UC student awarded grant to research pivotal female NZ Classics scholar
University of Canterbury Master’s student Natalie Looyer, has been awarded a funding grant to research a pivotal,
ground-breaking female New Zealand Classics scholar.
The project, titled “Bringing Classical Antiquities to Aotearoa: The Life and Legacy of Marion K. Steven”, aims to
create an oral history of the life of Marion Steven, founder of the James Logie Memorial Collection of Mediterranean Antiquities
, which is housed in the University of Canterbury’s Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities
Natalie’s research, which is the subject of a funding grant as part of the 2018 New Zealand Oral History awards scheme
from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga, will provide a personal record to accompany the official
records held in the Logie Collection archives.
“My ambition for the oral history project on the life of Miss Marion Steven is to capture an extensive and lasting
memory of an innovative teacher, classicist and staunch advocate for the Arts and Humanities,” Natalie says.
“Miss Steven established the James Logie Memorial Collection in 1957, and was one of the first appointed female Readers
of an academic department at the University of Canterbury. Details of Miss Steven’s life as an educator, collector and
academic have gone largely undocumented, despite her legend as an extremely intellectual and fascinating character, much
admired by those that knew her, and as one who associated with the elite artistic and literary group of mid to late 20th
Over the next 12 months Natalie will be carrying out interviews with colleagues, students, family and friends that knew
“I hope that my project will uncover the story of a female New Zealander who transcended the boundaries of her time for
women in academia, and whose efforts have ensured the continuation of a world-class teaching resource for University of
Canterbury (UC) Classics students and beyond.”
The Logie Collection is supporting Natalie’s work by co-supervising the project with Associate Professor Lyndon Fraser,
and providing a long-term repository for the oral history interviews.
“I hope that Miss Steven’s story will make a relevant contribution to themes of female achievement and perseverance,
academic innovation and ‘liberal arts’ influence for the historical archives of mid-20th century Christchurch. This is
particularly relevant as the James Logie Memorial Collection – Miss Steven’s predominant legacy – plays its role in the
regrowth of the Christchurch central city and its artistic scene, acting as part of a centrepiece for UC at the Arts
History of the Logie Collection
The James Logie Memorial Collection was first formed in 1957, following a gift of Greek pottery to Canterbury University
College (as UC was then known) by Classics staff member Marion Steven.
Marion Steven had a longstanding passion for Greek painted pottery. As a young woman, she enrolled to study Greek and
Classics as a student at Canterbury in 1938, and later taught at the University, from 1944 to 1977, where she was a
popular lecturer. In 1950, Marion married James Logie, who was Registrar of the College from 1950 until his death in
1956. In 1957, Marion established the James Logie Memorial Collection as a tribute to her husband. Since then the Logie
Collection has served to commemorate the great contributions of both James Logie and Marion Steven to UC.
The aim of the collection has been to serve as a teaching and research resource for students, academics and interested
members of the public. Over the past 60 years the collection has been a source of inspiration for numerous international
publications and research projects.
In 2016, the University of Canterbury received a substantial donation to support the relocation the James Logie Memorial
Collection of classical antiquities to the Arts Centre in central Christchurch. UC alumnus Professor David Teece and his
wife, Leigh Teece, donated funds to support the refurbishment of the old Chemistry building, and create the Teece Museum
of Classical Antiquities.