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Empire by TreatyNegotiating European Expansion, 1600-1900$
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Saliha Belmessous

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199391783

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391783.001.0001

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“A Text for Every Agitator amongst the Natives”

“A Text for Every Agitator amongst the Natives”

Māori Property, Settler Politics, and the Māori Franchise in the 1850s

(p.214) 9 “A Text for Every Agitator amongst the Natives”
Empire by Treaty

Damen Ward

Oxford University Press

Treaty making was a potentially powerful technique for structuring colonial relationships and authority. However, the constitutional revolutions of the 1840s and 1850s in British settlement colonies significantly altered the way governors, colonists, and indigenous peoples might construct and contest notions of political subjecthood. In New Zealand reference to the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) formed an important strand of certain Māori and Pakēhā political positions during this period, but disputes over Māori attempts to enroll to vote in early colonial elections illustrate the way a variety of discursive and political factors limited the resonance of treaty arguments. In particular, this chapter highlights the importance of the “householder” qualification for Māori enrollment and the debate about the assessment of housing material and living arrangements as indicators of “civilization” and civic capacity. These discursive strands were more apparent at the magistrates’ court level than in parliamentary or imperial administrative contexts.

Keywords:   New Zealand, Māori, franchise, race, assimilation, sovereignty, courts, settlers, Treaty of Waitangi

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