Early conceptions of the State in New Zealand

John Farrar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The early history of New Zealand is very complex and there is a natural tendency to focus on the Treaty of Waitangi and to seek in this the legitimation of the modern state. A consequence of this is that we seek to impose Western concepts on Maori which do not fit. The concept of the state in fact has a complicated history within the Western legal tradition. It is only in modern times that the Crown has been thought of as a corporation aggregate. At the same time, public international law has recognised a concept of the state for its purposes. This requires a permanent population, a defined territory, government and capacity to enter into relations with other states. Thus we have a poor fit between the domestic conceptions and the conception of public international law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalYearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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