“With a Pretty Little Garden at the Back”: Domesticity and the Construction of “Civilized” Colonial Spaces in Nineteenth-Century Aotearoa/New Zealand
- Journal of World History
- University of Hawai'i Press
- Volume 25, Number 4, December 2014
- pp. 515-534
- Additional Information
Colonialism in the first years of major settlement in Aotearoa/New Zealand was defined in part by anxieties regarding gender and civilization, and by the ways in which settlers and colonial administrators expressed those anxieties through a particu-lar attention to physical spaces within the colony. This article considers the ways in which ideas about British middle-class domesticity helped to create gendered colonial spaces that were imagined through and by settler women and men; at the same time, the creation of domestic spaces was seen as a vital component of the civilization of the Māori population of New Zealand, and in particular of Māori women. While the liminality of the frontier setting allowed for the disruption of some gender and class boundaries, the construction of colonial spaces—both public and private—proved an essential component of the civilizing project in New Zealand and of the reification of colonial ideals of moral domesticity.