Settler Colonialism in New Zealand, 1840–1907

Authored by: Richard S. Hill

The Routledge Handbook of the History of Settler Colonialism

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415742160
eBook ISBN: 9781315544816
Adobe ISBN: 9781134828470


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New Zealand was the last significant land mass in the world to be settled, less than a thousand years ago. The arrivals were Polynesian, from the eponymous homeland of Hawaiiki in the Pacific Ocean. 1 The land they later called Aotearoa became part of Britain’s informal empire after Captain James Cook’s ‘discovery’ in 1769 and, more especially, after the establishment of the penal colony of New South Wales shortly after. In the late eighteenth century, Maori numbered up to 100,000 and were dispersed throughout all parts of Aotearoa, predominantly in the North Island. A ‘middle ground engagement’ between the tribally organised indigenous leaders and British entrepreneurs of extractive industries (such as timber and whaling) characterised this farthest frontier of Europe, with little intervention by the metropole required. 2

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