Volume 109 2000 > Volume 109, No. 2 > Reviews, p 199-215
ANDERSON, Atholl: The Welcome of Strangers: An Ethnohistory of Southern Maori A.D. 1650-1850. Dunedin: University of Otago Press and Dunedin City Council, 1998. 249 pp. bib., figs, ind., maps, tables. Price: $39.95 (paper).
ALAN WARD University of Newcastle, NSW
This is a fine book on a subject of great importance in New Zealand today. Southern Maori have come into the limelight through the hearing of their claims by the Waitangi Tribunal from 1987 and the eventual negotiation of a settlement with the Crown in 1998. Moreover, their claims, and all the others, have raised new questions about Maori social structure and property rights.
Anderson has been prominent in helping prehistory and anthropology deal with rapid change and explicate the complex mixes of tradition and modernity in Maori life, and although an archaeologist, his treatment is mainly ethnohistorical rather than archaeological. The precision with which he can write about the processes of change among southern Maori, and the groups and individuals involved, stems largely from his deep knowledge of whakapapa—genealogy and the traditions related to it. Anderson's book is a fine example of what can be achieved through ethnohistory grounded in whakapapa.
Anderson's first three chapters, “Iwi Origins”, “Hapu Migrations” and “Claiming the South”, explicate the successive migrations into the region, the combats, settlements and intermarriages of the Waitaha, Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu. Chapter 4 brings on the “Takata Pora”, the Europeans. Chapter 5, “Kai Huanga and Robulla”, deals with conflicts arising partly from contact. “Robulla” is a local name for Te Rauparaha, whose Ngati Toa and its allies killed as much as a third of the southern Maori and, for a time, all but emptied the Kaiapoi regions of Ngai Tahu. Then there are two thematic chapters on “Rangatiratanga and Manawhenua” and “Mahinga Kai”; two analytical/descriptive chapters by region, “Northern Forest and Plain” and “Southern Coast and Interior”; a chapter on demography, “A Poor Remnant Now”; and a final chapter, “Transformations”, dealing with the reactions of the southern Maori to the vast land purchases of the Crown.
It is refreshing that Anderson treats origin stories critically. The narratives of history that have come down to us, since events occurred have, he writes, “certainly been shaped and re-shaped to reflect the views of those who constructed and transmitted them” (p.60). Anderson disentangles recent invention from deeply held traditions, and tests popularly-held accounts against whakapapa and other evidence.
Given the complexity, subtlety and precision of his descriptive analysis, Anderson's insouciant use of terms like iwi, hapu, rangatiratanga and manawhenua, and some of the general statements he makes are a little surprising. It is almost as if he is unaware of the fierce academic and political controversies that rage around - 200 these terms. (His book was obviously in press before Angela Ballara's Iwi: The Dynamics of Maori Tribal Organisation appeared, also in 1998.) Determined though he is to challenge accepted orthodoxies, I am not sure that Anderson has entirely avoided contributing to new ones. The concept of manawhenua, for example, has been bandied around a great deal in Treaty claims, contributing to an either/or polarisation of claims to land. Yet mana is an extremely complex, multi-faceted concept, and it is very doubtful if the terms rangatiratanga and manawhenua had much common currency among Maori at all until they were found useful in the Native Land Court to establish the “ownership of land” (as distinct from ownership of rights in land) that the Pakeha-dominated state demanded.
Anderson's treatment of the relations between people and land is a mix of sharp appreciation of the dynamics of processes and sometimes surprising conclusions about outcomes. Thus, having described the complex intermingling of the Ngai Tahu invaders with the previous occupants such as Rangitane (both in terms of whakapapa and of location), he still comes down in favour of a precise northern boundary for Ngai Tahu, from Pari-nui-o-Whiti on the east coast to Kahurangi Point on the West Coast. Such a boundary was also found by the Maori Appellate Court after fierce litigation between 1987 and 1991, yet much evidence was brought that groups from different iwi exercised rights on either side of the line. It is debatable whether iwi were akin to European mini-states with sharp frontiers.
On social structure Anderson devotes many pages to brilliant mini-biographies of senior chiefs, bringing them to life for us like none before and showing how they shaped the relationships of the southern tribes as a whole. His evidence strongly supports his emphatic view that Maori structured their relations around two binary “categories of dominance”, the tuakana-teina principle and the relationship of conqueror-conquered (p.92). But when he describes a hierarchy of “one or two high chiefs or ariki, a group of district chiefs or rakatira, petty chiefs who were usually heads of hapu in each community, and the bulk of the people who were commoners”, with the genealogically junior end, the mokai, including slaves taken as prisoners of war (p.91), I feel somewhat uncomfortable, partly because English words like “commoners” and “slaves” do not adequately describe subtle Maori realities.
His carefully researched chapters “Managing the Land” and “Mahinga Kai” reveal a difference of emphasis between the closely-controlled distribution of land north of Taumutu, where kumara could grow, and the more scattered swidden agriculture of the colder south, but this too tends to raise further questions about the relationship between mana and political authority as far as land rights are concerned.
