They sleep standing up : Gujaratis in New Zealand to 1945
This study concerns the Gujaratis in New Zealand, mainly up to 1945. The majority of Indians in New Zealand are Gujaratis, most of them members of either the Koli or Kanbi castes and originally from South Gujarat. Although comparatively few in numbers within the small population of New Zealand, Indians are the third largest ethnic group after Polynesian groups and Chinese. Gujaratis began to settle in New Zealand shortly after the turn of this century. From the thirties onwards they have established businesses and their own institutions, and have brought their families to New Zealand. A study of Gujaratis in New Zealand thus serves to highlight aspects of New Zealand society, in addition to contributing to the study of Indian settlements outside India. Two aspects of New Zealand society that are dealt with in detail in this study are mobile occupations (especially hawking and bottle-collecting) and the anti-Indian outbreaks, particularly at Pukekohe in the nineteen-twenties. While some studies have been made of Indians in New Zealand, this is the first attempt to examine Gujaratis as a separate cultural group and to analyse the background culture and factors in emigration. A variety of methods was used to locate, record and analyse the data. Many records are fragmented, lost or destroyed. Interviews with Gujaratis in New Zealand, England and Gujarat were utilised in conjunction with documentary evidence from government departments (notably Customs and the Immigration Division of the Labour Department); shipping lists; trades directories; Indian Association records; archival material from New Zealand, the India Office Library, the National Archives of India, Baroda and the Maharastra State Archives; official statistics; contemporary reports; newspapers, and the vast secondary literature. The subject is approached from both the individual case-history and wider economic, social and cultural perspectives. The first two chapters examine the origins of the Gujarati emigrants in New Zealand and the factors that induced them to leave Gujarat. Chapter III asks and attempts to answer the questions of why, when and how New Zealand was chosen as a destination. The last four chapters cover settlement in New Zealand. Chapters IV and V are divided at 1920, as that year marked the end of the relatively free immigration by Indians into New Zealand. Chapter V covers the development of the community from 1920 to ·1945, with particular emphasis on occupations. Chapter VI considers cultural aspects such as diet, religion, caste, marriage and divorce, inter-racial liasons, kinship, the joint family, and contacts with Gujarat, and the initial settlement of Gujarati women in New Zealand. The final chapter looks at the community as a whole, beginning with a discussion of the White New Zealand League at Pukekohe and the reception of Gujaratis and Indians by sections of New Zealand society. This is followed by a brief study of the development of Indian Associations. These were partly a response to antagonisms in New Zealand society, but also can be viewed as a positive approach to the problem of adapting Gujarati culture to the new environment. This study attempts to demonstrate the importance of cultural as well as economic factors in inducing and sustaining emigration. This it does by considering the persistence of Gujarati cultural traits, and the preoccupation with economic and social mobility, concurrent with an adaptation to and identification with New Zealand. The reception by the rest of New Zealand society, highlighted by the White New Zealand League at Pukekohe, indicates the ambivalent attitude towards Indians. Once again, economic factors are not the only consideration in racial tension. The Gujaratis' reaction has been to persevere, maintaining some separate institutions but consciously seeking a place in New Zealand society. Their success in this respect has been particularly due to the important business role they play.
Advisor: McLeod, Hew; Brown, Judith; Misra, Satish
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis