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Empire, Nation, Tribe: The Imagined Communities of The Te Kooti Trail in New Zealand, 1927

Empire, Nation, Tribe: The Imagined Communities of The Te Kooti Trail in New Zealand, 1927 Benedict Anderson's concept of ‘imagined community’ is crafted around the work of the newspaper and the novel as the critical media through which peoples came to imagine themselves as nations in a modernising world. In this article I extend this inquiry to silent cinema, and specifically Rudall Hayward's The Te Kooti Trail, a modern artefact of a late colonial setting: the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, in 1927. Hayward's nation-forming aim is explicit, but his apparent intentions and his community-centred practice of film-making created a film in which imperialist, nationalist and local concerns jostle for priority. This article first undertakes a textual analysis which investigates the discrepancy between an imperial, often paternalist narrative, and an aspirational, national ethos embodying kinship among different settler groups and Māori. Second, an archival and oral historical investigation into the production process reveals that the film's recreation of the past brought together iwi, or tribes, with diverse histories of negotiating with the new world of settler colonialism, and contrasting engagements with modernity. These histories can be read both on the screen, and in the brief censorship of the film before its release. The film provides a compelling case of diverse Māori engagement with nationhood-in-formation through the medium of film, both in the evidence of the text and in the circumstances of the film's production and release. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Empire, Nation, Tribe: The Imagined Communities of The Te Kooti Trail in New Zealand, 1927

Modernist Cultures , Volume 15 (3): 21 – Aug 1, 2020

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2020.0298
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Benedict Anderson's concept of ‘imagined community’ is crafted around the work of the newspaper and the novel as the critical media through which peoples came to imagine themselves as nations in a modernising world. In this article I extend this inquiry to silent cinema, and specifically Rudall Hayward's The Te Kooti Trail, a modern artefact of a late colonial setting: the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, in 1927. Hayward's nation-forming aim is explicit, but his apparent intentions and his community-centred practice of film-making created a film in which imperialist, nationalist and local concerns jostle for priority. This article first undertakes a textual analysis which investigates the discrepancy between an imperial, often paternalist narrative, and an aspirational, national ethos embodying kinship among different settler groups and Māori. Second, an archival and oral historical investigation into the production process reveals that the film's recreation of the past brought together iwi, or tribes, with diverse histories of negotiating with the new world of settler colonialism, and contrasting engagements with modernity. These histories can be read both on the screen, and in the brief censorship of the film before its release. The film provides a compelling case of diverse Māori engagement with nationhood-in-formation through the medium of film, both in the evidence of the text and in the circumstances of the film's production and release.

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Aug 1, 2020

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