Culture and Colonization: Revisiting the Place of Writing in Colonial New Zealand

  • Tony Ballantyne


This essay attempts to untangle a central conceptual and analytical knot in recent New Zealand historical writing: the interrelationship between culture and colonization. It explores the ways in which approaches to New Zealand's colonial past have been transformed over the past 25 years and attempts to historicize these shifts by framing them against international intellectual developments and the cultural and political currents that reconfigured visions of the past in these islands. The essay then offers an assessment of a key preoccupation of recent scholarship: the relationships between writing and colonization. This discussion identifies some limitations of the existing work as well as underscoring where it does have real analytical purchase, before closing by pointing to some possible paths for future work. These new lines of inquiry, I argue, not only require us to ask some new questions about the cultural work writing did in a colonial context, but also necessitate a reassessment of how colonization actually worked on the ground.

Author Biography

Tony Ballantyne
Tony Ballantyne is Associate Professor of History in the Department of History and Art History at the University of Otago.
How to Cite
BALLANTYNE, Tony. Culture and Colonization: Revisiting the Place of Writing in Colonial New Zealand. The Journal of New Zealand Studies, [S.l.], n. 9, may 2010. ISSN 2324-3740. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 mar. 2019. doi: