‘If we never meet again’ : the migration experiences of Emma Barker in nineteenth-century Canterbury.
Type of content
Studies of migration from England to New Zealand in the nineteenth century have tended to neglect the stories of women. My study addresses this gap by examining the migration story of Emma Barker and her family, and analysing in what ways family dynamics resulted in a gendered experience of migration. It explores gender in a relational manner by comparing and contrasting Emma’s experiences with those of her husband, Alfred. This study also adds to the historiography of the Western family and illuminates broader issues of marriage, parenthood and migration networks. It is based on a sequence of letters written by the Barker family to their extended family in England and highlights the importance of personal correspondence in writing migration histories. This study argues for more nuanced stories of migration that challenge accounts which emphasise the alienating aspect of migration for women.