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Island Stories

5. Establishing the Nation: New Zealand History in Universities

page 79

5. Establishing the Nation: New Zealand History in Universities

Academic historians in the interwar period often said that New Zealand history began in Britain. Debatable as this claim now seems, it may at least stand in connection with the history of academic history. The academic study of New Zealand began in England in a literal sense—many of the most substantial academic works on New Zealand history began life as doctoral theses at English universities—and it began there in a figurative sense in that the disciplinary protocols of academic history were set in England. The development of the writing of history in New Zealand universities from 1920 to 1940 is largely a story of the entrenchment of early twentieth-century English academic practices in this country. This process was not complete by 1940, and different kinds of history continued to be written by New Zealand academics. The establishment of English academic standards was not itself an act of 'colonisation', since the practices it challenged were Pakeha ones that had taken shape in the colleges of the University of New Zealand. Rather, trends in the universities intersected with cultural colonisation in the ways they led to reconstitutions of New Zealand history according to academic standards and English historiographical concerns.

In the first part of this chapter I outline the incursions of English academic history into the New Zealand colleges and indicate the conditions under which history was and could be written there. I then move on to examine a major strand in academic writing on New Zealand history: the discussion of annexation and the beginnings of British government in New Zealand. Most of this work was written in English universities under the rubric of imperial history. I examine the arguments and exclusions that arose from studying New Zealand history in this disciplinary context. Finally, I discuss another genre that academics worked in: general histories of New Zealand. A recurrent theme of the chapter is the different ways in which 'New Zealand history' became a valid subject of academic inquiry.

The first serious academic publication on New Zealand history was The Constitutional History and Law of New Zealand (1914), written by James Hight and page 80H. D. Bamford.1 Hight, Professor of History and Political Science at Canterbury University College from 1920 to 1948, appears to have written part one, the constitutional history, and Bamford, a lawyer and former lecturer in law at Auckland University College, the part dealing with constitutional law. At first glance Hight's constitutional history promises something quite different from the local chronicles, yarns, war stories, factual compendia, studies of the Bay of Islands and other staples of New Zealand historiography at the time. However, with its skeletal, resolutely linear narrative and long, weakly integrated quotations, the text was strikingly similar to McNab's work. In its concern with the specifics of New Zealand's founding as a British colony, the book recalled McNab and Buick; with its legal bent it is reminiscent of Downie Stewart. This was more a history written in a university than a distinctively academic history.

The highest degree for which Hight studied was an MA from Canterbury.2 His MA was in English and French: as far as history was concerned, he was as self-taught as any non-university historian. The Professor of History at Otago University throughout the interwar period, John Rawson Elder, had more credentials as a historian than Hight had had when he began lecturing in history. Elder was forty when he took up the chair at Otago, and had lectured in history at the University of Aberdeen in history for twelve years. (For eight of those years he doubled as a lecturer in the Spanish language at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen.)3 Though he was academically trained in Britain, his work in New Zealand history had much more in common with Cowan, Buick and Fildes than with the other university historians.

One of their common interests was missionaries. It is almost symbolic that Elder acquired the task of editing The Letters and Journals of Samuel Marsden from Andersen.4 Elder also wrote a number of books on gold-mining, bush-ranging and pioneering.5 These were written in the mode of extensive quotation favoured by non-university historians, although the narrative voice takes up more space. They share non-university historians' penchant for the 'romantic' aspects of goldmining page 81and so on, though they were much less florid in style.6 On one occasion, though not talking directly about his own work, Elder remarked that '[t]o arrange and collate into readable narratives the materials left by early pioneers, colonists, surveyors, and miners—the men of action who founded the State—is a work not only of interest but of necessity if our citizens are to know the source of these traditions of conduct which are the very life-blood of their country'.7 Jock Phillips' comment that Elder 'largely chose to compete in the popular market for history catered for by writers such as Cowan' is at least as convincing as Elder's own explanation of the point of such work.8 Unlike most of Cowan's books, though, Elder's works on goldmining and exploration were published in London by Blackie and Son, whose main line of work was in children's books.9 Elder was thus also seeking a British market for colonial adventure. Altogether, in his interests, his style and his connections with non-university historians and Polynesian Society members such as George Graham,10 Elder was not unusual as a New Zealand historian.

The cases of Elder and Hight make it clear that historians who worked in universities did not all write history that was vastly different from historians outside the academy. A distinctively academic tradition of history was, however, established in the New Zealand university colleges in the interwar period. This came about largely through the appointment of younger historians trained differently from both Hight and Elder. To explain this development in the writing of New Zealand history in the universities, one needs to refer to some general trends in the New Zealand colleges and overseas universities as well as the new appointees and their work. These material conditions also help to explain why new recruits without a background in New Zealand history nevertheless wrote on that subject once they got here.

The first important development, and one which affected Hight and Elder as well as others, was the institutional recognition of history as a subject worthy of consideration in itself. (Why New Zealand history came to be acceptable as such will be discussed below.) For a time those who taught history at Auckland and Victoria had both lectured in economics and commercial geography as well; one also taught mental science, and the other physical geography, economic history and currency page 82and banking.11 Even those with narrower responsibilities still had divided disciplinary loyalties. At Otago and Canterbury until 1919-20, the Professor of History was also the Professor of Economics. Hight reportedly did justice to both subjects, though inclined toward history in his writing; H. D. Bedford was very much an economist, whose knowledge of history seemed unimpressive to at least one student.12 After 1920 in the South Island colleges, and in the 1930s in the North Island, separate chairs of history were established (though Hight's subsumed political science). The creation of separate chairs and lectureships in history was an important part of the establishment of history as an academic discipline.

Professors of History usually worked with one lecturer or assistant lecturer. Some lecturers, such as Beaglehole, and Willis Airey, published and pamphleteered as well as teaching; others, New Zealand MA graduates such as Alice M. F. Candy, N. S. Woods and, before he went to Cambridge after World War II, Angus Ross, wrote little history and are not discussed in this thesis.13 Their relatively small written output may have been by choice, or may have been forced on them by the size of their workloads.

Academics' workloads were heavy. Despite their low salaries,14 academics had substantial administrative responsibilities, and there were few clerical staff.15 Teaching and marking loads were burdensome.16 There was little provision for overseas leave; Hight had been a professor for eighteen years before he got a year's leave in England.17 All these things hampered research and writing. So did the page 83'ludicrously inadequate' library facilities of the university colleges.18 When Ralph Munn and John Barr inspected the college libraries under the auspices of the Carnegie Corporation in 1934, they found that 'the book collections are much too small to support effective undergraduate teaching, and they offer little or nothing to advanced students and faculty members'.19 The situation at Otago and Victoria was mitigated by the existence of the Hocken Library (which facilitated Elder's work) and the Turnbull and Parliamentary Libraries (which attracted students, if not academics until after 1936). Away from these windfalls, Canterbury and Auckland suffered from meagre college libraries.20

These conditions improved as New Zealand moved out of the depression. More importantly, staff vacancies created by professors' retiring or (in the case of Joseph Penfound Grossmann at Auckland) absconding were filled by younger scholars trained in historical research. Hight and Elder were educated before the research doctorate (the PhD or DPhil) was instituted in British universities, let alone New Zealand ones. Their doctoral degrees were doctorates of literature, then as now a degree awarded on the basis of published works, not supervised research. After much resistance, research doctorates were established from 1917.21 The recruitment in the 1930s of graduates of Oxford, Cambridge and London, especially the PhDs, brought New Zealand academic historiography closer to the conventions of contemporary English academic practice, which was an ideal even for those, such as Hight, who had not been educated in this way.22 These drew heavily on German models (especially the work of Leopold von Ranke), and nineteenth-century English documentary scholars, in particular William Stubbs. These conventions may be summarised briefly as an increasing premium on research; the rigorous scrutiny of primary sources; a pragmatic synthesis of (methodological) scientism and (expository) artistry; and a focus on the political anatomy and physiology of Britain page 84and, in the case of the historians discussed here, its empire.23 New Zealand academic historians engaged with the English version of the discipline both in English institutions as research students, and from afar, as missionaries of English-style academia in colonial university colleges.

In the interwar period, the swing toward research graduates was confined to the North Island colleges. At Victoria and Auckland, the Professors of History (and other things) until the mid-thirties were singularly inactive as writers. F. P. Wilson at Victoria published nothing,24 Grossmann was a popular lecturer, but his 'sole contributions to the national bibliography consist of brief pamphlets on bimetallism and the evils of deforestation'.25 F. L. W. Wood replaced Wilson as professor in 1936, and Beaglehole was appointed to a lectureship at Victoria at the same time. Both had English degrees (Beaglehole had a doctorate), and both had published at least one book. Both quickly began fostering the study of New Zealand history, through their own work, their involvement in the New Zealand Centennial's various committees, and their supervision of postgraduate students.

At Auckland the change was less sudden: straddling the professorships of Grossmann and James Rutherford was the term of the lecturer, Airey, an Aucklander who had studied at Oxford but not taken a doctorate. Airey did not impress the majority of students, but he was 'particularly effective in the more personal tuition of advanced students.'26 Airey published some history, but his importance to New Zealand history lies more in his roles as a teacher and a pamphleteer on contemporary concerns, work that he grounded firmly in history.27 Rutherford, who beat Airey (and, notoriously, Beaglehole) to the chair in 1934, was a page 85graduate of the University of Durham and, unusually for a New Zealand academic, had a PhD from an American university (Michigan, in Rutherford's case). On appointment, he 'at once began research on New Zealand history in the nineteenth century'.28

Beaglehole and Rutherford were, obviously, a minority of academic historians. But they were productive. Beaglehole published four books on New Zealand history between 1928 and 1940, more than Hight published in his lifetime. While Wood and Airey published much less on New Zealand than Beaglehole and Rutherford, they too brought values to their teaching that were different from Hight's and Elder's.

