Volume 81 1972 > Volume 81, No. 2 > A rural Maori renaissance. Maori society and politics 1920 to 1951, by G. V. Butterworth, p 160-195
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In the interpretation of Maori history, scholars have argued that there was a revival of Maori society sometime in the late nineteenth century. Firth writes in his Economics of the New Zealand Maori:

The antipathy to the European, the reaction against his customs and his goods, the mood of despondency and lost initiative passed, and from about 1880 a fairly steady movement towards economic prosperity set in, based on a revival of interest and hope. 1

In his study Maori and European Since 1870, Sorrenson considers that the “Turn of the Tide” for the Maori people was 1890-1914. 2 Certainly there is much to recommend these viewpoints; population increased from 1896 and a determined effort was made from 1900 onwards to improve Maori health. The Government also showed itself more sympathetic to the Maori viewpoint by passing the Maori Councils and the Maori Lands Administration Acts in 1900 and allowing some investigation of Maori grievances. In 1887, for the first time, Maoris who were articulate in English were elected to Parliament. Yet the next decade saw rather a reversal of these trends. The purchase of Maori land was resumed from 1910 onwards and a further 2,290,284 acres sold between 1910 and 1921. 3 The initially favourable land legislation that protected Maori land was heavily amended to encourage land selling. The Maori Councils were allowed to lapse and the Maori health service to run down.

In my opinion, the period from 1920 onwards qualifies far more for being considered the turn of the tide. This was for Maoris a time of resurgence in social and cultural affairs and, in comparison with the nineteenth century, one in which they enjoyed a significantly improved and rising standard of living and enhanced economic opportunities. Indeed, for rural Maori society, this could fairly be described as a “renaissance” in comparison with earlier periods. Certainly Maori arts and crafts flour- - 161 ished on the new maraes, the building and restoration of which was so conspicuous a feature of Maori society after 1926. Moreover, Government attitudes and policies changed dramatically in the 1920s and 1930s under the influence of Sir Apirana Ngata and the Ratana M.P.s. And under a Labour Government dedicated to full employment and equal opportunities, Maori communities enjoyed a fast-rising standard of living from 1935 to 1949.

In the 1950s this prosperity came to an end as declining economic opportunities in the countryside forced the people to move. Eric Schwimmer, in his study of Kahawai, summed up the changes as follows:

The melancholy fact about Kahawai is that everybody is leaving there now, and soon, if things go on the way they do, there will be hardly anybody left. Those who are working in towns and coming home in the weekends are gradually shifting their families; the farmers are getting weary of their small cream cheques; if they go to town they can live without so much financial worry. They can do their forty hours a week, and they can be sure of their wages. One by one they are leaving. There were more than thirty farmers before the war, now not even ten are left. 4

Rural Maori society of course continues to exist, but at a greatly diminished level of activity.

This renaissance was important because it gave Maoris time to develop in their own communities the necessary confidence, and even though imperfectly, the skills to adjust to an urban environment. In the 1920s the Maori standard of living did not even approximate to that of the Pakeha. Maoris, at least in Auckland Province, were still largely Maori speaking, 5 often with only a limited command of written and even spoken English. They were poorly educated, partly because of the lack of proper educational facilities—few, in fact, even reached Standard 6 and fewer still went on to Maori secondary schools. 6 Their main economic importance was as a source of labour to farmers, particularly for their seasonal peaks, and as unskilled labour in the timber industry and on rural public works projects. Most Maoris lived in out-of-the-way villages with only limited social contact with Pakeha society. Since the 1870s Maoris had at least begun to leave their communities in search of work, but one of the features of the 1920s was an intensification of this trend as an ever-increasing number of young Maoris tried to find work. This mobility, however, was usually confined to rural areas and the departures were normally temporary. Even if he did not return to his own community the wanderer would normally settle down in another rural Maori community. 7 By the end of the 1930s hostels had become necessary at Auckland, - 162 Tuakau, Pukekohe, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Havelock, Nelson and Bluff to cater for such workers. 8 There was also the beginnings of movement to Wellington and Auckland and other cities and towns, though most of the Maoris listed as urban residents were still, in reality, living in Maori settlements engulfed by the spread of cities, Orakei being the most notable.

This movement to the cities and towns was to be of particular concern. Maoris were unskilled and the level of unemployment was high in the cities so that jobs were difficult to find. There was a possibility that the economic threat Maoris offered might encourage racial prejudice and even some segregation measures. Mr R. A. Kelly claims that during the Depression:

. . . . Many of the smaller northern towns were applying elements of a segregationalist policy and Maoris were actively discouraged from joining European clubs or from attending European social functions. . . . . Signs and notices were beginning to appear in some shops in some towns, saying that Maoris would not be served there, or that the premises were reserved for Europeans only. 9

In Auckland, Maori migrants unable to find work in the cities tended to congregate in the vegetable gardens where they lived in unwholesome shanties and worked for meagre wages for Pakeha and Asian growers. The employment of Maori girls by Asians was, in fact, to become a national scandal in 1929 and to be officially investigated by a Government Committee of Inquiry. 10


Maoris were well aware of their situation. Since the 1870s there had been various attempts to improve living standards and status while still retaining essential Maori values. Movements such as the Repudiation Movement of the 1870s in Hawkes Bay and the Kotahitanga (Unity) Movement of the 1890s were part of this attempt to come to terms with Pakeha society. By 1920 the demand for retaining Maoriness had become important enough for Carroll to enshrine it in the slogan: “Hold fast to your Maoritanga.” 11

In the 1890s and 1900s the Kotahitanga and King Movements had argued for a separate Maori Parliament. The whole issue of relations with Pakeha society had been vigorously debated and the majority of Maori leaders had accepted the need for a compromise. In 1900, a measure of local self-government was granted to them through the Maori Councils Act. This gave Maori committees power to control health, housing and huis. Maui Pomare and Te Rangihiroa (Sir Peter Buck) were appointed as Native Health Officers to work with these committees to improve Maori living conditions. James Carroll, Wi Pere, Hone Heke and Apirana Ngata all urged Maoris to retain their land by developing it. At their urging, the Government ceased purchasing land and allowed Maoris some control - 163 over the disposal of their land. But European pressure eventually forced the resumption of land sales, disrupting the efforts some Maoris were making to farm their lands. Nor would the Government make the necessary finance and advisory services available. Moreover, many older Maori landowners were too suspicious of Europeans to engage in farming. They also argued that farming would destroy Maori values. Some Maoris, notably the Ngaati Tuuwharetoa, who tried farming, failed for such reasons such as high transport costs and lack of experience with stock, thereby further reinforcing Maori suspicions. Only in a few areas—Wairoa, Rangitikei and on the East Coast amongst the Ngaati Porou—was farming successful.


One important tribal leader during this period was Sir Apirana Ngata. In him, the Ngaati Porou had produced a leader of great administrative ability. He persuaded his tribesmen to undertake far-reaching social and economic reforms so that they could retain their social organisation and cultural identity while participating economically and politically in the Pakeha world. However, he was not alone in this; in 1897, the Te Aute College Students (The Young Maori Party) was formed. This was largely an East Coast organisation and was a forum for educated young men to discuss ideas with the local communities and for Ngata to mobilise tribal opinion to support his work. From 1899 to 1926 he organised farming on the East Coast to prove to the equally sceptical Maori and Pakeha that Maoris were capable of becoming farmers. By the 1920s he regarded his work as completed on the East Coast. 12 The Ngaati Porou owned, either individually or through the incorporations, almost a quarter of a million sheep and they also had their own co-operative store and finance company, the Waiapu Farmers' Co-operative, and their own dairy company. Though highly successful economically, they preserved Maori attitudes; Maori was the everyday language, the marae was the centre of social life, and Maori arts and crafts flourished. 13

Ngata was the great tribal leader who used traditional Maori social structure to promote social and economic reform. He believed in the integrity and worth of Maori culture and struggled to give it expression in a modern context. He wished to promote farming to give Maori social life a new economic basis and exhorted other Maori tribal leaders in the 1920s to follow his tribe's example. In political ability and administrative talent only one Maori leader, Wiremu Tamihana, can be compared with Ngata.

He was, however, by no means unique; nor was his influence yet New Zealand wide. He was strongest amongst his own tribe and in the Eastern Maori electorate which he had won in 1905 as a minority candidate. Over the years he gradually built up a network of supporters in this electorate till he stood at the pyramid of a large number of local leaders. These included men as diverse as Tai Mitchell, of the Arawas, who was a surveyor and enrolled on the European roll, and Rua Kenana, a religious leader in the Ureweras. All of them were, in one way or another, tribal leaders bound - 164 to their followers by kinship ties and using traditional Maori social organisation.

Outside his own electorate, Ngata had to painfully build up connections. It was not until the mid 1920s, when he gained the ear of Coates as Native Minister, that his influence began to expand. At the same time, he had to gain the support of well-established tribal leaders such as Maui Pomare in Western Maori and Tau Henare in Northern Maori. Even these, however, could not dominate other tribal leaders and Ngata had to use elaborate traditional Maori diplomacy to win other leaders over. One of the most important for Ngata's policies was Princess Te Puea, of the Waikatos, who effectively led the King Movement (Kingitanga). 14


Though it had finally ceased to be an obstacle to land selling in the 1900s, the King Movement remained an important social and political institution. To the Waikatos, most of whose land had been confiscated in the wars of the 1860s, the Kingitanga formed an alternative means of social organisation. Other tribes like the Tuuwharetoa and Maniopoto were also connected with it. By the 1920s a new leader had appeared; this was Princess Te Puea. One of the royal family—the youngest daughter of King Mahuta's sister—she had proved herself as a leader in the opposition to the conscription of Maoris in the World War I. She was an extremely able woman, albeit with a limited education, who lived only to advance the Kingitanga. Her basic aim was to improve the social and economic conditions of her tribesmen under a revitalised King Movement. Like Ngata, she was adroit at persuading people, both Maori and Pakeha, to help her and further her plans. She appreciated, however, the need to adapt to Pakeha society and was prepared to break with tradition if she considered it necessary.

