Seacoast Stuff


In 1897 Mark Twain travelled around the world including a visit to New Zealand, commenting that, “It is not close to anything, but lies by itself, out in the water.”1 Reading Twain now, one of the striking features of his account is the direction of his itinerary. Departing from Hobart, his boat touched shore at Bluff, the southernmost part of the South Island. From Bluff, he proceeded inland through Invercargill, Dunedin and “Junior England all the way to Christchurch.”2 At Lyttelton, he boarded a “scow” that “was the foulest I was ever in,”3 resulting in an early disembarkment (possibly at Kaikoura) to pick up another ship, through French Pass (Cook Strait going uncommented), and on to Nelson. From there he sailed north via New Plymouth to Auckland, where he spent a few days before sailing southeast for Gisborne, where his seabound New Zealand travel ended. The remainder of Twain’s trip was by rail south to Napier, Wanganui and finally Wellington, whence he sailed for Sydney. This is a significant amount of travelling for a total of 40 days in the country, a great deal of which was actually spent out at sea.

Just over one hundred years later, a New Zealand Herald-Digi Poll Survey clearly shows that the Tourist and Publicity Department’s “Don’t leave home until you’ve seen the country” campaign was not entirely successful. The poll, aptly reported in the press under the title “North Islanders shun the south,” shows that while “South Islanders have no problem crossing Cook Strait,… nearly a fifth of North Islanders have not ventured to the mainland [i.e. The South Island].” More interesting (given the tendency of New Zealanders to jibe about Australians), “Of the northerners who had not gone south, 58 percent had visited Australia, as had half the South Islanders who had not visited the North Island.”4 Hence, if the Sufi poet who wrote “Your real country is where you’re heading, Not where you are”5 is correct, then the “whereness” of New Zealand seems to be in transit. As the survey shows, many New Zealanders’ island­boundedness is broken more frequently by trips to Australia, not to the other “big” island. Obviously, the difference over these one hundred years is strongly connected to changes in mode and cost of transport. Long-distance boat trips are now very infrequent, and trips to Australia are made attractive by the expense of plane travel within the country; for example, it can cost almost as much to fly from Auckland to Dunedin as it does to fly to Sydney.

However, these real changes in travellings and directionality do not mean that island spatiality is less important for how we live here. It is easy to think of a beach or coastline as a boundary, margin or periphery. On islands like those of New Zealand, these could be argued to be of great symbolic importance, partly because there is so much margin relative to the centre – that is, for a relatively small landmass, there is a very large coastline. But, extending Strathern,6 the relevance of boundary/periphery issues to isolated islands has to be treated very carefully, as the concept of boundary is overused and not very subtle. We need to avoid a “celebrating margins” discourse; instead, what we should emphasise about boundaries is processes of mutual translation. Hence, we should not discuss islands and the seacoast solely in terms of margins and periphery, but as sites of linkage. Ian Wedde has made exactly this point in an essay worth quoting at length:

As a kid I spent a lot of time in Queen Charlotte Sound, and the Cook Strait Ferry was central to my sense of the place…[M]assively looming above the little dinghy in which my father and I rocked, it provides me with my first sense of a scale in culture beyond the domestic proportions of my childhood…At the very centre of my earliest perception of culture, the Cook Strait Ferry installed an awesome model of division. For this to happen, there had to be a predisposition in the culture, a predisposition endorsed by history, a discourse that emphasised separation…[and] to discover how this came about, we must return to the image of Captain James Cook…looking out across Raukawamoana, soon to be translated into Cook Strait.…The consequences of this emphatic naming, and of the cartographic insistence on Cook Strait’s divisiveness, have been to reinscribe as binary or divisive what another culture [the Maori] saw quite otherwise; and even what the ecological facts of the area see otherwise. Cook Strait is a tricky and often dangerous stretch of water. But it is only 20 kilometres wide, and offers a favourite set-piece for marathon swimmers…And the Cook Strait area forms a readily identifiable ecological zone which is joined, not divided, by the water in its midst.7

