Maori and Pakeha at Te Aroha: the context: 2: Maori in Hauraki in the nineteenth century
Hart, P. (2016). Maori and Pakeha at Te Aroha: the context: 2: Maori in Hauraki in the nineteenth century. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 11), Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10320
After the arrival of Europeans, the Maori population of Hauraki suffered a rapid decline. Some rangatira opposed Pakeha ways, whereas others adopted these for their personal benefit. Keeping ‘the peace of Hauraki’ required government agents to intervene in various disputes between hapu (Ngati Hako in particular causing concern in the 1870s and early 1880s). Although rangatira had links to both Queen Victoria and King Tawhiao, the government was relieved that most remained ‘loyal’ to the new order, and only an intransigent minority opposed the spread of ‘civilisation’ through its roads, telegraph, and the snagging of the Waihou River. A liking for Pakeha goods encouraged collaboration, with Maori joining the cash economy through their involvement in road making, gum digging, and European agriculture to raise money for, in part, traditional gatherings that for a while were more lavish than earlier possible. Maori of all ranks were quick to stand up for their rights by using the court system, reminding Pakeha of the Treaty of Waitangi, and, in some cases, violence. Tensions were eased by Maori socializing with Pakeha in sport, horse racing, and even the Volunteers, but drinking together in hotels could result in fights, and the lure of alcohol had to be countered by temperance movements. A few Maori children attended school, with Pakeha, and for a time the government provided a (free) doctor and vaccinated them against smallpox (though some preferred traditional ‘cures’ for other ailments). For most, living conditions remained poor. Criminal behaviour was of a minor nature. Christianity had to compete with old beliefs (notably in maketu), newer ones such as ‘Hauhauism’, and by the later years of the century the popularity of the Mormons. Examples are included of intermarriage, ‘half-castes’, and Pakeha Maori, all being notable features of the time. In a variety of ways, Maori society was sufficiently resilient to adapt and thereby to survive the impact of Pakeha settlement, which produced massive changes and dominated the region well before the end of the century.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart