Fit citizens for the British Empire? Class-ifying Racial and gendered subjects in “godzone” (new zealand)

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Abstract

A otearoa/New Zealand,2 according to the Oxford Illustrated History (and eminent nationalist historian Keith Sinclair) was “settled by two sea-faring peoples, Polynesian and British, after crossing immense oceans in small vessels” (Sinclair 1990: vii). On this official account, two races appear to be destined, from the out­ set, to become one nation, in spite of the fact that (approximately) 1000 years separate the respective settlement of peoples now known as Maori and Pakeha New Zealanders.3 Indeed, m ost histories of New Zealand effectively begin with thesigning in 1840 of the Treaty o f Waitangi, by representatives of the British Crown (Queen Victoria) and several Maori chiefs (rangatira).4 On the face of it, the treaty signifies an agreement guaranteeing mutual accommodation and autonomy of Maori people and Pakeha settlers. To the British in 1840, it was the means by which they gained sovereignty over New Zealand. To Maori people since, the treaty has had a very different significance. It marks more than one hundred and fifty years of adverse conditions under European rule and the loss of Maori “rangitiratanga,” roughly translated as Maori governorship, authority, even “sovereignty” in the European-derived sense.5 Today, more than ever, the Treaty o f Waitangi-Te Teriti 0 Waitangi is a symbol of national unity (in diversity) and contestation, signi­ fying the imperialist point of departure: the beginning of European colonization and settlement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen Out of Place
Subtitle of host publicationThe Gender of Agency and the Race of Nationality
EditorsB F Williams
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter4
Pages103-128
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9780415914963, 9780415914970
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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