Two other important points emerge from Anderson's evidence more strongly than appeared in the hearing of the Ngai Tahu claim. Firstly, permanent settlements in the interior (particularly of Murihiku) are identified, strengthening the picture that Maori occupation involved much more than a string of coastal villages, with seasonal forays into the interior. Secondly, Maori protests at the Crown's vast land purchases and the derisory reserves began almost immediately, with the burning of vegetation and setting of dogs on sheep in 1848 (p.216)—actions long antedating the first Maori written protests.- 201
Anderson is also very strong on the contemporary demographic evidence, including the extent of intermarriage with Pakeha and the importance of the mixed Maori-Pakeha communities. He confirms a population of about 2000 in 1840. This sits rather oddly with his unsubstantiated assertion that “the true number of descendants of Ngai Tahu kaumatua” now “probably exceeds 50,000 people” (p.217). This is about one-tenth of the whole 1999 Maori population, from a base which in 1840 was about one-twentieth of the whole Maori population.
Anderson's work is richly textured, rigorous and invaluable. It is to be hoped that he will flesh out more fully in due course some of the issues about which he has been somewhat cryptic.
EVES, Richard: The Magical Body: Power, Fame and Meaning in a Melanesian Society. Studies in Anthropology and History Vol. 23. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic, 1998. xxii + 302pp. bib., glossary, ind., maps, photos, tables, n.p. (cloth).
JOEL ROBBINS University of California, San Diego
This is a general ethnography of the culture of the people of the Lelet Plateau in central New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. It finds its primary orientation in a focus on the body both as “the threshold of people's encounter with the world and others within it” (p. 152) and as “the source of metaphors and images” that are at the core of Lelet culture (p. 180). From this vantage, Eves surveys a range of topics which have become familiar in the ethnography of New Ireland and of Island Melanesia more broadly: moiety organisation, the role of valuables in constructing social identity, the importance of gardening, mortuary feasting, and the production of fame. The result is a book that is a solid contribution to regional ethnography and is also in places theoretically provocative.
While Eves argues for the relevance of his focus on the body by making reference to Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological arguments for the importance of embodiment in human life and by citing recent interest in the body in anthropology, he justifies it primarily in terms of its appropriateness to the ethnography at hand. The Lelet consistently think of their world as one in which bodies act and in so doing create a social body that is either “sitting down” well and at peace or is coming and going in chaotic, strife-ridden motion. The Lelet expend a good deal of energy on practices, including magical ones, aimed at making people's bodies heavy so that there will be peace. But they are faced with the problem that complete stillness is as counterproductive as random motion; people who do not move at all create no social relations. For Eves this contradiction between society's drive for stasis and people's need to create their lives through bodily movement is a “central paradox” of Lelet society (p.8). This is a fine observation, and one that has comparative relevance throughout Austronesian language-speaking Melanesia. It also points to a set of concerns that make the use and control of the body of fundamental importance to the Lelet.- 202
Along with allowing him to give this paradox its due in his account of Lelet culture, Eves' focus on the body leads him to break new ground in addressing some topics that have been covered in other ways elsewhere. For example, Eves is able to extend the common observation that Melanesians believe they cannot know each other's intentions into a nuanced analysis of the Lelet notion that only bodily action can reveal intention, and thus intention in some sense is nothing other than action. There is also a suggestive discussion here of how avoidance behaviour might allow us to see kinship and affinity as things constituted primarily through bodily comportment.
Although in these instances Eves' analysis from the point of view of the body makes a real difference to how he shapes up common ethnographic materials, in other cases it is striking how little this point of view changes his approach to things from those taken by other ethnographers of the region. Mortuary feasting, the pursuit of fame, colonial history, and religion and religious change all look from his bodily vantage much as they do from others. This is not so much a criticism of this work as it is an attempt to raise questions that build on it. One of these questions asks whether perhaps Melanesian ethnography, with its emphasis on substance, partibility, food, and “materialism” more generally, may not have already for some time been significantly engaged with the body. The other question, a more general one, has to do with whether within anthropology a focus on the body does or does not in itself constitute a theoretical approach. It strikes me in general that although much is expected from the turn to the body, in fact the body is a place to look, not a way of looking—as such, it has no theory of its own. For this reason, putting the body at the centre does not change the way we see things as much as a true theoretical shift might. What this means is that body-centred ethnography must always draw on one or another theory for its general outlook. In this case, the theory is primarily the symbolic approaches of M. Strathern, Wagner and Munn which have been widely influential in Melanesian studies. The monograph is a fine contribution to this tradition, but in general not a radical departure from it.
As the adjectival construction of the title suggests, this monograph focuses not only on the body, but also on magic. I have downplayed the topic of magic in this review, however, because magic occupies an uneasy place in the book. The Lelet discarded much of their magic some time ago upon their conversion to Christianity, and it was understandably difficult for Eves to determine how often it is now practised. He points out, quite rightly, that this is not as great a difficulty for his project as one might imagine, for much of the interest in magic follows from the images it deploys and these he has been able to collect by having people recite songs and spells to him to complement those he was able to learn as they were actually deployed in magical practice. But inasmuch as the bulk of the interesting magical imagery bears on the body and its stillness or movement, the discussion of magic is largely part of the broader argument about the body, rather than being an analysis of magic in its own terms. Partial exceptions to this observation are the chapters on gardening and feasting that, along with the introduction, should be read by anyone interested in Melanesian magic.
The book as a whole, a revision of an ANU doctoral thesis, will also be welcomed - 203 by area specialists and by those interested in the body. It is built around a set of valuable insights about the importance of movement and stasis in Lelet culture, and it performs a great service by raising important questions about the value of body-centred ethnography.
NAEPELS, Michel: Histoires de terres kanakes: conflits fonciers et rapports sociaux dans la rēgion de Houailou (Nouvelle-Calēdonie). Paris: Editions Belin, 1998. 380 pp. bib., glossary, maps, tables, n.p. (paper).
DOROTHY SHINEBERG Australian National University
Although involving a general history of Kanak land tenure, this book is centred on the social relations within indigenous society that form the basis of land claims, which the author chooses as a point of entry into Kanak society. The Houailou valley, part of the aijē speaking area in the middle of the Grande Terre (the mainland of the group), is the locus for the study.
For the Kanaks who lived on the Grande Terre, the massive alienation of land for European settlement was the most traumatic result of the French colonisation of New Caledonia, while the surrounding islands suffered very little in this respect. From about 1868 to the early years of the 20th century, mainland Kanaks were forced into reserves and confined to about 7.1 percent of the whole island (about 9.75 percent of the Houailou district). Since the emergence of the nationalist movement—and especially the militant “events” of the 1980s that pushed most of the white settlers from their properties—the French Government has been forced to compromise with the independence movement. Naepels outlines the administration's various projects to restore land to former indigenous owners, the latest attempt being the result of the Accords of Matignon of 1988. Under the terms of this agreement, a parcel of land is returned to claimants when a consensus can be reached among rival claimants that the land is theirs by custom law. Rival claims are a matter of intense interest and internal conflict among rural Kanaks, and only a minor part of the surplus stock has so far been re-attributed as a result of this procedure.
Land is the basis of community identity, as well as the source of subsistence, and its ownership therefore a matter of capital importance. Naepels describes the process in which conflicting groups of claimants produce their historical knowledge of the origin and development of their connection to the area concerned. The arguments mustered rely on a number of criteria for ownership of the land. Through a careful sifting of the oral accounts, including an analysis of his own relationship to the narrators and their stories, the author identifies certain principles that are consistently considered relevant to land ownership—among them, priority of foundation through clearing and cultivation of the soil, co-residence on the land over a significant period in the past, the claims of kinship, the gift of land from landholders in exchange for alliance in warfare, and the result of being ceremonially received on certain contractual conditions by the founders.- 204
The criteria are recognised by all, but even in pre-colonial times, Naepels concludes, they were manipulated to suit the interests of the group concerned. There was no fixed and unchanging custom law. Certainly, the founders of the community could claim the area that they domesticated through clearing the bush, establishing plantations, ordering space for the construction of houses—a far cry from the colonial fiction that the land belonged to the chief who could dispose of it as he wished (the chief in fact appears to have been often invited from outside into the group after it was settled). But the constitution of land-holding groups was fluid over time. Both the fission and the fusion of groups occurred for various reasons, notably as a result of warfare—the conqueror taking over the domesticated space of others, and the displacement of the whole or remnant of a group—or through expulsions as a result of a serious breach of the rules. The refugees would be received, on certain conditions, into a new group. The agreed account of a community's historic rights to a certain parcel of land, the version that appeared in the speech made by the chief or orators during custom ceremonies, could, the author discerns, often hide historical circumstances such as these, because the purpose of the official account was to reinforce the unity of the community, but these circumstances were not forgotten and could reappear as counter-arguments to deny the legitimacy of part of the group when the situation changed.
The history of colonisation did nothing but add more of such complications. The most obvious was the enforced expulsion of Kanaks from land wanted for European settlement, and the equally enforced reception of those expelled by other groups. Furthermore, the appointment of some Kanaks as administrative chiefs, and grand chiefs of whole districts, or as officials of the Protestant or Catholic Church, introduced new social positions of status. Although known to be spurious in terms of custom, over time these positions were absorbed into living custom, carrying influence and adding weight to claims in retrospect.
The author's analysis of the oral testimony—his informants' recollection of what their elder relatives told them of the history of their society, particularly in relation to landholding (the ‘histoires’ of the title)—is impressive. The range of reports is considerable, and they are quoted verbatim, as a historian would cite a document, without excluding apparently extraneous detail or changing the grammar and style. The position and knowledge of the informants vary, but consistently tend to reveal that deviations from the rhetorical version were well known, and that the historical context or interest tended to govern the choice of principle applied to practical situations. By common consent, other principles were put into limbo, perhaps to be retrieved and applied when a new situation made it advantageous to do so.
Naepels finds that modern land claims recognise the criteria relevant to land-holding, but claimants have many possibilities for their manipulation. Which criterion should have priority? To what extent does the claim bear a “true” correspondence with the reality of the past? And which past? The immediate pre-colonial past? The far distant pre-colonial past? The colonial era, when some were ceremonially accepted into a new society when forced on to a reservation? Should the claim of the latter relate to their “new” land or to the land from which they were forced?- 205
The author believes that the business of ethnography is to characterise the social principles involved; how these are ordered varies with the social context, determined by the circumstances of each group in time. All the ethnographer can do is to create a sort of snapshot of the inter-relations of communities at the time he or she is observing them.
His conclusion, that it is impossible to describe “the” ethnography of Houailou society without reference to the social and historical context, is convincing, and probably applies to most other societies, including our own. The study, moreover, shows the pitfalls of adopting a land (or any other) policy by reference to some mythical fixed “traditional” standard outside of time, and by implication suggests an approach that will take other considerations into account, such as a more just and equal division of the land, including the “domain” [= “Crown”] land, not now part of the redistribution plan. Even if the present system succeeded in distributing all the surplus land stock, grave inequalities would result. In the meantime, the period of claim and counter-claim is embittering the internal relations of the Kanak community and inhibiting peaceful development.
ROSS, Malcolm, Andrew Pawley and Meredith Osmond (eds): The Lexicon of Proto Oceanic: The Culture and Environment of Ancestral Oceanic Society. 1: Material Culture. Pacific Linguistics C-152. Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, 1998. xxi + 351 pp. apps, bib., figs, ind., maps, tables, n.p. (paper).
ROBIN HOOPER University of Auckland
As the title indicates, this book is primarily a work of historical linguistics but also an important contribution to culture history. It is the first in a projected series of five volumes which will document the lexicon of the Proto Oceanic language (POc) under major semantic categories. Later volumes will deal with landscape, astronomy, time and related notions (volume 2), flora and fauna (volume 3), terminologies centred on human beings (volume 4), and grammatical categories (volume 5). This is a significant and ambitious project, which like Benveniste's Indo-European Language and Society, looks in depth at many aspects of the proto language and society. The editors are also the major authors, one or more of them being involved in every chapter. The work is indebted to the research contributions of a number of other scholars who are acknowledged in the Introduction.
The Oceanic subgroup of the Austronesian language family comprises the Austronesian languages of Melanesia east of 136°E, all but two of the languages of Micronesia, and all the Polynesian languages, which extend across the Pacific Ocean to Rapanui (Easter Island). POc is assumed to have broken up about 1500-1000 B.C. Chapter 1 of this first volume is an Introduction in which the editors survey previous work, outline the principles used in subgrouping and reconstruction, and discuss other theoretical and methodological issues. The Austronesian language - 206 family is a favourable laboratory for historical reconstruction owing to the large number of witnesses, of which some are extremely far-flung and many have developed in comparative isolation. In addition, in many parts of Oceania, it is possible to correlate the arrival of Austronesians with archaeological evidence. While careful to stress the provisional nature of some of their subgrouping assumptions, the authors are confident that this factor does not affect the security of the reconstructions. In fact, the treatment of Eastern Oceanic as one primary subgroup rather than as a collection of primary subgroups results in a more rigorous criterion for establishing a reconstruction as POc.
Chapter 2, by Malcolm Ross, is a survey of Proto Oceanic phonology and morphology. The remaining chapters constitute the main body of work and are as follows: “Architectural Forms and Settlement Patterns” (Roger Green and Andrew Pawley), “Household Artefacts” (Meredith Osmond and Malcolm Ross), “Horticultural Practices” (Meredith Osmond), “Food Preparation” (Frank Lichtenberk and Meredith Osmond), “Canoes and Seafaring” (Andrew Pawley and Medina Pawley), “Fishing and Hunting Implements” (Meredith Osmond), and “Acts of Impact, Force and Change of State” (Malcolm Ross, Ross Clark and Meredith Osmond). Each semantic domain is the subject of a discursive essay within which culture history and language change can be discussed, and theoretical problems debated. This structure allows a greater depth and complexity than would be possible in a dictionary format. Most chapters begin with a discussion of general issues relating to the particular terminological domain, and then proceed to list reconstructions and their supporting cognate sets. These data convey a surprisingly detailed picture of material aspects of the daily life of POc speakers.
Both in the Introduction and throughout, the authors are explicit about the methodology used for the semantic reconstruction of terminological domains. The value of the approach adopted here lies in the fact that the researchers do not begin with a predetermined semantic template, but proceed from a set of proto-lexemes to the likely meanings of members of the set: the meaning of a proto-morpheme is established on the basis of the likely part played by that morpheme in the lexico-semantic domain as a whole. The method is seen in its most purely linguistic form in Chapter 9, “Acts of Impact, Force and Change of State”, where the lexical items to be reconstructed are verbs:
[W]e started with a classification based on what we thought were sensible but somewhat ad hoc semantic classes. Interestingly, as work progressed and the glosses of cognate set members gave us pointers to the meanings of our reconstructions, so the meanings of the reconstructions themselves led us to reshape our classification and to recognise semantic divisions which were not part of our original classification. In this way, we believe we have gained some insight into the semantic classification of acts of impact, force and change of state used by POc speakers (p.233).
In the chapters which deal with items of material culture, the contributions of related disciplines are more evident. Comparative ethnography and typology provide - 207 rich data based on contemporary and historical descriptions, but cannot reliably distinguish between inherited and borrowed features. Archaeology can locate a limited range of phenomena—settlement patterns and durable artefacts—quite precisely in space and time. Historical linguistics, owing to general features of regular sound change, is especially useful in distinguishing continuity from diffusion, and in determining subgrouping relationships. These issues are discussed in detail by Green and Pawley in Chapter 3, and by Pawley and Pawley in Chapter 7.
There are two Appendices, one giving data sources and describing the methods of collation, the other a list of languages in their subgroups, which is essentially an expansion of the tree diagram in Figure 1. Finally there is an Index of the reconstructions presented in the volume—approximately 470 for POc, 170 for higher order proto-languages and 120 for lower order proto-languages.