Wedde’s point about joinings and linkages can be extended to the whole collection of islands that is New Zealand. “Mainland-island”connections and translations are an obvious point of commentary. Given the number of small offshore islands, and the main binary between the North and South islands, just what is figured as the mainland can be shifted at will, but the common move in these translations is for the local islanders to figure themselves as separate from the “mainland,” and for “mainlanders” in turn to see these places as Other, as always on the horizon, “somewhere else.” For example, in his history of the Chatham Islands, King comments that he was “led inescapably to the title of this book: a land apart. For, in ways that become clear in the unfolding pictures and narrative, the Chatham Islands are and are not part of New Zealand.”8 Being over 800 kilometres from the main islands it is perhaps not surprising that for Chatham Islanders “a trip to the mainland is spoken of as ‘going to New Zealand’.” 9 But these moves of separation are only partial: when it suits (for example for funding and medical supplies), the Chatham Islanders want to be part of New Zealand, and conversely, the mainland claims the Chathams as a crucial part of New Zealand when it suits (as evidenced in international promotions of the Chathams as the first inhabited land to see the dawn of the new millennium).

At times, islands can be invoked and positioned as important elements of the make-up of New Zealand; at other times they are pretty much taken for granted, almost forgotten because they are out-there. Way “out-there” in New Zealand are the Auckland Islands, which I consider below.


New Zealand territory includes five subantarctic islands, situated in the “roaring forties” and “furious fifties,” names given to the latitudes between 40°S and 60°S, which are buffeted by strong winds, high rainfall and low sunshine. The largest group is the Auckland Islands (total landmass of 600 square kilometres, 465 kilometres south of Bluff), home to a great diversity of wildlife including whales, seals, penguins, albatross and many other bird species. The story of the Aucklands is very much one of movement.10

The Aucklands were first discovered by Europeans in 1806, and the next hundred years were mainly notable for failed settlement 11 and continuing shipwrecks. Between 1833 and 1907, 11 ships and over one hundred lives were lost on the reefs and cliffs of the Auckland Islands. The depths of hardship are well-recorded in a number of first-hand accounts, with evocative titles like The Castaways of Disappointment Island, Islands of Despair, and Wrecked on a Reef.12 The most notable account concerns the wreck of the Grafton which was driven aground in a violent storm in 1864.

The Grafton was a small sealing ship hailing from Melbourne, captained by Thomas Musgrave, with only four crew. Their ship foundered on a reef close to shore, wrecking the ship but allowing the crew a safe escape. With wood from the ship, they made a hut and were able to sustain themselves chiefly on seal meat. Since there was little chance of rescue and their diet would not be sustainable for long, over a period of six months they set to rebuilding the salvaged ship’s boat. After 19 months castaway on the island Captain Musgrave and two of his crew set out from the Aucklands in the reconstructed five-metre boat, attempting to reach the nearest inhabited land, Stewart Island. Driven north by a brisk southerly, after five days’ sail with constant bailing, they reached Port Adventure, Stewart Island, where “they had to be carried on shore prostrate, as they themselves described it, from exhaustion.”13 They were then taken to Invercargill where Captain Musgrave raised a rescue ship in which he returned to the Auckland Islands to collect the two remaining crew members, who by then had nearly succumbed to starvation. The story was one of a miraculous sea journey and rescue.

