Print Culture and the Collective Māori Consciousness
Paterson, Lachy (2010) Print Culture and the Collective Māori Consciousness. Journal of New Zealand Literature, 28 (2). pp. 103-129.
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Although literacy and print were essential tools of the colonial project ultimately designed to ‘amalgamate’ Māori into the modern Pākehā-dominated world, ironically they also helped in the evolution of a collective Māori consciousness. This collective sense of being manifested itself in such pan-Māori movements as the Kīngitanga, Kotahitanga and Te Aute College Students Association. Māori were not passive recipients of print culture, and each of these movements utilized newspapers as a means of disseminating their discourses. Informed by Benedict Anderson’s theory on the role of print in the formation of national consciousness through print capitalism, this essay looks at how Pākehā-run newspapers assisted in the development of a collective Māori consciousness, and how Māori movements projected this identity in their own publications. The essay argues that, although capitalism was a pre-condition for colonization, it was colonialism itself, rather than capitalism, that was fueled an Māori "national" consciousness in the nineteenth century.
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