‘Wrought into being’: An archaeological examination of colonial ideology in Wellington, 1840-1865.
Geary Nichol, Rose Caroline
The archaeology of urban environments in New Zealand is typically relegated to cultural heritage management investigation. This type of investigation is restricted by the limitations of the cultural heritage management framework, and urban archaeological investigation is often compelled by heritage regulation rather than academic inquiry. This has contributed to a limited archaeological understanding of an important period in New Zealand’s history – that of early colonial urbanism. Colonial urbanism is not often examined as a phenomenon in and of itself in New Zealand’s archaeological discipline, nor is archaeological theory applied to this context at a sustained and meaningful level. This thesis compiles existing archaeological and cartographic evidence from this period in a geographic information system project and examines its relationship with the ideologies that influenced New Zealand’s colonial settlers. Wellington was the first urban settlement established by the New Zealand Company in New Zealand in 1840. The Company and its settlers espoused an ideology strongly influenced by 19th century capitalism and British imperialism. This ideology was reified by colonial theorist Edward Gibbon Wakefield and emphasised a perception of land as material. In view of this emphasis, archaeology offers a particularly appropriate approach to an examination of the relationship between this ideology and the urban form created by the settlers. Using the settlement of Wellington as a case study, this thesis examines colonial urbanism through a unique theoretical framework constructed using archaeological, historical and urban planning perspectives. This framework facilitates an alternative understanding of the colonial urban environment by reinterpreting the city as a material artefact. The data compiled in this research displays how this artefact – the city – is a product of its colonial creators, and, in particular, the ideology that influenced these colonists. It identifies a causal relationship between the motivating ideology of the colonists and the form of the city artefact, highlighting the impact of ideology on the process of urban development.
Advisor: Smith, Ian
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Anthropolgy and Archaeology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: archaeology; urbanism; colonialism; New Zealand; Wellington; ideology; systematic colonisation; city artefact; material culture; cultural landscape
Research Type: Thesis