School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations

Dr Adrian Muckle

Senior Lecturer
School of History, Philosophy, Political Science & International Relations

Phone: 04 463 6773
Location: Room 426, Old Kirk Building, Gate 3 Kelburn Pde, Kelburn Campus

Dr Adrian Muckle

Office Hours

Tuesday and Thursday 2:15-3:15 or by appointment.


  • BA (Hons) Otago
  • PhD ANU

Research Areas

  • 19th and 20th century Pacific History
  • New Caledonia / Melanesia / Oceania
  • Colonialism and Colonial Societies
  • Fear, Rumour, Violence, Warfare and Race Relations / colonial power relations
  • Decolonisation

Current Research Projects

(with Isabelle Merle, CNRS, France) “At the Margins of the Colonial State: the indigénat régime and its Oceanian legacy.” The indigénat was the bureaucratic apparatus created by France’s colonial state to govern the peoples classified as “natives” (indigènes) in colonies as diverse as Algeria, West Africa, the Somali Coast … and New Caledonia. This collaborative project aims to provide a history of the indigénat in France’s colonial Empire, using the case of New Caledonia to illustrate the ways in which its measures were translated into colonial practices and to examine their legacies.

“New Caledonia in Oceania.” Since the late 1990s, France’s Pacific territory of New Caledonia has acquired greater political autonomy, including the opportunity to develop relations with its Pacific neighbours. This has seen New Caledonia’s admission to the Pacific Islands Forum as an associate member and new diplomatic, economic and cultural initiatives aimed at improving New Caledonia’s integration within Oceania. The aim of this research project is to explore the historical and contemporary relations between New Caledonia and its principal neighbours including (but not limited to) Vanuatu, New Zealand and Australia. Themes to be researched include: the circulation of colonial knowledge in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries; cultural, political and economic relations; and the linkages established since the 1990s.


Specters of Violence in a Colonial Context, New Caledonia, 1917. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2012.

During 1917–1918, war ravaged the hill country north of New Caledonia’s main island, the Grande terre. Occurring sixty-four years after France’s 1853 annexation of New Caledonia and in the midst of the Great War of 1914–1918, the conflict was known by the mid-twentieth century as “the last of the kanak revolts.” It represented to many—until the “events” of the 1980s—the final pacification of Kanak (the indigenous people of New Caledonia). Spectres of Violence in a Colonial Context is the first comprehensive history of the 1917–1918 war, which involved the French army, European settlers, and Kanak. In three parts, it addresses the events leading to the outbreak of war, how those involved explained their role in the fighting, and how the war has since been represented. It explores the dynamics of fear, violence, and warfare in a colonial setting that was both European and Melanesian in character. In the face of a colonial historiography and memory that has downplayed consistently this war’s significance, this history reevaluates the causes and scale of the war while explaining the local contexts in which decisions were taken by the various protagonists.