A further step away from non-academic modes of history was the support, by Beaglehole and Wood, at least, of the journal Historical Studies: Australia and New Zealand. Like the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science, Historical Studies provided a trans-Tasman forum for historical work.29 Unlike the ANZAAS, at whose meetings Buick and Chappell also spoke, Historical Studies was emphatically academic. When he called for such a journal at an ANZAAS meeting in Canberra in 1939, the eventual editor, G. F. James of the University of Melbourne, made it clear that the journal should be an academic one, and that the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Australian Historical Society did not do justice to Australasian historical scholarship. Likewise, when he appealed to Rutherford to form 'a local group in Auckland', he said that he hoped to 'obtain the assistnance [sic] of a group of four or five persons in each state or province, consisting of representatives of the respective universities, university and public libraries, and teachers' colleges and/or associations; but in each case the initiative must come from the university itself.30 Rutherford does not seem to have taken up the task, and apart from a review by Airey, Centennial promotions and bibliographic articles by Scholefield and C. R. H. Taylor (Andersen's successor as Turnbull Librarian), the only New Zealand contributions to the journal up to and including 1943 were by Wood, Beaglehole and their students. Historical Studies did not cause a revolution in New Zealand historiography, but it created a significant forum for academic work on Australasian history.

Despite developments such as the founding of Historical Studies, improvements in libraries and better provision for leave, university-based historians were not in any position to say complacent things about the state of New Zealand history by the page 86end of the interwar period. And if the conditions for the scholarly study of New Zealand history were less than ideal, it was all but impossible to contribute substantially to the history of the rest of the world. Beaglehole's The Exploration of the Pacific (1934) is the only such contribution by a historian working in New Zealand in the interwar period. While he was working on his PhD, Beaglehole had assumed that returning to New Zealand would mean the end of his career as a historian.31 New Zealand's academic facilities and its isolation from the intellectual centres of British historiography made New Zealand history, or New Zealand's patch of imperial history, virtually the only kind of history possible for those historians who worked in this country. The topics on which their MA students wrote their theses corroborate this claim.32

However, university historians had further reasons for, or justifications of, the study of New Zealand history. Hight formulated the most elaborate case. That New Zealand's development 'epitomise[d] the whole of human progress' was a claim he made at least three times in the twenties and thirties.33 In New Zealand's history, he claimed, one could see '[t]he hunting and fishing stages of primitive man', 'illustrated, inter alia, by the life of the Maoris', as well as 'the pastoral, agricultural, and the industrial stages' of human development. All these 'have succeeded or overlain one another so rapidly in New Zealand, that a surviving pioneer of one of our early settlements has witnessed in his own lifetime economic and general social development that has occupied centuries in the lands of the Old World'.34 British constitutional developments recurred with the same heightened rapidity. From this premise Hight argued that New Zealand history offered a test case, or a control, for world history. 'History could be studied in New Zealand almost as in a laboratory without the complications of older societies where life had been complex for centuries.' Antipodean economics were of particular interest: 'In New Zealand the page 87economic factor had … full play, freer than in most other countries where it was disguised and obscured by racial, religious, and class rivalries. In New Zealand it [is] comparatively easy to assess the influence which the economic factor wielded in social policy.'35

Hight left it to others to implement this amalgam of Reeves, Guthrie-Smith and Adam Smith. If New Zealand history were to be a serious test case for world history, it would need to be addressed to the rest of the world. Hight did not publish outside New Zealand; his audience was local, or at best Australasian,36 and in his writing he concentrated on New Zealand itself and the wider world's significance to New Zealand, rather than New Zealand's significance to the wider world.

A more representative view of why New Zealand history mattered in the universities was Elder's response to the proposal, initiated by Harold Miller, the Victoria University College Librarian, but publicly (and not necessarily wholeheartedly) sponsored by Hight, Ngata, Herbert Williams, A. H. Johnstone and F. L. Combs, for a chair in New Zealand history to be established as a Centennial commemoration.37 To establish a chair in New Zealand history, Elder wrote, would be

to emphasise a narrow and parochial view of history, which New Zealand, in its essential isolation, should strive to avoid. New Zealand history, so far as the pakeha is concerned, begins long centuries before 1814, and the scholar who is devoting himself to a study of the fundamental facts underlying the influences which have made the British character is, of necessity, studying an essential part of New Zealand history. New Zealand history, in short, is a part of British colonial history, and must be considered with, and in relation to, the whole subject.38

Not all academic histories proceeded upon this assumption, but many did. None did more so than those which examined New Zealand through the lenses of the historiography of British colonial policy. Rutherford and Beaglehole worked in page 88this area while in New Zealand; Beaglehole also worked in it as a doctoral student in London in the late 1920s. W. P. Morrell, who became Professor of History at Otago in 1946; A. J. Harrop, a student of Hight's who went on to Cambridge and then remained in England editing a newspaper for expatriate New Zealanders; and J. S. Marais, a Rhodes Scholar from South Africa, all wrote about New Zealand as a part of British imperial expansion and government for their doctoral degrees. Thus the academicisation of New Zealand history occurred at Oxford, Cambridge and London as well as in New Zealand history departments staffed by their graduates. How New Zealand's past was dealt with in this strand of academic history is the subject of the next section.

The historians who wrote doctoral theses involving New Zealand worked in the field of imperial history. Their subject was the expansion and administration of the British Empire. Beaglehole's supervisor at London, Arthur Percival Newton, argued that the history of the empire was 'greater than the sum total of the history of each of its parts'. Historians should therefore study 'general movements in the Empire as a whole' rather than write histories of individual colonies.39 Morrell and Beaglehole wrote about British colonial policy generally; Harrop and Marais contravened Newton's edict, but the questions they put to their subject matter still concerned 'general movements in the Empire as a whole'. They wrote about the colonisation of New Zealand as an episode in colonial development.

Imperial history became established as a legitimate field of study following the publication of John Seeley's Expansion of England (1894), which found in British imperialism a patriotic sequel to the constitutional struggles that 'concluded' in 1688. English academic interest increased in the next two decades.40 'It was, however, a gain in numbers rather than in academic prestige'.41 In the interwar period, at least, the subject was not a glamorous one for up-and-coming British historians. Morrell found that his doctorate in colonial history was not 'an easily marketable article' in English academia, despite the fact that he had lectured at Oxford for three years.42 Most work in imperial history was done by 'post-graduate students from the page 89Dominions in London', the elder statesmen of imperial history who supervised them (Newton, H. E. Egerton, Reginald Coupland, and E. A. Benians), some younger scholars such as Kenneth Bell and Trevor Williams, and a few Americans such as Paul Knaplund and Helen Taft Manning.43

Research students of imperial history wrote in genres new to New Zealand history: the historical monograph and its more ragged relative, the doctoral thesis. Both genres were supposed to reconcile analysis and chronological narrative. Primary sources were to be consumed in large quantities and slowly digested. Finding primary sources was not the problem it was for other New Zealand historians. As Frederick Madden comments, 'It was a question largely of working carefully and intelligently through the Colonial Office files—the in-and-out correspondence—of telling an attractive narrative, and of making sensible comment and conclusions.'44 The emphasis was on administration and political machinations. Imperial history did not eschew economic and military concerns, however: its blind spots were settler and native agency. What legitimated the study of New Zealand in British universities was the colony's relevance to the metropolis. Non-metropolitan matters were not important for their own sake, and official documents and sources written in England were privileged over accounts by 'civilians' on the imperial frontier.

In keeping with such concerns, the key period for those studying New Zealand was the years 1829-56, the period bounded by the publication of Edward Gibbon Wakefield's A Letter from Sydney and the implementation of responsible government. University historians' discussions of this period revolved around Wakefield and his fellow 'theorists of 1830'. These people were central to the narratives and arguments made within academic historiography, and their writings exerted a beguiling influence on later writers. Marais' The Colonisation of New Zealand is perhaps the most extreme evidence of the seductive powers of Wakefield and his associates. As a South African, Marais presumably had nothing parochial to gain from paying homage to Wakefield. Nevertheless, Marais had, as Beaglehole wrote, 'an unfortunate ability to swallow Wakefield whole'.45 To take one example, Marais accepted that '[i]n the actual conduct of emigration the Company was conspicuously successful'. Few paupers or unhealthy people were shovelled out, an evil against page 90which the Company had taken 'special precautions'. Marais remarked, 'It is rather a matter of surprise that [poor-quality immigrants] were so few in number' given the Company's 'huge business'.46 Alongside this and other passages Rutherford annotated his copy of the book with comments like 'ho-ho!', 'Nonsense', and 'Blah'.47

Marais' 'swallowing' of Wakefield may be partly explicable by the constraints of his project. The Colonisation of New Zealand was a slightly revised version of a DPhil thesis written largely from Hansards, parliamentary papers, Colonial Office files in the Public Record Office, and the published works of the protagonists. An examination of more than a handful of first-hand New Zealand sources other than Company ones might have called into question parts of his account. The writings of the proponents of colonisation also played a part. In the correspondence between the Colonial Office and the colonisers, 'The palm … must be adjudged to the Company's spokesmen'. 'They wrote letters that were cunningly contrived to touch their readers' sympathies at many points. Sometimes they would reason … with unimpeachable logic … at other times they would bait [the Colonial Office] with gentle irony or with more stinging shafts of sarcasm … '48 Marais was as much a victim of their rhetoric as a connoisseur of it.

