Thursday, 28 August 2008

Just who is in charge?

Source: Touchstone. Melbourne: January 22 1870

Interesting image here. It relates to the poem published in the journal "Touchstone" reproduced below. The journal I suppose could be described as conservative in outlook.

For a bit of context: The focus of this, the second of the intercolonial conferences was on intercolonial and trade tariffs, self determination, and federalism (the British army left Australia this year, leaving the colonies responsible for their own defence). The governors of the Australasian states as they existed at the time are all represented here (New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria). The notable exception is of course the New Zealand governor of the time, George Ferguson Bowen. Instead we have a Maori chief holding a bloody great war club.

War between Maori and Pakeha was raging in NZ at the time, though by 1870 the end of outright organised hostilities was near. The "New Zealand Wars" or "Maori Wars" are generally regarded as ending in 1872, though some say it is still not over. Maori by this time had the King movement (Tawhiao was King at this time), and considering previous declarations of independence and treaty with the British crown, it is interesting to think that this cartoon implicitly recognises Maori as the legitimate governors of New Zealand, and also begs the question, the answer to which we all know: Where are the Australian aborigines in this picture?

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