By the 1920s, Te Puea's mana was very high—partly through the conscription issue, but largely through the influence of her orphans. There had been various outbreaks of disease in the Waikato in the 1910s that had left numbers of children parentless—Te Puea had adopted over 100 of them. Moreover, she had mothered or directly influenced even more children. When these grew up, they “provided a leaven throughout Waikato, and materially extended her influence.” 15 A settlement became necessary, since so many were dependent upon her. She decided to make a model housing settlement and to make this a symbol of the resurgence of Waikato and Kingitanga. Ngaruawahia was selected as the site to re-establish a marae to fulfil certain Tawhiao prophecies. The new settlement was to be Waikato's ceremonial headquarters and the residence of the Maori King. Her aim was to establish an orphanage, a home for old people, and a meeting house. Because money was hard to raise, the assistance of the Government and the Ngaati Porou and other tribes was essential for the completion of the scheme. Ngata and Coates were able to persuade her of the Government's good will and because of this she became - 165 willing to co-operate with them in the land development policies. However, the Kingitanga remained extremely independent and neither became a satellite of Ngata nor, later, of the Labour Government.


T. W. Ratana was the other important national Maori leader of this period. Significantly, he too came from a successful Maori farming community. However, his style of leadership was completely different from Ngata's. He was rather in the tradition of the chieftain priest leaders of the West Coast tribes—men who combined high rank with a knowledge of traditional lore. 16 During the 1918 influenza epidemic, described by Te Rangihiroa as “the severest setback the race has received since the fighting days of Hongi Hika”, 17 Ratana underwent a deep spiritual crisis. Out of this emerged his vision of a new order for the Maori people. They were to cast aside their atua (gods), cease to believe in tohungas and abandon their tribal traditions and the arts such as carving which supported them. Instead, the remnants (morehu) of the Maori people were to find health and a new life in Christianity.

This vision and the faith-healing mission it inspired had great appeal to Maoris and they flocked to Ratana. Moreover, the conditions also aided him. World War I had as unsettling an impact on Maori society as it did on that of the Pakeha. In the Maori case, it apparently took the form of an intensification of Maori debate on social, political and religious issues. The treatment accorded the Waikatos and Rua for their opposition to conscription by the Government also excited and embittered many Maoris. 18 The achievements of the Maori Pioneer Battalion, however, restored Maori self-confidence and, most notably among the soldiers, there was a bright expectation that Maori conditions would improve. But, in fact, Maoris did not even obtain rehabilitation assistance, and land purchasing was stepped up to meet the demands for land for soldier settlement schemes for Pakehas. The influenza epidemic, with its high Maori casualties, was the final bitter blow. Many Maoris were now ready to follow a new leader.

Inevitably, therefore, in a period of disappointed social and economic hopes, Ratana's religious mission began to acquire secular overtones. Maori tohungas were more than just faith-healers; they represented a form of protest against Pakeha society and were a repository of Maori traditions and values. By destroying their mana, Ratana became a focus for their followers' social and economic aspirations. Inevitably, the Ratana movement began to interest itself in politics. In 1922, Ratana's own son stood for Western Maori and another prominent Ratana member stood as a candidate against Ngata in Eastern Maori. Both did extremely well, but failed to defeat the two sitting members. In 1925, Ratana formed a separate Church and this, together with attempts to improve the economic conditions of his followers, absorbed his and his leading followers' ener- - 166 gies. It was not until 1928 that Ratana candidates again fought an election.

Despite the hostility towards tribalism as a basis of social organisation, Ratana appealed very much to the family group and, in some cases, to whole tribal communities. But it was not until the 1930s that the movement became sufficiently powerful to gain representation in Parliament and to become a force in national politics; by the 1920s it was very effective at the regional level. It produced regional leaders of real weight—for example Paraire Paikea in North Auckland and Taranaki Te Uamairangi in Wairoa. Activities like the building of the temple at Ratana and Omeka Pa at Te Poi near Matamata, the annual hui at Ratana Pa, the building of local temples, and the formation of brass bands, all added to the new Church's appeal and helped to increase its membership. In the 1926 census, 18.2 percent of Maoris returned themselves as Ratana's adherents; by the 1936 census this had grown to 19.8 percent. 19 So far as its general impact was concerned, its Maori adherents gained a new self-confidence from the sense of identity the Ratana movement created.

Ratana stood for the settlement of Maori grievances, improved Maori living conditions, and equality with the Pakeha. He wanted to abandon tribalism as a basis for Maori organisation and replace it with his religion. He did not favour separate Maori communities. The very strength of the response to his appeal helped to force other Maori leaders into greater activity to solve Maori problems.

The Ratana movement and the support Ngata won for his ideas showed the changing attitude of Maori society. The younger people, in particular, were anxious to improve their economic prospects and it was their enthusiasm that sustained Ngata's and Ratana's policies. Maoris who had fought overseas in World War I were particularly active in these movements. The inner circle of the Ratana leadership had a number of ex-servicemen—Eruera Tirikatene, who later became the M.P. for Southern Maori, was one example. However, they were also well represented in the circle round Ngata—Turi Carroll at Wairoa and Major Harry Dansey of the Arawas are two examples.

Some 2,200 Maoris had served abroad and about 1,800 had survived to return to New Zealand. Altogether, perhaps 20 percent of those aged 20 to 44 years had served overseas. 20 This number was too great to be easily absorbed back into village communities. Overseas, they had been treated as equals of the Pakeha; they had seen, and indeed lived in, the Pakeha world longer and more intensely than all but a favoured few Maoris before them. They were more self-confident and perhaps more socially and economically aggressive than their elders. They wanted to enjoy the same opportunities and have the same standard of living as the Pakeha. The failure of the Government to make adequate provision for them in the repatriation schemes had infuriated but not completely disheartened them. Instead, they supported one or other of these two leaders. They were, if there was land available, particularly interested in - 167 farming; it was this interest that symbolised their determination to succeed in the modern world.


It is not easy to characterise Pakeha attitudes in the period from 1890 to 1930, since they varied regionally and probably occupationally. Sir John Gorst revisiting New Zealand in 1906, noted the change in attitude from the 1860s.

There was no change visible in New Zealand which appeared more remarkable than the entire alteration in the sentiment with which the white and brown races regarded one another. In former times the feeling of Pakeha towards Maori was much like that of white to negro in the United States. . . . . All this is now changed. The public opinion of the country regards the Maories (sic.) as entitled to equal rights and equal justice, they are looked upon as a unique distinction of the New Zealand State, and the community is not a little proud of their success in assimilating into their civilisation this ancient and picturesque race. 21

This account would probably have been true for the large cities and the South Island where Maoris were remote and rather romantic figures and people's views were apt to be shaped by men like Carroll, Pomare and Ngata. Elsewhere, in settled farming communities, feeling could be embittered by Maoris' refusal to lease land, failure to pay rates and clear land of noxious weeds. Gisborne and its hinterland is a good example of this. 22 In pioneer areas, such as Raetihi, where the settlers might still be dependent on Maoris for labour and even food, feelings were better. Overall, the bitterness of the 1860s had vanished. 23

Despite this good will, Pakehas tended, on the whole, to be indifferent to Maori needs. The view that Maoris were dying out persisted long after the census and birth figures had given the lie to it. As late as the 1911 census, Ngata was still talking in terms of a static Maori population and believed that the increase shown in the census resulted from better enumeration. 24 F. M. Keesing, who became a noted anthropologist, could still argue in his 1925 thesis on Maori society:

that the present is a crucial period in the transition of the Maori from the ancient to the modern manner of life and that the very existence and future development of the race depends upon the immediate reorganisation and co-ordination of the internal and external forces acting on Maori communities. 25

However, the initial problem of survival had by then been overcome. Since 1896 a rise in Maori numbers had been recorded in each census though the revival occurred earlier in some areas. The 1926 census recorded a Maori population of 63,670. In official circles, the increase was being - 168 noticed. The Under Secretary of the Department of Native Affairs, who admittedly had a vested interest in a Maori revival, commented on the 1926 census: “. . . . it is satisfactory to know that such a noble race is not dying out as we feared.” 26

The Department's report of 1920 had already considered one problem arising from this,—that of Maori land. It calculated that the land available for the North Island Maoris amounted to only 19 acres a head, which was barely sufficient for Maori requirements, and added this sharp comment:

All the figures and the statements that can be made, will not alter the position, which is that the Maoris have disposed of nearly all the lands that they can dispose of without leaving them landless, and later, probably to become a charge on the State. 27

Thus by the 1920s there was a realisation in official circles that the Maori was not only surviving, but might become a charge on Pakeha charity. This influenced some to take steps to assist Maoris. A growing national consciousness, stimulated by the World War I, in which the Maori had played his part, also helped. The work of Elsdon Best, Sir Peter Buck, Percy Smith and James Cowan reminded people that Maori culture was a unique element in the New Zealand heritage even though interest in dead Maoris admittedly did not necessarily extend to their living descendants. Ngata and Pomare consciously encouraged such research both to preserve Maoritanga and as essential “public relations” to interest Pakehas in the Maori and to engage their sympathies for Maori needs and aspirations. 28 There was also some concern that so many Maoris were living so poorly. In particular, the 1918 influenza epidemic, with its appalling Maori death rate, shocked public opinion and helped smooth the way for new measures.

This good will, however, tended to take the form that Maoris were the “finest native race” in the British Empire—almost as capable as Pakehas. 29

Even those who were eager to help the Maori evinced a smugly patronising attitude and a marked tendency to ascribe all his good qualities to European influence or blood. Johannes Andersen—the then editor of the Journal of Polynesian Society—could write blandly in 1931:

It is significant that every Maori who has been able to overcome the inertia of taihoa, for instance, who has been able to enter into and understand the activities of the European, who has been able to enter more or less fully into our complex civilisation, is a Maori with a dash of Pakeha blood . . . . The slight admixture gives that tenacity of purpose and oneness of aim that is less apparent in the Maori than in the Pakeha. 30

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Educated Maori leaders found this patronage intensely irritating, but had to endure it. Buck, in a letter to Ngata, remarked:

New Zealand trots out the Maori people as show case specimens for the out-side world to see [what] they have accomplished but if it were not for the Maori people and their leaders, New Zealand would have about as much to show in local statesmanship as she has in Samoa. I have come to the conclusion that the Pakeha attitude is saturated with the deepest hypocrisy. Improvement of native peoples is good eyewash and newspaper stuff but the improvement must be credited to the Pakeha. 31


None the less, there were improvements in policy towards Maoris in the 1920s. The period, in fact, saw the beginnings of a comprehensive series of measures to assist the Maori, in particular by the development of his land. Since most Pakehas assumed that Maoris had a future only on the land, most of the changes and measures of this period were aimed at land development.

In 1920, a special Maori Health Service was established, largely because of the terrible toll taken of Maoris by the influenza epidemic of 1918. Te Rangi Hiroa was appointed to head the Maori Health Service and was extremely active in spurring the Maori Councils to renewed activity in the fields of public health and propaganda. The councils and the service undoubtedly did valuable work in improving sanitation and spreading knowledge of the prevention and proper treatment of diseases. 32 However, improvements in Maoris' health and mortality could be only minimal while their income was so low and their general education and housing were so poor. For instance, Maori median income, even in the towns and the South Island, was only £264 compared to a Pakeha figure of $405. 33

In 1920, W. H. Herries, the Native Minister, passed the Native Trustee Act. A former judge of the Native Land Court was appointed to administer Maori reserved land and the estates of deceased Maoris and minors. He could lend money on mortgage to Maori farmers. For the first time, money, even though it was Maori money, was earmarked for Maori land development.

In March, 1921, Coates became Native Minister. He was more sympathetic to Maori needs than his predecessor and willing to take the advice of Maori needs than his predecessor and willing to take the advice of Maori leaders. During his term of office, he instituted a number of important changes at the instigation of Ngata and other Maori M.P.s. He was also a man willing to trust experts and, as the ablest and most - 170 articulate Maori spokesman, Ngata gained his confidence. In fact, Ngata gradually came to dominate policy even though he belonged to the opposition Liberal Party and was only a back-bench M.P.


Basically, Ngata had five policies, all of which he was to pursue between 1921 and 1934:

  • 1. Settling the outstanding Maori land grievances. Once the bitterness of these was removed, he believed the people would consider new social and economic policies.
  • 2. Allied with this was the need to restore pride in Maori ancestral traditions and to foster Maori arts and crafts. The latter served important ends in pre-European Maori society; the meeting house in particular was a source of pride and a symbol of community solidarity, for the cost of labour and materials could only be found by a united and well-organised community.
  • 3. Forwarding the work of the Anglican Church amongst Maoris both because of the intrinsic worth of Christianity and, perhaps, because Ngata had a shrewd appreciation of the usefulness of Christianity as an instrument of social change and discipline.
  • 4. Education, too, was vital. By improving the education system and providing further opportunities, there would be a growing number of young people with the desire for reform. Land development, too, needed educated Maori farmers, while Ngata's vision of self-sufficient Maori communities called for tradesmen, businessmen and professional men. Ngata, therefore, tried to ensure that the Maori secondary schools run by the Churches could take as many pupils as possible and that they would teach the subjects he required.
  • 5. The promotion of land development by:
  • (a) Reorganisation of Maori land titles through consolidation of interests so that Maoris could have individual farms.
  • (b) Settlement of unpaid local rates and survey liens. While these remained as charges against the land, Maoris were prevented from farming or mortgaging the land.
  • (c) Provision of adequate finance and supervision for Maori farmers.

From 1921 to 1928 Ngata pursued these aims piecemeal. He had most success with the settlement of Maori land grievances and encouraging farming. This was undoubtedly because of the recession of 1920-2 which saw a heavy fall in land values and some 275,000 acres going out of production. 35 The purchase and leasing of Maori lands tailed off, and with the cessation of the pressure to “open up” Maori land, the Government could consider schemes to assist Maori owners. There was also a growing concern with the problem of Maori poverty to which land settlement was an obvious and traditional New Zealand solution.

So far as land grievances were concerned, Ngata saw five major prob- - 171 lem areas: the Ureweras, where steady Government purchasing of Maori interests in land had resulted in a complex intermingling of Maori and Government shares in the various blocks; the question of Maori property rights in the Rotorua Lakes and Lake Taupo; reparation for unjustly confiscated lands in Taranaki, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Wairoa; and the Ngai Tahu claim in the South Island. Ngata, with the other Maori M.P.s, was active in pressing for their solution; unlike the others, however, Ngata saw them as a first step in his plans for social revival. Indeed, land development for Ngata—like the Ratana Church and the Kingitanga for their supporters—had overtones of a doctrine of faith rather than a wholly rational policy.

A Royal Commission had considered the last claim and had recommended in 1920 that $508,000 compensation be paid to Ngai Tahu. 36 This was accepted in principle, and the 1920s were occupied in deciding who would be eligible for the eventual compensation.

The Arawas' claim to the Rotorua lakes was another long-standing grievance; after a great deal of litigation, the Government finally recognised the justice of the Arawas' case. On Ngata's advice, the Arawas pressed for $240,000 compensation so that the money could be used for tribal purposes, specifically for education, health and farming. In 1922, S. 27 of the Native Land Amendment Act created an Arawa District Trust Board, which from April 1, 1924, would receive $12,000 a year. The important point for Ngata was that this money “was essentially a tribal fund for tribal purposes” which the Board itself would determine. 37 Equally important was the new departure in policy it marked; for the first time the Government was willing to try to mobilise tribal loyalties and organisation to promote economic and social development. The way that the tribe tackled health and educational problems and tried to encourage farming was a vindication of Ngata's view that Maoris were now capable of managing their own affairs. It was easy to settle the Tuwharetoa claims on Lake Taupo in much the same way in 1926; in this case the Trust Board received an income of $6,000 a year and a share in the money from the sale of fishing licences.

For the Ureweras, Ngata was able to persuade the Government that the only means of untangling the vexed question of title to lands was by consolidating the Crown's interests into blocks. At Ngata's suggestion, a special commission held a series of hearings in 1921 in which they separated out Government land from Maori land and subdivided this Maori land into family holdings so that it could be farmed individually. Ngata had handpicked the personnel of the commission and they apportioned it so that Maoris retained the best farming land. By June, 1924, their work was completed. For Ngata to have persuaded the conservative and isolated Tuuhoe to agree to a commission to radically rearrange titles was a significant achievement and an indication of the new ideas at work in the Maori community. Equally important was his persuading the Government to - 172 endorse consolidation of titles, rates compromises and Maori farming as a solution to problems of Maori land.

The settlement of the Taranaki and Waikato confiscated land claims concerned Ngata only peripherally. Maui Pomare, who was the M.P. for Western Maori, was deeply concerned with them. The Ratana movement also laid great stress on the solution of these problems. In 1928, a Royal Commission on confiscated lands delivered its report. The commission found that a number of injustices had been committed against Maoris, and recommended compensation of $10,000 a year to the Taranaki Maoris and $6,000 a year to the Waikato Maoris. 38 This acknowledgement that injustices had been done was what mattered most to the Maori tribes concerned and it made them more willing to consider proposals for land development and to co-operate with Government institutions. This report was one of the means used by Ngata to persuade the redoubtable Waikato leader Princess Te Puea to support land development.

In 1923, Coates adopted Ngata's suggestion of an Ethnological Research Fund financed by Maori land boards, the Native Civil List and the Native Trustee; this would support the publication of Elsdon Best's and other authors' works and subsidise further research, for Ngata was increasingly concerned that the Maori cultural heritage would be lost. In 1926, the Maori Arts and Crafts Act established a board to encourage Maori Art, and provided for a School of Maori Arts. Under Ngata's direction, a school was established at Rotorua, in 1927, with assistance from the Arawa Trust Board. It was this school that trained the carvers for Ngata's ambitious programme of carved meeting houses. Pupils, anxious to learn the carving arts of their ancestors, came from all over the North Island.

Perhaps the most important measure of all was the establishment of the Maori Purposes Fund Board. The Maori land boards had been accumulating unclaimed rents and purchase moneys for a number of years and Ngata became afraid that the Government would raid these to meet its financial difficulties. He managed to have some of them used to help the Maori secondary schools and in 1925 he persuaded Coates to set up the Maori Purposes Fund. A capital sum of $18,000 was set aside and the interest on this was earmarked for educational, social and cultural activities. The Native Minister chaired it, and the Maori M.P.s and the Secretaries of Health, Education and Native Affairs were represented.

The Board's funds were first used for education, another subject about which Ngata was actively concerned. Unfortunately, he achieved very little in this field. Partly, he was handicapped by the Pakeha inability to appreciate the educational needs of the Maori minority. But his own views on education had distinct limitations. He wanted the ordinary Maori to be given only limited technical training—particularly in farming—and argued that academic education should be restricted to the small minority it would benefit. Under the influence of these ideas, the Maori secondary boarding schools concentrated upon vocational training. The Board's funds were used to provide two-year continuation scholarships to allow - 173 Maori secondary school pupils to carry on their schooling after their two-year Government scholarships had expired. A handful of Maori boys was also assisted with tertiary education at university and at Hawkesbury Agricultural College in Australia. In general, the quality of Maori education, to judge from the numbers entering university, seems to have declined and the number of places at Maori secondary schools did not keep pace with the growth of Maori population. In 1926, there was probably under 10 percent of Maoris in the 13 to 17 year-old group receiving secondary education. 39

By 1928 Ngata himself was disillusioned with the result. He told his friend Peter Buck:

The [Maori Purposes] Board is largely switching off Education. . . . The trouble is, I think, largely the poor foundation work in the primary and secondary schools—but also the lack of the divine afflatus. We must now devote serious attention to (a) Health and (b) the supervision of farming activities. The Hawkesbury students have done better than those who went on to the N.Z. 'Varsity'. 40

Ngata's other major achievement, outside of his work in Maori land and farming, was persuading the Anglican Church to establish a Maori bishop. This was intended to be a counter-blow to Ratana who had set up his own Church in 1925, and whose success was seriously alarming the Church authorities. The Maori leaders opposed to Ratana wanted to form a separate Maori church organisation, headed by a man, who, as Ngata put it, would be capable of “understanding the depths of the Maori heart.” There was considerable wrangling over the choice of candidate and his powers, until Rev. F. A. Bennett was consecrated as Bishop of Aotearoa, in 1928, with distinctly limited powers, Ngata failed to have his candidate elected and the Anglican Church did not give the bishop the independence to lead the great spiritual revival Ngata hoped for. 41

From the mid-1920s, Ngata began increasingly to concentrate on his schemes of land development and the social revival he expected to come from this.


It had been left to Coates to bring the Native Trustee Act into force and by the early 1920s loans were being made to Maori farmers. In 1922, legislation was passed allowing Maori land boards to lend money to Maori farmers.

This did not touch the other major problems of Maori land: the constantly increasing number of owners in any block of Maori land; partitions of Maori land into blocks that could not be used; charges on Maori land through unpaid survey liens (the result of partitions); and local body rates. While Maori land was being sold or leased, unpaid liens and rates were a sore point rather than a major issue since rates were a first charge on the sale or rent money. In the 1920s, when both were sharply - 174 reduced, non-payment became a political issue. In 1924, an amendment to the Rating Act was passed to try to solve the problem. It proved ineffective and by 1927 the local authorities were agitating for a final solution to the problem by making Maori land liable to be sold for unpaid rates. As this would have meant the loss of large areas of Maori land, the Government was reluctant to agree.