While events such as this have entered the New Zealand coastal imaginary, there is another (perhaps easily overlooked) aspect of Musgrave’s story that is equally significant. Because of the near-starvation he and his crew had suffered, when Musgrave returned to rescue his remaining crew he liberated some goats, hoping that these would provide food for any future castaways. The Auckland Islands already had a small population of pigs, remnant of the earlier failed settlement, but Musgrave was the first to bring goats that were able to survive and reproduce in some parts of the islands on the exotic grasslands produced by the burning and over-sowing of the failed settlers. Whether the goats did in fact provide food for subsequent castaways is not reported, but by now they are more significant for the part they played in the movement between Nature and Society on the Aucklands. Finding the islands uninhabitable and then leaving was not enough for the human settlers; they had to leave their intermediaries – pigs, goats, cats and rodents – which over time made a significant impact on the very finely organised island ecosystem. This knowledge is itself available because of another movement on the islands: from failed settlers and castaways to scientific investigators. Various scientific investigations had been carried out as early as the 1840s, but it was from the early 1900s that the main traffic in visitors to the islands consisted of scientists. They quickly saw the Auckland Islands as a “treasure-trove” for scientific investigation, and as early as 1910 they were able to get one island of the group declared a reserve for the preservation of fauna and flora (the remaining islands were also reserved in 1934).

Getting back to Musgrave’s goats, it is from this “scientising” of the islands that we see an interesting move in Nature-Society interactions: the first culling of the castaway food is begun. During the Second World War small numbers of men were placed on the islands to guard against invasion, and they were also charged with extending the scientific knowledge of the islands. They quickly realised the impact the goats were having on the flora and proceeded to exterminate them from selected small island sites.14 A significant scientific expedition of 1972-73 included further study of goat numbers and impact, concluding that at that time there were probably no more than 100 goats on the islands. No call for systematic extermination was made, partly because pigs were seen to be the more significant problem, and because the study concluded that “It is clear that the 5% of the area of main Auckland Island which goats occupy has been modified far more by man than by the goats themselves.”15 Nevertheless, by 1998, a party from the Department of Conservation was sent to the islands to cull the goats.

The story of the Auckland Islands presents an interesting case in itself, but more generally it is one which resonates with a broader New Zealand seacoast and island story. It is a story of movement from the discovery of a Nature site, to that site becoming Social, and then to become a hybrid of the Natural-Social. The island is able to act upon Musgrave – it sinks his ship and nearly starves him and his crew – but then Musgrave acts-at-a-distance upon the island. He liberates the goats, which in turn become a nature-society hybrid, as they are able to survive there due to their nature, but they are put there by humans for human ends. Subsequently, the goats, along with the other exotics (pigs, cats and rodents), become “scientised,” an object of scientific interest and, at times, scientific culling. The current Nature of the Auckland Islands is thoroughly scientised, thoroughly a hybrid mix of brute material reality, social intervention, scientific discourse, narrative stories and folklore.

This is not an isolated story. The process of mixing the natural and the social/discursive, as applied to islands, is thoroughly imbricated in New Zealand identity and imagination. There are many similar stories of island refugia becoming almost the sole home for particular fauna: black robin on Chatham Islands; North Island saddleback on Hen Islands; stitchbird and kokako birds on Little Barrier Island; kakapo birds on Codfish Island; giant weta insects on Poor Knights Islands; tuatara lizards on Stephens Island; and little spotted kiwibirds on Kapiti Island.16

Following Franklin, I take this to be a local permutation of larger international processes. While the resources for creating Australian national identity mirror other nations, Franklin has argued that there are important local permutations in the process of “Australianisation,” particularly local hunting and angling:

Australianisation…was achieved, in part, through creating familiarity with, and modes of consuming, Australian nature. Animals were the most important set of signifiers of this identity claim, although Australian flora were widely used too…To the extent that its changing relationships with animals and nature have been influenced by neo-Darwinian and ‘tender-hearted’ Romantic discourses, Australia is no different from other Western societies. These discourses have arranged at least two contradictory types of human-animal relationships in a political confrontation. However, the nature of these orientations and their confrontation here is uniquely Australian.17

