Story: Creative and intellectual expatriates

Peter Buck and his wife leaving Hawaii

Peter Buck and his wife leaving Hawaii

A doctor and politician who became an anthropologist, Peter Buck, also known as Te Rangi Hīroa, became a world-recognised expert on Polynesian society and material culture. He was eager to make a living as a professional anthropologist in New Zealand, but local universities were unwilling to recognise the subject. As a result he had to take opportunities that were offered to him at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Hawaii and elsewhere in the United States from the 1920s. In 1932 he was appointed visiting professor of anthropology at Yale University – he and his wife, Margaret, were photographed, garlanded with lei, before his departure to take up the position. He returned to Hawaii after a few years to become director of the Bishop Museum. Buck yearned for and often revisited New Zealand, but died in Hawaii in 1951. Nevertheless, in 1953 his ashes were returned to New Zealand and were buried the following year near his Taranaki birthplace.

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Bishop Museum
Reference: SP_121473
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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Creative and intellectual expatriates - Historical reasons for expatriation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 June 2024)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 22 Oct 2014