Juridical encounters : Māori and the colonial courts, 1840-1852

Dorsett, Shaunnagh, author
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  • Creator Shaunnagh Dorsett
  • Format Books
  • Publication Auckland, New Zealand : Auckland University Press , 2017. ©2017
  • Physical Details
    • x, 317 pages ; 23 cm
  • ISBNs 1869408640, 9781869408640
  • OCLC ocn990566870


  • "From 1840 to 1852, the Crown Colony period, the British attempted to impose their own law on New Zealand. In theory Māori, as subjects of the Queen, were to be ruled by British law. But in fact, outside the small, isolated, British settlements, most Māori and many settlers lived according to tikanga. How then were Māori to be brought under British law? Influenced by the idea of exceptional laws that was circulating in the Empire, the colonial authorities set out to craft new regimes and new courts through which Māori would be encouraged to forsake tikanga and to take up the laws of the settlers. Shaunnagh Dorsett examines the shape that exceptional laws took in New Zealand, the ways they influenced institutional design and the engagement of Māori with those new institutions, particularly through the lowest courts in the land. It is in the everyday micro-encounters of Māori and the new British institutions that the beginnings of the displacement of tikanga and the imposition of British law can be seen"--Back cover.


  • Includes bibliographical references.


  • Introduction -- Juridical Encounters -- PART I: WHOSE LAW? WHICH LAW? -- 1. Preliminary Matters -- 2. Metropolitan Theorising: Amelioration, Protection and Exceptionalism -- 3. Amenability to British Law and Toleration: The Executive and Others -- 4. Common Law Jurisdiction over Māori: Three Cases -- 5. Conclusion -- PART II: DESIGNING EXCEPTIONAL LAWS AND INSTITUTIONS -- 1. Hobson and Clarke: 'Native' Courts -- 2. FitzRoy: The Native Exemption Ordinance 1844 -- 3. FitzRoy: Unsworn Testimony -- 4. Grey: The Resident Magistrates Courts 1846 -- 5. Conclusion -- PART III: JURIDICAL ENCOUNTERS IN THE COLONIAL COURTS -- 1. Preliminaries: Courts and Data -- 2. Offices: Protectors, Lawyers, Interpreters -- 3. Crime -- 4. Suing Civilly: The Resident Magistrates Court and the Office of the Native Assessor -- 5. Conclusion -- The Displacement of Tikanga -- A Brief Jurisprudential Afterword -- APPENDIX I: A Note on Court Data -- APPENDIX II: Court Structure in the Colonial Period -- APPENDIX III: Māori before the Superior Courts -- APPENDIX IV: Māori before the Resident Magistrates Court for Civil Matters inter se in Auckland and Wanganui -- APPENDIX V: The Provinces -- Abbreviations -- Bibliography -- Index