We can extend this to New Zealand and suggest that the mainland-island connection and the scientisation of islands as flora and fauna reserves are very significant. Ecologically, “Offshore islands offer hope for the survival of endangered wildlife species that, owing to the presence of persistent predators, will not survive on the mainland;”18 sociologically, this might make island animals an even more cogent symbolic resource for signifying the nature of New Zealand as place, and home of a type of people. Hunting on the mainland is an available sport, but the numbers of pests involved (70 million opossums for example) will never approach manageable proportions; hence, the offshore islands are the only place where pests like goats, cats and rodents can be realistically eradicated. They then have to be kept eradicated; and the wildlife continually monitored, scientifically. This allows mainland islanders to invoke New Zealandness as, at times, featuring the taming of the frontier and its now exotic pests (à la Barry Crump and deer-shooting mythology), and at other moments involving internationally recognised scientific conservation work on offshore island reserves (or indeed, as with the Karori Wildlife Sancturary, inland fenced-off island equivalents).

This small story has to be connected to one much larger: as Bernard Smith put it, “the Pacific, although the last great ocean to be explored by Europeans was, curiously enough, the first large region beyond Europe that modern scientific method came fully to grips with.”19 In a continuation of this process, New Zealand scientists are now further engaged in attempting to restore offshore island “natural” areas to their imagined pre-settlement conditions, in effect re-making them “real.”20 The stories of this work, and its product, are an important part of broader New Zealand folklore, and in a way which has peculiarly local characteristics. A contrast with Australia is again useful: Morris uses the motif of “panorama” to discuss the connection between touristic space and Australian national identity, arguing that: “A touristic space must be liberal, and open…the only ‘barrier’ officially admitted is strictly economic…Australia is a space wide open…‘Nationalism’ becomes not a quest for identity or repertoire of myths, but ‘our’ willingness to redesign everyday life as a landscape for rigorous tourists.”21 To visit the Auckland Islands tourists have to be very rigorous indeed; they can only get there by boat, and they will need a visit entry permit and must be accompanied by a Department of Conservation representative who will ensure a code of conduct is followed, thus putting this constituted “real” ecosystem under minimal risk and disturbance. In some senses it hardly matters how many people visit these isolated islands: their regulated distance and “natural” reality is an important resource for pointing up distinctive features of New Zealand as a place.


Shipwrecks obviously had an important part to play in the Auckland Islands story, but in this next example I want to extend the significance of shipwrecks from specific islands to the seacoast more generally. For what we find is that the New Zealand seacoast has a very long and forceful history of shipwrecks and boating tragedies. Of course, any nation with a coastline (or lakes for that matter) will have a maritime history that includes shipwrecks, but in New Zealand’s case this has particular resonance and retrievability. More than 2000 shipwrecks are known to have occurred around the New Zealand coast. In a systematic examination of patterns of death by accident between 1860 and 1960, Madle 22 has shown firstly, that compared to other nations, there is a higher rate of death from drowning in New Zealand, and secondly that deaths at sea form a significant proportion of these drownings. As noted above, New Zealand has a very large ratio of coastline to land mass, and this has produced a significant history of marine transport as a way of moving people and freight. In addition, all provinces of the country have various seacoast features in common: sea-ports and associated industries; fishing industries and their communities; seaside-town or isolated beach communities. Over time, there have been major shifts in how these connections of people and place have produced marine disasters and accidents. Early figures must be seen as an under-reporting; nevertheless Madle’s analysis shows a startling contrast between the period 1866-1900, when 1109 lives were lost by shipwreck, and 1901-66, when 614 lives were lost. The reduction in the death rate corresponds closely to the movement from square-rigged sailing ships to steamships. Thumbing through Ingram’s locus classicus on New Zealand shipwrecks,23 we see a transition from large-scale shipwrecks, whether passenger or freight, which often resulted in much loss of life, to predominantly marine accidents involving fishing vessels where few lives were lost. The frequent loss of sailing ships was often due to storms or wind changes which blew the ships ashore; in contrast, the more recent mishaps to fishing boats often involve sinkings in the open sea and not shore or reef groundings.