Articles and Chapters

  • 'The Presumption of Indigeneity: Colonial administration, the "community of race" and the category of indigène in New Caledonia, 1887-1946.' Journal of Pacific History, vol. 47, no. 3 (2012), pp. 309-328. 
  • "Natives", "immigrants" and "libérés": the colonial regulation of mobility in New Caledonia. Law Text Culture, vol. 15 (2011), 135161.
  • (with Benoît Trépied) In the long ‘run’: Kanak stockmen, the cattle frontier and colonial power relations in New Caledonia, 1870-1988, Oceania, vol. 80 no.2 (2010), 199–215.
  • Troublesome chiefs and disorderly subjects: the internment of Kanak under the indigénat—New Caledonia, 1887-1946’. Journal of French Colonial History, vol. 11 (2010), pp.131-160.
  • 'No more violence nor war': twenty years of nation-building in New Caledonia. Journal of Pacific History, vol. 44, no.2 (2009), pp.179-194.
  • La « Dernière Révolte » de Nouvelle-Calédonie-Kanaky: Vision de conflits passés dans un avenir commun.’ In Isabelle Merle and Else Faugère (ed.), La Nouvelle-Calédonie, vers un destin commun ?Nouveaux Enjeux, Nouveaux Terrains. Paris: Editions Karthala, 2010, pp.39-60.
  • 'La « Derniére Révolte é de Nouvelle-Calédonie-Kanaky : Vision de conflits pass's dans un avenir commun'. Mwâ ' Véé: revue culturelle kanak, no.62 (2008), pp.8-19.'
  • Kanak Experiences of WW1: New Caledonia's tirailleurs and rebels.' History Compass, 6/5 (2008), pp.1325-1345.
  • ""Neo" lands in Oceania: New Caledonia and New Zealand.' In S. Levine and F. Angleviel (ed.), New Zealand ' New Caledonia: Neighbours, Friends, Partners; La Nouvelle-Zélande et la Nouvelle-Calédonie: Voisins, amis et partenaires. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2008, pp.212-237.
  • 'Tropes of (mis)understanding-imagining shared destinies in New Caledonia, 1853-1998.' Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 124 (2007), pp.105-118.
  • 'The "Chief without Power"? Téâ Antoine Katélia and the War of 1917-18 in New Caledonia.' Journal of Pacific History, vol. 41, no.3 (2006), pp.313-334.
  • 'Killing the "Fantôme Canaque": Evoking and Invoking the Possibility of Revolt in New Caledonia (1853-1915).' Journal of Pacific History, vol. 37, no.1 (2002), pp.25-44.
  • (with Lorenzo Veracini) 'Reflections of Indigenous History inside the National Museums of Australia and New Zealand and outside of New Caledonia's Centre Culturel Jean-Marie Tjibaou. 'Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History (2002).

Other Selected Publications

  • 'Noël de Tiamou et ses « frëres ».' Mwà Véé: revue culturelle kanak, no.62 (2008), pp.44-46.
  • ed. (with G.K. Ward) The Power of Knowledge, the Resonance of Tradition. Electronic publication of papers from the AIATSIS Indigenous Studies conference, September 2001. Canberra: AIATSIS Research Program, 2005,
  • (with David Hegarty and Darrell Tryon) 'Introduction' to the New Pacific Review - La Nouvelle Revue du Pacifique, vol. 2 (2004), pp.7-13.
  • 'The War of 1917 in New Caledonia.' RSPAS Quarterly Bulletin, March 2004, 12-13. 

Selected Conference Papers Delivered

  • "Cogs" of colonial rule: the gendarme and the administrative chief in New Caledonia, c.1880-1960. Conference on 'Cooperation under the Premise of Imperialism', University of Bern, Switzerland, 27-29 June 2013.
  • Colonial administration, the “community of race” and the category of indigène in New Caledonia, 1887-1946. Race in Oceania Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, 20-22 January 2010.
  • The 'special infractions': New Caledonia's indigénat regulations, 1887-1946. Pacific History Association Conference, Suva, 8-12 December 2008.
  • Neo lands in Oceania: New Caledonia and New Zealand. New Zealand History Association Conference, 23-25 November 2007.
  • Raising the Savage: repression, negotiation and the agency of violence and non-violence in New Caledonia. American Historical Association Conference, Atlanta, 4-7 January 2007.
  • Troublesome chiefs and disorderly subjects: the internment of Kanak under the indigénat' New Caledonia, 1887-1946. Pacific History Association Conference, Dunedin, 6-10 December 2006.
  • The wars at Koné, Tipindjé and Hienghéne, 1917-a reassessment. Pacific History Association Conference, Nouméa and Koné, December 2004.
  • Kanaky/New Caledonia in Oceania? Pacific Islands Political Studies Association Conference, Nouméa, 3'5 December 2004.

