Kia ora. I’m Dr Aleisha Ward, and welcome to NZJazz. This site is devoted to my work as a historian of jazz in New Zealand, and is focused primarily on jazz pre-1970. My current project (2020) is on the Jazz Age on in New Zealand, the research from which was supported by the Sir George Grey Researcher in Residence Award from Auckland City Library (2016), the Douglas Lilburn Research Fellowship (2017), and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage NZ History Trust Research Award (2018), so you’ll see a lot of material from the 1920s and 1930s on this site. However I’m also doing some work on tours by international jazz artists to New Zealand in the 1960s so you’ll occasionally see posts on that as well. Otherwise the posts here are wherever my research whims take me.

I am a freelance historian and writer who is available for hire as a writer and editor, lecturer, researcher, consultant, and archivist and you can see more of my experience in lecturing, media and a list of my publications on my Shameless Self-Promotion page. If you’d like to engage me for a project to as a guest lecturer please leave a message on either of these pages and I’ll get back to you.

While I do occasionally write about current jazz activities in New Zealand, my primary focus is on history so if you are looking for current jazz in New Zealand (especially gig guides) please try the following websites:









  1. Hi Aleisha – great site! just wondering if you have come across Clyde Howley and his wife Florence (aka Mickey Howley) – he played with his band The New Internationals(?) at the Dixieland Cabaret and also with ex NZ Divisional Forces variety theatre group The Kiwis. I don’t have anything else though…

    1. Hi My Great Grandfather was Clyde Howley. I have lots of pictures of him. My Gran was Mickey.
      Sonja Yelich

  2. Any gig guide for Australia? Thanks Aleisha. Interesting blog. I have a similar one (altough much less developed on jazz history in Spanish language, specially on women in jazz. Nobody seems to know them in Spain….)

    1. Hi! Thanks for commenting. I don’t know of any national gig guide for Australia, or even ones at State level- the scene’s too big and too spread out so they tend to go city by city. However try this one for Sydney and surrounds: http://www.jazzinsydney.com. Or this one fore Melbourne: http://ausjazz.net/gigs/gig-guide-for-melbourne/. Other cities either have similar clubs or tend to use aggregating sites like Eventfinda. As for women in jazz I just kept looking through newspapers and magazines for mentions (women’s columns in newspapers are actually really good for this sort of information)- also try local oral histories at public libraries. I’ve found all sorts of information in the most obscure places! Good luck!

      1. Thanks Aleisha! Sidney and Melbourne is where I’ll be for Christmas indeed. I live now in India, also trying to identify who are the best musicians in the local scene (most have moved to the US though). From here, I can only rely on my books, e-books and other material on the Internet. Which newspapers and magazines do you mean?

  3. General daily newspapers and magazines of all sorts as well as music trade papers, and broadcasting magazines (particularly the early ones for radio). Most daily papers have an entertainment column that will mention bands and (hopefully) individual musicians. Until the 1980s (in NZ anyway) most newspapers had a women’s column which also acted as an entertainment column talking about dances and the bands that played for them- female musicians frequently get mentioned there, more for their dress than their music, but it’s a starting point! Most places have their historical daily (and sometimes weekly) newspapers digitised so I’d suggest that you look out for those via the main libraries in the area, or the national library. So for example in NZ it’s Papers Past, in Australia it’s Trove, in the US many individual papers have digitised their own archives, such as NY Times, but there’s also ProQuest Historical Newspapers. but these are frequently only available through a subscription service, which most libraries have access to.

    Hope this helps.

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