A Land of Milk and Honey? Making Sense of Aotearoa New Zealand
Edited by Avril Bell, Vivienne Elizabeth, Tracey McIntosh & Matt Wynyard
Since colonisation, New Zealand has been mythologised as a ‘land of milk and honey’ – a promised land of natural abundance and endless opportunity. In the twenty-first century, the country has become literally a land of milk and honey as agricultural exports from such commodities dominate the national economy. But does New Zealand live up to its promise?
In this introductory textbook for first year sociology students, some of this country’s leading social scientists help us to make sense of contemporary New Zealand. In 21 chapters, the authors examine New Zealand’s political identity and constitution; our Māori, Pākehā, Pacific and Asian peoples; problems of class, poverty and inequality; gender and sexualities; and contemporary debates around ageing, incarceration and the environment. The authors find a complex society where thirty years of neoliberal economics and globalising politics have exacerbated inequalities that are differentially experienced by class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and age. These social divides and problems are at the heart of this text.
For sociology students and for a wider audience of New Zealanders, A Land of Milk and Honey? is a lively introduction to where we have come from, where we are now, and where New Zealand society might be headed.
Avril Bell is a Pākehā New Zealander and senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Auckland. Her research centres on the legacy of settler colonialism in making sense of Pākehā identities, New Zealand national identity and Māori-Pākehā relations. Her book, Relating Indigenous and Settler Identities: Beyond Domination (Palgrave, 2014) extends this focus to make connections between settler colonialism in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA.
Vivienne Elizabeth is a Pākehā New Zealander and associate professor in sociology at the University of Auckland. She brings a gendered lens to thinking about contemporary family life in Aotearoa New Zealand. She has researched in two areas: post-separation parenting arrangements and the difficulties mothers, in particular, face in negotiating these arrangements; and relationship transitions, leading to a co-authored monograph, Marriage in an Age of Cohabitation (Oxford University Press, 2014), with Professor Maureen Baker.
Tracey McIntosh (Tūhoe) is an associate professor in sociology and co-director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga – New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence. Her teaching and research interests include incarceration, Māori women and prison, Indigenous peoples and the criminal justice system.
Matt Wynyard recently completed a PhD in sociology at the University of Auckland. His research interests include political economy, colonisation, agriculture and the environment and the sociology of food. He currently lives in Wellington with his family where he works as an historian.