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Developing “the essentials of good citizenship and responsibilities” in Maori women: family life, social change, and the state in NZ, 1944-70.

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Journal of Family History, 29(4), 446-465

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In this article, Labrum examines the evolving role of Māori women in New Zealand society between 1944 and 1970, with a particular focus on how family life, social change, and state policies influenced their emergence as active citizens.

Published in the Journal of Family History, the paper provides a nuanced exploration of the intersection between gender, race, and state intervention during a period of significant social transformation in New Zealand. Labrum delves into the ways in which Māori women navigated their roles within their families and communities amidst the shifting political and social landscapes of the mid-20th century. The article highlights the impact of World War II and the post-war era, marking significant shifts in social attitudes and state policies that affected Māori women’s lives. Labrum discusses how these changes challenged traditional roles and expectations, leading Māori women to increasingly engage with broader societal issues and assert their rights and responsibilities as citizens. A key aspect of the paper is its analysis of the state’s role in this transformation. Labrum evaluates various government initiatives and policies aimed at integrating Māori into mainstream society, assessing their impact on the lives of Māori women. The article critically examines how these state interventions were both a response to and a catalyst for change in Māori family structures and women’s roles, often reflecting wider societal views about race, gender, and citizenship. Moreover, Labrum’s work provides valuable insights into the resilience and adaptability of Māori women during this period. It highlights how Māori women were not passive recipients of state policies but actively engaged in shaping their own identities and roles within both their communities and the wider New Zealand society.

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