The Experiment of Racial Amalgamation

Damon Ieremia Salesa

in Racial Crossings

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604159
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729423 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

The Experiment of Racial Amalgamation

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In its first two decades of colonial rule, New Zealand became a testing ground for the strategy and policies of ‘racial amalgamation’. Already a popular idea with a variety of constituencies in the British Empire, in New Zealand racial amalgamation was held to offer a new, humane, system of colonization. Quickly it seemed that ‘systematic colonization’ was a complete failure, yet in other ways racial amalgamation was to prove remarkably influential, enduring and successful. Racial amalgamation shaped the contours of policy, in New Zealand, Britain and elsewhere, for decades — though not as its adherents had proposed. Colonial policy, settler views, and missionary priorities worked through amalgamationist racial codes, were preoccupied with racial crossings and half-castes, and envisioned an aggressive inclusiveness that aimed, ultimately, at a tender disappearance of the ‘native race’: a ‘euthanasia of savage communities’ as one policy-maker put it.

Keywords: race; empire; colonialism; New Zealand; Britain; Māori; racial amalgamation; intermarriage; half-castes; missionaries

Chapter.  19101 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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