Deportation, Domicile and Mental Deficiency, New Zealand 1899–1930

  • Jennifer S. Kain
Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)


This chapter examines New Zealand’s uptake of the imperially sanctioned ‘prohibited immigrant’ clause. The 1899 Immigration Restriction Act legitimised the deportation of ‘insane or idiot’ immigrants. However, the Imbecile Passengers Act remained in force which allowed the bonding system to prevail, a duality compounded by the 1908 consolidation of immigration legislation. As well as looking at the confused policy and practice which resulted, this chapter considers how far eugenic thinking—known to predominate public health practices—translated to border operations. Ultimately, New Zealand benefited from the Australian-driven methods of best practice in the Empire Settlement recruitment schemes, and took solace in their geographical isolation as a natural barrier to undesirable immigration.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer S. Kain
    • 1
  1. 1.School of History, Classics and ArchaeologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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