Wakefield's 'powers of vigorous utterance' took in other writers too.49 One example is his speech in 1836 to the House of Commons Committee on the Disposal of Waste Lands in the Colonies, in which he said that the colonisation of New Zealand was inevitable because of increasing contact between Maori and disreputable Europeans in the Pacific, contact which would make the establishment of British law necessary, and that his scheme would prevent colonisation 'in a most slovenly and scrambling and disgraceful manner'.50 This passage was widely quoted,51 and its argument about the inevitability of colonisation and the responsibility of colonising in an orderly and British fashion was replicated in historians' discussions of New Zealand in the 1830s. Harrop melodramatically described a New Zealand 'in the throes of anarchy' and juxtaposed this situation with the rise of systematic colonisation, so as to cast the latter as a redemption and a facing up to responsibilities.52 For Marais, 'The New Zealand Association was the page 91principal author of the annexation of New Zealand' in such a way that the association could almost take credit.53

If, to some extent, Wakefield's texts made twentieth-century history in their own image, some of the historians repaid the compliment. Harrop's works openly re-write Wakefield in the light of imperial relations in the early twentieth century, making him the father of an insufficiently grateful colony and a historical antecedent of some kind of imperial federation. England and New Zealand, based on Harrop's doctoral thesis, explicitly brought contemporary concerns into their examination of Wakefield and the Colonial Office. The enormous importance of the actors to present day New Zealand are repeatedly emphasised, even to the point of debt: 'it may be confidently assumed that if Durham, Wakefield, and Buller had not played their respective parts in the history of the two countries, the relations between England and New Zealand would be far less cordial than they are to-day',54 Similarly, the redeeming features of Lord Glenelg's term as Colonial Secretary are introduced as his 'two claims to the gratitude of the people of Australia and New Zealand'.55

Pervading Harrop's book was a sense that the expansion of the British empire in the mid-nineteenth century was a good thing, and that the knots it tied were worth maintaining. From this premise, Wakefield and his fellows become not only creditors of modern colonials, but also modem ideals. In a discussion of claims made in 1825 that Canada had no value to Britain and would become part of the United States, Harrop inserted the comment: 'In 1925, exactly a century later, similar views were expressed.'56

Outside English academia, Hight made similar links. At the end of his discussion of the arrival of the constitution, a child of Wakefield, Durham and colonists with 'vigour and determination',57 he located the New Zealand constitution in the context of colonial government throughout the Empire. The overall trend of imperial development, of which the New Zealand constitution and Australian and Canadian federation formed part, was towards 'some form of closer union, whether Imperial Federation or Britannic Alliance'.58

The monographs of Morrell, Harrop and Marais did not finish in the 1840s, but carried their studies on to the establishment of responsible government. The constitutional developments of the years 1846-56 were a continuation of the problem page 92of the extension of British governmental forms to the colonies. Maori-Pakeha relations were viewed in the light of this problem.59

Wakefield and his associates remain important figures in this later period. Wakefield was seen as the moving spirit behind Lord Durham's report on Canada in 1839, which advocated granting responsible government to keep Canada within the Empire. The Durham Report was cast as inaugurating a new relationship between Britain and the colonies. New Zealand was no exception. The New Zealand Constitution 'was the offspring' of the Durham Report; it was 'framed in the broadest spirit of the Durham Report'.60

Academic historians related the debates over the constitution much less dramatically than they did the debates over systematic colonisation. In the earlier debates historians found it harder to see validity in the Colonial Office's arguments; for the constitutional debates, the record provided ample documentary support for the reasonableness of George Grey's actions (perhaps in part because of Grey's own powers of persuasion and 'near monopoly of the flow of information to the Colonial Office'),61 and the level of coincidence between the wishes of the settlers and the Colonial Office.

What historians thought of Wakefield was relative to what they thought of the Colonial Office. Scholarly work on the Colonial Office, wrote Beaglehole, who had written his PhD thesis on the office, began to contest 'the Wakefield-Buller-Molesworth view of the Colonial Office … [in which] angels of light, of faith, of freedom and imperial expansion, fight valiantly the forces of darkness and of disdain, in fact the obscurantist clerks of Downing Street'.62 Beaglehole detected a move away from this view after World War I, as a consequence of serious archival study.63 Trevor Williams of Oxford did work on the annexation of New Zealand, and let Beaglehole know what he was finding; Beaglehole told him it would be good to have 'all the new stuff—e.g. about Stephen … and it would be very nice to have some debunking of E.G.W. But we don't want just the story of the same old negotiations improved on.'64 Morrell was fairly even-handed in his praise and blame page 93of the Colonial Office and the colonisers.65 The history of British colonial policy, he remarked, was not 'a record of muddling and misgovernment'.66

Not all those writing on New Zealand participated in this revisionism. Marais was amply, stereotypically critical of the Colonial Office and its evangelical associates; he repeated Charles Buller's caricature of James Stephen as 'Mr. "Over-Secretary" Stephen', a claim soon to be debunked by Paul Knaplund.67 For Marais, substantial archival work did not undermine 'the Wakefield-Buller-Molesworth view' of the Colonial Office or the colonisation of New Zealand generally. Harrop's zeal for Wakefield was not, however, accompanied by a scapegoating condemnation of the Office. He took pains to establish the moral integrity and competence of its personnel.68

Indeed, Harrop's conclusion to England and New Zealand read: 'That it should have been proved possible to found a British colony without exterminating the native race … is perhaps the best justification not only for those who laboured in the cause of the British colonization of New Zealand, but for those who insisted from the beginning on the necessity of protecting the interests of the natives. It is, in a word, the justification of Dandeson Coates and James Stephen as well as the justification of Charles Buller and Edward Gibbon Wakefield.'69 But in this final sentence Harrop made a claim that the rest of his book, like others, did not substantiate. Even when treated generously (as by Morrell and Harrop) rather than scapegoated (as by Marais), the Colonial Office never occupied a position of heroism in academic accounts of New Zealand's founding.

This is not surprising, but it points to the gulf separating the narratives of academic and non-academic historians of the decades on either side of 1840. In the works of Buick and Ramsden, the Europeans who did most to found New Zealand are British government officials and the missionaries; in the academics' works, London evangelicals, and the Colonial Office and its agents were not the dynamic figures: George Grey was important, but he was never cast as an originator, as Wakefield, Buller, Durham and Molesworth were. The touchstones of Buick and Ramsden were the missions and the Treaty; those of the academics were the Wakefield colonies and the constitution.

The gap between these two kinds of account of the colony's founding is related to restricted foci on particular kinds of evidence, and investments in different page 94traditions. Buick and Ramsden lacked sustained access to the Public Record Office,70 and had local cultural capital invested in the idea of the missionaries. Those writing in London, Oxford or Cambridge lacked access to material produced in New Zealand other than the accounts of, say, Maning, Swainson, Fox and Jerningham Wakefield; but the centrality of official documents to their discipline made this deficiency of little relevance. University historians profited from the accuracy and rigour of their documentary methods, but these methods excluded other sources that might have altered the significance of official accounts (the feasibility of enforcing British law is an obvious area in which more use of local sources may have made an impact). The combined rigour and limitations of the academics' documentary method are a reminder that disciplinary conventions limit a line of inquiry for the same reasons that they make it possible.

It would be inappropriate to finish this discussion without noting that the metropolitan exclusivity of this historiography was being quietly unsettled at the end of the interwar period. Rutherford did not base his work on the Treaty and the 1840s exclusively or even primarily on parliamentary papers and other official sources. There must have been an element of choice in this, because on a long trip to England in 1937, he (and his wife) took extensive notes on the CO 208 and 209 files in the Public Record Office, the files on which Harrop, Marais and Morrell grounded their work on New Zealand, Whatever his reasons, right from his arrival in Auckland, Rutherford had set about collecting New Zealand manuscript sources. He had been in Auckland only two years before he talked Archdeacon W. J. Simkin into donating some of the papers of Hugh Carleton and Henry Williams, among other things, to the College library.71 The manuscripts he recovered, especially those of James Clendon, the United States consul in the Bay of Islands at the time of the Treaty, were much used in his work. Rutherford kept to the questions of imperial historiography, treating the War in the North as a case study of the problems of colonial government. But he derived some of his answers from local sources. As I showed in the preceding chapter, Rutherford was more aware than many Pakeha historians of the complexities of the Treaty.

Rutherford is seldom admitted to the pantheon of notable New Zealand historians. No doubt this owes something to his obnoxiousness to others as he grew older: he did not have a troupe of loyal students to keep his reputation alive, whereas his colleague Airey did. Nevertheless, Rutherford's work in the thirties and page 95forties was a new departure in the study of the origins of British government in New Zealand. It was a precedent for, and perhaps a precondition of, the later reorientation of discussions of colonial government, racial conflict and the New Zealand Company by Keith Sinclair, John Miller, Michael Turnbull, David Herron and others.

