Departmental Bulletin Paper Approaches to Pakeha Identity in Aotearoa/New Zealand


(Vol.26)  , pp.45 - 56 , 2018-03-01
In the 20th century, the breakup of the British Empire and a subsequent immigration-driven shift towards multiculturalism has thrown the identity of New Zealand Pakeha (non-indigenous New Zealanders) into uncertainty. In this article I examine three ways Pakeha have sought to formulate more stable models of national identity: the reactionary, the revisionist, and the progressive. The reactionary, associated with white nationalism, has sought to re-forge psychological connections with the now-defunct Empire. The revisionist, existing at the fringes of white nationalism, has attempted to create a stronger link between Pakeha and New Zealand through radical reinterpretations of history that claim Europeans colonized the archipelago before Maori. Finally, the progressive has sought to integrate respectfully with indigenous Maori culture while at the same time attempting to embrace multicultural and transnational modes of being. All these diverse approaches circle the question of just what it means to be indigenous, and raise the issue of just who-Pakeha or Maori-should determine such postcolonial identity.

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