Chapter

‘Pandemonium on Earth’? Intimacy and Encounter in Pre-Colonial New Zealand

Damon Ieremia Salesa

in Racial Crossings

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604159
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729423 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604159.003.0003

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

‘Pandemonium on Earth’? Intimacy and Encounter in Pre-Colonial New Zealand

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Before New Zealand became a British colony in 1840, decades of exploration and trade meant there were already long histories of interracial exchanges between indigenous people and foreigners. These took many forms, but were mostly subject to indigenous mores, customs and power. These relationships came to be seen by many foreigners, however, as disorderly and immoral: one declared New Zealand a ‘Pandemonium on Earth’. By the 1830s as whaling, sealing and British imperial interest in New Zealand intensified, these ‘mixed’ relationships and marriages, and especially the children that were born from them, drew special attention. Some businessmen, missionaries and colonial operatives sought to convert this putative ‘pandemonium’ into regular British colonization, not only by imposing British authority and law and reducing indigenous communities to subjects, but by transforming these intimate relationships from indigenous modes to those amenable to regulation and colonial authority.

Keywords: race; empire; colonialism; encounter; whaling; sealing; intimacy; New Zealand; half-castes; Māori; missionaries

Chapter.  16350 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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