The Impact of Socio-Historical Context on Identity: An Analysis of Ngāi Tamarāwaho Identity in the Colonisation Era

Melissa Derby


The purpose of this article is to illustrate the influence that socio-historical context has on the identity of a group. The identity of the hapū (tribe) Ngāi Tamarāwaho is examined to demonstrate the impact that specific phenomena associated with colonisation had on hapū identity, and the major focus of this chapter is the interplay between Ngāi Tamarāwaho and the phenomenon of colonisation. This article concentrates specifically on hapū identity during the colonisation era, which, in the context of this article, commenced with the arrival of Pākehā (British) settlers in New Zealand in 1814, and concluded with the establishment of the Waitangi Tribunal in 1975. For comparative purposes, parallels are drawn with other indigenous groups globally to highlight similarities between the colonisation experiences of these groups and those of Ngāi Tamarāwaho, and to illustrate common trends that occur as a result of colonisation and its associated phenomena. The first section in this article discusses the need to consider socio-historical context in research pertaining to identity, and provides examples of research that has been conducted to this effect. The second section establishes the social context of Ngāi Tamarāwaho, and the third section outlines the historical context. Following this is an analyis of the effects of aspects of colonisation on Ngāi Tamarāwaho identity, and this article concludes by discussing ways in which the hapū revived and reasserted their identity

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