Empire City or Global City? North American Culture in the Antipodean City c. 1880–1939

  • John Griffiths
Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)


How far were Antipodean cities ‘imperial’ spaces? In 1948, F.L. Irvine-Smith published her book The Streets of My City, which was declared the ‘first book of its kind in New Zealand’.1 In its examination of the origins of street names, the author effectively charted the early appropriation of public space by the British, whose administrators, governors and politicians, and the ships that brought colonisers to New Zealand were commemorated in the process of street-naming. Many of Wellington’s streets were named after New Zealand company directors and administrators. Irvine-Smith noted that ‘very few Maori names trickled into the nomenclature of the early city streets’, despite the native population being ‘fairly numerous’.2 It tended to be only those tribal leaders who had cooperated with the imperial authorities that merited recognition. With hindsight, it can be seen that a key influence on nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century street-naming was what David Cannadine has characterised as ‘Ornamentalism’, reflected in the appetite to name streets after imperial figureheads, early colonisers and, most significantly, governors general, senior statesmen, the monarch and her family.3


Global City Imperial Culture American Film Dance Style North American Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© John Griffiths 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Griffiths
    • 1
  1. 1.School of HumanitiesMassey UniversityNew Zealand

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