Thumbnail Image

'It Was Hard To Die Frae Hame': Death, Grief and Mourning Among Scottish Migrants to New Zealand, 1840-1890.

James McGeoch's headstone, which can be seen at the Presbyterian Cemetery in Symonds Street, Auckland, carries a simple sentiment in the Scottish dialect that resonates with first generation migrants everywhere: 'It was hard to die frae hame'. This thesis is an investigation into the experiences of death and mourning among nineteenth century Scottish migrants to New Zealand. It considers the ways in which death, and the framework of social conventions through which it is interpreted and dealt with, might provide evidence for the persistence or renegotiation of cultural behaviours among migrant communities. The focus of this study is on the working classes and in particular those who resided in, and emigrated from, Scotland's larger cities and towns. A complex of ideas and customs informed cultural practices regarding death among the working classes. This thesis highlights the multiple challenges that the process of migration posed to these cultural practices. The ongoing renegotiation of such ideas and customs were important components in the formulation of cultural and religious identities in New Zealand. This thesis is simultaneously an investigation of deathways, a migration study, a consideration of the working class experience, and a tentative venture into the history of emotion. Using a diverse range of sources, including New Zealand coroners' reports, gravestone inscriptions, and personal autobiographical accounts as written in journals, diaries and letters, this study highlights the complexity and variety of migrants' experiences of death and attempts to uncover the multiple meanings of these experiences.
Type of thesis
Powell, D. (2007). ‘It Was Hard To Die Frae Hame’: Death, Grief and Mourning Among Scottish Migrants to New Zealand, 1840-1890. (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2484
The University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.