‘Sisters in the Work’: Māori and Pākehā Women of the WCTU (1892-1918) (2022)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
In the mid-1890s, after women’s enfranchisement was achieved, the New Zealand Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) began to actively recruit Māori women to their organisation. In this thesis it is argued that through the WCTU Māori women were politically active, were engaged in and passionate about temperance work, and that they sought involvement in the WCTU to further this cause. It is also contended that it was the individual women – both Māori and Pākehā – and their lived experiences, perspectives, and relationships with each other that shaped the WCTU’s Maori Work Department over the period studied. These arguments bring forth three key themes: firstly, the importance of temperance and its position as the cornerstone to the Māori outreach efforts of the WCTU; secondly, the ubiquitous but nonetheless significant nature of Christianity both in the lives of the individual women and within the institution of the WCTU; and finally, the evolving nature of sisterhood within the Maori Work Department as shown in the experiences and relationships of the Māori and Pākehā women who were involved in the work.
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