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Cleansing the colony: Transporting convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen's Land

Harman, KE ORCID: 0000-0002-0567-3736 2017 , Cleansing the colony: Transporting convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen's Land , Otago University Press, New Zealand.

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Everyone knows Australia was once a penal colony, but few realise that New Zealand prisoners were sent there. During the mid-nineteenth century at least 110 people were transported from New Zealand to serve time as convict labourers in the penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). Even more were sentenced by colonial judges to the harsh punishment of transportation, but somehow managed to avoid being sent across the Tasman Sea. In examining the remarkable experiences of unremarkable people, this fascinating book provides insights into the lives of people like William Phelps Pickering, a self-made entrepreneur turned criminal; Margaret Reardon, a potential accomplice to murder and convicted perjurer; and Te Kumete, a Māori warrior transported as a rebel. Their stories, and others like them, reveal a complex society overseen by a governing class intent on cleansing the colony of what was considered to be a burgeoning criminal underclass. This lively book also offers insights into penal servitude in Van Diemen’s Land as revealed through the lived experiences of the men and sole woman transported from New Zealand. Whether Māori men serving time for political infractions, white-collar criminals, labourers, vagrants or the soldiers sent to fight the empire’s wars, each convict’s experiences reveal something about the way in which the British Empire sought to discipline, punish and reform those who trespassed against it.

Item Type: Book
Authors/Creators:Harman, KE
Keywords: New Zealand, convicts; Van Diemen's Land, 19th century history, transnational history
Publisher: Otago University Press
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 Kristyn Harman

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