Histories, Power and Loss: Uses of the Past - a New Zealand Commentary

Author(s): Andrew Sharp and Paul McHugh (eds)

History | Maori

In the 1970s Maori confronted Pakeha with the losses they had suffered during colonisation, and with highly-contested claims, not only for reparation for past wrongs but for the restitution of their political power.

At the heart of the contests has lain the Treaty of Waitangi. Called the 'foundation document' of the political nation, it is written in two languages, makes different commitments in each version, and distributes authority in starkly, incompatible ways.

There are, accordingly, various Maori and Pakeha histories designed to establish the meaning of the Treaty, and to give accounts of the adherence to or violation of its principles through time. To claim or deny past Maori losses and to picture a better possible future for the two peoples is very much the point of the writing of such histories but not their only point. Almost always they are written to question the current distribution of power: meant to show what the constitution should be; meant to argue for Pakeha, English-derived law or for Maori custom; meant to identify and claim sovereignty; meant as vivid demonstrations of how people are to know these things.

Histories, Power and Loss is a book about what people do when they produce histories about the past. In particular, it is about what certain New Zealanders have done when they have recounted parts of their country's past.

The contributors are lawyers, political philosophers, and historians. All are New Zealanders, though not all live here. They write of legal claims and constitutional doubt; they tell particular stories - of redemption and loss, of the political place of knowledge, of uncritical Pakeha biographies; they document some of the claims process, and debate its consequences.

These are wide-ranging essays - philosophical, narrative, provocative and challenging.

Adhesive plastic cover, name on half title


Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9781877242205
  • : Bridget Williams Books
  • : Bridget Williams Books
  • : October 2001
  • : 210mm X 148mm X 18mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : illustrated edition
  • : very good
  • : 250
  • : index
  • : Andrew Sharp and Paul McHugh (eds)