Category: PhD Journal

  • Te Rauparaha & Son.

    I’m doing some work on the correspondence and recorded speeches of Tamihana Te Rauparaha, son of Ngāti Toa rangatira, Te Rauparaha. The father has the more historical fame (or infamy) attached to his name – in part for conquering deeds of the 1820s-30s in the Kāpiti Coast region and in Te Wai Pounamu. However the […]

  • Thesis writing … and ‘the romance of the archive’

    Well it’s been some considerable time since I’ve posted. A principal reason for this is that I’ve been focussed on writing this past year, and will be for the forseeable future… But I continue to make fascinating discoveries archivally. I  sighted properly for the first time today the draft version of He Wakaputanga o Te […]

  • Alfred Brown’s library – Te Papa, Tauranga

    I recently spent a couple of days in the library of this important Church Missionary Society missionary in New Zealand. What I was struck by: the striking aesthetic of this nineteenth century missionary’s book collection; the way in which prayer books, hymnals, and bibles – including Maori language versions of these – were given as gifts between close friends and […]

  • Thomas Carlyle on … Democracy

    The enigmatic Victorian writer, Thomas Carlyle, who was inspired by German Romanticism, wrote some pretty fascinating lines on ‘democracy’ and ‘government’ in his Past and Present (1843): Democracy, which means despair of finding any Heroes to govern you, and contented putting-up with the want of them, alas, thou too, mein Lieber [German: my dear], seest well […]

  • Only E P Thompson could say it like this

    From ‘In Defence of the Jury’, in E P Thompson, Making History: Writings on History and Culture (New York: New Press, 1994): … Two basic propositions of democracy are so bizarre to their [UK government bureaucrats’] atrophied faculties that they really cannot comprehend them. The first is that there could be occasions when laws are judged […]

  • Notes on Colonial-Imperial knowledge formation

    A number of scholars of British India have sought to understand the ways in which British power was exercised through constructing knowledge about Indian societies, including their histories and literatures, languages and geographies. At one end of the spectrum, intellectual followers of Edward Said argue that the British imposed their own knowledge and cultural forms on […]

  • Clifford Geertz – historical anthropologist

    Every now and again one reads some truly arresting prose. I’ve been reading some the last couple of days in F Inglis, ed., Clifford Geertz: Life Among the Anthros and other essays (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2010) – a collection of some of Geertz’s essays from as early as 1967 and as late […]

  • Just a few light reference works…

    … as I begin some focussed writing. I stripped the NZ history shelf at my local. Good times.  

  • New faith, new law

    I was in Ōtaki recently. One of the aims of my thesis is to explore the origins of the Kīngitanga on the Kāpiti coast. At Ōtaki is one of New Zealand’s oldest churches, Rangiātea. In wandering around the urupā there, I came upon the memorial to Matene Te Whiwhi-o-te-Rangi who, with Te Rauparaha’s son, Tamihana, […]

  • The politics of history… J G A Pocock

    I’ve been reading J G A Pocock, a New Zealander with an international reputation in the world of humanities. Initially a professor of political science at Canterbury University in the 1960s, he has become a leading scholar on the history of Western political thought, particularly of the 17th and 18th centuries. He is now Emeritus Professor at John Hopkins University, being for many years […]