Diverse elements have created New Zealand’s distinctive political and social culture. First is New Zealand’s journey as a colony, and the various impacts this had on settler and Maori society. The second theme is the quest for what one prominent historian has labelled ‘national obsessions’ – equality and security, both individual and collective. The third, and more recent, theme is New Zealand’s emergence as a nation with a unique identity. New Zealand’s small geographic size and relative isolation from other societies, the dominant influence of British culture, the resurgence of Maori language and culture, the endemic instability of an economy based on a narrow range of pastoral products, and the dominance of the state in the lives of its people, all help to explain much of the present-day New Zealand psyche.
This third edition of Historical Dictionary of New Zealand contains a chronology, an introduction, appendix, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 800 cross-referenced entries on important personalities, politics, economy, foreign relations, religion, and culture. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about New Zealand.