Ngata had already demonstrated on the East Coast that consolidation of interests, coupled with the establishment of Maori farming, would solve the problem. Coates was, therefore, receptive to Ngata's suggestion that the State should sponsor consolidation schemes in North Auckland and the King Country and obtain a waiver of rates till 1930 and a remission of survey liens. In return, the Government would receive some Maori land and would aim to settle Maori owners on their land with the aid of Government finances.

In late 1927, Ngata was appointed chairman of a commission to oversee consolidation work and to negotiate with Maori owners and local bodies to obtain rates compromises. Ngata and his colleagues would endeavour to get the Maori owners to agree on the amount they were prepared to offer the local bodies and the land they would offer to the Government in return for it paying the local body in cash. They would then persuade the local body to accept the offer. The task called for the greatest tact and firmness. The Maniapoto elders argued that the Government had promised in the 1880s they would never have to pay rates if they allowed the main trunk railway to cross their territory. It was only by exercising all his persuasive powers that Ngata was able to overcome their opposition.

The question of unpaid survey liens proved equally difficult. Treasury was not prepared to sanction a wholesale writing off of survey liens. The only concession made was a provision in 1927 that individual survey liens could be written off, but this was only sparingly used.

None the less, by mid 1928, £444,000 in rates and survey liens had been written off in return for $100,000 worth of land—and unproductive land at that. The consolidation schemes had been staffed by Ngata's nominees, taking their methods and even staff from the East Coast, and work was proceeding very satisfactorily on them. Coates, who anticipated difficulties after the 1928 election, and wanted to retain the Maori seats held by Reform, promised Ngata $500,000 to finance the Maori farming schemes that would result from the completion of consolidation. 42 He included provision in the 1928 Native Land Amendment Act, allowing the Government to advance money through the Maori Land Boards to individual Maori farmers.


In 1928, the Reform Party suffered a setback at the polls, and the United Party (the old Liberal Party) took office with the support of - 175 Labour. Ngata was appointed Native Minister. Though he was pleased by this—the “first taste of real power” that he had had in all his years in Parliament—Ngata had forebodings of difficulties ahead. Coates, because of his “race, prestige and representative character enabled us to get away with so much . . . . with the least umbrage on the part of the Pakeha electors. The same things done and attempted by a Maori Minister would be misunderstood and always banned with the racial ban.” 44

He was determined to push ahead with Maori land settlement, for he was well aware how precarious his party's hold on office was. In the 1929 Native Land Amendment and Native Land Claims Adjustment Act the Minister of Native Affairs was given the power to develop Maori land directly instead of through individual Maori farmers. Legislation in 1930 and 1931 further extended Ngata's power to develop Maori land. Moneys for development were to be taken from the Native Land Settlement Account, which had hitherto been used only to purchase land from the Maoris—not to develop it for its owners. For the first time, Government money was used to develop Maori land.

The power of the State was at last being put behind Maori aspirations. Twenty years previously, such a policy, even though inevitably on a much smaller scale, would have had a better chance of success. However, the early 1930s were the worst time to try to launch such a scheme. The Act was passed late in the session, and the first schemes were gazetted early in 1930. Maori enthusiasm was strong. In 1930, however, the first impact of the Depression made itself felt in New Zealand. Maoris who were peripheral, unskilled workers, hired to handle seasonal peaks and to do odd jobs, were worst affected. The inevitable Government retrenchment began and public works were drastically cut, still further reducing his employment opportunities.

Maori land development was now used primarily to absorb Maori workers in quasi-productive labour. To meet the needs of his people in their desperate situation Ngata was forced to expand the scheme rapidly even though he was desperately short of skilled supervisors in the field and staff at Head Office to co-ordinate and check the activities of the field supervisors. Much land that was, in fact, marginal was brought into production, and there were too many subdivisions into peasant's holdings of the 40 acres and 20 cows variety that were soon to prove uneconomic. However, Ngata's schemes had never been intended to be cold bloodedly economic. Rather he had sought to make Maori farming the economic basis of a renewed Maori tribal life which was to include those manners and customs (modified where necessary) that fostered Maoritanga. The development of tribal lands would enable the retention of a political, social and economic life centred on the carved meeting house and marae. He was also anxious to make use of Maori administrative ability and to encourage the traditional leaders to take an active part in land development.

“Conditions,” he noted, “are working so as to make it possible for the scions of rangatira families to take leading parts in the tribal or hapu - 176 organisation, and it is wonderful how gladly and naturally the people respond to leadership of that kind, if it is reasonably capable, decisive and sympathetic. . . . . I have banked much in a busy life where quick decisions had to be made in the selection of men and women for jobs on heredity. In the majority of cases I have come out right.” 45

Ngata, in fact, was not so much interested in land as in community development. He tried to encourage those villages involved in the schemes to build carved meeting houses to serve not only as a focus for community activity but also for community identity and loyalty. In the new settlement at Horohoro outside Rotorua, he encouraged the building of a meeting house as a first priority to knit the colonists into a community. He also encouraged great inter-tribal huis, culminating in the 1934 Waitangi Day celebrations, to re-establish links between Maori communities and to foster the arts of oratory, haka and action song. Land development and Maoritanga were inseparably linked in Ngata's mind. His policies were as much a crusade as Ratana's faith-healing missions or Te Puea's attempts to foster the Kingitanga.

Ngata tried every way he could to keep costs down to a minimum. He used the funds of the Unemployment Board as far as possible to subsidise the cost of labour in the schemes and therefore the ultimate debt the Maori owners would have to pay. Even so, the economic burdens were heavy. Money was lent at 6½ percent and there was no provision for writing off costs. He resorted to a policy of self-reliance and frugal living to make the most of the limited capital. Expenditure on fencing, buildings and equipment was reduced to a minimum, local materials that did not have to be purchased were used wherever possible, wages were in some cases only 4/- a day and were often given to a few only of those actually working on the schemes so that costs could be further reduced. A purchasing organisation was set up to buy stock, grass-seed, fencing wire and fencing posts at the cheapest possible rates, using the Government ability to pay ready cash to force prices down—a move which did not make Ngata popular with those from whom he purchased.

Despite all these difficulties, Ngata managed to expand the schemes rapidly. In the 1929-30 financial year, $13,022 was spent on Maori land development, by 1934-5 it was $558,020. By 1935-6, there were some 1,388 individual farms, and these settlers, combined with share milkers, farm hands and other workers supported 11,023 dependents. 46

There was a widespread Pakeha belief that the Maori could never become a good farmer because he was supposed to be thriftless and idle. Maori land development was therefore seen potentially as a waste of Pakeha money. Moreover, because it was inaugurated during the Depression and grew rapidly, many believed that Maoris were receiving specially favoured treatment. Finally, there seems to have been resentment that a Maori should have wielded influence in the Cabinet, possessed such great administrative powers and should have so much Pakeha money to spend. Specifically, there was resentment over Ngata's dismissal of two Pakeha - 177 supervisors: an action that both Truth and the Labour Party made into an issue. In this atmosphere, it proved very easy to turn these prejudices into a belief that Ngata and his associates were practising a peculiarly sinister form of Maori graft with Pakeha money.

Ngata fought back as best he could, explaining the reason for his policies and publicising the success of his schemes in Parliament and the press. Yet Ngata himself was highly vulnerable. The Maori leaders he used to ensure the co-operation of the local Maori communities were normally poorly educated and unable to meet administrative and auditing rules. Ngata himself, in his passion to get things done, frequently violated such rules. Moreover, he was determined both to provide employment and to commit so much money that the Government would have to keep on with land development; he therefore overexpended recklessly, offending Treasury. More clerical staff might have enabled him to satisfy the regulations, but in the interests of economy the Public Service Commission refused them. Without such staff to “tidy up” Ngata was highly vulnerable to charges of maladministration and misuse of Government funds. In 1933, the Auditor-General discovered that one of Ngata's appointees had been falsifying accounts. Ngata was forced to allow a complete reorganisation of the Native Department. Even this did not satisfy his critics and a commission was established to investigate the Native Department.

The commission from the outset determined to investigate administrative policy and did not consider the social situation of the Maori people that had made many of Ngata's methods essential. Within these terms they were careful and thorough and their honesty was unquestioned. Their report was all the more damning because of this. They found:

  • 1. The Minister disregarded the ordinary channels of communication with the departmental officers. In particular his using oral instructions to spend State funds and on what courses of action to follow reduced the Native Land Settlement Branch of the Native Department to “no more than a pale shadow of the Minister.”
  • 2. That influenced by his method of approach, by his success in the field and by his enthusiasm, the Minister launched scheme upon scheme without any reasonable regard, as a Minister of the Crown, to the need for proper accounting of State funds.
  • 3. That the Minister supported Maori leaders, in the case of a difference with a Pakeha supervisor, whether they were right or wrong.
  • 4. That he used State funds, without lawful authority, in the interests of his tribe.

A number of charges of maladministration and abuse of his position were also brought against him: these included a number of cases where, as Minister in charge of the Native Trust Office, it was suggested that he had used his position to shelter defaulting Incorporated Blocks where he was on the management committee. 47

In the face of this report, Ngata had no option but to resign. The fact - 178 was that Ngata had preferred to behave as a Maori leader and to use his own energy and experience to direct Maori land development. He organised the schemes on the basis of Maori leadership and social structure rather than the hierarchy of the Public Service.


In many ways Ngata suffered from a distinctly Puritan ethic so far as work was concerned. He was deeply afraid that money without work would demoralise Maoris and he felt that intermittent relief work (the No. 5 Scheme of the Employment Board) was almost as bad. “The No. 5 scheme”, he told the press, “was a device of the Devil as far as the Maori race was concerned. Two days' work a week with the remainder available for attending meetings and touring round, and then another two days the following week, suited the Native perfectly, but in the land development scheme of ours we have been able to keep the bulk of the Ngapuhis away from relief work, so that they can work every day of the week on their own lands.” 48

Under the 1930 Unemployment Act, Maori adult males were obliged to register but had to apply to become contributors to the Unemployment Fund and therefore to qualify for its benefits. The Native Department recommended whether the applicant should be accepted or not. Ngata's policy was to consider “the mode of living and the nature of the occupation of the applicant” and whether “he was usually employed in the same manner as a European. For instance, a man living in the communal state in a pa and who is virtually always unemployed should not be recommended except for very good reasons.” 49 Ngata claimed that Maoris required smaller monetary payment because they could grow much of their own food and live off the land in the way a European could not. Monetary payments for Maoris were, therefore, significantly smaller.

Despite the many telling criticisms that can be made against the Land Development Schemes, at least they were official recognition and assistance for Maori aspirations to improve their economic conditions. In fact, since the remaining Maori lands were often in remote areas where the people had no alternative employment, the schemes provided the first regular employment that many had ever known. In areas where there were schemes there was a noticeable improvement in health, a greater interest was taken in education and there was a marked increase in Maori self-confidence—the latter revealing itself in demands for carved meeting houses and a florescence of Maori culture forms such as haka and chants.

Financially, the schemes also proved a great success; very little capital had to be written off and in a remarkably short time they were able to meet interest charges and repay capital. By March, 1931, $11,094 had been repaid; in 1936-7 this had grown to $339,180. By March, 1937, 750,000 acres had been brought under the development provisions of the Native Land Act. Some 177,000 acres of this were under cultivation. The - 179 schemes had 26,872 dairy cows, 14,521 other dairy stock, 29,213 run cattle and 278,688 sheep. 50

Unfortunately, many communities lacked land, or Ngata, because of lack of finance or doubts about the ability of the local community to meet the demands of land development, did not establish schemes in their areas. These had to endure the worst effects of the Depression, suffering from acute unemployment and having to exist on lower unemployment benefits than anyone else.

The fall of Ngata also caused a harder attitude towards the schemes, and stringent economies were instituted. Te Puea, the leader of the Waikato Maori farmers, complained:

Things are very bad. . . . . Each unit has only £3 a month for food. After deductions it comes to only £2.17.10. How can they expect families numbering from six to 11 to live? . . . . Some of the units cannot send their children to school because they have no bread for their lunches. 51

She appealed to Coates for relief without result, receiving only a letter “that the Government was of the opinion that we did not need work, that we were better off than the Pakeha.” 52

Whereas Ngata had made use of Maori social organisation and Maori values, after his departure Pakeha methods of accounting and administration dominated. The Pakeha supervisors, whether intentionally or not, appear to have acted with little regard for Maori feelings. Princess Te Puea complained:

The new Pakeha boss [on the Scheme] is very hard. It will not be long before you hear that we are back at Ngaruawahia for good. They are now putting on two Pakeha supervisors to take my place. . . . . They will not leave me alone. At times they have used very bad language. Sometimes I think they do that on purpose just to make us so angry that we will leave the farms, then they could put Pakehas on them. It is all very disheartening. There is no relief work for our people so they can get food. I am desperate as there are so many children to care for. 53

In this situation of acute poverty and resentment, there was a resurgence of Ratanaism.


Ngata had believed that the Ratana movement was dying during his halcyon period of 1926 to 1931.

The Depression gave it a new lease of life. Ratana candidates had done only moderately well in the 1928 and 1931 elections. But the increasing unemployment and the unequal payments gave it a new issue. An informal alliance was made with Labour in the 1931 election. The Ratana candidates would run under their own label, but if elected they would vote - 180 with Labour. 54 The Ratana movement used the Treaty of Waitangi as a popular symbol for the answering of all Maori grievances. The movement demanded that the treaty become law so that its principles would be recognised in all laws relating to the Maori.

This alliance with Labour was an extremely important break with the past. Labour had become to the Ratana people the champion of the rights of the Maoris. Both Ratana and Labour stood for the interests of the working man and both represented a break with tradition.

In 1932, Eruera Tirikatene was elected M.P. for Southern Maori in a byelection. His election was not really surprising for he had only been defeated in 1928 by the vote of the electoral officer and his vote remained high in 1931. The South Island Maoris had little land and Ngata had little faith in their leaders. They had therefore to endure the worst effects of the Depression. By 1932, unemployment was acute and they had to exist on lower unemployment benefits than their Pakeha counterparts. In the 1935 election, Western Maori elected a Ratana candidate also. Northern Maori followed in 1938 and Ngata was defeated in Eastern Maori in 1943.

Ratana M.P.s did not perhaps contribute much publicity to the Labour movement, but they were important in vetoing projects that might have run against Maori interests. Their most important measures were the 1936 Electoral Amendment Act which established the secret ballot in Maori Elections and the 1945 Maori Social and Economic Advancement Act.


On December 6, 1935, the Labour Government took office. At Ngata's suggestion Mr Savage, the Prime Minister, took over Native Affairs, Cook Islands and Samoa “in acknowledgement of the trust declared in the Treaty of Waitangi” and so that “no violent change” in policy would occur. 55 The Labour Party had, however, strong views about placing the Maoris on an equal footing with the Pakeha. One of their first actions was to abolish the different rates of unemployment relief that discriminated against Maoris and substitute a uniform rate of payment. In general, Maoris benefited more than anybody else from the increased financial provisions and services of the Welfare State that Labour built between 1935 and 1939. The general expansion of economic activity that Labour pursued to expand employment opportunities significantly benefited Maoris as new jobs became available. Moreover, with the improvement of world markets for primary produce, many schemes and individual units began to make what seemed, according to the modest expectations of the time, handsome profits. The new rural prosperity further increased the number of jobs available for Maoris.

On the whole, Labour, in its first years in office, did not make major policy changes. It accepted the policy that it found in operation—that of land development. However, under Labour the schemes were further rapidly expanded till, by 1939, 840,000 acres had been gazetted for development and some 253,000 acres of this had been cleared and was under - 181 development. By 1939, $1,350,000 a year was budgeted for land development. There were some 1,900 settlers established and a further 3,000 Maoris were employed as farm workers. 56 Labour policy, however, was more concerned with improving housing and health than Ngata was, and encouraged the settlers to build housing or to improve the quality of their housing. In North Auckland, for instance, an energetic supervisor was able to employ a gang of men full time building and repairing houses not only for farmers but also for age beneficiaries, with the full support of the acting Minister for Maori Affairs, F. Langstone. 57

Housing was, in fact, one notable contribution of the Labour Administration. In 1935, the Coalition Government has passed a Native Housing Act. This at last admitted that Maoris had extreme difficulty in obtaining finance from the normal loan agencies and if Maoris were to be rehoused the Government would have to take the responsibility for it. In January, 1937, the Labour Government gazetted regulations under the Act and provided $200,000 for advances under it. They also provided a revolving credit of $100,000 for loans to indigent Maoris under easy repayment terms. By March 31, 1940, 1,592 houses had been provided under the Land Development Schemes or the 1935 Act. These measures ensured that over 10 percent of Maoris were rehoused. 58 The war halted progress in housing, but after the war, house building was accelerated and by 1951 a total of 3,051 new houses had been built for Maoris, representing some 16.2 percent of Maoris' homes built by the Government. Others had probably been able to build or buy better houses in the buoyant economic conditions of the 1940s without recourse to the department. 59 Certainly, though the housing problem was still serious, major progress had been made by 1951, as the following figuees show:

Maori Housing: 1936 and 1951
  1936 1951
Number of huts and whares 4,676 2,275
Number of tents and camps 1,528 568
One-room house with three or more occupants 1,932 1,579
Two-room house with five or more occupants 1,336 1,204
Three-room house with seven or more occupants 740 585
  10,212 6,211

In 1936, some 71 percent of the houses were shacks or overcrowded. By 1951, these had fallen to some 32 percent of Maori houses. 60

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The other important Maori measure that the Government introduced was an amendment to the Electoral Act that introduced the secret ballot into Maori elections for the first time. This revolutionised the political scene. Under the system of voting by declaration which had been in force since 1910, it was possible for the chiefs to influence their followers. 61 According to the late Sir Eruera Tirikatene, under the latter system:

A leading representative of the local tribe, with the Deputy Returning Officer, sat at a table. The Maori elector was then questioned as to which candidate he was voting for, and a note was made of his tribe and sub-tribe, and his name. 62

Under this system it was virtually impossible to keep one's vote secret so that those who stood in awe of their chiefs had no choice but to obey their wishes. This was a constant sore point with the Ratana movement who held that it was only the bribery and intimidation that this system encouraged that prevented them from winning the Maori seats. As early as the 1922 election, they had accused Pomare of malpractices but had lost their petition. 63

By 1936, however, two of the Maori seats were in their hands. The depression and to some extent their own electoral tactics had turned the tide for them. The Ratana candidates apparently resorted to some of the devices of Pakeha elections, particularly in their use of marching bands and the wearing of rosettes. 64 They also tried to create committees throughout both islands.

In the face of this, the traditional leaders were hard put to hold their own. Tau Henare, M.P. for Northern Maori, who came from one of the leading North Auckland families, went down to defeat in 1938. Sir Apirana Ngata only survived the 1938 election because Labour, perhaps anxious to prevent Ratana from gaining a stranglehold on the Maori seats and to hurt Ngata electorally in his own tribe, ran an ex-clergyman from Ngaati Porou called Reweti Kohere. Ngata apparently retaliated by encouraging a Ratana candidate and getting notables such as Major Dansey of the Arawas to stand to draw off Labour support. 65 Even so, he won by a minority vote and his support fell from 5,778 votes in 1935 to 4,113 in 1938. In 1943, he was narrowly defeated. 66

Ngata became extremely bitter about Labour's policy. What particularly concerned him was that:

. . . the Labour policy of increased social benefits, higher wages for less work and equality of Pakeha and Maori was striking a severe blow at the things I had come to regard as fundamental to the maintenance of the individuality of the Maori people. A social system depending even in the thick of attacks by the influences of education and of the economic system of the white man on family relationships, co- - 183 operation under recognised hapu and tribal leaders in communal undertakings (sic.) all seemed to be giving way to new groupings with new allegiances. There were Committees everywhere cutting across old methods of consultations on the maraes and in the runanga houses . . . The new system seemed to challenge all that we had come to associate with mana in Maori Affairs. 67


The War, regarded from an economic point of view, further assisted this new-found prosperity. As well as requiring men for the Armed Forces, it necessitated increased agricultural and industrial production and, because of defence needs, placed particular pressure on building and construction industries. For the first time in many years, the New Zealand economy was working to full capacity to supply the needs of the troops and both agriculture and industrial production were expanded. There was, by 1940, a situation of full employment; in fact, the economy was critically short of manpower by 1941. As a result of its desperate labour shortage, industry was decentralised to the smaller country towns and workers were brought to the city. Many Maoris moved to the towns in response to new employment opportunities. The Government endeavoured to mobilise the people for work in essential industries through the Maori War Effort Organisation, 68 and at the same time tried to decentralise industries to the rural towns where there was labour available. By 1945, 18,050, or 18.3 percent of the total Maori population, were living in cities, boroughs and towns. This represented a doubling of the numbers resident in these areas in 1936.

The 1938 Social Security Act also began to have its effect in the war years. Maoris received the same benefits as Pakehas and availed themselves of the greatly increased age benefits, the family benefit and the free medical and hospital services. These substantially augmented the cream cheques, wages and rent from land. Just how important these were, it is difficult to assess at this remove. The Beagleholes, in their study of “Kowhai”, found that social security payments to Maoris in this district amounted to $10,300 a year. They estimated that the average weekly income for a family was $10 to $11 a week and this would imply, on the basis of the 62 households in Kowhai, a total yearly income of some $37,600 with social security amounting to some 25 percent of the total income. 69 They found:

In general, then, the influence of social security benefits in the district has been for the good. From the Maori it has removed some of the fear of the grinding poverty which has been in the past, and is still for many today, the major anxiety of their lives. 70

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More than this, however, Social Security meant an appreciable raise in the Maori standard of living. The money was used to finance new houses and furniture and often to keep children longer at school. Health also improved both as part of the general rise in living standards and also because Maoris tended to consult doctors and go to hospital more readily; for instance, in 1937, only 17 percent of Maori births were in a hospital; by 1947 there were about 50 percent. 71 Infant mortality also fell rapidly.

Maori and Pakeha Infant Mortality Per 1,000 72
  Children Born, 1922-56  
  Maori Pakeha
1922-26 131.0 41.1
1927-31 112.6 35.2
1932-36 98.1 31.6
1937-41 112.8 31.4
1942-46 92.7 28.7
1947-51 74.6 23.3
1952-56 66.2 20.2

Life expectancy also improved significantly. In the 1890s, Maori life expectancy at birth would have been somewhat over 30 years. As a result of the health campaigns of Pomare and Buck, life expectancy increased to the low 40s, but by the 1926 census it was still low. Over the next 30 years it improved markedly. 73

Life Expectancy of Maoris and Pakehas at Birth 74
  Males   Females  
Period Maoris Pakehas Maoris Pakehas
1925-27 46.6 63.0 44.7 65.0
1950-52 54.0 68.0 56.0 72.0
1956-57 57.0 69.0 59.0 74.0

At the same time, the mortality rates for infectious deseases were brought under control after 1940. There were epidemics of measles and diarrhoea as late as 1938, and as late as 1941 there was a severe outbreak of whooping cough which was accompanied by a somewhat higher rate of deaths due to dysentery, bronchitis and pneumonia. 75 Finally, there was a marked improvement in the height and weight of children between 1934 and 1954; at the age of 12 the girls were 3 inches taller and 16 pounds heavier, while the boys were 2 inches taller and 14 pounds heavier. 76

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Equally important for the Maoris, was Labour's educational policy. Labour reversed the “economies” of the Coalition and proceeded to new measures of its own. Rural schools were consolidated and transport services were organised in rural areas. The proficiency certificate, hitherto necessary to obtain a free place in a post-primary school, was abolished, making secondary education free to all. Finally, in 1941, the school leaving age was raised to 15, though it was not until 1944 that this took effect. These measures undoubtedly assisted Maori children. The Government, however, appreciated the need to make secondary education more readily available to Maoris. The number and value of Government scholarships to Maoris was increased, but most important of all was the Government decision to build District Maori High Schools in centres of Maori population. The first was completed in 1941. By 1951 there were eight schools. These, unfortunately, still tended to be limited to a narrow view of Maoris' future, laying stress on “home making” and “education of a practical nature.” However, the Maori parents refused to rest content with this and by 1947 they had pressured the Government into providing courses leading to school certificate. 77 In 1936, probably not more than 8.4 percent of 13 to 17 year old Maoris had been at secondary school; by 1951, 30 percent were in the schools. 78

The end result seems to have been to considerably increase young people's confidence. They were better fed and better educated than their parents. They had the example of the achievements of the Maori Battalion behind them and they faced a more sympathetic Pakeha world than their parents had. By the 1950s Maori teenagers were more flexible and adaptable than their parents and were better able to cope with the new life of the cities. 79 Dr Jane Ritchie noted of Maori families in Wellington:

The major impression . . . . is one of success. The families studied have met with problems but they have stayed in the city and overcome them. There is evidence of psychological disturbance occurring to a greater degree than is generally attributed to Maoris but this has not led to severe disorder. (p. 77) . . . . These groups are committed to city life, to integrating their families with the life around them, to exploiting the advantages of the city . . . . Life in the country seems easier to them, having many advantages which contrast with city life—ease in material living, freedom from the stress and pace and (p. 81) what might be generally described as greater ‘wholesomeness’. But the equation balances out in favour of the city which seems to them to offer cultural opportunities, educational and vocational advancement and a greater chance to reach pakeha standards of living (p. 82). 80

Apart from material progress, the war also increased Maori self- - 186 confidence in many areas. The exploits of the Maori Battalion were publicised, Maoris were organised into separate units on the basis of their tribal groupings so that the unit became not only a symbol for a collective Maori sentiment but for local tribal pride as well. Even the Home Guard eventually allowed for local Maori units.

The most important new development was the creation of the Maori War Effort Organisation.

This arose spontaneously during the war when Maoris began to form themselves into committees to organise recruiting and generally to assist with the war effort. Mr P. K. Paikea, the M.P. for Northern Maori, and the other Ratana M.P.s co-operated with Ngata and his group of tribal leaders to make this a universal effort. On June 3, 1942, the Government legalised this organisation and Paikea, who was already Member of the Executive Council representing the Maori race, was placed in charge of it. On his death in 1943, Mr Tirikatene succeeded him. Twenty-one men, later reduced to 15, were specially recommended by the tribes and approved by the Maori M.P.s as recruiting and liaison officers. Apart from recruiting, these men mediated between Government Departments and the tribal committees and the executives which were a grouping of the tribal committees. By the end of the war there were 407 tribal committees and 60 executives. The Maori War Effort Organisation mobilised 23,000 men and women for essential industries, notably agriculture. They also encouraged their people to grow food for the war effort. Maoris supplied, among other things, 113,690 bushels of maize, 47,842 tons of potatoes and 5,027 tons of butterfat. 81

In summary, the final result of the war was to increase Maori self-confidence. Maoris were inspired by the achievements of the Maori Battalion and their self-confidence was increased by their involvement in the Home Guard and the Maori War Effort Organisation. The benefits of the Welfare State and full employment brought about by the war ensured a rise in the general standard of living and health that reinforced the new rise in morale. This showed itself in a number of ways in the 1940s and 1950s. The high community morale and prosperity found traditional expression in the building of numbers of carved meeting houses and in marae renovations. However, it also showed itself in the willingness to take advantage of the new opportunities that full employment and the Welfare State offered. Once more too, there was an influx of ex-servicemen who had seen the wider world and enjoyed equality with the Pakeha. There seems even to have been in the 1950s a refusal by Maoris in certain areas to allow segregation in employment or social amenities to continue. In North Auckland, one Maori woman who read an advertisement that no Maoris need apply for a job waited outside the business and stopped Maoris from patronising the shop till the policy changed. 82 The incident in 1959 when Dr Bennett was refused service in a Papakura hotel lounge on racial grounds also helped to break down such restrictions by publicising their existence. 83

- 187

The improvement in living standards and self-confidence continued after the war since the immediate post-war period was one of high prosperity for the farming industry and for those industries and activities directly dependent upon it. The predominantly rural Maori population shared in this new prosperity through the employment opportunities that resulted and through the extensive land development schemes that were significantly expanded in the mid and late 1940s to assist with the rehabilitation of servicemen. Expenditure on Maori land doubled from nearly $1,400,000 in 1943-4 to almost $2.8 million in 1949-50. By 1950, as a result of this policy, 1,781 Maori farmers had been settled on the land and 278,808 acres had been grassed. Between 1945 and 1951 the number of Maoris engaged in farming rose from 9,055 to 9,787. 84

At the same time, Maoris benefited from other aspects of rehabilitation. Up to March, 1951, 201 Maoris had received business loans, 59 received tools-of-trade loans and 138 were given educational assistance in the form of bursaries and payment of fees. The most important assistance, however, was the trade training of a total of 771 Maoris, 664 under the “A” class scheme in which full-time intensive theoretical and practical instruction, followed by advanced practical work, was provided for a number of the building trades, notably carpentry. 85 Carpentry schools were established not only in the main centres, but also Gisborne, Whangarei, Hastings, Wanganui, Napier and Kaikohe so that Maoris attending them would be close to their tribal areas and would not have to go to the cities.

Post-war Maori land development and rehabilitiation stimulated employment opportunities in rural areas, and this also slowed down the rate of migration to the towns. The nature of the schemes ensured, however, that the main benefit of these new opportunities accrued to returned servicemen and to the more mature Maori. There were not sufficient rural employment opportunities for young workers in the 15 to 24 years age group. The towns and cities, where jobs were known to be plentiful, naturally attracted them. The percentage of Maori population living in town areas rose to 21.8—the migration into the towns being mainly by younger people (15-24 years), particularly teenage girls. None the less, by comparison with later movements, this was only a trickle.

For the whole economy it was a period of high demand and rapid growth. There was a backlog of demand resulting from the Depression and the war that had to be met. Agriculture had to expand to meet the rising needs of overseas markets and it profited from the consistently high export prices of the period. This stimulated production in other sectors and offered new employment opportunities in the towns as well as in the country.


One important consequence of the steadily improving race relations that appeared in the mid 1940s was a feeling in official circles that Maoris - 188 should be encouraged to take charge of their own affairs 86 and even that Maori culture was worth encouraging. This became a conscious policy after Peter Fraser took over the Ministry of Native Affairs in December, 1946. He was keenly interested in all aspects of Maori culture, perhaps because he saw parallels between Maori tribalism and the Scottish clan system. In the 1920s he had become so interested in the Ratana movement that he and his wife had quietly camped on the marae at Ratana. In his relations with the Maoris he showed himself highly sensitive to Maori social etiquette. Even when he was Prime Minister he never “put on an air of greatness or remote superiority” 87 but remained friendly and approachable. For instance, he always made a point as a guest of making the appropriate donation and went behind the scenes to thank the cooks and other helpers for their efforts. It was his interest and enthusiasm, even before he became Minister, that ensured new policies were adopted and old policies were expanded. 88

There was a gradual shifting of Pakeha opinion towards the idea of “integration” till he could write in 1949 in his last report as Native Minister that:

An independent, self-reliant, and satisfied Maori race working side by side with the Pakeha and with equal incentives, advantages, and rewards for effort in all walks of life is the goal of the Government . . . . 89

This led to a number of practical measures. There was the symbolic one of substituting the word “Maori” for “Native” in official usage in 1947. 90 The use of this word had long irritated Maoris because there was a strong flavour of colonial imperialism about “native” and Maoris did not feel they were a subject race. The Government also showed itself sensitive to other grievances. Though it was not willing to ratify the Treaty of Waitangi, to placate the Ratana members, a resolution was passed in 1945 by the Maori Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives urging Cabinet to re-publish the Treaty and hang copies “in all schools throughout the Dominion,” as a recognition of Maori services and friendship between the two peoples. 91 Peter Fraser also acted to try to remedy past grievances; for instance the Ngai Tahu, Waikato and Bay of Plenty land claims were settled. Finally, in the 1948 Licensing Amendment Act, Maoris were allowed to buy liquor for home consumption, repealing a much resented law.

Perhaps the most important measure was the passing of the Maori Social and Economic Advancement Act of 1945. This was a natural outgrowth of the Maori War Effort Organisation and was intended to give it permanent form. It was also an attempt to update the old Maori Coun- - 189 cils Act. The Native Minister and his Department were not particularly keen on the measure, but the Hon. Eruera Tirikatene was able, with the support of the Labour Party organisation, to persuade the Government to adopt it. The Act established a network of tribal committees which were grouped into tribal executives. These were given limited powers of self-government and an extremely wide brief to improve the social, economic, moral and spiritual well-being of Maoris. Amongst their functions was included the interesting one of preserving, reviving and maintaining the teaching of Maori arts, language, genealogy and history “in order to perpetuate Maori culture.” 92 The Government was also prepared to to subsidise the funds committees raised so that from the Maori view-point the Act recognised Maori social structure and Maoris' own aspirations. By 1949 there were 63 tribal executives and 381 committees.

The other important development was setting up in 1946 of a Welfare Division within the Department of Maori Affairs. This division was expected to co-operate with Maori organisations to improve Maori living standards. Maori welfare officers were expected to investigate Maori working and living conditions, to provide material for appropriate action, to act as a liaison group for Maoris with other Government Departments, to arrange employment and accommodation for Maoris, and to advise and assist with applications for housing, housing loans and social security benefits. 93 The division's work expanded rapidly till by 1949 there were 34 welfare officers who handled some 10,000 cases. Significantly enough, the division was headed by a Maori, Mr R. Royal, and a high proportion of the officers were Maoris.

One of their most important tasks was to form women's welfare committees “to instill mother and housecraft skill into the Maori community.” 94 The number of such committees grew rapidly till in 1951 a conference of delegates from these committees formed the Maori Women's Welfare League. The main objects of the league are to promote fellowship and understanding between Maori and Pakeha, to instruct Maori women in the care of home and children, to encourage the practice of Maori arts and generally to further the welfare of the Maori people. The league is subsidised by the Government and is still perhaps the most active of all Maori national organisations.

The other important policy pursued by the Government was to increase the numbers of Maoris in the Department of Maori Affairs, to appoint them to the permanent staff and to promote them to senior positions. The culmination of this policy came when a Maori, Mr Ropiha, was appointed Secretary of Maori Affairs in 1948. 95 However, other Maoris appear to have benefited also by this policy since the rehabilitation schemes and the numbers of Maoris in skilled employment rose markedly.

- 190
Maoris in Skilled Occupations 96
  1936 1951
Carpenter 92 2,645 1
Nurse 38 85
Plumber 5 57
Male School Teacher 23 119
Female School Teacher 42 288
Clerical or Professional Officer in Government 56 297
1   No figures available for 1951 so 1956 Maori Census figures used.

After 1951, the situation began to change again. The 1940s proved to be a highpoint in rural prosperity. With the ending of the Korean War boom, prices for New Zealand's main exports tended to be less favourable and farm incomes grew more slowly than those of other sectors. Falling returns for farm produce, shrinking employment opportunities and overpopulation in relation to land resources were to force migration to the cities. 97

Median Male Incomes: Maori and Pakeha
Census Maori Pakeha Maori income as Percentage of Pakeha
  £ £  
1926 132 205 65.9
1936 63 160 39.4
1951 352 486 72.4

The 1926 and 1936 census figures relate only to the incomes of Maoris in cities and predominantly Pakeha areas such as the South Island. They consequently exaggerate the effects of the Depression and the subsequent improvement in Maori incomes in 1951 and do not allow for Ngata's land development schemes. However, if all Maori incomes had been taken for the 1926 census period the figures would have been substantially lower. If allowance is made for this and the youth and unskilled nature of Maori employment, progress is impressive. In the United States, for instance, in 1953, the median income of Negro male workers was only 62 percent of that of white male workers and by 1963 this had actually fallen to 57 percent.

Figures compiled from N.Z.P.C. 1926, 1936 and 1951 Maori Censuses.


In 1945, H. McQueen believed that Maoris were in danger of being caught in the classical “closed circle” of underdevelopment in which poor health comes from bad diet and poor housing deriving from low incomes which in turn can only be improved by steady employment. However, such employment is available only to those whose education has been adequate. But people with low incomes cannot give their children adequate education so that the children cannot enter the “progressive em- - 191 ployment” which will give them the incomes to raise their standards of living. 98

Both Ngata's land development and Labour's welfare policies helped to break this circle, partly by making health, housing and educational facilities readily available, largely by creating a “full employment” economy and special development projects that enabled Maoris to find a job and therefore earn a regular living. 99 If allowance is made for the youth of Maoris, their relative lack of education and the unskilled nature of Maori employment, the rise in living standards was impressive, particularly in comparison with the Negro in the United States. 100

The criticism that can be levelled at the policies pursued in the 1930s and 1940s is that they tended to provide a safety net below which people could not fall, and were based on the assumption that if an opportunity were offered, such as free secondary education, Moaris could take full advantage of it. In fact, it was only in the 1960s that the full difficulties of educating a minority culture were appreciated and the need for special assistance realised. Nor was any real attempt made to move Maoris into skilled and professional occupations, though the Government's attention had been specifically drawn to the need for Maori vocational guidance in H. McQueen's Vocations for Maori Youth 101 and, as early as 1940, Professor H. Belshaw had pointed out that not more than a quarter of the Maori population could find employment on Maori land. 102 Another criticism is that progress was not uniform throughout the country. 103

However, this period saw more than an improvement in the standard of living of the Maori people. I have suggested the term “renaissance” in this article because it seems to me the most appropriate to describe what happened in the hitherto isolated and divided Maori communities. There - 192 was a conscious attempt, and I believe a partially successful one, to come to terms with Pakeha society while retaining Maori culture. Best, Ngata and Buck recorded traditional Maori lore and Maori songs. More than this, there was a dramatic revival in Maori artistic forms. The haka, waiata, and a new art form, the action song, all flourished and there were major new compositions. Oratory, a very distinctively Maori art, while it may have lost some esoteric knowledge, certainly retained the technical skill of the past. The grimacing, contorted figures of the the carved meeting houses are the most tangible monuments of the revival of the human spirit that created them and the vigorous community life that supported them. There was a new self-confidence and conscious pride in being Maori that began to gain Pakeha respect.

But this very revival in self-confidence and improved standard of living and education caused a shift in Maori attitudes. Maoris generally had wanted better housing and consumer goods and came to want these with a growing urgency as the radio, the war and better education opened new horizons to them. Sir Apirana Ngata held that the Maori should not equal but rather “approximate to” Pakeha standards. In this, he probably spoke for the majority of the traditional leaders, and for those of his own generation. However, the sad fact was that the measures that were undertaken in pursuit of enabling the Maori to survive as a Maori also introduced into Maori society attitudes and pressures that opened the way for the “Great Migration” of the 1950s.

As the Maori began to enjoy a better income, more social services, better health and a generally higher standard of living, his level of expectations also rose, so that he, too, wanted a “Pakeha” standard of living. Maoris became just as anxious to acquire consumer goods as any other section of the community. As P. W. Hohepa noted in his study A Maori Community in Northland:

Another cause of economic hardship is that a desire for modern consumer goods encourages people to live beyond their income. Hire purchase makes this possible and those that cannot make ends meet must seek work elsewhere. 104

Young people, benefiting from the better spread of Welfare State services, were more at ease with Pakeha society. Indeed, they had many of its economic and even social aspirations.

The Rural Maori Renaissance was an essential element in this process of “integration” for both cultures, since it gave the Maori an opportunity to re-organise and, inevitably, adapt his social life in the dominant Pakeha society, while at the same time he recovered his confidence in himself. This has made possible a more confident approach by Maoris to urban living and, given further major efforts, a possibility of equality and a genuinely multi-cultural society. There are still difficulties and problems, but the gap is far less than it might have been. It is fair to say that New Zealand cities did not face problems of the same magnitude that Northern - 193 cities in the United States did with the continued migration of Negroes from the South in the twentieth century. This may eventually be seen to be the great contribution of Ngata and the Ratana movement.


Acknowledgement is made of financial assistance from both the University Grants Committee and the Massey Research Committee. I should like to express my sincere thanks to Miss Hornabrook and the other members of National Archives and to the staff of the Alexander Turnbull Library. I should also like to thank Mr McEwen, the Secretary of Maori and Island Affairs, for permission to use the records of his department at National Archives, and Mr Mitcalfe and Mr Trlin for reading an earlier draft of the work and encouraging me to press on with it. Mrs Boyd, Professor Kawharu and Professor Oliver also read the final draft and I gratefully acknowledge their assistance.

