chapter  11
15 Pages

Murdering Snow and ruling the north

The rise and fall of affective colonialism and the advent of heritage tourism in New Zealand
WithKristyn Harman

This chapter examines the processes through which New Zealanders initially reacted to, then much later reinscribed as part of the nation’s heritage, an event described as ‘one of New Zealand’s most sensational crimes.’ It explores the tangible and intangible associations of the North Shore plaque site with the then-fledgling colony’s encounters in 1847 and 1848 with blood, death, suspicion, colonial law and justice. While the Snow murders caused a sensation across New Zealand in the late 1840s, the landscape of affective colonialism within which this mass murder was framed was shaped by growing tensions in the relationships between Maori and Pakeha. Dark tourism is an analytical framework pioneered in 1996 that was initially applied to tourist sites of death and destruction. Despite some differences in opinion, all of the colonial newspapers agreed that the Snow murders invoked fear in the hearts and horror in the minds of Auckland’s colonial population.