Te Ahu - a meeting place


  • Avril Bell University of Auckland




Place, history, spatio-temporal events, haunting, indigenous-settler co-existence


In 2012 a new community complex opened in Kaitaia, housing the local museum, library, i-Site, hall, theatre and Council offices. This complex is very obviously a meeting place for people of the community and out-of-town visitors. But the site on which the building, Te Ahu, stands has a much longer history as a meeting place. In this paper I outline this history in light of recent theorising about the intertwined work of space, time, people and things in the liveliness of place. This history foregrounds the ways in which the changing nature of this meeting place marks shifting indigenous and settler relations through time. Recounting the stories of this one, particular, place, my wider aim is to give a sense of the enmeshment of the settler society present in the ongoing stories of the living pasts of place.

Author Biography

Avril Bell, University of Auckland

Avril Bell is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. Her research interests centre on settler colonialism, indigenous-settler relations and possibilities for decolonization. Her book, Relating Indigenous and Settler Identities: Beyond Domination, addresses these issues in four settler societies – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America.




How to Cite

Bell, A. (2016). Te Ahu - a meeting place. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, 13(2), 25–48. https://doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol13iss2id327