Scottish identity in Dunedin and Christchurch to c.1920 : an application of the new 'British history' to New Zealand.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
In 1974 historian J. G. A. Pocock made a plea for a new subject, which he termed "British history", It was a request for a re-examination of the term, to invest it with new meaning. Previously, British history was often simply the history of England writ large, ignoring the heterogeneity of the Atlantic Archipelago. Pocock argued for the recognition of cultural plurality within the British context, so that the history of the British Isles could truly be British in scope. This thesis attempts to answer Pocock's call by extending the study of British history to New Zealand. After examining the historiographical issues raised by the notion of British history in relation to England, Scotland and Wales, it explores those issues in relation to New Zealand. In particular the expression of Scottish identity within the British context in Dunedin, with some comparative material on the Scots in Christchurch. It begins with the attempt to establish in 1848 a Free Church of Scotland settlement in Otago which attempted to be both Scottish and British. The Scottish element was threatened by non-Scottish British immigrants who became numerically preponderant, although the Scots remained a large minority group. Scottish identity continued to flourish within a British context. Indeed, even in the predominantly Anglican and English settlement established in Canterbury in 1850 did Scottish identity express itself. The thesis examines the organised expressions of Scottish identity to c. 1920. In particular, it explores the expressions of identity associated with institutions like the Caledonian societies. It also explores issues of identity raised by the cult of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Finally, it suggests that hints of a New Zealand identity began to emerge within a British context during the First World War.