Maps are plentiful and clear, but display some curious gaps; to give one example, the Bismarck Archipelago is named as the likeliest dispersal centre for the Oceanic subgroup (p.43), but this place name appears on none of the maps. The illustrations of items of material culture are clear and informative, although one might wish for more of these, especially in relation to specialised areas such as sails and rigging (Chapter 7). The book is attractively designed with a handsome cover, but has a spine so rigid that the book has to be held open with two hands. Let us hope that this design fault will be corrected in the eagerly awaited remaining volumes.
SINCLAIR, Keith V. (trans.): Laplace in New Zealand, 1831. Waikanae: Heritage Press, 1998. 155 pp. app., bib., figs, ind. Price: NZ$29.95 (paper).
ANGELA MIDDLETON University of Auckland
In October 1831, Cyrille-Pierre-Theodore Laplace, captain of the French frigate Favorite, spent a week in the Bay of Islands anchored at Kororareka, on his way from Port Jackson to the Chilean port of Valparaiso. The Favorite had left Toulon on 30 December 1829 to undertake a circumnavigation of the globe. Laplace's instructions were to protect French trading routes and to explore factors affecting French trade, such as local conditions and piloting, as well as to carry out map making of ports visited.
On his return to France in April 1832, Laplace published a four volume narrative of this voyage, followed three years later by the Album historique, with 72 engravings illustrating the voyage, completed by two of the Favorite's officers, Edmond-Francois Paris and Barthelemy Lauvergne.
This small volume consists of a translation by Keith V. Sinclair of the 21 st chapter of Laplace's Voyage, with an extensive introduction by the translator.
The Favorite's crew, still suffering from the effects of dysentery, is given an extra week's respite ashore at the Bay of Islands before undertaking the long Pacific crossing to Valparaiso. Laplace's chapter describing the Bay and its occupants encapsulates many of the issues and attitudes of the time. It also provides an insight - 208 into the networks of early Maori and European relationships which intertwined across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific in the early decades of the 19th century, from Calcutta to Batavia, Port Jackson to the Bay of Islands and across to Valparaiso. The Favorite's sojourn at the Bay points out the importance of this port as a revictualling and trading centre of the time. Here, Laplace again met Rewa, a Maori rangatira he had known earlier at Hobart. He outlines local politics and changes in power dynamics following the introduction of the musket and the “Girls' War” at Kororareka in 1830.
Laplace introduces the subject of the origins of the Maori, anticipating later debates over whether they had conquered an earlier population, and whether migration voyaging was accidental or deliberate, from the west or the east. He expands on the commonly quoted evils in New Zealand of the time: prostitution, slavery, cannibalism, and the quest for muskets. Laplace's efforts to obtain supplies from the missionaries for his sick crew were unsuccessful, drawing his criticism of their self-interest, land grabbing and speculation, and dependence on trade, as opposed to the Catholic missions elsewhere in the Pacific which displayed disinterest and caring. Laplace's commentary on relations between Maori, missionaries and whalers in the Bay of Islands echoes the commentary of other writers, in particular that of Peter Dillon, whose Narrative, published in 1829, and no doubt read by Laplace, as Sinclair points out, describes a similarly unsuccessful attempt to obtain supplies for his own sick crew from the same missionaries.
In his introduction, Sinclair goes to the journals and letters of these missionaries, in particular Marianne Williams, wife of Henry Williams, for further insights into the interaction between the missionaries at Kerikeri and Paihia and officers of the Favorite.
Despite describing the Bay of Islands and its inhabitants in the pejorative, often patronising terms typical of his times, Laplace's descriptions are valuable for the insights he provides to the physical environment and the inhabitants of Kororareka in 1831, as it came into prominence before full European colonisation. He elaborates on his journey by canoe up the Kawakawa River, in the company of the Favorite's hydrographer Edmond-Francois Paris, to Otuihu, to visit chiefs Rewi-Rewi and Pomare. Paris's commentary on the journey and his map of the river are also reproduced in a short appendix. This map is one of several illustrations Sinclair has included from the Album historique, first published in 1835 to complement Laplace's text, along with other more familiar illustrations such as Augustus Earle's Entrance to the Bay of Islands and his Meeting of the Artist with the Wounded chief Hongi Hika. Particularly interesting from the Album historique is Lauvergne's engraving of Kororareka Beach. Here, the Kororareka foreshore, alive with interaction between Maori, sailors and other assorted Europeans can be compared with Polack's similar, slightly later view (1836) over the same stretch of beach.
Laplace ends his chapter with a recommendation of Kororareka, highlighting the trade factors that brought this port to prominence in the early 19th century. For here water, timber and provisions can be obtained; pigs are in “top form” and the potatoes are renowned “even in Sydney”, spars and building timber are also available.
But this visit, made for practical purposes for revictualling and shore recreation, was perceived by the British missionaries in the Bay of Islands with the utmost suspicion, - 209 impacting on the course of events in New Zealand history, as Sinclair points out in his introduction. The missionaries saw the arrival of an “enemy” ship bringing the possibility of French settlement in New Zealand, and, having aroused local Maori suspicions also, led to the signing of a petition to King William by 13 chiefs at Kerikeri, asking for protection from the “tribe of Marian” (Marion du Fresne). The petition in turn was a factor contributing to the appointment of Busby as British Resident in 1835, and the inevitable colonisation that followed, as Laplace himself in his writing foretold would develop from the missionary presence at the Bay.
Sinclair's work is a useful addition to the literature on early contact in northern New Zealand, particularly when it is read in the company of journals of other voyagers and missionaries of the era, such as Peter Dillon (always keen to stir up the English/French rivalry), Jorgen Jorgensen and Dumont d'Urville. In his introduction Sinclair expands on this background of British and French rivalry and exploration in the early 19th century and its consequences for New Zealand settlement.
STARZECKA, D.C. (ed.): Maori Art and Culture. (2nd edition). London: British Museum Press, 1998. 180 pp. bib., figs, glossary, ind., maps, col. and b&w photos. Price: £14.99 (paper).
ADRIENNE L. KAEPPLER Smithsonian Institution
The problem of what kind of book should accompany an exhibition has still not been answered definitively. Should such a book focus on the objects exhibited, should it place the objects in a historical context, should it reveal how the exhibited objects are part of cultural identity, or should it give general information for the general public who come to see the exhibition? The British Museum has chosen to publish books which coincide with an exhibition and attempt to do all of the above.
The book under review here accompanied the British Museum's Maori exhibition held in Bloomsbury from 27 June to 1 November 1998. It is a slightly changed version of the British Museum's 1996 publication of the same name—expanded with an additional essay (by R. Jahnke) and altered with a few photographic changes. Unlike many earlier exhibitions at the British Museum and books about them, this exhibit and book do not just dwell on the past and the historic collections for which the British Museum is well known. Instead, contemporary Maori objects are also considered important and introduced in a variety of contexts.
The book begins with a chapter on Maori prehistory by Janet Davidson from Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington. Davidson's essay forms an excellent overview which gives the archaeological context for the chapters that follow. Illustrated primarily with objects from the British Museum collection that do not come from archaeological contexts, it is written in such a way that a non-specialist reader can appreciate the complexities without giving too much detail.
Davidson's essay is cleverly paired with one by Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, who gives the Maori view of the same materials addressed by Davidson. For example, - 210 whereas Davidson notes the disappointing lack of weaponry in archaeological excavations, Te Awekotuku elaborates not only on the weapons themselves, but also introduces us to who was fighting whom, how and why. She notes that “reconstructing the ancient methods of warfare necessitates a scrutiny of primarily the oral record—chant poetry and genealogy” (p.36). Weaponry is illustrated with 11 objects from the British Museum collection and a watercolor by H.G. Robley. Here we are also introduced to the Maori concepts of mana and tapu and the rituals in which these concepts are prominent; a beautiful toki poutangata ‘ceremonial adze’, from the British Museum is illustrated.
These two essays are then brought up to date by A.T. Hakiwai, who places the Maori in a modern world context. He shows how Maori concepts are still important today and the importance of the marae to cultural identity. Noting the importance of language, music and dance, Hakiwai also identifies objects important to modern Maori—wearing pendants and ear ornaments in the form of fishhooks and other Maori motifs, carrying kete ‘plaited baskets’, and, on special occasions, wearing Maori cloaks. He ends by reminding us of the importance of the Treaty of Waitangi, the historic divisiveness of the land wars, and the necessity of “reaching back to go forward” (p.68).
The next two chapters are substantial analyses of two important genres of Maori material culture—wood carving and the fibre arts—traditionally men's work and women's work. These chapters were both written by staff members of the Auckland Museum and are a tribute not only to the importance of the collections at the Auckland Museum but also to the devotion of this museum to high quality research and support of its researchers.
The chapter on wood carving by Roger Neich tells us essentially everything we need to know in order to appreciate the British Museum collection of wood carvings—from its mythological origins, tools and materials, and the process of carving, to design elements and rules of composition. Neich's research in every important collection of Maori materials in the world is evident, as is his work with Maori in his understandings of designs and concepts of history. The chapter is illustrated with the most important examples of Maori carving from the British Museum collection.
The chapter on fibre arts by Mick Pendergrast illustrates the extensive research of someone who has devoted much of his life to studying materials which are often considered only of secondary importance. Pendergrast shows that these materials are often of primary importance, not only in the past, but in present-day artistry of the Maori. Descriptions of materials, dyes and techniques are elaborated by artefact type—mats, baskets, belts, sails, footwear and plaited garments, especially cloaks. Objects from the British Museum are featured, including recent additions made during the 1990s.
The next chapter is a summary of the Maori collections in the British Museum by their keeper Dorota Starzecka. It begins with a history of the ethnographic collections and the introduction of the first Maori pieces brought back during the voyages of Captain James Cook. Starzecka notes that “the British Museum's Maori collections are probably the finest outside New Zealand but they are comparatively - 211 small, numbering about 3,000 items, and uneven in scope and nature” (p. 148). Although some Maori have called for repatriation of the “truckloads of Maori art [that] remain at the British Museum” (Mead, Sidney M., 1997. Maori Art on the World Scene: Essays on Maori Art, p.224), it is likely that such statements are overstatements—or else reflect a surprising lack of knowledge about Maori collections at home and abroad. Maori visitors to overseas museums often say that they have not seen such wonderful objects in New Zealand, but one can only assume that this means that they have not done research in museums in their own backyards. Indeed, a close scrutiny of the objects illustrated and commented upon in this book indicates that there are few unique Maori objects in the British Museum collection. Except for the 28 objects collected during Cook's voyages, most of the materials are mid-19th century or later, the most important being the collection of more than 100 pieces given by Sir George Grey, Governor of New Zealand between 1845 and 1854 (p.152). A complete catalogue is promised that is “planned to appear in a few years' time, which will describe in detail all the Maori material in the Museum” (p.158). We will hold the British Museum to this promise!
