New Zealand’s Pacific 'empire' through French eyes
- Date: Thursday, 23 March, 2017
Te Ahumairangi, ground floor, National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets
- Contact Details:
Space is limited, so book your spot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a long tradition of French writing on New Zealand and its peoples, but what has been said about French views of New Zealand’s aspirations and activities in the Pacific islands in the first half of the twentieth century?
In this talk Adrian Muckle discusses some of his research conducted in France’s diplomatic archive, which reveals more than passing interest in New Zealand’s Pacific empire and in New Zealand as an emerging member of an ‘imperial family’.
Two voices stand out in the French diplomatic archive: that of the longest-serving inter-war consul, Paul Adolphe Serre (1923-31), and that of Minister Plenipotentiary, Noël Henry (1952-55). Focusing on what they reported, Adrian sketches the various ways in which New Zealand’s colonial or imperial activity was meaningful to French observers before the 1960s.
Particular attention will be paid to the ‘bomb’ that New Zealand Prime Minister Sidney Holland dropped on France in March 1953 — in the form of plans for self-government in Samoa — and the assessment of New Zealand’s empire that followed.
About the speaker
Adrian Muckle is a Senior Lecturer at the School of History Philosophy, Political Science & International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington.
Prime Minister Sidney Holland, French Minister M N Henry, General Augustin Guillaume, Madame Henry and Mrs Florence Holland, 1955. Ref: EP/1955/1341-F.