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Discipline and Defence:  The Military Influence on Policing and Imprisonment, c.1870-1913

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posted on 12.11.2021, 02:35 by Egarr, Tristan

Discipline and Defence follows the influence of military discipline, tactics and personnel through New Zealand's police and prisons from the end of the New Zealand Wars until the eve of the Great War. At the beginning of this era, constables and prison guards were recruited almost entirely from the ranks of soldiers, and were used to "settle" Maori resistance to the growing Pakeha state by constructing infrastructure as well as wielding coercive force. As colonial society became increasingly settled by the 1890s, criticism of soldiers' drunken indiscipline coincided with an increasing separation between the police and military, although prisons remained under a military hand. However, the popularity of the Anglo-Boer War recreated the soldier as the epitome of virtuous manhood, and administrators once more sought former soldiers to fill the ranks of the police and prison service. Rising industrial strikes and labour's opposition to such popular militarism by 1913 brought an open conflict between these partially re-militarised institutions and strikers. Throughout the entire period, arguments over the correct form of discipline for New Zealand's men intersected with practical necessities to influence the ongoing role of the military in domestic policing and punishment.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Hill, Richard; Belich, James