‘Discourses of Maori and Chinese in the formation of New Zealand’s national identity’ 3

Still more notes connecting with earlier blogs… (‘Discourses of Maori and Chinese in the formation of New Zealand’s national identity’ 1, July 29, 2012 – and – ‘Discourses of Maori and Chinese in the formation of New Zealand’s national identity’ 2, yesterday) …

Nigel Murphy also notes that “As with Māori, there were contradictory and mixed attitudes to Chinese. While white New Zealanders railed against the Chinese, they continued to patronize Chinese businesses. But where it mattered – the place of Chinse in [-p78] New Zealand and the place of Chinese in relation to New Zealand’s newly forming national identity – the dominant discourse was uniformly simple: Chinese were a dangerous and unwanted threat to New Zealand, and were not, and never could be, New Zealanders. ”[1]

Murphy observes that: “unlike Australia, New Zealand refused to acknowledge it had an official ‘White New Zealand policy’.”[2]

In this same thread, Paola Voci and Jacqueline Leckie note: “Asia’s essentialized otherness has been used to collapse biculturalism into one Pākehā-dominated New Zealand identity. Attempts at reclaiming national identity against the supposed threat of an Asian intrusion have exposed the unsettled nature of the bicultural framework.”[3]

As Kathy Ooi, among others, has explained, “The first group of Chinese had arrived in New Zealand as a party of twelve in 1866, but their numbers had swelled to 5004 by 1881, constituting roughly one percent of the colony’s population.  The New Zealand government subsequently sought to curtail Chinese immigration by imposing a poll-tax and a restriction on the number of Chinese passengers a ship, depending on its tonnage, could carry.  Though the number of Chinese in New Zealand soon dropped, however, these measures did little to quell the elaborate fears and fantasies surrounding the Chinese who were already in New Zealand.”[4]


[1]77 Nigel Murphy (2009) ‘Māoriland’ and ‘yellow peril’: discourses of Māori and Chinese in the formation of New Zealand’s national identity 1890-1914’ pp.56-88 in ed. Manying Ip The Dragon & the Taniwha: Māori & Chinese in New Zealand. Auckland University Press: Auckland

[2]78 Nigel Murphy (2009) ‘Māoriland’ and ‘yellow peril’: discourses of Māori and Chinese in the formation of New Zealand’s national identity 1890-1914’ pp.56-88 in ed. Manying Ip The Dragon & the Taniwha: Māori & Chinese in New Zealand. Auckland University Press: Auckland

[3]10 Paola Voci and Jacqueline Leckie (2011) ‘Introduction: Beyond nations and ethnicities: localizing Asia in New Zealand’ in (eds) Paola Voci and Jacqueline Leckie Localizing Asia in Aotearoa. Dunmore Publishing: Wellington

[4] 120 Kathy Ooi (2008) ‘Uncanny Embodiments: the ‘Lost Chinaman Hoax’ and Syd Stevens’s The Image of Ju Lye’ Journal of New Zealand Literature 26; 118-135

again NOTE: I haven’t got macrons here… imagine them over Maori and Pakeha, etc….

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About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
This entry was posted in Asian connections, Maori learners and education, Metaphors and Narratives around children and learners, Mono- Bi- and Multi-culturalism, Pakeha learners and education, social and political contexts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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