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Images of Pakeha-Māori: A Study of the Representation of Pakeha-Māori by Historians of New Zealand From Arthur Thomson (1859) to James Belich (1996)

This thesis investigates how Pakeha-Māori have been represented in New Zealand non-fiction writing during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The chronological and textual boundaries range from Arthur Thomson's seminal history The Story of New Zealand (1859) to James Belich's Making Peoples (1996). It examines the discursive inventions and reinventions of Pakeha-Māori from the stereotypical images of the Victorian era to modern times when the contact zone has become a subject of critical investigation and a sign of changing intellectual dynamics in New Zealand and elsewhere. This thesis is about the history of attitudes to culture-crossers in New Zealand, the use of the term 'Pakeha-Māori', and the images that underlie the thinking of Britons and Pakeha about them. It explores the motives and backgrounds of specific authors and the ways in which they frame New Zealand history. It elucidates the ambiguous and contradictory perspectives of Pakeha-Māori in the literature and analyses its impact on changing public perceptions about them. The study critiques the literature with emphasis on theoretically informed research, historical analysis, and literary insights. Discussion is confined to published texts, with the aim of exploring the multiplicity of Pakeha-Māori images and the processes that gave rise to them. This study is essentially an investigation into how and why historians and other scholars try to draw boundaries between cultures in order to create a satisfactory metanarrative or myth of the 'settlement' of New Zealand and thus to forge a sense of New Zealandness. The cultural and racial categories of 'Māori' and 'Pakeha' are very unstable, however, and a consideration of the 'in-between' or 'culture-crossing' category of 'Pakeha-Māori' can reveal the way in which 'Māori' and 'Pakeha' and a sense of New Zealand and New Zealanders have been constructed. More particularly, consideration of representations of those culture-crossers or race-crossers called Pakeha-Māori can reveal the hopes and fears of Pakeha writers regarding Pakeha, Māori and New Zealand and how Pakeha-Māori have frequently been a barometer or litmus test of public perceptions of relations between Māori and Pakeha in different historical periods.
Type of thesis
Bentley, T. W. (2007). Images of Pakeha-Māori: A Study of the Representation of Pakeha-Māori by Historians of New Zealand From Arthur Thomson (1859) to James Belich (1996) (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2559
The University of Waikato
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