Featherston’s Crusoe: A Female Caucasion Castaway in Eighteenth Century Aotearoa

By Luke Strongman.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The discovery by Sam Tobin in 2004 of a European woman’s skull, subsequently radiocarbon dated at 300 years old, on the banks of the Ruamahanga River in South East Featherston in the lower North Island of New Zealand, raises the question of the possibility of a European presence (if not settlement) in Aotearoa before Cook during the European enlightenment era. This paper will explore the options the researcher has for recoinstructing her possible origins as European woman and shipwreck survivor – Pākehā, a manuhiri (guest, visitor) and tangata kē (stranger) in the Maori Tangata Whenua society she encountered, what life may have been like for her under proto-cross-cultural conditions during the mid-eighteenth century, and assesses the likely impact her presence may have on the historical narrative of European discovery of New Zealand.

Keywords: New Zealand, Te Ao Maori, Ruamahanga, Female Castaway, Aotearoa, Captain Cook

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.323-330. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 609.085KB).

Dr. Luke Strongman

Senior Lecturer in Humanities, School of Information and Social Sciences, TOPNZ, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand

Luke Strongman teaches Humanities at The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. He has given Conference presentations at the University of Otago, University of Canterbury, Massey University and the University of Auckland in New Zealand; to the Universities of Wollongong, and Sydney in Australia and at Cambridge University in the U.K.


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