Samantha Jan Prendergast

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York U.

Grant number

Gr. 10022

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Prendergast, Samantha (New York U.) "Deporting Indigenous Migrants: Māori Mobility and the Australian Project of Exclusion"

SAMANTHA PRENDERGAST, then a graduate student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in August 2020 to aid research on “Deporting Indigenous Migrants: M_ori Mobility and the Australian Project of Exclusion,” supervised by Dr. Monica Kim. Between 2014 and 2022 the Australian government mobilized heightened immigration exclusion laws to forcibly deport approximately 2776 New Zealand citizens ‘back’ to Aotearoa New Zealand. Around forty-three percent of the deportees identified as M_ori, despite making up only fifteen to seventeen percent of New Zealand citizen migrants in Australia. Another twenty per cent identified as Pacific. Research conducted during the dissertation fieldwork grant interrogated the deportations in the long historical context of Australian settler nation-building, asking what it means for Australia to determine who can and cannot live on the unceded lands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Fieldwork included archival research into the records of early twentieth century Australian and New Zealand nation-building, remote ethnographic research with M_ori migration agents in Australia as they navigated the bureaucracy of immigration law, and media analysis into the Australian government’s rhetoric of security and protection in twenty-first century Australia and activist demands for ‘fairness’ from the settler nation. Archival work provided an important historical grounding for ethnographic research into present-day experiences of settler national territoriality.