Academic historians worked in another genre very different to the monograph and the essay that were the staples of writing on colonial policy: the general history of the nation. General histories obliged historians to act as 'legislators and interpreters': to synthesise a wide variety of sources and subjects into an 'explanation' of New Zealand that would speak to the present. Accordingly, general histories of New Zealand rested on a different premise from the monographs, articles and theses of colonial-policy history. In the latter field, New Zealand was relevant insofar as it could inform the field as a whole. In general histories, the validity of New Zealand history resided in a different publishing context and in the need to explain New Zealand history to a non-specialist audience (though perhaps still an audience of intellectuals). General histories, therefore, were not necessarily written out of an enthusiasm for New Zealand history. When Beaglehole wrote his New Zealand: A Short History in the early 1930s, he was, by his own account, not 'a conscious New Zealander'.72 This does not mean we must read this 'brilliantly savage' book as an expression of Beaglehole's 'bitterness at the country of his birth'.73 It means that a survey history may involve a concern for New Zealand's future more than it entails a love of New Zealand's past.

Many of those who did believe New Zealand's history was vibrant and fascinating did not write general histories. Both Buick and Cowan had metanarratives of New Zealand's character and roots, but they took particular phenomena (the Treaty of Waitangi, the New Zealand Wars) and particular geographical areas (the Bay of Islands, and the rest of the North Island as well in Cowan's case) and treated the essence of New Zealand history as these particulars writ large. They did not roam over a wide landscape of subjects within one text. University historians dominated the genre of the short history, which embodied the powers of generalisation and interpretation associated with the academic as public intellectual.

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Assuming that the multi-author New Zealand volume of the Cambridge History of the British Empire was not entirely an academic work, it may be said that five general histories of New Zealand were written in the interwar period by academics.74 One of them, Condliffe's A Short History of New Zealand, was a school textbook, and it would confuse matters to compare it with the others here. The same goes for Elder's New Zealand: An Outline History, the rationale and intended audience of which it is hard to imagine: the book was 95 pages long, entirely predictable except in its errors, and from the Liberals' reign onwards it shifts abruptly into the present tense to read like a pamphlet survey of contemporary New Zealand.75 This leaves three single-author general histories: Morrell's New Zealand, Beaglehole's New Zealand: A Short History and Condliffe's New Zealand in the Making. The Condliffe and Beaglehole studies were by far the most influential volumes among New Zealand intellectuals in the interwar period. New Zealand writers at the time seldom referred to Morrell's book, and its sales were disappointing, at least in part because the English publishers did not co-operate with Whitcombe and Tombs, who dominated the New Zealand book market.76 The book was, moreover, not Morrell's best; alongside astute comments and thorough discussions there were plenty of ill-considered or quite silly judgments that one suspects he would have altered had he had longer to write the book and more opportunity for thorough research.

The short histories by Condliffe and Beaglehole brought something new to New Zealand historiography and greatly stimulated (and annoyed) readers. A comment Airey made in 1939 serves as a good way into these two books. One should beware, he told the Auckland League of Nations Union, 'of thinking of page 97countries as persons'.77 He was concerned with the way the personification of nations obscured sectional interests within nations, and conflated capitalists with the citizenry generally. The genre necessitated the treatment of New Zealand as a distinct entity, and 'thinking as countries as persons' was, along with the botanical metaphors which will be discussed in the next chapter, one of the two principal ways of conceiving nations in interwar New Zealand. In short histories and in public comment, 'thinking of countries as persons' was at its most explicit in the identification of relationships between the imperial 'mother' and the colonial child, and in delineation of specific periods such as infancy, childhood, adolescence, and maturity. The point at which maturity was reached—New Zealand's national 'coming of age'—was announced more than once.78 A more subtle anthropomorphism underpinned the belief that there was a 'national life', a coherence in what happened in these southern Pacific islands that was akin to the purported coherence of a person's life.

Condliffe's book was primarily an economic history, but it employed the same anthropomorphic figures. In economic terms, the colony had 'a troubled childhood, followed by a period of rather wild and unregulated growth and expansion of interests'. 'Like an adolescent youth, New Zealand in the boom period of the seventies attempted too much, and tried out its powers prematurely in many directions.' After this adolescence, it 'passed through a sobering period of self-examination and mistrust, and had only gradually emerged into the broader and more stable possibilities of adult life'.79 The main character of Condliffe's book was economic history's equivalent of the national life, the life of the 'New Zealand economy'.

I have put the words 'New Zealand economy' in quotation marks because the term does not simply refer to the sum of economic activity in the islands now identified as New Zealand. The New Zealand economy is not a given but something created, and it is created largely by Pakeha. 'For all practical purposes the economic history of New Zealand begins with the arrival of the first Wellington settlers in 1840.'80 Condliffe thus defines the 'New Zealand economy' as something that emerges through settlement, and which required 'the breaking up of Maori economy page 98and the destruction of tribal organisation and discipline'.81 Condliffe's position is close to one of Goldie's poles of indigenisation, a flat assertion that 'This country really began with the arrival of the whites.'82 In New Zealand in the Making, as in local histories, the effect of the conflation of 'Pakeha' and 'New Zealand' was to make Maori activities meaningful only with regard to the now normative Pakeha ('New Zealand') activities.

This occurs in two ways. First, Maori actions become troublesome impediments to the purportedly normal 'advance' of European settlement and the attendant economic 'progress', to use Condliffe's term. European settlement is 'rudely interrupted by the Maori wars' before it reaches its 'logical' conclusion.83 Elsewhere in the book, Condliffe writes that the North Island provinces were 'harassed by the long-drawn-out and costly Maori wars'.84 The naturalness of settlement is emphasised by Condliffe's businesslike downgrading of the wars to the status of harassments and interruptions.

The book might have kept Maori only in the role of impediments. Writing to Peter Buck in May 1928, Apirana Ngata commented:

Condliffe wrote over to [Felix] Keesing to amass information here before leaving for Honolulu [where Condliffe was then living] on the contribution of the Maori to the economic life of N.Z. He made the sweeping statement that only in art, literature & mythology had the Maori made any notable contribution, except on the East Coast where I had achieved something unusual with my folk…. When they cracked up the pakeha 'pioneer' who carved a home out of the forest primeval they forgot the Maori who packed the pioneer's goods to his shack, who cut tracks, who felled, burnt, sawed & fenced the forest clearing, docked, shore, dipped & crutched his sheep, drove stock to market, killed the beasts in the works, carted out the wool & so on. The Kauri-gum fields of the north, the timber mills everywhere, the railway & road works, the forest plantations & so on tell the story of Maori labour under pakeha supervision with pakeha money.85

Ngata's letter did not say whether he made this point to Condliffe, but it is possible that he did, as the finished product contained a brief discussion of the role of Maori labour in 'the economic life of the young colony', including the observation: 'Much of the real drudgery involved in "carving homes out of the wilderness" has been the page 99work of Maori hands.'86Condliffe thus created for Maori the same roles as they got in local histories: helpers or hazards, nothing prominent.

The other effect of Condliffe's conflation of Pakeha practices with the New Zealand economy was that for Maori in 1930 to participate in the New Zealand economy, they must mimic Pakeha. Condliffe's was an argument of economic 'assimilation'. The chapter on 'the economic status of the Maoris' noted a number of promising signs of Maori economic activity. It emphasised young Maori turning to the professions, and to farming, especially dairying.87 With most of the 'improved' land in Pakeha hands, however, 'the Maori farmer' would have to break in 'the lower quality and less accessible lands of the Dominion'. He would, therefore, 'fill the rôle heretofore played by the pioneer'.88 The extent of the normalisation of Pakeha economic practices was such that Maori could now become pioneers.

Condliffe repeatedly, naggingly, argued that the perspectives of economic history made New Zealand's past look very different from the way it looked in accounts which emphasised politics. To focus on politics was 'too easy': 'The constructive organisation of economic life is difficult to describe, but the records of political interference with it lie open to the most casual student or observer'.89 Internal politics was 'really of first-rate importance' only in times of trouble, 'and obsession with this aspect of history tends inevitably to stress the pathology rather than the physiology of economic growth'.90

The most recurrent target of Condliffe's criticism was the privileged status of 'state socialism' in New Zealand history and political discourse. Condliffe rejected claims that state socialism was a distinctively New Zealand phenomenon; it was simply, he said, a response to this 'pathology' in a pragmatic 'Anglo-Saxon' manner.91 He deftly borrowed the 'experimental', sans doctrines justification of state socialism to attack another aspect of the legend. The usual attention to state socialism was the classic case of neglecting real economic physiology for the sake of conspicuous political responses to the pathological. The real causes of New Zealand's prosperity from the mid-1890s were several. One was the rise in world prices after 1895.92 Condliffe argued that the main periods of New Zealand's economic history 'correspond[ed] roughly with similar periods marking fluctuations page 100in the long-term trend of the world-level of prices'.93 The upturn in the New Zealand economy after 1895, which ushered in New Zealand's economic maturity, was carried along by this international trend.

