The political structure of New Zealand 1858-1861
Wood, Gilbert A.
By 1858 New Zealand had had less than twenty years of settled government and a responsible ministry had been in office for only two years. The colony had a small and dispersed population of about 60,000 Europeans, mostly born in England or children of Englishmen, and 56,000 Maoris. The difficulties of the newly independent, or partly independent state, are familiar to us today. The new settler rulers of mid-nineteenth century New Zealand had many advantages over modern nation-builders, not least of which was the absence of a sense of urgency, of the need to modernise the economy or create a new sovereign state over-night. There was no oppressed urban or peasant class. The settlers' society was homogeneous, comparatively highly literate, and educated in the traditions of parliamentary government. The depressed race in the country - the Maoris - could be confined within certain areas of the country, and gradually subdued without a vocal international concern to disturb the Government's conscience, although the Government could not escape obstreperous missionaries or the criticisms of humanitarians in the home country. But even these pressures were not felt until the settlers had had several years in which to consolidate a new political regime. The aim of this study has been to seek the underlying structure and order of the political system and to see how the settlers adapted their institutions and traditions to meet the problems with which they were faced. How did the political system work? Was it efficient and adequate? How did the various parts fit together? (…) This thesis is a study of a more settled period; a period of increasing order and rationalisation of structure, a period of comparative peace before the impact of the Maori wars and of the gold rushes. In particular this is a study of the central institutions of government: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. [extract from Introduction]
Advisor: Morrell, William P.
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis