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

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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.

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Author Biographies

Jonathan Barrett, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Jonathan Barrett teaches law in the School of Business at the Open Polytechnic, New Zealand. His PhD considered human rights and taxation. Ongoing research interests include the practical application of human rights, particularly in relation to historically disadvantaged people.

Luke Strongman, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Luke Strongman teaches Humanities in the School of Information and Social Sciences at The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.