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André Brett @DrDreHistorian
, 14 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
A few days ago on here, @SikotiHamiltonR and I were talking about good theses in New Zealand that deserved publication and a wider audience, but for whatever reason never achieved it. Here's a thread naming some of my faves; feel free to suggest other great unpublished research!
Note that into the 1990s it was rather common for theses on New Zealand history to not lead to publication—not even an article, let alone a book. If you study NZ history, you do yourself a disservice to skip past the theses. Many are MA not PhD; there are even useful Hons theses.
In my view the very finest is D.G. Herron, "The structure and course of New Zealand politics, 1853–1858" (PhD thesis, Otago, 1959). Herron did publish articles & I expect if not for his tragic death this might've become a book. If he'd lived I'd have needed a diff thesis topic!
Another stellar thesis is Dean Cowie, "'To Do All the Good I Can': Robert FitzRoy; Governor of New Zealand, 1843–45" (MA thesis, Auckland, 1994). If you are writing about FitzRoy's time in NZ and you aren't consulting this thesis, you are making a serious mistake.
I am deeply impressed by J.L. Hunt, "The Election of 1875–6 and the Abolition of the Provinces" (MA thesis, Auckland, 1961). In an era before Papers Past, Hunt consulted newspapers so widely as to still outdo today's efforts.
The thesis that prompted this thread was Jacinta Blank, "Imagining Moriori: A History of Ideas of a People in the Twentieth Century" (MA thesis, Canterbury, 2007). It should be read in conjunction with the next one:
Peter Clayworth, "'An Indolent and Chilly Folk': The Development of the Idea of the 'Moriori Myth'" (PhD thesis, Otago, 2001). Together, Blank and Clayworth's theses account for the rise and perpetuation of total falsehoods about Moriori in NZ's popular imagination.
I'm showing my biases in these selections, for obv reasons, but I appreciate A.H. Cook, "'The Slowly-Dying Cause': A Study of Otago Provincialism After the Abolition of the Provinces' (MA thesis, Otago, 1969), the ONLY substantial work to take seriously provincialism after 1876.
As a postgrad, the first time I was aware of the importance of theses, beyond Pat Grimshaw's warnings, were reviewers of my first journal article recommending A.P.F. Browne's rather good "The Otago Goldfields 1861–1863: Administration and Public Life" (MA thesis, Otago, 1974).
Back in 2013 I enjoyed reading Natasha Andrea Elliot-Hogg's MA thesis "The Taranaki Refugees 1860" (Waikato, 1999), a topic about which I knew little and had seen mentioned rarely elsewhere.
The one good treatment of a separation movement in NZ is D.M. Tebay, "The Hawke's Bay Separation Movement, 1856–58" (MA thesis, Uni of NZ, 1956). There are theses on the Otago separation movement but they all focus on the early years rather than its entire duration.
Last from me: Ann Tyndale-Biscoe, "The Struggle for Responsible Government in the Province of Otago, 1854–76" (MA thesis, Uni of NZ, 1954). Provincial govts fought, w/ varying degrees of seriousness, for responsibility. Nobody else has looked at this. Now, over to your recs...!
A thread of further suggestions here. Also I just remembered Sonia Cheyne's great "Search for a Constitution: People and Politics in New Zealand's Crown Colony Years" (PhD, Otago, 1975), which should be read alongside A.H. McLintock's book on the period.
Awesome suggestion from @Gerrard_Carter here, a thesis I cannot believe I did not know but one that we can all download and enjoy:…
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