Settler Colonialism in Twentieth-Century New Zealand

Authored by: Felicity Barnes

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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Twentieth-century New Zealand’s history has rarely been considered colonial. Like many other settler colonies, New Zealand has a strong vein of nationalist historiography. In these narratives, ‘colonial’ New Zealand was a nineteenth-century phenomenon; the twentieth century, by contrast, was the site for a slowly evolving sense of national identity, whose touchstones were to be found in events as varied as the rejection of federation with Australia in 1901, the victorious 1905 All Black rugby tour of England and even in the short-lived flowering of national literary magazines. 1 World War I became the critical turning point: W.P. Morrell, the first historian to interpret ‘the history of New Zealand as the growth of a nation, concluded that New Zealand announced its manhood to the world on the bloody slopes of Gallipoli in 1915’. 2 He would not be the last: war, along with sporting success, social innovations, the development of a distinctive New Zealand literature, film, art and music became familiar fingerposts in a story that charted New Zealand’s growth and development away from its colonial past and towards an independent future.

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