D’Arcy’s view from the hill: ‘weak thought’ on Pakeha as particular, regional 'buggers'. . .

Mike Grimshaw

Abstract


This paper argues for the cultural development of ‘Pakeha’ as a particular mid 20th century regional, secular, modernist identity and belief that developed in the South Island between the 1920s and the late 1950s. Beginning with the influence of D'arcy Cresswell who in 1923 claimed a new type of Pakeha indigeneity in a supposedly 'terra nullis', it argues Pakeha arises out of a distinctly modernist identity: secular, urban, exilic and literary.

Pakeha, as a condition of modernity, arises in the South Island because it is a claim of a type of indigeneity situated against the North Island. It arises out of the tensions of a providential land, a desert, a wilderness and a waste land where a new society has to be built from scratch. The challenge of ‘Pakeha’ to New Zealanders is the challenge of a specific identity that may indeed challenge nationalist cultural essentialisms. Not all European New Zealanders are necessarily Pakeha, nor will they necessarily wish to be. For Pakeha is first and foremost a type of modernist belief.

Keywords


Creswell pakeha modernity indigeneity regionalism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol9iss2id212