Metropolitan theorising: Legal Frameworks, Protectorates and Models for Māori Governance, 1837-1838

Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society
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Journal Article
law&history, 2016, 3 pp. 1 - 27
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This article considers the little-known 1838 proposal by Robert Torrens for the establishment of a native government in New Zealand. In so doing, it joins recent literature which seeks to move away from doctrinal or juridical legal history through an exploration of the ways in which legal concepts were used in the first part of the nineteenth century by colonial actors as tools, deployed for political advantage, rather than in strict reliance on them as a particular legal form. In so doing, however, this article also contends that although legal forms were often malleable and could be, and were, deployed in this way, those who relied on them were also bound by Imperial constitutional principles which, while often broad and ambiguous, nevertheless acted as limits on the deployment of these concepts
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