Time-capsule: Explorations of Concepts of Time and Law in Colonial New Zealand

Jonathan Barrett, Luke Strongman


Postcolonial legal culture in New Zealand (Aotearoa) has sought to revise the past by reinterpreting Victorian legal contexts in the light of contemporary understandings of inter-cultural differences. This article develops an argument that demonstrates the relationship between cultural and legal notions of time during nineteenth century New Zealand. It examines the way in which Victorian attitudes were expressed in the expansion of colonial empire and the discursive ideologies which may have informed them. It explores the notion of time as expressed in lawmaking in colonial New Zealand through an examination of legal and philosophical commentary derived from contemporary jurisprudence and para-legal literature. The article is concerned with presenting an argument for the way in which colonial law and lawmakers manipulated the symbolic notion of time to the possible occlusion of indigenous interests in colonial New Zealand.


New Zealand, colonial history, indigenous time, customary law, Treaty of Waitangi

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/portal.v7i1.1025