At the Australian Historical Association conference in Brisbane last night, CROCC member Dr Angela Wanhalla was awarded the Ernest Scott Prize for History. This prize is awarded annually to the book judged to be the most distinguished contribution to the History of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonization published in the previous year.
Matters of the Heart: A History of Interracial Marriage in New Zealand was published by Auckland University Press.
As the judges commented “Angela Wanhalla’s ground breaking history of interracial relationships in New Zealand across two hundred years utilises not only the usual range of church and state records but also personal papers, family and local histories to track the lives of couples whose relationship was sustained over a period of time. While Maori women left little trace for the historian, Wanhalla uses analysis of images, particularly photography, to overcome some of the gaps and silences in the record. She takes a broad view of coupling which incorporates common law relationships, Maori ceremonies and Christian marriages sanctioned by the State and also takes account of various debates and legislative action in relation to marriage over time.
“Wanhalla draws on the recent work by anthropologists and historians such as Ann Laura Stoler to explore the history of emotion and sentiment as central to these encounters. She historicises the specific context in which these are expressed and how they changed over time in relation to the society and demographics. She notes that interracial relationships in New Zealand have often been used as evidence of ‘gentle colonialism’ but while her study of intimacy makes an important contribution to overturning simplistic paradigms of race relations on the frontier and beyond, Wanhalla still emphasises the framework of gendered and racial power struggles within which these relationships operated.”
Congratulations to Angela for her ongoing success!