Harry Holland's 'Samoan complex'

Nicholas Hoare*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Harry Holland, one of the early leaders of the parliamentary Labour Party in New Zealand, was an anomalous figure in early 20th-century New Zealand politics. In addition to a principled adoption of militant socialism, he stood apart from the rest of the House of Representatives due to his pronounced interest in Samoan affairs. This interest was so acute that one of his Labour colleagues, John A. Lee, remarked that he possessed a Samoan complex. This paper addresses the lack of critical attention paid to this facet of his career. Even though Holland's attitudes towards Samoa were sometimes couched in the same vocabulary as the coloniser, he always stood on the side of the colonised. His endorsement of Indigenous self-government was ahead of its time, and his campaigning played a key role in the Samoan struggle for independence. At a broader level, Holland was possibly the most significant of a cohort of colonial critics who questioned New Zealand's right to govern Pacific Islanders and who sought to rein in New Zealand's more overbearing Pacific Island administrations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-169
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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