’ tied tightly around our heads and our long plain dresses draped to our ankles. Walking through the historic precinct with my parents – who were also dressed up – was like stepping into another world. This was my first taste of ‘living history’, and my obsession with history and storytelling has continued ever since.

A voracious reader, I devoured books from a young age – reading late into the night by hiding under the covers with my torch. As well as reading, I love crafts, baking, creative writing, and animals (cats and rabbits in particular!). Combining my love of reading, writing, and research, once I graduated high school I went on to study for a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English Literature and History at Victoria University of Wellington. I studied for a Postgraduate Diploma of Publishing, and last year I worked as a Junior Editor at an educational publishing company. Although I enjoyed the work, I soon found I was missing history and the thrill of historical research. With limited jobs around for junior editors, I decided to jump back into study – this time, a Postgraduate Diploma of Museum Studies.

Although it is intense, I am loving the study so far. In the near future, I would love to work with collections as a collection technician, but one day, my dream is to become a curator. Curators get to embrace their creative side to ensure history is brought to life through exhibits and events – and I would love to get the chance to help share the many varied stories of my country.  

My favourite museum is not a traditional one, but rather a living history site. Sovereign Hill is an open-air museum in Ballarat, Australia. On a family holiday, I visited Sovereign Hill when I was twelve, and the memory of it has remained with me since then. It is an entire ‘living’ town depicting Ballarat’s gold-rush history, with over 60 historically recreated buildings, costumed staff, livestock, working machinery, and stores where you can really get involved with the history – such as making your own candles or making a horseshoe. It truly does let you ‘experience’ history!

There are many issues that girls face. One of the biggest issues, in my opinion, is that girls are often not taken seriously. Laughed at, scoffed at, or simply ignored, having your opinion heard as a girl is an almost impossible feat. Brave girls across the world constantly fight to be heard – whether it is in their fight to save the climate, such as Greta Thunberg; or girls’ education, such as Malala Yousafzai; or highlighting the reality of living in a war-torn country, such as Bana Alabed. Girls’ voices are powerful when they are heard, when they are trusted, and when they are encouraged. If everyone listened to girls – and took them seriously – then I believe the world would be a much better place.

-Rosalie Elliffe
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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