Conditions in New Zealand abetted this prosperity. Condliffe pointed to the development of secondary industry and refrigeration, but to nothing more so than the swing towards dairying and the related population drift northwards.94 Important to the success of dairying was the co-operative movement. Sticking the knife into the Liberals again, Condliffe wrote: 'An economist, weighing the effects of Liberal-Labour administration and legislation, is almost inclined to rate the encouragement and fostering of co-operative methods in dairying as the most valuable of all the services provided by Government departments.'95 Apart from this, though, there were inherent advantages in dairying: it was stable, required little capital, and depended mostly on family labour.96

The growth of dairying was not only 'the most remarkable feature of New Zealand's economic transformation in the last forty years'.97 Small-farming in the North Island was the 'logical completion' of the 'earlier period of settlement', and the expression of the real New Zealand character. When Condliffe dismissed the notion of state socialism as a distinctive part of the New Zealand character, he was not dismissing the idea of such a character; instead, he was arguing that 'The best energies and most characteristic qualities of the colonists have found their outlet in the agricultural rather than the political sphere'.98 And the most appropriate form of agriculture was the small-scale farming and closer settlement that attended early twentieth-century dairying and the ideal farms of the 1840s. '[T]he bottling up of the people in the south island provinces during the boom and consequent depression of the seventies and eighties resulted in an economic situation and in economic policies which are not truly characteristic of the genius of the colonists'.99

At the heart of New Zealand in the Making was not just a yeoman ideal, but a Wakefieldian yeoman ideal. Condliffe held the Wakefield settlements up as models in their attention to education, the high calibre of their leaders, and the generally high character and 'austere idealism' of the rest of the company immigrants—in contrast to the 'poor selection of immigrants' that Vogelism brought.100 But Condliffe's 'debt to Wakefield' went beyond idealisation: as his arguments about page 101agriculture imply, he implicitly used Wakefield's principles as criteria for assessing New Zealand's development up to 1930. A Wakefieldian sense of orderliness governed Condliffe's comments on economics and society. He deplored land aggregation (not, however, in the terms of John McKenzie or Henry George),101 but he was also hostile to small farmers when, in the early twentieth century, they dominated the economy and culture.102 Condliffe criticised any sectional interest (including twentieth-century unions) that disturbed implicitly sacred economic processes. Sectional interests could run wild in New Zealand because there are 'no powerful institutions as in older lands—an aristocracy, an established church, powerful learned professions, old-established universities—to modify the working of democracy. The only groups which can do so are economic and business organisations, whose standards are necessarily monetary.'103 Condliffe supported capitalism and was wary of state regulation,104 yet he also disdained acquisitiveness. His book reconciled these tendencies only through a Wakefieldian belief in an organic capitalist community. Like Wakefield, Condliffe argued that a lack of control and of a vertical slice of English society (including traditional or natural leaders) resulted in colonial vulgarity and the unchecked power of materialism.

New Zealand in the Making was very frank about the ills of New Zealand's democratic 'excesses'. The 'multiplication of opportunities for higher education' that was 'to be expected in a democracy' had its drawbacks.105 '[P]opular pressure … has lowered university standards.'106 This argument was an educational cousin of Wakefield's insistence that the disposal of 'waste lands' be tightly controlled so as to avoid widespread squatting and the debasement of land, wealth and society. Condliffe's discussion of New Zealand culture and its material obsessions was concentrated in the final chapter of New Zealand in the Making, an envoi to the 400 pages of economic history that have preceded it. 'Wait till you see my last chapter in the N.Z. book', he told Airey with relish. 'My patriotic N.Z. typiste almost refused to type the last chapter, she was so annoyed with its tone.'107 The chapter was a formidable attack. Everything had declined since the 1850s. With few checks on democracy and material advancement and no old institutions, the country was dominated by farmers and commercial groups and its culture is intolerant and mediocre.108 The principal enemy was the education system, which was page 102overwhelmingly utilitarian, unimaginative, and rigidly imperialist. Since the first generation of leaders and citizens to have come through the New Zealand education system since 1877, the quality of intellectual ability has declined.109 The University of New Zealand has failed 'to develop even a minority which shall be critical, sceptical, eager, enquiring, and acutely conscious of ideas'.110

Condliffe's critique has much in common with those of the French political commentator André Siegfried and the British Fabians Sidney and Beatrice Webb, but with a more immediate ('native-born') emotional force than Siegfried's tourist bemusement and the Webbs' prim disdain.111 New Zealand in the Making is a prime example of a short history that sought to explain New Zealand to a contemporary audience and to provoke that audience. But it united past and present in its update of Wakefield as a model for modern New Zealand in ways much more sophisticated than Harrop's. Beaglehole's short history was also a contemporary provocation, an 'essay' as its author called it. The tenor of its critique was quite different from that of Condliffe's book. It had more in common with the writings of the emergent intellectuals of the thirties, forties and fifties than it does with Siegfried and the Webbs, let alone Wakefield.

Beaglehole's contemporary concerns shaped the proportions of his book much more than Condliffe's did his. New Zealand: A Short History concentrated on recent history, to the annoyance of one of its reviewers, A. B. Chappell, who complained that everything up to 1890 was crammed into fifty pages.112 A. D. McIntosh, a civil page 103servant and Victoria MA graduate in history who had more in common with Beaglehole than Chappell, wrote in Tomorrow: 'Dr. Beaglehole's book is … essentially an interpretation of this country's development in the light of the present phase of our political and economic life'.113 The historical process in which Beaglehole situated New Zealand's present was the spread of capitalism. Before his 'turn toward nationalism' in his work for the Centennial, Beaglehole repeatedly remarked that New Zealand history was interesting chiefly as an example of the expansion of British or Western capitalism.114 New Zealand was a useful case to study because 'the unity of its history is not, like that of the history of the mother-country, a unity in diversity, an integration of epochs. It is, as it were, an essay in a single social and economic system'.115 In principle this was not too far from Hight's grand plan for New Zealand history, but Beaglehole executed it with sophistication.

Beaglehole located New Zealand's founding in the emergence in Britain of 'capitalist democracy', the socio-economic system inaugurated by the first Reform Act. Tories, he wrote, need not have worried: 'that mid[-]nineteenth-century liberalism, leaning on the impregnable rock of a just and decent propriety, was the guarantee of an emergent conservatism far more deeply grounded.'116 Along with the acquisitive conservatism of the society created in New Zealand went a heavy emphasis on the state. The colonisation of the 1840s and 1850s is described as 'corporate colonization', and unlike Condliffe, Beaglehole played down the distinction between the Wakefield colonies and the state-run immigration of Vogelism.117 Thus Wakefield is linked more than usual with Ballance, Reeves and Seddon, whose state-heavy tradition included Massey, who, 'in the name of the farmer and of freedom, altered the direction but not the weight of his aid'.118 Thus, extensive intervention by the state (or a state-like body in the case of the colonisation companies) was endemic to New Zealand's economy and politics, and not the preserve of 'state socialists'.119 In the course of this argument Beaglehole tilted at a page 104number of New Zealand myths, including those of New Zealand exceptionalism and the social laboratory. New Zealand was so much 'the exemplar of modern capitalist expansion at its most laudable' that 'its laboratory-value was conditioned [that is, qualified] by the fact that the experiments were bound to be tried by other countries at some near stage, whatever might be the action of New Zealand'.120

New Zealand's position as a creature of British expansion was reinforced from the 1880s, and even more so after World War I, through its participation in British 'economic imperialism'. This 'imperialism'—based, like 'the nationalism of which it was the rather bloated counterpart', on 'private profit'—shackled international trade.121 New Zealand over-specialised in primary produce and devoted itself unconditionally to the British market for produce and the London money market.122 When the British market contracted and then collapsed, New Zealand was lost. Beaglehole took pains to distinguish the depression of the 1930s from the Long Depression: it was, he argued, unprecedented. Consequently, New Zealand needed a new economics; William Downie Stewart, Coates' Minister of Finance was 'wise with all the wisdom of a world that had ended'.123 No one could have done any better than Coates and Stewart, Beaglehole suggested; in 'the setting of mingled capitalism and democracy', political parties were a matter of 'relative unimportance … until a party rose definitely opposed to the perpetuation of the current social system, and inevitably drove together those who fought within its limits'.124

Beaglehole held back from declaring the 1935 election to be the total revolution that this comment implied. He discussed some radical steps Labour planned (such as guaranteeing prices), and noted the moderation of the Labour Party of 1935.125 He had, after all, only a few months to witness Labour in power, and he did not venture into political prediction, but New Zealand: A Short History nevertheless constituted a provocative brief for the present and near future.