Edited Collections

  • (with G.K. Ward) The Power of Knowledge, the Resonance of Tradition. Electronic publication of papers from the AIATSIS Indigenous Studies conference, September 2001. Canberra: AIATSIS Research Program, 2005.
  • (with Darrell Tryon) L’Etat des Etats—Pacific Island States Today. Issue of La Nouvelle Revue du Pacifique/The New Pacific Review, vol.2, no. 1 (2003). Canberra: Pandanus Books, 2004.

Selected Seminars and other Presentations

  • L’internement comme pratique coloniale en Nouvelle-Calédonie/Océanie. Journées d’études sur le régime de l’indigénat et ses métamorphoses : histoire d’un dispositif impérial répressif. CNRS and EHESS, Paris, 4-5 November 2011.
  • New Caledonia’s Colonial History. AGORA II Workshop, Institute for Research and Development, Nouméa, 20-22 October 2009.
  • Les danseurs de Cèmû. Invited presentation given at the “Notre Histoire” colloquium and cultural festival, Koné, 24-27 September 2009.
  • 'No more violence nor war': politics in New Caledonia, 1999-2009. VUW History Programme Seminar, 8 May 2009.
  • The 'special infractions'. Presentation to GDRNC, Paris, 10 October 2008.
  • Neo lands in Oceania: an essay in triangulation. Invited presentation given at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate dinner in conjunction with 'Stepping Forward 2006'An Interdisciplinary Conference for Emerging Researchers', University of Waikato, 17 October 2006.
  • New Caledonia: History and recent developments. Presentation to NZ Staff College, Trentham, 31 July 2006.
  • Kanaky New Caledonia's "Last Revolt": visions of past conflict in a shared future. School of History, Philosophy and Politics Seminar, Massey University, Palmerston North, 13 April 2006.

Current Postgraduate (Co) supervision

  • Nicholas Hoare (MA candidate), Imperial dissenters: Anti-Colonial Voices in New Zealand, 1883-1945.
  • Louise Mataia (PhD candidate), Samoan women's work during World War Two. 

Recent Postgraduate Supervision

  • Gillian Nelson, 'In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength': Vicesimus Lush and his Journals, 1850-1882.  MA thesis, 2012 (with Jim McAloon).
  • Basil Keane (MA candidate), Kotahitanga Parliament, 1892-1902 (with Richard Hill).
  • Nicholas Hoare, 'Harry' Holland and Samoa: The Labour Leader's 'Samoan Complex'.  HIST 489 Research Essay 2012 (with Jim McAloon).
  • Franchesca Walker, Te Hokowhitu a Tu: Maori, Death and the Martial Race Ideology, 1914-1919. HIST 489 Research Essay, 2010.
  • Gillian Nelson, “It is a difficult matter to write when one’s own proceedings are to be the only subject”: Octavius Hadfield’s correspondence, 1839-1844. HIST 489 Research Essay, 2010.
  • Ricky Barrow, “To restrain their natural habits of dirt and sauciness”: Discipline, Civilization and the Maori Body on the CMS Mission Stations of the Bay of Islands, 1819-1840. HIST 489 Research Essay, 2009.
  • Samuel Ritchie, “[T]he sound of the bell amidst the wilds”: Evangelical Perceptions of Northern Aotearoa/New Zealand Māori and the Aboriginal Peoples of Port Phillip Australia, c.1820s-1840s. MA thesis, 2009 (with Charlotte Macdonald).
  • Esther McGill, Flags as Power Play in Maori and Pakeha Relations. HIST 489 Research Essay, 2006.
  • Peter Carter, The Flying Minister, the War Council, and Bases: The Rise of International Commercial Aviation and US–New Zealand Relations, 1935-1945. HIST 489 Research Essay, 2005.

Other Contributions

Adrian is a member of the Research Group on New Caledonia and currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Pacific History as the Book Review Editor.  He is also a member of the Pacific History Association and in 2012 was the co-convenor of the Association's biennial conference: Generations: Histories with a Future (Wellington 6-8 December 2012).