Towards a Decolonial Approach to New Zealand’sCounter Terrorism: Afrocentric Perspectives

Author: Achieng, Shirley1 

Published in National Security Journal, 21 March 2023

DOI: 10.36878/nsj20230321.08 

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New Zealand’s counterterrorism approach, like that of many other postcolonial states, stems from models which continue to operationalise and legitimise colonial continuities. These models are predominantly underpinned by the events of 9/11. However, the devastating attacks in Christchurch in 2019 raised concerns about the way domestic terrorism has been conceived of by the security and intelligence communities in New Zealand. Debates have emerged on the efficacy of the Western-centric Global War on Terror (GWOT) narrative on terrorism and how it fits within the realities of New Zealand’s counter-terrorism context, given the country’s national peculiarities and colonial history. Consequently, this article explores the GWOT ideology and attempts to expose terrorism as an a historical colonial concept. The argument is thus made for epistemic reconstitution and pluriversality of knowledges in how terrorism is understood and dealt with in the New Zealand context. In so doing, the article invokes decolonial thinking by drawing parallels between New Zealand’s experience and the African colonial experience, by discussing decolonisation through the lens of Afrocentrism. Animating New Zealand’s counterterrorism experience through the prism of Afrocentrism, therefore, the argument is made that the foundation of knowledge production in counter-terrorism within New Zealand is profoundly colonial.

Keywords: counterterrorism, decolonial, epistemic reconstitution, coloniality, othering, Afrocentrism

1 The author is a PhD candidate at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago. She has co-authored articles published in The African Review Journal and Critical Studies on Terrorism. Her academic background is in Political Science. and International Relations, whilst her professional background is in policy formulation and the interpretation of statutory instruments..