|A Tsunami of Dissent – Part Two - Last Week’s NBR Column|
|Library Archive - Centre Digests|
Page 8 of 9
“Who do we think we Are?”
The column begins:
James Belich’s remarkable book “Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo World” (2009) certainly challenged the conventional version of the early settlement of New Zealand. We had grown used to being labeled “colonizers” extending the powers and reach of the British Imperial Empire.
But Belich declared New Zealand was nobody’s “colony” but was settled by people determined to create a new world – a world of their own design and choosing.
My father’s Irish forebears settled here in the late 1830s. My mother’s Welsh forebears arrived in the early 1900s. Both my parents were atheists and Fabian Socialists. I never heard either of them suggest their families were here to promote the interests of the Brittish Imperial Empire.
The 19th Century Settlers of the New World dreamed of owning their own land, and their own home, of freedom to ply their own trade, and to have free access to lakes, rivers, and beaches. “Jack is as Good as his Master” expressed their relief from the class system of the Old World.
Belich also argued that these New Worlds of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa were dominated by the English language because the Anglo settlers were better than most at living alongside settlers from other nations who shared their aspirations. The early Anglo-New Zealanders rubbed shoulders with French, Dutch, German, Danish settlers and even with Chinese, who generally shared the Settlers’ creed.
Naturally, these observations fell on receptive ears in New Zealand.
To read the whole essay, go here.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 February 2012 16:11 )|