Re/producing the nation : women making identity in New Zealand, 1906-1925.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
In the period 1906-1925, several women's organisations offered an interpretation of political life that emphasised the role of women as maternal citizens and saviours of the "race". Through an examination of the activities of eight women's organisations, it is argued that women were active participants in the construction of the New Zealand nation. By abandoning traditional androcentric definitions of the "political", it is demonstrated how women during this period worked to extend the "private" sphere of the home into the community, and ultimately the nation. As social purists, war time voluntary workers, instructors of young women, and as mothers, New Zealand women were crucial to constructed national identities. Through emphasising traditional maternal functions, such as care and nurture, women could, and did, negotiate a place for themselves in the New Zealand nation.