The Native Land Court

Christopher Hilliard

in Native Claims

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794850
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919291 | DOI:
The Native Land Court

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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The Native Land Court was the primary mechanism by which collectively held Maori land was converted into alienable title after 1865. The court apportioned shares in a block of land on the basis of competing histories narrated to the court by interested tribes: the court was a distinctive governmental use of ethnography This chapter examines the relation of the court’s jurisprudence to Maori, common-law, and international-law concepts. Consistent with the “logic” of an established settler colony, the New Zealand state actively suppressed the Maori language and traditional medical practices. By contrast, indigenous historical thinking and conceptions of social organization remained the empirical basis for adjudicating property claims.

Keywords: Maori; Native Land Court; ethnography; tribal histories; settler colonialism

Chapter.  9048 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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