'Provocative' is a word that can be used too loosely, but Beaglehole addressed his arguments not just to a sympathetic university-educated audience. An earlier version of the book was published in National Opinion, the journal of the Legion of New Zealand, which formed out of right-wing dissatisfaction with the depression page 105government.126 The gap between Beaglehole and some other National Opinion contributors is suggested by their different responses to the 1932 riots. Beaglehole protested at the witch-hunting that followed the riots in a letter which led to his dismissal from Auckland University College; Will Lawson, who was the editor of National Opinion when Beaglehole's history was published there, responded to the riots by suggesting the formation of 'some citizen body ready for service in emergencies which may arise while the Soviet propaganda is stirring the people in one direction or another'.127 The pages of National Opinion were less threatening than Lawson's comment suggests (the paper carried, among other things, complaints about censorship, and contributions by Sutch).128 Nevertheless, in publishing his short history in National Opinion, Beaglehole was taking his message right to 'the enemy', though a detailed comparison of the two texts shows that some of the book's more critical passages are not present in the National Opinion version.129

New Zealand: A Short History was organised around recent politics, but was shot through with cultural critique. The book's fantastic allusions (in one passage Coates' outlook was compared to a Gainsborough landscape and Stewart's to an El Greco) poked fun at the implied mundanity of the objects of the comparisons.130 This style was as significant as a cultural critique as the specific complaints were. The book can be read as an oblique rejoinder to conformist bullying of the kind that shut Beaglehole out of Auckland (attacks on censorship and intolerance of criticism occur often in the book) and to the stolidity of most public comment.131 The facetious, satirical portraits of individuals are one of its most memorable aspects. Some readers (such as Chappell) found the book's tone annoying, but, in the context of mid-1930s New Zealand, its playfulness was not gratuitous but a challenge to the conventions of much Pakeha political discussion.132

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Where Condliffe devoted his final chapter to New Zealand culture generally, Beaglehole focused on questions of identity. His verdict was that New Zealand was not, 'with any deep feeling, a nation'. There was a lack of 'tenderness of place, the genius loci'.133 There was also a cultural shallowness, which was due in part to isolation. Not entirely convincingly, he asserted that while New Zealand was part and parcel of Western trends, it was also isolated.134 For all writers of general histories, New Zealand's dependence on but isolation from Britain was an important theme of cultural history as well as economic and political development For Beaglehole, New Zealand was 'essentially British' but 'without the complex affiliations of the position which Great Britain has inherited, of which she is the centre'.135 The ocean made New Zealand a 'geological exile'.136

Here Beaglehole too anthropomorphised New Zealand. The persona Beaglehole gave to New Zealand is more specific than the generic youth Condliffe assigns it. In New Zealand: A Short History, that persona was the colonial intellectual, often depicted as an 'exile', and who could overcome this exile complex by going 'Home' or building a New Zealand 'home in thought': one of the reasons for New Zealand's lack of 'identity' was that '[n]ot in letters nor in art has life crystallized and ennobled itself'.137 Beaglehole was working with what Gregory S. Jay calls the way 'nations imagine themselves as writers'.138 In this respect, and in its allusions to the ocean, Beaglehole's commentary on 'New Zealand' identity is related to those of Brasch, Curnow and other relatively young writers. For them, 'identity' resided in the future, to be anticipated with guarded hope or sometimes resignation. Unlike Condliffe and unlike pioneer mythologisers, they could not find hope in past achievements.

In their different ways, New Zealand: A Short History and New Zealand in the Making were unlike anything before them in New Zealand historiography. They were critical to a degree that had only Rusden as a precedent in historical writing, though unlike Rusden their polemics were sustained and closely argued.139 The two books were very different, in their ideals, their genres and in their respective political and economic concerns. Both, however, worked on the premise that New Zealand history was the history of Pakeha civilisation. Condliffe did so explicitly, page 107charting the destruction of 'the Maori economy' as a precondition of the establishment of a 'New Zealand' one to which surviving Maori should assimilate. Beaglehole was careful not to conflate New Zealand with Pakeha, but Maori retreat from his narrative as settler society expanded, and the pressing questions of identity that defined his provisional conclusions to New Zealand history concerned Pakeha only.

General histories were not the only mode of contemporary comment that academic historians practised. Wood and Airey contributed more through public lectures and pamphleteering than through historical scholarship. Such activities were very important in the creation of a university-influenced polity. Outside the academy, perhaps only Andersen and Scholefield set themselves up as commentators on as wide a range of issues as Beaglehole, Wood, Condliffe and Airey did. In this chapter, though, I have had to restrict my focus to the conditions and characteristics of academic historical writing.

By the end of the interwar period university historians were writing regularly about New Zealand history. Twenty years previously, the only New Zealand history written by academics was not very different from the history being written by other New Zealand historians. This kind of work continued right through the interwar period, but it was increasingly accompanied by other kinds of writing that only university historians were producing. The study of New Zealand in terms of the historiography of British colonial policy began in English universities and was maintained in New Zealand colleges. While non-academics had written general histories before 1930 and continued to do so, academics moved into the genre in substantial numbers.

General histories presupposed that New Zealand was a distinct entity, but none suggested that it was discrete. Both Condliffe and Beaglehole underlined New Zealand's implication in international processes. Morrell emphasised a more narrowly imperial context. Studies of colonial policy defined the primary concern of the inquiry as metropolitan. By the end of this period, however, Rutherford was reworking this field to accommodate New Zealand sources. General histories too used local sources, but they were a genre for established practitioners. More specific research was the staple diet of the new kind of academic historians and their increasing numbers of postgraduate students. The move toward New Zealand sources by Rutherford was a necessary step in the establishment of a sustainable tradition of academic history written in New Zealand universities.

1 J. Hight and H. D. Bamford, The Constitutional History and Law of New Zealand, Christchurch, 1914.

2 Hight was awarded a LittD by the University of New Zealand in 1906.

3 G. H. Scholefield, Who's Who in New Zealand, 5th edn, Wellington, 1951, p. 70.

4 Andersen told Fildes that he had originally 'had the editing of the Journals in hand', but 'Elder wrote asking if I was going on with it, as if not he wished to do it; so as I had plenty [of] other work on hand I said go ahead'. Andersen to Fildes, 20 June 1932, Fildes Papers, box 1. On Elder's editing practice see Judith Binney, The Legacy of Guilt: A Life of Thomas Kendall, Auckland, 1968, pp. vii-viii.

5 See John Rawson Elder, Goldseekers and Bushrangers in New Zealand, London, 1930; Elder, ed., Glimpses of Old New Zealand, London, 1924.

6 Elder, Goldseekers and Bushrangers, pp. 5, 34, 37.

7 J. R. Elder, 'The Renaissance of History as a Human Interest and an Australasian Instance', in Report of the Twentieth Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science, Brisbane, 1931, p. 246.

8 Jock Phillips, 'Of Verandahs and Fish and Chips and Footie on Saturday Afternoon: Reflections on 100 Years of New Zealand Historiography', New Zealand Journal of History, 24, 2 (October 1990), p. 124.

9 See Joseph McAleer, Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain 1914-1950, Oxford, 1992, p. 227.

10 Elder, ed., Letters and Journals of Samuel Marsden, pp. 9-10.

11 J. C. Beaglehole, Victoria University College: An Essay towards a History, Wellington, 1949, p. 108; Sinclair, University of Auckland, p. 79.

12 J. B. Condliffe, 'The Teacher and His Influence', in R. S. Allan, ed., Liberty and Learning: Essays in Honour of Sir James Hight, Christchurch, 1950; J. T. Paul, Professor Bedford: His Life and Work, Invercargill, 1919, pp. 7-8; W. P. Morrell, Memoirs, Dunedin, 1979, pp. 23-4.

13 On Candy see Muriel Bradshaw, The Flight of Time in a Changing World: Reminiscences, Christchurch, 1993, p. 43; Mary Boyd, 'Women in the Historical Profession: Women Historians in the 1940s', Women's Studies Journal, 4, 1 (September 1988), pp. 77-8; James Hight and Alice M. F. Candy, A Short History of the Canterbury College (University of New Zealand) with a Register of Graduates and Associates of the College, Auckland, 1927, p. 253; and W. J. Gardner, E. T. Beardsley and T. E. Carter, A History of the University of Canterbury 1873-1973, Christchurch, 1973, p. 206n. With regard to Woods, see his 'A Survey of the Advent of Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration in New Zealand', in Report of the Twenty-second Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science, Melbourne, 1935. On Ross at this time see Morrell, Memoirs, p. 108.

14 Hugh Parton, The University of New Zealand, Auckland, 1979, p. 104; Gardner, Beardsley and Carter, University of Canterbury, pp. 291-2.

15 Gardner, Beardsley and Carter, University of Canterbury, p. 294.

16 Airey to George Fowlds, 1 August 1932, W. T. G. Airey Papers, MSS A-201, folder 65, UA; James Hight, Canterbury College: Commemoration Day: Thursday, March 22, 1928, Christchurch, 1928, p. 19.

17 J. C. Beaglehole, The University of New Zealand: An Historical Study, Auckland, 1937, pp. 401, 402n; N. C. Phillips, 'James Hight', in Orange, ed., Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol. 3, p. 217.

18 J. B. Condliffe, New Zealand in the Making: A Survey of Economic and Social Development, London, 1930, p. 451.

19 Munn and Barr, New Zealand Libraries, p. 35.

20 Gardner, Beardsley and Carter, University of Canterbury, pp. 189-91; Olive A. Johnson, 'Alice Minchin', in Charlotte Macdonald, Merimeri Penfold and Bridget Williams, eds, The Book of New Zealand Women: Ko Kui Ma Te Kaupapa, Wellington, 1991; R. M. Algie, 'Auckland University College: Memorandum: For Professors, Lecturers and Others who may be Interested: Books For General Cultural Reading', 14 June 1935, Rutherford Papers, A-42, folder 139/6.

21 Renate Simpson, How the PhD Came to Britain: A Century of Struggle for Postgraduate Education, Guildford, 1983, ch. 6.

22 American historiography and its debate about 'relativism' had practically no impact on New Zealand at the time. Even Rutherford, the only one to have done a PhD at an American university, shows no sign of American influences in his work. On the 'relativism' debate see Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The 'Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession, Cambridge, England, 1988, ch. 9.

23 Reba N. Softer, Discipline and Power: The University, History, and the Making of an English Elite, 1870-1930, Stanford, 1994; Christopher Parker, The English Historical Tradition since 1850, Edinburgh, 1990; Peter R. H. Slee, Learning and a Liberal Education: The Study of Modern History in the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester, 1800-1914, Manchester, 1986.

