Frances Steel
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Indigenous maritime mobilities under colonial rule
in Oceania under steam
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Scholars have discussed the 'rewiring' of pre-colonial indigenous circuitries and the 'major re-orientation of linkages' that occurred with the advent of colonial rule and modern maritime transport systems in the Pacific. Maritime transport infrastructure was overlaid with restrictive, racialised ideas about space, labour and national belonging. Colonial exhibitions in the Australasian colonies presented indigenous men with new mobility opportunities. The Decrease Report maintained that solevu mobilities appeared to be on the increase with the introduction of European-style craft. Restrictions on the engagement of Fijian crew for vessels registered in Fiji and trading solely within the island group, such as the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand's (USSCo.) inter-island steamer, were of less concern. The activities of Fijian sailors were subject to a host of new regulations. In 1886 the Marine Board produced the 'Native Seamen's Book of Instructions'.

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Oceania under steam

Sea transport and the cultures of colonialism, c.1870–1914


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