Reading Aotearoa New Zealand in the company of Lydia Wevers' work: Being Pākehā: The Politics of Location

Reading Aotearoa New Zealand in the company of Lydia Wevers' work: Being Pākehā: The Politics of Location


MCLT 103 Kelburn Campus and Online

This seminar is part of the Seminar Series: Reading Aotearoa New Zealand in the company of Lydia Wevers' Work.

Being Pākehā: the politics of location was published in 2006, and in many ways, is just as important now as it has ever been. In the piece, Lydia Wevers interrogates what it means to be Pākehā, engaging in a reflexive examination of culture and politics. This panel engages with this seminal article, and explores persistent dis-ease about who Pākehā are. Panellists Maria Bargh and Sara Salman, in conjunction with panel chair Amanda Thomas, extend this work beyond a focus on biculturalism to explore the place of tauiwi in a landscape shaped by the Christchurch mosque shootings, and within work by Māori towards tino rangatiratanga. In unpicking the politics and culture of this location, they continue the work of Lydia and many others to reassemble a place of radical justice.

Reading: Lydia’s article on “being Pakeha” is an open access publication in the Journal of New Zealand Studies:  View of Being Pakeha: The Politics of Location (

Chair: Amanda Thomas, Senior Lecturer, Environmental Studies at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Panel: Maria Bargh, Associate Professor, Māori Studies, Te Kawa a Māui, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington; Sara Salman, Institute of Criminology, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.


About the Chair and panel

Amanda Thomas (Pākehā) is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies, who is interested in what it means to be Pākehā, and the relationship between identity and nature. Her research is about power, justice, and imagining better futures. She is a co-author of the BWB text, Imagining Decolonisation.

Maria Bargh (Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa) is Associate Professor in Te Kawa Māui, Māori Studies. Her research focusses on Māori politics and resource management. She is co-lead of the 'Adaptive governance and policy' research area for the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge and 2020 recipient of the Royal Society's Te Puāwaitanga Research Excellence Award.

Sara Salman is a criminologist at the Institute of Criminology at Te Herenga Waka. Sara received her PhD in Sociology from the City University of New York in 2018. She researches state violence and terrorism. Sara has written on white supremacy and masculinity, the Arab Spring, the seduction of violence and terrorist recruitment of youth. She is currently finishing a book on psychosocial reactions to government neglect.

About the series

Join us in honouring the legacy and work of Emerita Professor Lydia Wevers.

Professor Wevers was an internationally renowned literary historian and critic, teacher, writer, and scholar who specialised in New Zealand studies.

This series addresses themes and activities in New Zealand research that were central to Professor Lydia Wevers' work, especially during her time as director of the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies. ‘Reading’ New Zealand through the lens of writers, columnists, journalists, librarians, booksellers, and academics colleagues will explore our understanding of our country through the lens of reading and writing.

Each afternoon will start with a short reflection on Lydia Wevers’ reading of the chosen theme. The panellists will then take this theme in new directions.

By ‘reading’ Aotearoa New Zealand, we deepen our relationship with our unique country; by discussing it together we seek to open it up to new ways of listening. Every panel session will end with Q&A.

If you have further questions, please contact: or

Date: Every Wednesday from 27 April–8 June

Time: 4.30pm–6pm (except 25 May seminar—5.00pm–6.30pm)

Where: Maclaurin Lecture Theatre 103, Kelburn Campus and Online


Other seminars in this series

27 April: The Infrastructure of Reading

4 May: Cultures of Reading

11 May: Writing and Reading for/in Public

18 May: Women 'readings' of Aotearoa New Zealand

25 May: Reading the Short Story

8 June: A life as a Reader Researcher: Honouring Lydia Wevers’ Legacy at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

You are welcome to attend any number of seminars, please ensure you click only the ones you want to attend as spaces are limited: Register