There is one notable exception to the shift from passenger and freight shipwrecks to the sinking of fishing vessels and, perhaps because of this fact, this event has particular retrievability when people think of seacoast disasters. This is the 1968 sinking of the inter-island passenger ferry Wahine with the loss of 51 lives. Just as Americans can remember “where they were when Kennedy was shot,” the Wahine disaster is one many New Zealanders can recall, hence connecting personal and national memory. Recently, at the 40-year anniversary of this event, a Wellington newspaper devoted days of stories reconnecting to what happened and the people involved, and there was a significant television documentary aired that revisited explanations of the tragedy.

To make something further of shipwrecks and boating tragedies, it is useful, paradoxically, to consider a recent analysis of drought and Australian national identity.24 This work is useful because, just as with Franklin’s analysis, it emphasises the need to search for locally significant “natural” events and how they might connect to national identity. Briefly, West and Smith argue that time, space and mythology are three factors crucial in the construction of the broader significance of natural disasters:

1 Time: “The longer the period of time a natural disaster covers, or the more frequently it occurs, the better the opportunity it provides for discursive conversion into a symbolic enemy… [and] having a limited duration and a precise location in Cartesian time prevents other disasters from enduring as discursive alternatives…”25

2 Space: “The more states and territories affected by a particular disaster, the greater the likelihood of generalisations being made to the level of the nation.” But what is important is not just space, “but rather how this Cartesian extension maps onto arbitrary, but socially relevant, symbolic and political spaces.”26

3 Mythology: “The ability of a natural disaster to function as the carrier of a distinctive national narrative depends upon its ability to ‘resonate’…with other dimensions of national mythology and imagery.”27

Applying this schema, temporally, there is no doubt that shipwrecks and boating tragedies are very frequent, well-recorded, investigated and reported. They are precisely located, and can occur at any time of the year, with pleasure-boating accidents happening most frequently in the summer holiday period. The larger shipwrecks are now far less common, but the fact is they still do occur, as witnessed by the sinking of the Russian cruise liner, Mikhail Lermontiv, in 1986 (740 passengers rescued, one life lost). The combination of relative infrequency with ever-present possibility may actually make these large-scale shipwrecks even more notable and resonant. Spatially, shipwrecks occur around the whole New Zealand coastline. It is also important here to connect this to a symbolic factor: free and unrestrained access to beaches and the sea is taken for granted by New Zealanders. It is not unreasonable to suggest that this socio-spatial assumption is an important part of the “egalitarian myth” of New Zealand society, meaning that the majority of New Zealanders can connect with, if not suffer through, the frequent losses of life and property at sea.

Mythologically, there are strong resonances between shipwrecks, boating tragedies and distinctive national narratives. Most obviously, both Maori and Pakeha foundational narratives are based on “sea voyages,” whether through the genealogical connection to the eight canoes of the Maori tribes, or through similar connections to the “first ships” carrying settlers. As Clark has noted, this attempt to construct a “concordance between Polynesian first peoples and the European latecomers hinging on the shared experience of seafaring, discovery and settlement” 28 is one of the differences between New Zealand and Australian antipodality. Further, the Maori have “heroic” maritime trips deeply embedded in their own history in Aotearoa. For example, there is the settlement of the far-distant Chatham Islands by “mainland” Maori and the development of the new Moriori culture 29 , and the stories told to any New Zealand schoolchild about the great Maori war parties (for example, Te Rauparaha) from the North Island, travelling by large canoes over long distances, to vanquish the southern Maori tribes. Obviously, the story of the Wahine is exemplary of the mythological potential of seacoast disasters: it is a result of the worst storm in New Zealand history; it occurs in the harbour entrance to the nation’s capital; the ship itself is the inter-island ferry, that is, a linkage for peoples from the two “main” islands; and the local and national community banded together in response – “men died helping others” – and so on.