The last chapter of the book by Robert Jahnke on contemporary Maori art seems a little out of place. Its thrust is how modern Maori artists have used the past in their modern works, but coming at the very end of the book this seems to be an anticlimax. Perhaps if it had been placed immediately after Hakiwai's chapter, it would have given a continuity to the three Maori contributors' chapters, by showing that Maori artists are not stuck in the past but embrace a bicultural artistic presence as part of New Zealand's modernity. The examples used in his essay are not in the collection of the British Museum nor were they part of the exhibition, thus, the reason for this chapter's inclusion is not clear. This chapter does remind us, however, that art and the art world are complex and that museums, even the British Museum, do not embrace the world. Perhaps by being placed at the very end of this excellent book, it will also remind us that no matter how inclusive our museums may be at any point in time, the world just keeps moving on.
WASSMANN, Jurg (ed.): Pacific Answers to Western Hegemony: Cultural Practices of Identity Construction. Oxford: Berg, 1998. vii + 449 pp., bib., figs, ind. Price: £17.99
LIN POYER University of Wyoming
Readers who would like to become familiar with the current generation of European work in Melanesian and Polynesian ethnography will find this a wide-ranging sampler. Fourteen of the 18 contributors are based in Europe; the publication of this book provides an excellent opportunity to survey the interests and approaches of European Pacificists.
The 17 articles—plus an introduction by Jurg Wassmann of the University of Heidelberg—display a wide range of topical and theoretical interests. Several - 212 chapters plunge deeply into academic arguments about identity as resistance to globalisation; others bring us up-to-date on local issues through telling ethnographic description. (Nine of the articles deal with Melanesian societies, four with Polynesian, four with Australia. Micronesia is not represented, making “Pacific” generalisations difficult.) Wassmann's introduction presents the goal of the volume as an exploration of the roles of states, markets, transnational migration, and local actors in the construction and expression of identity. (The Introduction also provides brief summaries of the articles.) Each chapter stands alone, though, with no attempt to integrate insights between cases, or to combine the authors' knowledge to reap the benefits of comparative studies. Thus, readers seeking to answer the volume's key question—What are Pacific answers to Western hegemony?—will have to make their own generalisations (with some assistance from Wassmann's introduction), and will be hampered because some authors are unwilling to admit the victory of Western hegemony, while others are uncertain of the nature of Pacific answers.
The most useful aspect of this collection for many readers will be its attention to three topics. Many of the chapters describe the impact of recent economic changes on assertions and representations of identity. While this has long been a common topic of research done in the 1980s and 1990s, the volume reveals the recent impacts of globalisation, international media and communication technologies on practical and academic issues of economic change and cultural identity. Gerhard Schneider (on the Solomon Islands) and Ton Otto (on New Ireland) provide case studies of current issues of natural resource use, a particularly fascinating arena of cultural identity construction (especially where financial rewards go to those who can demonstrate an identity that includes rights over those resources). Chapters by Nigel Stephenson (on East Sepik Province) and Berit Gustafson (on Manus Province) provide insight into current internal political developments, again bringing readers up-to-date on the impacts of global change on local contexts.
Readers interested in theoretical arguments about anthropological and Islander “knowings” and the politics of identity and history will be most attracted to chapters by Jonathan Friedman (on Hawai'i), Bronwen Douglas (on colonial New Caledonia), Ben Burt (on the Solomon Islands), Gunter Senft (on the Trobriand Islands), Philippe Peltier (on East Sepik Province), Thomas K. Fitzgerald (on Cook Islanders in New Zealand) and Jens Pinholt (on the Solomon Islands).
The volume concludes with two additional sections. One, entitled “Australia after Mabo”, consists of four papers (by Robert Tonkinson, Ad Borsboom, Barbara Glowczewski and John Morton) which will be very helpful to non-Australian readers seeking to understand the current status of Aboriginal rights claims and identity issues. Here, many identity concerns that are in the early stages of discussion in Melanesia, especially, appear as clearly highlighted legal and political issues in Australia's courts and civic institutions. The final short section, “Questioning Western Democracy?”, comprises two papers discussing how constitutional representative democracy is variably interpreted and implemented, and what current and future issues might shape the direction of political development for New Zealand Maori (in a chapter by Toon van Meijl) and Western Samoa (by Serge Tcherkezoff).- 213
Like the chapters in most edited volumes, those in this collection vary considerably in clarity and focus. However, the book offers a valuable opportunity to examine the research trends and theoretical interests which motivate the work of our European colleagues.
WOOD-ELLEM, Elizabeth: Queen Sālote of Tonga: The Story of an Era 1900-1965. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1999. xix + 376 pp. bib., ind., plates, Price: NZ$69 (cloth).
