God’s governor: George Grey and racial amalgamation in New Zealand 1845-1853

Posted in Dissertations, History, Media Archive, Oceania, Politics/Public Policy on 2012-07-11 17:44Z by Steven

God’s governor: George Grey and racial amalgamation in New Zealand 1845-1853

University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
August 2005
346 pages

Susannah Grant

A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

The legend of Governor Grey is a major feature of nineteenth century New Zealand historiography. This thesis seeks to understand Grey as a real person. Acknowledging the past as a strange and foreign place, it argues that Grey (and previous interpretations of him) can only be understood in context. The intellectual milieu of liberal Anglicanism and Victorian structures of imperial authority are crucial to understanding Grey’s policies of racial amalgamation.

Focusing on Grey’s first governorship of New Zealand, 1845 – 1853, this thesis begins by exploring the imperial networks within which he operated. The members of Grey’s web gathered and shared information to further a range of different agendas – scientific, humanitarian, and political. Grey’s main focus was native civilisation. His ideas about race were informed by liberal Anglican theology, scientific investigation and personal experience. Grey believed in the unity and improvability of all mankind. His mission as governor was to elevate natives to a state of true equality with Europeans so that all could progress together still further up the scale of civilisation. This model formed the basis of Grey’s 1840 plan for civilising native peoples, in which he proposed a range of measures to promote racial amalgamation in Australia.

Between 1845 and 1853 Grey implemented those measures in New Zealand. He used military force and British law to establish peace and enforce Crown authority. He used economic policies to encourage Māori integration in the colonial economy. He built schools and hospitals and enacted legislation to encourage the best features of British culture and limit the effects of its worst. He also augmented his power and encouraged amalgamation through personal relationships, official reports and the structures of colonial authority.

Grey was driven by complex, sometimes contradictory motives including personal gain, economic imperatives and political pressures. His policies have had ongoing, often devastating effects, on Māori and on race relations in New Zealand. This thesis brings to light the ideas and attitudes which formed them. Grey understood himself as a Christian governor ordained to civilise Māori and join them with British settlers in accordance with God’s divine plan for improving humankind.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Beyond Black and White
  • 1. Information and Improvement: an Imperial Web
  • 2. Civilising Schemes: Ethnography and Empire
  • 3. Law and War: the Politics of Humanitarian Control
  • 4. Economic Integration: Land, Labour and Loans
  • 5. Social Elevation: Education, Health and Culture
  • 6. Personal Rule: Performing Authority
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Read the entire dissertation here.

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Pacific children of US servicemen for study

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Oceania on 2011-11-21 01:10Z by Steven

Pacific children of US servicemen for study

Otago Daily Times
University of Otago, New Zealand

Allison Rudd

World War 2 brought two million United States servicemen to New Zealand and many Pacific Islands. Inevitably, many formed liaisons with local women and fathered possibly several thousand children. What happened to those babies, and, more than 60 years later, where are they now? Allison Rudd talks to University of Otago historian Prof Judith Bennett, who has won funding to try and trace the all-but forgotten offspring.

Judith Bennett was doing some research when she got sidetracked.

She was compiling information for a book on the environmental effect of the war on Pacific Island countries when she came across references to the mixed-race children of local women and United States servicemen.

Her interest was piqued.

“I was very curious because I could find very little on this topic.

“So it seemed to me there were questions that needed to be answered: How were these children accepted?

“Did their parentage affect their land rights?

“Did it affect their marriage prospects?

“How were their mothers characterised in their own societies?

“How did the US Government view marriage?

“How did the indigenous people view these relationships?

“Were they profitable, were they shameful, or were they a mixture?

“What have been the long-term effects of mixed parentage?

“These children would have looked different – their fathers were white or African American.

“What impact did that have on them as they were growing up and when they were adults?”

Now Prof Bennett hopes to satisfy her curiosity, having secured a $917,000 Marsden grant to embark on a three-year research project…

Read the entire article here.

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New research explains why we see Barack Obama as “black” rather than “white”

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2010-11-26 00:59Z by Steven

New research explains why we see Barack Obama as “black” rather than “white”

News of Otago
University of Otago, New Zealand


Why do people tend to see biracial individuals such as Barack Obama as belonging to the minority group in their parentage rather than the majority one? According to new studies led by a University of Otago psychology researcher, this phenomenon—known as “hypodescent”—can be explained by underlying mechanisms in how human brains learn and categorise groups.

Otago Department of Psychology Associate Professor Jamin Halberstadt says that previously, the hypodescent phenomenon was presumed to be a product of one of several motivations: for example, to deny rights to minority group members, or to grant rights to restore historical inequities.

“Through our face perception research we show that hypodescent need not be motivated by prejudice or anything else, and that the same minority-biased perception of mixed-race individuals can emerge as a simple result of how our brains learn new groups,” Associate Professor Halberstadt says…

“So when people encounter biracial individuals, who exhibit features of both majority and minority groups, their minority features are more influential. In other words, Barack Obama is “black” because, due to most people’s learning history, his dark skin is especially strongly associated with that category,” he says…

Read the entire article here.

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Mai i ngā Ao e Rua–From Two Worlds: An investigation into the attitudes towards half castes in New Zealand

Posted in Anthropology, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science on 2010-10-21 03:14Z by Steven

Mai i ngā Ao e Rua–From Two Worlds: An investigation into the attitudes towards half castes in New Zealand

University of Otago, Dunedin
October 2006
91 pages

Suzanne Boyes

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree of Bachelor of Arts (Honours), in Māori Studies at the University of Otago, Dunedin

This dissertation investigates the attitudes of others’ experienced by ‘half-caste’ or biethnic people of New Zealand, that is, people who have both Māori and Pākehā heritage. The dissertation combines the personal narratives of four half-caste people, my own story, and historical/theoretical literature to illuminate this subject. The dissertation introduces the topic by firstly, discussing the current identity politics in New Zealand, which has tended to dominate the political landscape as of late, and left half-caste people between the crossfire. Secondly, I introduce part of my own story as a half-caste person in New Zealand. In Chapter one, the pre-colonial origins of attitudes towards race, intermarriage and miscegenation are examined through an analysis of religious and scientific discourses. Chapter Two provides a basic understanding of Māori and Pākehā identity as separate entities, with the aim of demonstrating the binary opposites that have informed attitudes towards half-castes in New Zealand. The third chapter outlines a number of themes regarding attitudes towards the half caste people I interviewed as part of this research. The final chapter brings together literature and interview material through the lens of a Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People to provide an approach for looking towards the future of half-caste identity politics.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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