Finally, there is a factor additional to West and Smith’s useful pointers. This could be called the “pragmatic/semiotic” factor. Pragmatically, shipwrecks and boating mishaps result in what linguists call “wh-questions,” that is, the everyday questions of who, what, where, and when. Such simple questions can be seen as resources for finding commonalities, that is, for producing the social. For example, when the Mikhail Lermontiv sinks after hitting a reef which was clearly marked, and of which the local pilot was well aware, just about the whole country utters wh-questions: what happened?; why did they take that course?; when did it go down?; who is responsible?; or later, when the conspiracy theories start, who is behind this sinking?. Additionally, I would like to suggest that there is a very important semiotic dimension, particularly for shipwrecks. Simply, shipwrecks are a spectacle par excellence. Visually, they are very retrievable and easily marked. Visit any museum in our main cities and there will be a maritime section replete with model boats and numerous paraphernalia – bells, compasses, life buoys, flags – taken from the multitude of sea vessels that have travelled New Zealand coastal waters. There is an extant art tradition on maritime themes and “violence at sea.” 30 There are many clear photographic records of ships going down, left abandoned on the rocks, aground on beaches and so on. Ingram’s bible of New Zealand shipwrecks includes over 120 illustrations, and its cover features a stunning and brutal photograph of the Wahine listing at 45 degrees, with Barrett Reef in the background. Shipwrecks that result in larger-scale loss of life are also frequently marked with memorials, often drawing upon material salvaged from the ship. As New Zealanders make their inevitable summer pilgrimage to the beach and seacoast these are direct, visual reminders of the sometimes cruel power of the sea. And, of course, this sea is never more than a few hours’ drive away.

Buffeted by stray cyclones from the north, and howling southerlies off Antarctica, the New Zealand seacoast is a fast-changing environment which has claimed many lives in the past and will no doubt continue to do so in the future. Shipwrecks and boating tragedies are frequently invoked as an important part of this maritime environment and they make a significant contribution to the powerful symbolism of New Zealand seacoast stuff.


This power of seacoast stuff is of course well-known to at least our artists and writers. Curnow noted the dominance of “seacoast stuff” in New Zealand poetry, particularly the “constant coupling of the ‘island’ theme with that of the ‘landfall’.”31 There is also a growing body of work on the connection between Maori and sea/landscape, including work on the great fleet navigation of the Maori,32 their seacoast life33 and maritime imagination,34 Maori transition to European sea travel,35 and the general relationship with the land.36 However, turning to the sociological literature, “seacoast stuff” is almost absent from view.37 New Zealand identity is taken to be constituted through a variety of key events and practices, some more well-rehearsed than others, including: contributions, and resistance to, the World Wars;38 masculinist sporting traditions (especially the All Blacks’ prowess at rugby39) and, similarly, the political support for “racist” Springbok rugby tours;40 egalitarianism;41 and the country as a “social laboratory,” including both welfarism and more recent New Right Economics.42 There are a variety of other factors including: ethnicity (especially the Maori renaissance) and, more recently, post-colonial multicultural identities, media institutions, and local history museums;43 taming the land as frontier;44 labour traditions45 and home ownership values;46 and literary nationalism.47 Here and there amongst this literature there will be reference to local spatiality, but it exists in a far-from-developed manner.

This lack of attention should concern us a little. As Parkin has commented: “It is banal to remark that belonging exists on as many dimensions as people are prepared to delineate. It is less banal to ask how much these dimensions are expressed as necessarily dependent on physical attachment to a particular locality.”48 And, with a different emphasis on the channels of construction, Quilley comments that “The conclusion that the nation must be at some level imagined begs the question of what media and cultural channels provide the means for such an imagining to take hold.”49 In the material discussed above, we have seen just how varied these media and cultural channels can be with respect to getting an “island” imaginary to take hold. The “seacoast stuff” has included stories, documents, statistical facts, accident and death registers, boats, storms, animals and island refugia, images, photos and memorials. Such things are spread from one coastal tip of the North Island to the coastal tip of the South Island, not to mention all those far-flung offshore islands – the Chathams, the Aucklands, the Antipodes, the Three Kings and so on. To borrow a phrase from Latour,50 these “missing masses” should not be underestimated; they are a crucial resource for the partial construction of the place and people of New Zealand.

