The Scots accounted for around a quarter of all UK-born immigrants to New Zealand between 1861 and 1945, but have only been accorded scant attention in New Zealand histories, specialist immigration histories and Scottish Diaspora Studies. This is all the more peculiar because the flow of Scots to New Zealand, although relatively unimportant to Scotland, constituted a sizable element to the country’s much smaller population. Seen as adaptable, integrating relatively more quickly than other ethnic migrant groups in New Zealand, the Scots’ presence was obscured by a fixation on the romanticised shortbread tin façade of Scottish identity overseas.

By uncovering Scottish ethnicity from the verges of nostalgia, this study documents the notable imprint Scots left on New Zealand. The book examines Scottish immigrant community life, culture and identity between 1850 and 1930, exploring informal and formal networks, associational life, and transferred cultural practices. The study captures how Scottish immigrants negotiated their ethnicity, but also how that ethnicity fed into wider social structures in New Zealand. In probing the powerful narratives of atomisation and individualism that have been identified as key to understanding New Zealand’s colonial period, this book contends that Scots contributed disproportionately to the making of New Zealand society.

For full details on the book, please visit Edinburgh University Press.

Scottish Ethnicity and the Making of New Zealand Society
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