The evolution of the New Zealand monarchy: The recognition of an autochthonous polity

by Cox, Noel Stanley

Abstract (Summary)
The aims of this thesis are to determine to what extent the Crown remains important as a source of legitimacy for the constitutional order and as a focus of sovereignty; how the Crown has developed as a distinct institution; and what the prospects are for the adoption of a republican form of government in New Zealand. The imperial Crown has evolved into the New Zealand Crown, yet the implications of this change are as yet only slowly being understood. Largely this is because that evolution came about as a result of gradual political development, as part of an extended process of independence, rather than by deliberate and conscious decision. The continuing evolution of political independence does not necessarily mean that New Zealand will become a republic in the short-to-medium term. This is for various reasons. The concept of the Crown has often been, in New Zealand, of greater importance than the person of the Sovereign, or that of the Governor-General. The existence of the Crown has also contributed to, rather than impeded, the independence of New Zealand, through the division of imperial prerogative powers. In particular, while the future constitutional status of the Treaty of Waitangi remains uncertain, the Crown appears to have acquired greater legitimacy through being a party to the Treaty. The expression of national identity does not necessarily require the removal of the Crown. The very physical absence of the Sovereign, and the all-pervading nature of the legal concept of the Crown, have also contributed to that institution's development as a truly national organ of government. The concept of the Crown has now, to a large extent, been separated from its historical, British, roots. This has been encouraged by conceptual confusion over the symbolism and identity of the Crown. But this merely illustrates the extent to which the Crown has become an autochthonous polity, grounded in our own unique settlement and evolution since 1840. Whether that conceptual strength is sufficient to counterbalance symbolic and other challenges in the twenty-first century remains uncertain. But it is certain that the Crown has had a profound affect upon the style and structure of government in New Zealand.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr Raymond Miller

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:political science general 0615 law 0398 history asia australia and oceania 0332 legal politics international fields of research 420000 language culture 420300 cultural studies 420305 new zealand


Date of Publication:01/01/2001

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