‘Tangled Up’: Intimacy, Emotion, and Dispossession in Colonial New Zealand
This chapter addresses how intimate bonds played a direct role in the practice of statecraft through the example of George Thomas Wilkinson (1846–1906), a native agent and interpreter within New Zealand’s Native Department. Encouraged to build close working relationships with local elites, resident officials like Wilkinson actively engaged in the work of colonialism on a personal level. Drawing on private sources, the chapter materialises the grounds upon which Wilkinson’s cross-cultural relationships were forged to address the relationship between affective worlds and dispossession on one colonial frontier. It argues that relationships were as affective as they were strategic, that useful knowledge gained was a by-product as much as a goal of such relationships, and that officials were sometimes as open to manipulation as they were able to control those whom they administered.