But, in conclusion, I should make clear that I am not suggesting here that seacoast stuff or island spatiality is the “core” of New Zealand national identity. National identity is perhaps a concept better avoided in this discussion. In contrast, we could usefully employ Goffman’s discussion of “involvement resources.”51 To paraphrase Goffman, it is almost impossible to demonstrate that anything macroscopically significant results from particular examples of seacoast stuff; instead, sentiments about the power of common spatial elements serve more as involvement resources – things that carry a particular event – than as items that strengthen a “national identity” that is supposedly responsible for the very existence of the said events. To conceptualise national identity as a well-known pre-existent force is unhelpful, as it takes us away from showing how macro-structures are built up. This is not to say, however, that involvement resources do not have a structure, just that we do not know much about it. Simply, we could do with more consideration of how apparently trivial things like islands and seacoast stuff are built up into powerful stories, evocative events, and material feelings.


Thanks to an anonymous reviewer for some useful feedback. Also thanks to Maria Jesus Vera Cazorla of the Canary Islands, Spain, for reminding me that New Zealand is not alone in its spatial characteristics.

  1. M Twain, More Tramps Abroad (London: Chatto and Windus, 1925), 166.
  2. Ibid, 206.
  3. Ibid, 210.
  4. “North Islanders Shun the South,” The Evening Post, December 1998, 29.
  5. Quoted in P Gillen, “Welcome to McWorld,” Meanjin, 57 (1998), 113.
  6. M Strathern, “Cutting the Network,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2 (1996), 1-19.
  7. I Wedde, How to Be Nowhere (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1995), 191-2; emphasis added.
  8. M King and R Morrison, A Land Apart: The Chatham Islands of New Zealand (Auckland: Random Century, 1990), vi.
  9. P Taylor, “2000: A Chatham Islands Odyssey,” Sunday Star Times, 20 June 1999.
  10. Descriptive details are sourced from A Eden, Islands of Despair (London: Andrew Melrose, 1955) and FB McLaren, The Auckland Islands: Their Eventful History (Wellington: Reed, 1948). For a more recent overview see J Druett, Island of the Lost (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2007).
  11. Owing to a very good example of colonial propaganda, settlers were lured to the Aucklands in 1849, expecting to find “a very rich virgin soil… free from aboriginals” (quoted in T Higham, New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands (Invercargill: Department of Conservation, 1991, 15). However, upon arrival they found 60 Maori and Moriori from the Chatham Islands there to greet them. The welcome party had arrived from the Chathams in 1842; and if that was not disturbing enough, they soon found the soil too peaty and acidic to support essential vegetables and crops. By 1852 no settlers remained. A second attempt at inhabitation, based on pastoral leasing, was begun in 1894, but again this failed with the lease forfeited by 1910. Details from Higham, New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands.
  12. For bibliographic details see Higham, New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands.
  13. R Carrick, New Zealand’s Lone Lands (Wellington: George Didsbury, 1892), 9.
  14. MR Rudge and DJ Campbell, “Report on the Goat/Vegetation Research Project Undertaken During the Auckland Islands Expedition,” in JC Yaldwyn, Preliminary Results of the Auckland Islands Expedition 1972-1973 (Wellington: Department of Lands and Survey, 1975), 197-224.
  15. Ibid, 211-12.
  16. Details from G Moon, New Zealand Offshore Islands and their Wildlife (Auckland: Reed, 1995).
