Teenagers: The Rise of Youth Culture in New Zealand

Chris Brickell

Author: Chris Brickell
Format: Flexibind, Ebook
Pages: 384
Published: July 2017
Specs: 24.8cm x 19.0cm
ISBN: 9781869408688

Available in Ebook

From mashers to milk bars, flappers to factory girls, larrikins to louts – this intimate and evocative look at youth culture offers insights into the true lives of teenagers and the history of New Zealand.

Teenagers is a ground-breaking history of young people in New Zealand from the nineteenth century to the 1960s. Through the diaries and letters, photographs and drawings that teenagers left behind, we meet New Zealanders as they transition from children to adults: sealers and bushfellers, factory girls and newspaper boys, the male ‘mashers’ of the 1880s and the female  ‘flappers’ of the 1910s and ’20s, schoolgirls and rock’n’rollers, larrikins and louts.

By taking us inside the lives of young New Zealanders, the book illuminates from a new angle large-scale changes in our society: the rise and fall of domestic service, the impact of compulsory education, the movement of Pākehā and then Māori from country to city, the rise of consumer culture and popular psychology. Teenagers shows us how young people made sense of their personal and social transformations: in language and song and dress, at dances and picnics and social clubs, in talking and playing and reading.

Teenagers provides an intimate and evocative insight into the lives of young people and the history of New Zealand.


More about Chris Brickell


Read an extract here

Awards and Nominations

Longlisted – Illustrated Non-Fiction Award – 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards


With a broad social and cultural sweep, the book brings young people to the centre of the New Zealand story. – Bronwyn Dalley, co-author of Frontier of Dreams: The Story of New Zealand 

Panoramic in its scope, with a wonderful teeming sense of past lives and sensibilities. – Melissa Bellanta, author of Larrikins: A History 

Through diary entries, letters, historical record, statistics and telling anecdotes, Brickell paints a lovely, highly readable and informative account of the distinct if not always distinctive culture and companionship of young people down the decades. - Graham Reid