24 A. G. Bagnall, ed., New Zealand National Bibliography to the Year 1960, vol. 4, Wellington, 1975, lists no publications by Wilson. On Wilson see Beaglehole, Victoria University College, pp. 108, 186, 220; G. H. Scholefield, Who's who in New Zealand and the 'Western Pacific, 3rd edn, Wellington, 1932, p. 351; and T. H. Beaglehole, '"Home"? J. C. Beaglehole in London, 1925-1929', Turnbull Library Record, 14, 2 (October 1981), p. 70.

25 Phillips, 'Of Verandahs and Fish and Chips', p. 123; Sinclair, University of Auckland, pp. 79-80, 132, 149-50. There are testimonies to Grossmann's lecturing in I. G. Taylor, 'Women at Auckland University College 1930-1935', MA oral history paper, University of Auckland, 1985, pp. 26-7, and Bradshaw, Flight of Time, p. 32.

26 J. B. Condliffe, testimonial for Airey for the chair in history at Auckland University College [1934], Airey Papers, A-201, folder 63; Sinclair, University of Auckland, p. 173.

27 Airey, 'Manchuria II: The Historical Background', typescript, nd [1931 or 1932], Airey Papers, MSS A-201, folder 14; 'Colonies and World Peace', notes for a lunchtime talk to the Auckland branch of the League of Nations Union, 27 April 1939, Airey Papers, A-201, folder 14; 'Poland', fragmentary typescript, 1940, Airey Papers, A-201, folder 15; International Relations 1918-1939', typescript of a talk to the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Institute for International Affairs, October 1940, Airey Papers, A-201, folder 15.

28 Sinclair, University of Auckland, p. 172.

29 The volumes of the Report of the … Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (formerly Report of the … Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science) from 1921 to 1939 include contributions from Wood, Buick, A. B. Chappell, Hight, Elder, N. S. Woods, L. C. and Mrs Webb, and I. L. G. Sutherland. Elder was President of the History Section in 1931 and Hight was President in 1935.

30 James to Rutherford, 17 June 1939, Rutherford Papers, A-42, folder 140/1 (italics added).

31 Beaglehole, '"Home"?', p. 77.

32 The Union List of Theses lists 363 theses done in history at New Zealand universities from 1920 to 1940 inclusive. Of these only 18 were not on New Zealand topics. Ten of those 18 were on the Pacific Islands; of the remaining five, the topic is not always clear from the title—W. F. Monk's (Canterbury, 1934) was called 'Pages of History Reconsidered'. Of the theses listed under Political Science, all but two were also included in the History list. Both of these were on a New Zealand topic. D. L. Jenkins, ed., Union list of Theses of the University of New Zealand 1910-1954, Wellington, 1956.

33 James Hight, address to the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Historical Association in 1931, as reported in the Evening Post, 11 May 1931; 'Introduction' to J. B. Condliffe, A Short History of New Zealand, Christchurch, 1929 (first pub. 1925); 'Introduction', to J. Holland Rose, A. P. Newton, and E. A. Benians, eds, The Cambridge History of the British Empire, vol. 7, part 2: New Zealand, Cambridge, 1933, pp. 3-5, 7. The quotation is from the speech to the Canterbury branch of the NZHA. Unless otherwise noted, the other quotations in this paragraph come from the speech, not the introductions.

34 Hight, 'Introduction' to Condliffe, Short History, pp. vii-viii. Compare Guthrie-Smith, Tutira, p. vii, and Cowan, 'Chapter I: The Old Race and the New', undated typescript, Cowan Papers, 39/42C.

35 Hight's claim that New Zealand had no serious racial rivalries should not necessarily be taken as an assertion of 'good' Maori-Pakeha relations. He may have been referring to conflicts between white 'races', as in South Africa. New Zealand's lack of 'racial conflict' between whites was referred to by others in New Zealand at this time.

36 Hight read two papers to Anzaas meetings in the interwar period, one on the founding of the Canterbury settlement, and another entitled, 'Some Observations on the Use of History', which is reprinted in Allan, ed., Liberty and Learning.

37 Auckland Star, 24 August 1936; New Zealand Herald, 24 August 1936. William Downie Stewart to Horace Fildes, 3 August 1936, Fildes Papers, box 11a. Stewart wrote: 'I told Harold Miller, Victoria College Librarian, he should make contact with you. He wanted to issue a circular, proposing the establishment of a chair in New Zealand History for the Centenary, but the matter requires much consideration…. Strangely enough he did not appear to have consulted any of the College Historians except Hight.' Hight privately said that the proposal was fraught with difficulty: Hight to Scholefield, 28 August 1936, Scholefield Papers, 212/37.

38 Auckland Star, 2 September 1936. Elder's objection is ironic in that of the academic writers on New Zealand history at this time, he wrote the least about New Zealand's relationship with Britain.

39 Arthur Percival Newton, The Old Empire and the New, London, 1917, p. 21.

40 Brian H. Fletcher, 'History as a Moral Force: George Arnold Wood at Sydney University, 1891-1928', in Stuart Macintyre and Julian Thomas, eds, The Discovery of Australian History 1890-1939, Melbourne, 1995, p. 16.

41 Frederick Madden, 'The Commonwealth, Commonwealth History, and Oxford, 1905-1971', in Frederick Madden and D. K. Fieldhouse, eds, Oxford and the Idea of the Commonwealth: Essays Presented to Sir Edgar Williams, London, 1982, p. 15.

42 Morrell, Memoirs, p. 49. See also Beaglehole, '"Home"?', p. 74.

43 Beaglehole, 'Colonial Office' pp, 170, 188-9. A non-New Zealand example of a colonial postgraduate is C. W. de Kiewiet, who came from South Africa and wrote about its relations with Britain. On de Kiewiet, who turned down the Auckland chair that went to Rutherford, see Beaglehole, '"Home"?', pp. 76, 77, and J. C. Beaglehole's discussion of a later book of de Kiewiet's in The Writing of Imperial History', Historical Studies: Australia and New Zealand, 2, 7 (May 1943), pp. 137-40.

44 Madden, 'Commonwealth, Commonwealth History, and Oxford', p. 15.

45 Beaglehole, 'Colonial Office', p. 189.

46 J. S. Marais, The Colonisation of New Zealand, London, 1927, pp. 66-7.

47 The copy of The Colonisation of New Zealand in the Willis Airey Library in the History Department at Auckland University is annotated in Rutherford's handwriting. The comments quoted are inked in the margins of pp. 67, 74 and 97.

48 Marais, Colonisation of New Zealand, p. 178.

49 A. J. Harrop, The Amazing Career of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, London, 1928, p. 62.

50 Quoted in Harrop, England and New Zealand, pp. 39-40.

51 Other examples are Harrop, Amazing Career, pp. 85-6; Hight and Bamford, Constitutional History and Law, pp. 65-6; Marais, Colonisation of New Zealand, p. 26.

52 Harrop, England and New Zealand, p. 27.

53 Marais, Colonisation of New Zealand, p. 97. 'Blah', wrote Rutherford.

54 Harrop, England and New Zealand, p. 47.

55 Ibid., p. 55.

56 Ibid., p. 30.

57 Hight and Bamford, Constitutional History and Law, pp. 258, 261-2, 265-6.

58 Ibid., pp. 268-9. To be fair to Hight, one should point out that this was written just before World War I.

59 W. P. Morrell, British Colonial Policy in the Age of Peel and Russell, London, 1966 (first pub. 1930), pp. 318-23, 328-31.

60 Harrop, England and New Zealand, p. 258; Hight and Bamford, Constitutional History and Law, p. 266.

61 Belich, New Zealand Wars, pp. 123-5.

62 Beaglehole, 'Colonial Office', p. 170.

63 Ibid.

64 Beaglehole to Williams, 17 April 1939, IA1, 62/110/13. Beaglehole was hoping, rather late in the piece, to work Williams's subject into the Centennial surveys series. The plan did not come to fruition.

65 Morrell, British Colonial Policy, pp. 128, 130.

66 Ibid., p. viii.

67 Marais, Colonisation of New Zealand, pp. 13, 33-4, 40, 224; quotation from p. 34. On Knaplund, see Beaglehole, 'Colonial Office', pp. 185, 188-9, and Beaglehole, 'Writing of Imperial History', pp. 129-34.

68 Harrop, England and New Zealand, pp. 297, 299-301.

69 Ibid., p. 311.

70 A. D. McIntosh to Heenan, 28 December 1936, IA1, 126/8/20.

71 Rutherford to T. U. Wells, 6 May 1936, Rutherford Papers, A-42, folder 140/2. Among the other acquisitions were volumes of the Great Britain Parliamentary Papers, New Zealand Gazettes, Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, and Auckland Provincial Gazettes, complete sets of which were 'not at present available either in the College Library or in the City Library'.

72 Beaglehole, 'New Zealand Scholar', pp. 245-7.

73 Phillips, 'Of Verandahs and Fish and Chips', p. 124.

74 The New Zealand volume of the Cambridge History may, at a stretch, count as a history written by academics. It was dominated by Hight and his students. The volume was 'edited' from afar by A. P. Newton of the University of London (Beaglehole's supervisor), J. Holland Rose of Cambridge University, and E. A. Benians (Harrop's supervisor), also of Cambridge. Their distance is suggested by their reference in the preface to 'Dr Joseph Hight'. According to Harrop ('Hight as Historian', in Allan, ed., Liberty and Learning, p. 32), Hight was the real editor of the New Zealand volume, and it was he who compiled the original plan with suggested contributors. (Of the Australian volume of the Cambridge History, Ernest Scott was 'formally the advisor and in practice the editor': Stuart Macintyre, 'Ernest Scott: "My History is a Romance'", in Macintyre and Thomas, eds, Discovery of Australian History, p. 88.) I have not discussed the New Zealand volume of the Cambridge History here partly because some of its contributors (such as Scholefield) have been dealt with elsewhere in this thesis, and partly because most of the chapters by academics were précis of their other works. Condliffe's two chapters, for instance, summarise the relevant parts of his New Zealand in the Making.

