The Debate over 'Kai Tangata' (Maori Cannibalism): New Perspectives from the Correspondence of the Marists
Jennings, W. (2011). The Debate over 'Kai Tangata' (Maori Cannibalism): New Perspectives from the Correspondence of the Marists. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 120(2), 129-147.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5870
French Marist missionaries working in New Zealand from 1838 sometimes mentioned Maori cannibalism in their correspondence. This article finds that the Marists considered cannibalism to be a cultural practice of minor interest, not a defining point of difference between Maori and Europeans. The article also finds some evidence of ritual cannibalism, but not of mass battlefield cannibalism or of the eating of people for food.