ADRIENNE L. KAEPPLER Smithsonian Institution
Since the 1950s, Queen Sālote of Tonga has been a well-known figure internationally and Tonga has been recognised as a small country at peace with itself and the world. Few know the story of the internal and international conflicts that led up to Tonga's peaceful presentation of itself during the second half of the 20th century. But Elizabeth Wood-Ellem knows, and has given us a wonderful, fact-filled account of an era that is so well written that the reader forgets that he/she is reading history. Born and raised in Tonga for her first six impressionable years, our author Pesi Wood (as she is known in Tonga) was imbued with the myth that enveloped Queen Sālote as an imposing monarch—the leader of one of only a few remaining monarchies. This myth of the “unchallengeable and unchallenged ruler” (p.ix) was dashed when Wood-Ellem returned to Tonga in 1974 to begin research for her doctorate in history. After several return trips to Tonga (not to mention extensive research in archives and libraries around the world), this book is the result. Although the book appears to be a biography, it is actually a history and an intimate portrait of how “an individual and a country are shaped by circumstances and by each other” (p.x).
The event that brought Queen Sālote to front and centre of the world stage was her ride in the rain in an open carriage at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in London in 1953. This event is recounted in Chapter 16 (of 19), based primarily on Queen Sālote's own diary entries. Although this was one of the high points of Queen Sālote's life, it is the 15 chapters which lead up to this event that are historically significant. Wood-Ellem begins her fascinating tale with the story of Princess Sālote's mother, the controversial choice of King Tupou II for his Queen. Marriage in Tonga, especially within the aristocracy, is a political event in which the ramifications resound loudly for generations to come. King Tupou II's choice of Lavinia Veiongo went against the choice of the Parliamentary Nobles who spoke out strongly by noting, “… no son of hers should ever reign over them” (p. 1). As it happened, Queen Lavinia had no son, but her daughter Princess Sālote was destined to do just that— and one might say, over the dead bodies of anyone who objected.
Wood-Ellem, in a charming—yet no-holds-barred—narrative, enumerates and examines the objections and those who objected. In addition to the nobles and chiefs who objected to the choice of her mother, there were religious leaders, Tongan and - 214 European political leaders, traders and judges who had personal reasons to undermine Queen Sālote's authority and statesmanship. Sālote was only 18 years old when she was invested with the “crown jewels” of the Tu'i Kanokupolu line—a named fine mat that carried with it the right to rule—and the European accoutrements of a monarch. It was this combination of genealogical right and European savvy that made her reign a success.
Princess Sālote was only two years old when her mother, Queen Lavinia, died. Her father remarried and in December 1909, Sālote was sent to school in New Zealand. Here, her European-style education, mixed with the privileges of royalty, became her preparation (however inadequate) for her queenly duties and responsibilities. Everyone had expected that the King's second wife, Takipō, would eventually bear a son, but instead, only one of her two daughters, Fusipala, survived. Princess Sālote would fulfill her destiny as Queen.
The outbreak of the First World War, and the matrimonial prize that Princess Sālote had become, influenced King Tupou to bring his daughter back to Tonga. King Tupou II was not an effective ruler, but he did have the right to choose Sālote's husband. With the political acumen of a Polynesian chief, he chose Tungī Mailifihi, an intelligent, high-ranking chief who became Prime Minister, and essentially Sālote's supporter and in many ways, co-ruler, until his death in 1941. Together, Queen Sālote and Prince Tungī forged a new nation that combined Polynesian social structure, European constitutional monarchy, and a religious and social unity that Queen Sālote metaphorically characterised as a paradise.
Chapters 4 to 13 detail the intrigues, personal ambitions, and legitimate problems that faced Queen Sālote as she weathered one storm after another, as well as outmanoeuvred those who sought to challenge her power. She always persevered, appealed to Polynesian and British law, and charmingly disarmed her detractors. It is in these chapters that Wood-Ellem unveils her extensive research in written and oral sources to reveal a Tonga with which none of us were familiar. Here we follow the “reactionary party” made up of Tongan chiefs and ministers to their eventual demise, the petty infighting of the influential European magistrates and justices, and even the breakaway Wesleyan congregations who sought to undermine Queen Sālote's endeavours to unify the church. But even as we applaud their exit, in Chapter 14, the American Army and Navy appear during the Second World War to import yet another kind of social havoc.
Finally (beginning in Chapter 15), the calm Tonga that most of us know is realised. We are introduced to the Queen's two sons, who exert their influence from the 1940s until Sālote's death in 1965. We see them educated, married to appropriate chiefly women, and have children of their own. Queen Sālote goes to England and Queen Elizabeth comes to Tonga for a grand celebration. Certain old Tongan traditions are re-emphasised and Queen Sālote puts her own stamp of authority on clothing, religion, music, dance and genealogy. Then in 1965, the “Sun Falls” (a metaphor for the monarch's death), and a grand funeral becomes an international event. Along the way, European introductions in health care, education, agriculture, water supply, radio and electricity form the transition to a modern society. It is a society crafted by a traditionalist who has been pushed into the brave new world.- 215
Besides an engaging text, the book has numerous excellent photographs, a glossary, and a Who's Who. Three maps and 24 genealogies and diagrams illustrate the geography and the complex social organisation. Some problems in the genealogies were corrected by the third printing, and it appears that a fourth printing will be necessary shortly. Apparently, Auckland University Press thought that this fact-filled book, would not be a best-seller. How wrong they were! The Tongans have universally embraced this book and lauded “Dear Pesi” for putting in print all those little secrets that everyone knew, but previously were only whispered. Queen Sālote of Tonga, The Story of an Era 1900-1965 will be the standard reference for fact and gossip for a long time to come.