75 Elder, Outline History. Examples of 'unpredictable' errors are the identification of Ernest Rutherford as 'Sir Charles Rutherford' (p. 76) and the claim that part of Wakefield's plan was that 'while the colony should be made as much like Britain as possible, class distinctions should be done away with' (pp. 40-41).

76 Morrell, Memoirs, p. 61.

77 Airey, 'Colonies and World Peace', notes for a lunchtime talk to the League of Nations Union, 27 April 1939, Airey Papers, A-201, folder 14.

78 Maureen Sharpe, 'Anzac Day in New Zealand, 1916-1939', New Zealand Journal of History, 15, 2 (October 1981), p. 102; Michael Joseph Savage, 'The Spirit of Centennial Year', New Zealand Centennial News, 13 (April 1940), p. 2; W. E. Parry, untitled address, 'NZ Centenary 1940: Report of Conference Held in Parlmt Bldgs Wgtn on Monday 2nd March 1936', Heenan Papers, 1132/290.

79 Condliffe, New Zealand in the Making, p. 204.

80 Ibid., p. 17.

81 Ibid., p. 63 (italics added).

82 Goldie, Fear and Temptation, p. 13.

83 Condliffe, New Zealand in the Making, p. 210.

84 Ibid., p. 30.

85 Ngata to Buck, 6 May 1928, in M. P. K. Sorrenson, ed., Na To Hoa Aroha: From Your Dear Friend: The Correspondence between Sir Apirana Ngata and Sir Peter Buck 1925-50, 3 vols, Auckland, 1986-1988, vol. 1, pp. 91-2.

86 Condliffe, New Zealand in the Making, pp. 49-50.

87 Ibid., pp. 78-9.

88 Ibid., p. 88.

89 Ibid., p. 139.

90 Ibid.

91 Ibid., pp. 139-40. The comments about practicality and Anglo-Saxonism are supported by a quotation from André Siegfried.

92 Ibid., p. 204.

93 Ibid., pp. 43-4.

94 Ibid., pp. 209-10, 213, 216, 218, 225.

95 Ibid., p. 220.

96 Ibid., p. 221.

97 Ibid.

98 Ibid., p. 204.

99 Ibid., p. 208

100 Ibid., pp. 24, 143, 451, 460, 475.

101 Ibid., pp. 103, 141-3.

102 Ibid., p. 460.

103 Ibid., p. 461 (italics added).

104 Ibid., p. 231.

105 Ibid., p. 455.

106 Ibid., p. 453.

107 Condliffe to Airey, 3 July 1929, Airey Papers, A-201, folder 64.

108 Condliffe, New Zealand in the Making, pp. 447, 461, 463.

109 Ibid., pp. 447, 451, 458, 466, 471. Condliffe himself was not altogether innocent. His Short History, first published in 1925, was 'a brief introductory history of New Zealand for use in schools and colleges' (p. x) that was remarkably wanton in its reassuring clichés. Condliffe noted the 'strict and scrupulous care with which, on the whole, the government of New Zealand has since [1840] adhered to the Treaty [of Waitangi]' (p. 60). New Zealand history was 'part of one of the greatest movements of modern history, the building up of the British Commonwealth of Nations …. New Zealand, though one of the youngest and smallest of the self-governing dominions, has often played a leading part in that movement' (p. 193). And 'the constitution of the League of Nations by the sincerest form of flattery has proved … that the British Commonwealth is the only working model of international co-operation that is available for imitation' (p. 195; see also pp. 206-7). Given Airey's hostility to the jingoism of school syllabi, it is either ironic or appropriate that he revised this book through subsequent editions. Airey had trouble with C. R. Straubel of Whitcombe and Tombs when he was rewriting the book for the seventh edition, which was published in 1953. Straubel thought Airey was too opinionated, and too harsh on Wakefield. Airey to Straubel, 29 May 1950, Straubel to Airey, 6 June 1950, Straubel to Airey, 26 July 1950, Airey Papers, A-201, folder 5.

110 Condliffe, New Zealand in the Making, p. 463.

111 André Siegfried, Democracy in New Zealand, trans. E. V. Burns with introductions by William Downie Stewart and David Hamer, Wellington, 1982 (English trans. first pub. in 1914); D. A. Hamer, ed., The Webbs in New Zealand 1898: Beatrice Webb's Diary with Entries by Sidney Webb, Wellington, 1974.

112 [A. B. Chappell], 'New Zealand's Story: A Short History by Dr. Beaglehole', New Zealand Herald, 22 August 1936. 'Cyrano' (Alan Mulgan) professed to be more pleasantly surprised by the proportions of the book: 'Ourselves: An Historian's History: From Tasman to Savage', Auckland Star, 18 July 1936. The reviews quoted in this paragraph come from a folder of clippings made and annotated by Beaglehole. I am grateful to Professor Tim Beaglehole for lending me this folder.

113 A. D. McIntosh, 'New Zealand, A Short History', Tomorrow, 2, 27 (22 July 1936), p. 17.

114 J. C. Beaglehole, 'New Zealand in the Commonwealth: An Attempt at Objectivity', in G. R. Powles, et al., eds, Contemporary New Zealand: A Survey of Domestic and Foreign Policy, Wellington, 1938, p. 2; Beaglehole, University of New Zealand, pp. ix, 386; Beaglehole, 'Centennial Meditations', Spike, 39, 68 (1940), pp. 18-19. Beaglehole most famously discussed his shift from this point of view to a more nationalist one in 'New Zealand Scholar', pp. 245-7, but he made the same point at the time: see Beaglehole, 'Centennial Meditations', pp. 18-19.

115 J. C. Beaglehole, New Zealand: A Short History, London, 1936, p. 134.

116 Ibid., p. 132.

117 Ibid., p. 150.

118 Ibid., p. 151.

119 State socialism or, more broadly, what Beaglehole calls 'the Liberal tradition', overlapped with the tradition of the state: its principle was the 'amelioration of the lot of the common man without fatal harm to the interests of his masters'. This tradition took in not only Seddon and Reeves but also Grey and Stout; in the 1930s the Labour party 'sedulously cultivat[ed]' its image. Ibid., p. 126.

120 Ibid., pp. 134, 138.

121 Ibid., p. 143.

122 Ibid., pp. 140, 143.

123 Ibid., pp. 94, 145. Stewart told Horace Fildes that he thought Beaglehole's book 'very brilliant', but wrong on some points about Stewart's actions. Stewart saw Beaglehole 'once or twice in Wellington' and told him where he was wrong about Stewart. According to Stewart, Beaglehole was surprised and curious, not hostile, and asked Stewart if he would give him this information in writing. Stewart to Fildes, 3 August 1936, Fildes Papers, box 11a.

124 Beaglehole, New Zealand, p. 154.

125 Ibid., p. 127.

126 J. C. Beaglehole, 'Youthful Nation: History of New Zealand', National Opinion, 19 October 1933, 2 November 1933, 16 November 1933, 30 November 1933, 14 December 1933, 18 January 1934, 1 February 1934, 15 February 1934, 1 March 1934, 15 March 1934, 29 March 1934, 12 April 1934, 26 April 1934, 10 May 1934, 24 May 1934, 7 June 1934.

127 Observer, 21 April 1932, quoted in Michael C. Pugh, 'The New Zealand Legion and Conservative Protest in the Great Depression', MA thesis, University of Auckland, 1969, p. 51.

128 National Opinion, 7 September 1933, 30 November 1933.

129 These include the parallel with North America on pp. 131-2 of the book; the sentence 'It was now [1912] the employers, with the weaker unions, who were most unambiguous in their support of arbitration' (p. 77 of the book); and the criticism of police handling of unemployed protest in 1932 (p. 106). The early chapters and the final chapter are not substantially different; the material on 1934 and 1935 is, obviously, not present in the earlier National Opinion version.

130 Beaglehole, New Zealand, p. 95.

131 Ibid., pp. 96, 131, 136-7, 140, 146-7. On p. 107 Beaglehole's trouble at Auckland is discussed, though without naming names.

132 A sweeping generalisation such as this risks stereotyping, but for a sample of evidence see Auckland University College, Lectures in Journalism: Digest of Extension Course, Auckland, 1934; Alan Mulgan, The Making of a New Zealander, Wellington, 1958, chs 14-15.

133 Beaglehole, New Zealand, pp. 158-9.

134 Ibid., pp. 157-8.

135 Beaglehole, New Zealand, pp. 157-8.

136 Ibid., p. 158.

137 Ibid., p. 159.

138 Gregory S. Jay, America the Scrivener: Deconstruction and the Subject of Literary History, Ithaca, 1990, p. ix.

139 G. W. Rusden, Aureretanga: Groans of the Maoris, London, 1888; Matthew Russell, '"Had I but a Trumpet Tongue": George Rusden and His Imperious Duty', MA dissertation, University of Auckland, 1995.