Faculty of Arts
Vol. 38, No. 1 (April)
- Fiona Paisley, Performing 'New Zealand': Maori and Pakeha Delegates at the Pan-Pacific Women's Conference, Hawai'i, 1934
Class has dropped off the New Zealand historiographical agenda in recent years. When it is mentioned, the discussion tends to focus on evident class consciousness and conflict, and usually starts from 1890. Alongside an extensive historiographical discussion, this article argues that class was central to New Zealand society from the beginning of the colonial period. Class is understood in this article to be based in productive relationships, but it is stressed that class formation, class structure, and class consciousness are all in dynamic relationship with each other and with the fundamental relations of production. Some assessment of the class structure of colonial society is made and forms of class consciousness are explored.
In 1934, two Maori women attended the Pan-Pacific Women's Conference in Hawai'i as members of the New Zealand delegation. They became figures of renown, considered to personify the interracial harmony supposedly existing in New Zealand, and were admired as cross-cultural ambassadors between Pakeha and Hawai'ian royalty, and between Pakeha and other white, 'western' delegates. As such, they epitomized the cultural internationalist ideal of these conferences. Yet while cross-cultural exchange was to provide the basis for harmonious interracial relations in the Pacific region, the involvement of Maori delegates in the performance of cultural difference and cultural sameness (as both traditional and modern women) points to a more complex dynamic between 'culture' and notions of progress than the Pan-Pacific association envisaged. Drawing on a diary kept by a leading Pakeha delegate, this paper offers a critical reading of the significance of the Maori delegates to the 1934 conference.
Colonization brought with it Romantic ideas about landscape aesthetics and recreational walking which were applied to New Zealand. This article looks at walking as a cultural practice, both as part of a performance of superiority by colonial administrators which worked to establish important differences between Maori and Pakeha attitudes to landscape and walking, and as a goal in itself. The article uses the work of Pierre Bourdieu to suggest how recreational walking displays registers of taste and class. Taking the Milford Track as a primary case study, the article considers accounts of walking the Milford Track by early twentieth-century visitors to New Zealand, showing how track walkers repeated and recycled a complex of attitudes about walking that derived both from Romanticism and colonialism.
Historians of religion have sometimes complained that New Zealand historians have ignored or downplayed the religious dimensions of New Zealand's past. This article attempts to explain why. Focusing on representations of Christianity in historical writing since the 1950s, I identify as largely responsible a secular nationalist historiographical tradition spearheaded by Keith Sinclair which by the 1980s had become an influential paradigm for interpreting New Zealand history. Secular nationalists sought to save New Zealand from Christianity, which they depicted as dull, dying, or dysfunctional, or all three. Criticizing this interpretive tradition, I conclude that recent work in Maori and in women's and gender history offer promising ways forward, taking us beyond the limitations and constraints of secular nationalism.