The Boast Marsden Project


Ryan O’Leary is looking at 19th century New Zealand sources, which so far are predominantly newspapers and New Zealand Parliamentary Debates. The goal is to understand the debate present in New Zealand at the time; both of politicians and the ideology that was behind 19th century legislation, and also the general public, through letters and articles in newspapers.

One part of this is recognising the importance of older European ideas on land tenure and how some of these ideas remained relevant to a part of New Zealand society up to a much later date.

Ruiping Ye is undertaking a PhD study funded by this project. Ruiping focuses on the aboriginal tenurial changes in Taiwan during the Chinese Qing period (1684-1895), and comparisons will be drawn between the land tenurial changes in Taiwan during the period of Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945).

The Taiwanese land tenure system evolved slowly during the Qing rule, but the Japanese colonial government swiftly modernised the land law regime. One effect of this rapid modernisation was substantial land loss by the aborigines within a very brief period of time. Ruiping’s study will examine the aboriginal land policies adopted by the Qing government, and explore reasons behind the policy-making. There are a number of issues to explore. How did the Qing government view the aborigines and their aboriginal land rights? To what extent was the Qing rule of Taiwan “colonisation”? If the Qing rule of Taiwan was “colonisation” (which the thesis will argue in the affirmative), how was it different from or similar to the Western style of colonisation?

The Qing legal system was very different from western ones. How would the different legal system have shaped the Qing approaches to the aborigines and their land rights? Ruiping’s thesis purports to answer these questions, and the hypothesis is that the Qing approaches, shaped by its Confucian legal culture, administration system and property law regime, were different both from the Western approaches and from the later Japanese one.

Faculty of Law