E rangahau ana koe i te aha?What would you like to search for?

Integrating the nation: Gendering Maori urbanisation and integration, 1942-1969.

Author Category Source

Doctoral Dissertation, University of Canterbury, ,

Published Year Read Publication

In her doctoral dissertation, Woods – who would become housing minister in a Labour government – offers a comprehensive examination of the mid-twentieth-century efforts to create integrated and 'ideal' Māori citizens in New Zealand.

The thesis is a critical exploration of the policies of integration and urbanisation, focusing on why and how these policies were pursued, who was involved in their implementation, and where integration occurred, with a particular emphasis on houses/homes, hostels, and bodies as key sites of policy implementation. Woods argues that the creation of integrated citizens and the integrated nation were gendered processes, with a special focus on the role of women. The thesis reveals how Māori women, by playing out stereotypically maternal roles within domestic spaces, became the target of state policy. This led to the establishment of the Māori Women’s Welfare League, a voluntary organisation that not only aided the state but also provided crucial leadership in urban environments. Through this organisation, Māori women assumed leadership roles traditionally held by Māori men and adopted ‘cultural missionary’ roles previously dominated by Pakeha women. The dissertation further discusses how young, single women’s bodies and beauty became central to the construction of ideal citizens, with women’s bodies symbolising the integrated nation. Woods highlights that Māori, particularly women, were not mere victims of integration policies but negotiated these policies to find agency. By seemingly complying with the state, Māori women were able to exploit policy aspects that aimed at retaining Māori cultural elements. Additionally, Woods extends the focus of urbanisation and integration beyond the North Island, including the South Island and specifically the city of Christchurch. This broader perspective adds depth to the understanding of these processes across New Zealand.

Go back to the Annotated Bibliography List