|It is known that traditional Irish step dancing, English clog dancing, and even
English morris and maypole dancing were taught and performed in the latter half of the
1800s in New Zealand and Australia. Also country dancing and quadrilles were in vogue
almost from just after the arrival of the first settlers from Europe.
See the New Zealand 'Papers Past' newspaper archives and search for for various keywords such as 'country dance' or 'quadrille' or 'maypole' or 'clog dancing' etc. The New Zealand Graphic has some photos from 1905 - see: NZ Morris & Dance.
Then in the early 1900s, English 'folk dancing' as defined by collector and teacher Cecil Sharp was brought over by migrants from the UK and taught widely, especially from the 1920s onwards. Disciples of Sharp such as one Miss. Hilda Taylor emigrated to NZ and helped to create a thriving folk dance movement throughout the country.
In the 1920s and 1930s one John Oliver, a New Zealander at Cambridge University, was also involved in promoting English country dancing with 'The Round' - a somewhat exclusive country dance club at Cambridge; and he was also a member of Cambridge Morris Men and the Travelling Morrice - see 'The Round' - History. When he returned to NZ he was instrumental in promoting English folk dancing including Sharp-style English country dancing and also morris and sword dancing.
The New Zealand Society for English Folk Dancing was the first official overseas branch of the EFDSS. Indeed in New Zealand during the 1930s/40s there were more English country dance groups than Scottish. But there were few men involved. It's magazine English Folklore in Dance and Song can be read here.
Two of the ECD clubs existed even as late as the 1980s/90s - these were in Timaru and Christchurch. The ladies of Christchurch were filmed in the 1980s and can be seen on YouTube.
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