“Kiwiana: Settler Nostalgia and Re-Colonisation in Aotearoa/New Zealand”
Friday, June 9 at 4 pm
Brian Mulroney Hall, Room 101
Listen to the lecture HERE.

Katie Pickles, Professor of History, University of Canterbury. Dr. Pickles’ many influential publications include Transnational Outrage: the Death and Commemoration of Edith Cavell (2007) and Female Imperialism and National Identity: Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (2002). She is the co-editor (with Catharine Coleborne) of New Zealand’s Empire (2015). Her most recent book is Christchurch Ruptures (2016), a cultural analysis of the colonial and post-colonial tensions at play as that New Zealand city attempts to recover from a devastating earthquake. Her lecture will explore the roots and impact of nostalgia in contemporary New Zealand.

Since 1984, New Zealand has undergone a period of dramatic economic, social, cultural and political change. The dominance of neo-liberalism, the scaling back of the welfare state, new migration from Asia and the Pacific, the rapid growth of tourism and new global trading partners can be framed alongside homosexual law reform, civil unions, same sex marriage and the redress of Maori grievances.

In this context, a fascinating array of national symbols have emerged: Jandals, footie and ‘she’ll be right’ are examples of a seemingly random and eclectic line up. This lecture introduces and interprets ‘Kiwiana’ from these decades. Its read these symbols as reactionary nostalgia for a past British settler society, and a closed and colonial society, rather than as expressions of the hopes and dreams for a modern 21st century nation.

Importantly, the recent failure to change the national flag symbolises the interregnum where New Zealand is currently positioned. Clinging to derivative and limited ‘national’ symbols from the past is contributing to a denial of the postcolonial present.