  17. A Franklin, “Australian Hunting and Angling Sports and the Changing Nature of Human-Animal Relations in Australia,” The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, 32 (1996), 52-4.
  18. Moon, New Zealand Offshore Islands, 21.
  19. Quoted in N Clark, “‘Imaginary Reefs and Floating Islands’: Speculations on the Digital Refiguring of the Antipodes,” Sites, 31 (1995), 1-30, at 11.
  20. RM Helford, “Rediscovering the Presettlement Landscape: Making the Oak Savanna Ecosystem ‘real’,” Science, Technology, and Human Values, 24 (1999), 55-79.
  21. M Morris, “Panorama: The Live, the Dead and the Living,” in Island in the Stream, ed. P Foss (Leichardt: Pluto, 1988), 182.
  22. DV Madle, “Patterns of Death by Accident, Suicide and Homicide in New Zealand 1860-1960, Interpretation and Comparisons,” Unpublished PhD thesis (Victoria University of Wellington, 1996).
  23. CWN Ingram, New Zealand Shipwrecks: 195 Years of Disaster at Sea, 7th ed. (Auckland: Beckett, 1990).
  24. B West and P Smith “Drought, Discourse, and Durkheim: A Research Note,” The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, 32 (1996), 93-102; B West and P Smith, “Natural Disasters and National Identity: Time, Space and Mythology,” The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, 33 (1997), 205-15.
  25. West and Smith, “Natural Disasters and National Identity,” 206.
  26. West and Smith, Ibid., 207.
  27. West and Smith, Ibid., 210.
  28. Clark, “‘Imaginary Reefs and Floating Islands’,” 9.
  29. King and Morrison, A Land Apart.
  30. For a local example see T Simpson, Art and Massacre: Documentary Racism in The Burning of the Boyd (Wellington: The Cultural Construction Company, 1993).
  31. Cited in N Clark, “‘Imaginary Reefs and Floating Islands’.”
  32. J Evans, The Discovery of Aotearoa (Auckland: Reed, 1998).
  33. M Orbell, Hawaiki: A New Approach to Maori Tradition (Christchurch: University of Canterbury, 1985).
  34. Wedde, How to Be Nowhere.
  35. A Salmond, Between Worlds: Early Exchanges Between Maori and Europeans, 1773-1815 (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1997).
  36. J Binney, J Bassett, and E Olssen, The People and the Land: Te Tangata me te Whenua (Wellington: Allen and Unwin, 1990).
  37. For discussion, see M Lloyd, “Our Way Looks Distant,” New Zealand Sociology, 13 (1998), 239-64.
  38. J Phillips, “War and National Identity,” in Culture and Identity in New Zealand, eds D Novitz and B Willmott (Wellington: GP Books, 1989), 91-109.
  39. J Phillips, A Man’s Country? The Image of the Pakeha Male, a History (Auckland: Penguin, 1987).
  40. G Fougere, “Sport, Culture and Identity: The Case of Rugby Football,” in Culture and Identity in New Zealand, eds D Novitz and B Willmott (Wellington: GP Books, 1989), 110-122.
  41. B Consedine, “Inequality and the Egalitarian Myth,” in Culture and Identity in New Zealand, eds D Novitz and B Willmott (Wellington: GP Books, 1989), 172-86.
  42. J Kelsey, The New Zealand Experiment: A World Model for Structural Adjustment? (Auckland: Auckland University Press/Bridget Williams Books, 1995); D Thomson, Selfish Generations? The Ageing of New Zealand’s Welfare State (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 1991).
  43. Sites, 30 (Autumn 1995), “Special Issue: National Identities/National Futures.”
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Mike Lloyd teaches Sociology in the School of Social and Cultural Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. He has a longstanding interest in the sociology of everyday life, and has recently developed an interest in researching humour. Recent publications include articles on the Flight of the Conchords, celebrity culture, and wordplay in a risqué caption competition.