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The Tourist State

Performing Leisure, Liberalism, and Race in New Zealand

Margaret Werry

Publication Year: 2011

No longer the dreary sheep farm at the end of the world, the New Zealand of the new millennium is a hot global ticket, heralded for its bicultural dynamism, laid-back lifestyle, and scenery extraordinary enough to pass for Tolkien’s Middle Earth. How this image was crafted is the story The Tourist State tells. In a series of narratives that address the embodied dimensions of biopolitics and explore the collision of race, performance, and the cultural poetics of the state, Margaret Werry exposes the real drama behind the new New Zealand, revealing how a nation was sold to the world—and to itself.

The story stretches back to the so-called Liberal Era at the beginning of the twentieth century, in which the young settler colony touted itself as the social laboratory of the world. Focusing on where tourism and liberal governmentality coincide, The Tourist State takes us from military diplomacy at the dawn of the American Pacific to the exotic blandishments of Broadway and Coney Island, from landscape preservation to health reform and town planning, from blockbuster film to knowledge economy policy.

Weaving together interpretive history, performance ethnography, and cultural criticism, Werry offers new ways to think about race and indigeneity—and about the role of human agency in state-making.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Series: A Quadrant Book

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

Note on Orthography

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: Toward a Performance Theory of the State

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pp. ix-xl

For much of the new millennium, New Zealand has been the hot global ticket. Twice named Lonely Planet’s top destination, it is touted for its bi-cultural dynamism, can-do creativity, fair-go egalitarianism, and laid-back leisure-loving lifestyle. And then, of course, there is the scenery. ...

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1. The State of Nature: Governmentality, Biopoetics, Sensation

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pp. 1-43

They called it the netherworld. Situated in the isolated heart of the North Island of New Zealand, the spa town and ethnic tourism enclave of Rotorua was at once a wonderland and a hellhole. The tiny settler township and the adjoining Māori villages of Whakarewarewa and Ōhinemutu were built atop an active volcanic plateau, ...

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2. The Class Act of Guide Maggie: Cosmopolitesse, Publics, and Participatory Anthropology

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pp. 44-89

At the turn of the twentieth century, the small Māori village of Whakarewarewa, at the heart of New Zealand’s isolated inland thermal district, played host to tourists by the thousands. They came to soak and socialize at the spa built by the government in the nearby town of Rotorua and to sightsee, ...

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3. Translation, Transnation: Theatrical Politics and Political Theater in the American Pacific

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pp. 90-133

In 1840 the British Crown signed a treaty with representatives of Māori tribes to officially establish British dominion in the islands of New Zealand and pave the way for systematic colonization. In the same year a new figure, “the New Zealander,” made an appearance in a review by Whig historian Thomas Babington Macaulay printed in the Edinburgh Review. ...

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4. Traficking Race: Policy, Property, and Racial Reformation in the Tourist State

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pp. 134-188

“All around New Zealand, a lot of Māori stories help us define this place and understand it, and where people have taken that up, it’s made all the difference to the visitor. You’ll come for the scenery, but you’ll take away something else.” So begins the narrator of The Tourism Edge, a twenty-minute promotional documentary ...

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5. Altered States: Global Hollywood, the Rise of Wellywood, and the Moving Image of Race

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pp. 189-237

Tourism and cinema, it has been argued, are natural companions. Twin com ponents of the industrial machine of public imagination, both promise escape, pleasure, and all the sensations and prerogatives of mobility.1 From the outset, film offered experiences of virtual travel, cashing in on the modern fascination for motion ...

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Conclusion: Living in a Tourist State

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pp. 238-244

As the first decade of the new millennium drew to a close, tourism growth slowed in Aotearoa New Zealand. Rising fuel prices took their toll, as did the nation’s stronger currency (the neoliberal economy turned victim of its own success). Then global recession set in. State policy has shifted: the new emerging market is now China, ...

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pp. 245-248

In the long process of completing this book, I have incurred more debts—personal, professional, and intellectual—than I can name or number. First, I gratefully acknowledge the generous funding of phases of my dissertation research and writing by the American Association of University Women, ...


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pp. 249-294


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pp. 295-302


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pp. 303-314

About the Author

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p. 356-356

E-ISBN-13: 9780816678440
E-ISBN-10: 0816678448
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816666065

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: A Quadrant Book