Leaving Politics Behind? Diasporic Nationalism in London

Louise Humpage


Up to a million New Zealanders live overseas at any one time, many residing in London. Exploratory research with members of New Zealand-oriented civil society organisations established in London highlights a strong perception that the expatriate experience provides a certain distance from New Zealand politics – particularly ‘bicultural’ politics – that encourages boundary-crossing relationships and a stronger sense of belonging amongst Māori than experienced at home. This is an important finding but this article questions whether such politics are really absent, since interview data reveals that London-based organisations and their members undertake significant ‘political’ work in connecting expatriate citizens to ‘home’ and in protecting New Zealand’s reputation. These activities reinforce forms of nostalgia that prioritise European/Pākehā norms and, ultimately, fail to acknowledge ongoing tensions in New Zealand’s national story.


diasporic nationalism; expatriate; New Zealand; civil society; biculturalism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol14iss2id368