  • Abbreviations: A.J.H.R.—Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives.
  • M.A.—Department of Maori Affairs Records.
  • N.Z.P.C.—New Zealand Population Census.
  • N.Z.P.D.—New Zealand Parliamentary Debates.
  • ANON, 1929. “Maori Claims to Certain North Island Lakes.” Te Wananga 1:128-40.
  • Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives 1920 to 1951. Wellington. Government Printer.
  • Auckland Star
  • AUSUBEL, D. P., 1965. The Fern and the Tiki. New York, Holt Rinehart and Winston.
  • BARRINGTON, J. M., 1965. “An Historical Review of Policies and Provisions,” in “A Symposium on Maori Scholastic Achievement,” New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 1:1-14.
  • BEAGLEHOLE, E. and P., 1946. Some Modern Maoris. Christchurch, New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
  • BELSHAW, Horace, 1940. “Economic Circumstances (of the Maori),” in I. L. G. Sutherland (ed.), The Maori People Today. Wellington, New Zealand Council for Educational Research, pp. 182-228.
  • BUTTERWORTH, G. V. et al, 1967. The Maori in the New Zealand Economy. Wellington, Department of Industries and Commerce.
  • BUTTERWORTH, G. V., 1965. “Maori Education in Historical Perspective.’ Polynesian Studies, 1:36-40.
  • —— 1966. Maori Migration: Regional Movements and Economic Trends. Unpublished Paper.
  • —— 1968. Sir Apirana Ngata. Wellington, A. H. and A. W. Reed.
  • —— 1969. The Politics of Adaptation: The Career of Sir Apirana Ngata, 1874-1928. M.A. Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington.
  • CODY, J., 1953. Man of Two Worlds. Wellington, A. H. and A. W. Reed.
  • CONDLIFFE, J. B., 1930. New Zealand in the Making. London, Allen and Unwin.
  • COWAN, J., 1926. The Maoris in the Great War. Auckland, Whitcombe and Tombs.
- 194
  • DALE, W. S., 1931. “The Maori Language”, in P. M. Jackson (ed.), The Maori and Education in New Zealand and its Dependencies. Wellington, Ferguson and Osborne, pp. 249-60.
  • Department of Maori Affairs Records. National Archives, Wellington. 105
  • FIRTH, R., 1959. Economics of the New Zealand Maori. Wellington, Government Printer.
  • FLYNN, J. R., 1967. American Politics: A Radical View. Auckland, Blackwood and Janet Paul.
  • GORST, J. E., 1908. New Zealand Revisited: Recollections of the Days of My Youth. London, Pitman.
  • HENDERSON, J. M., 1963. Ratana: The Origins and Story of the Movement. Wellington, The Polynesian Society.
  • HOHEPA, P. W., 1964. A Maori Community in Northland. Anthropology Department, University of Auckland.
  • HUNN, J. K., 1961. Report on the Department of Maori Affairs. Wellington, Government Printer.
  • JACKSON, W. K., and WOOD, G. A., 1964. “The New Zealand Parliament and Maori Representation”. Historical Studies, 11:383-96.
  • JACKSON, P. M., 1931. The Maori and Education in New Zealand and its Dependencies. Wellington, Ferguson and Osborne.
  • KEESING, F. M., 1925. The Maori; 1925 and after. M.A. Thesis, University of Auckland.
  • —— 1929. “Maori Progress on the East Coast.” Te Wananga, 1:10-56 and 92-127.
  • KELLY, R. A., 1962. “The Politics of Racial Equality.” New Zealand Journal of Public Administration, 24:23-36.
  • MCLEOD, E., 1970. “Mrs Rangikamaea Randell.” Te Maori, 5:8.
  • MCDONNELL, A. F., M. S. Papers. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  • MCQUEEN, H., 1945. Vocations for Maori Youth. Wellington, New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
  • METGE, A. J., 1964. A New Maori Migration: Rural and Urban Relations in Northern New Zealand, London, Athlone Press.
  • —— 1967. The Maoris of New Zealand. London, Rutledge and Keegan Paul.
  • New Zealand Official Yearbook, 1952. Wellington, Government Printer.
  • New Zealand Parliamentary Debates. Wellington, Government Printer.
  • New Zealand Population Census. 1921, 1926, 1936, 1951, 1961, Wellington, Government Printer.

The following volumes were referred to:

  • 1921. Census General Report.
  • 1926. Census Vol. VII: Maori Census.
  • 1936. Census Vol. XVI: Maori and Half Caste Population.
  • 1951. Census Vol. VI: Maori Census.
  • 1956. Census Vol. VIII: Maori Population and Dwellings.
  • 1961. Census Vol. 8: Maori Population and Dwellings.
  • O'CONNOR, P. S., 1967. “The Recruitment of Maori Soldiers, 1914-18.” Political Science, 19:48-83.
  • POCOCK, J. G. A. (ed.), 1965. The Maori and New Zealand Politics. Auckland, Blackwood and Janet Paul.
  • POOL, I., 1962. The Life Expectation of Maoris. Unpublished Paper.
  • —— 1963. Maori Mortality Rates since 1926. Unpublished Paper.
  • —— 1964. The Maori Population: Methodological Problems and the Problem of Accuracy. Unpublished Paper.
- 195
  • RAMSDEN, Eric, MSa. Life of Princess Te Puea. Unpublished MS, Ramsden Papers, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. 106
  • —— MSb. Buck/Ngata Correspondence, 1928-39. Ramsden Papers, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.†
  • RITCHIE, J. E. (ed.), 1964. Race Relations: Six New Zealand Studies. Wellington, Department of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington.
  • ROSE, R. T., 1964. Infant and Foetal Loss in New Zealand. Wellington, Department of Health.
  • SCHWIMMER, Erik, 1967. “The Maori Village,” in J. G. A. Pocock (ed.), The Maori and New Zealand Politics, Auckland. Blackwood and Janet Paul pp. 72-9.
  • SORRENSON, M. P. K., 1967. Maori and European Since 1870. Auckland, Auckland, Heinemann Educational Books.
  • SUTCH, W. B., 1966. Poverty and Progress in New Zealand: A Re-assessment. Wellington, A. H. and A. W. Reed.
  • STONE, P. A., 1970. Urban Development in Britain. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  • SUTHERLAND, I. L. G. (ed.), 1940. The Maori People Today. Wellington, New Zealand Institute for International Affairs and New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
  • THORN, J., 1952. Peter Fraser: New Zealand's Wartime Prime Minister. London, Odhams Press.
  • VOELKERLING, R. G., 1970. Race Relations in the Waimarino. M.A. Thesis Massey University.
  • WARD, R. G., 1955. Land Development in the Taupo Country. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Auckland.
1   Firth 1959:457-8.
2   Sorrenson 1967:16-22.
3   Compiled from the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (cited hereafter as A.J.H.R.) G9 1912 to 1921.
4  Schwimmer 1967:72.
5   Dale 1931:252-3.
6   My own estimates, based on a comparison of the 1926 Census and the 1926 Education Statistics in A.J.H.R. 1927:E-3.
7   Metge (1964:98) has pointed out the high degree of rural mobility in North Auckland even before World War I. I found that in a list of workers from Wairoa for a Land Development Scheme there was a notable number from other areas who had settled in Wairoa. M.A. 31/9.
8   A.J.H.R. 1939:G9:2.
9   Kelly 1962:27.
10   A.J.H.R. 1929:G11.
11   Metge 1967:59.
12   Butterworth 1969:102-3.
13   Keesing 1929:10-56 and 92-127.
14   Butterworth 1969:242-5.
15   Ibid:243.
16   See Henderson 1963 for a full discussion.
17   A.J.H.R. 1920:H-31:13.
18   O'Connor 1967:48-83.
19   N.Z.P.C. Maori Census, 1936:V.
20   Calculated from the N.Z.P.C. General Report 1921; Census 1925:64.
21   Gorst 1908:67.
22   Information from Professor Oliver.
23   Voelkerling 1970:17-23.
24   Auckland Star, 9 September, 1911.
25   Keesing 1925:1.
26   A.J.H.R. 1926:G-9:2.
27   A.J.H.R. 1920:G-9:3.
28   Butterworth 1969:213-18.
29   See “Evidence given before a Committee of Inquiry into the Employment of Maoris by Asiatics.” M.A. 1929/356.
30   Jackson 1931:6.
31   Ramsden MSb: Buck to Ngata 20 November, 1929. Ramsden Papers Folder 303.
32   See his reports in A.J.H.R. H-31 from 1920 to 1927.
33   Compiled from N.Z.P.C. 1926 p. 57. Maoris as a group where not asked on the Maori census form distributed by the special Maori enumerators to fill in their names. However, where there were only a small number of Maoris, they were dealt with by the ordinary enumerators and filled out the same forms as Pakehas. In practice, only Maoris living in cities and towns, the South Island and parts of Wellington Province would have filled in ordinary census forms.
34   Greater detail for the sections on the 1920s can be found in Butterworth 1969:169-267.
35   Condliffe 1930:240.
36   A.J.H.R. 1921-22:G-5.
37   Anon 1929:139.
38   A.J.H.R. 1928:G8.
39   Butterworth 1964:36-40. Figures were calculated on the basis of the 1926 N.Z.P.C Maori Census and the 1920 “Report on Maori Education” A.J.H.R. E-5.
40   Ramsden MSb: Ngata to Buck 17 December, 1928. Ramsden Papers Folder 302.
41   For a detailed description of the manoeuvres see Butterworth 1969:218-24.
42   Ramsden MSb: Ngata to Buck 9 February, 1928. Ramsden Papers Folder 301.
43   There is a slightly longer version of Ngata's work as Native Minister Butterworth 1968. This section is based on the Buck-Ngata correspondence (Ramsden MSb) Parliamentary Debates, Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives and the files of the Department of Maori Affairs housed in National Archives. The sources of direct quotes or specific references have been indicated.
44   Ramsden MSb: Ngata to Buck 17 December, 1928. Ramsden Papers Folder 302.
45   Ramsden MSb: Ngata to Buck 24 June, 1929. Ramsden Papers Folder 303.
46   A.J.H.R. 1934:G-10:48; A.J.H.R. 1934-35:B-7A:58. A.J.H.R. 1936:G-10:10.
47   “Report of the Native Affairs Commission,” A.J.H.R. 1934:G-11.
48   Auckland Star, 1 April, 1933.
49   Under-Secretary Native Department to Registrars Maori Land Boards 8 January, 1930. [sic: should be 1931] M.A. 6/2.
50   A.J.H.R. 1932-33:G-9:2, A.J.H.R. 1937-38:G-10:4, 93-94.
51   Ramsden MSa: Chapter XII p. 19, Ramsden Papers Folder 358.
52   Ibid:20.
53   Ibid:13-14.
54   H. Holland to T. McDonnell 22 November, 1931. McDonnell MS.
55   Ramsden MSb: Ngata to Buck 6 January, 1936. Ramsden Papers Folder 310c.
56   A.J.H.R. 1939:G-10:1; A.J.H.R. B-7A:5.
57   Interview with Mr L. Coughlan, Rotorua, 15 December, 1970.
58   A.J.H.R. G-10:1940:5. This 10 percent is based upon the number of houses in the 1926 and 1936 N.Z.P.C. Maori Censuses.
59   Figures Calculated from Hunn 1961:131. and 1951 N.Z.P.C. Maori Census:47.
60   N.Z.P.C. 1936 Maori Census:11 and 44. Also 1951 Maori Census:47-48. This definition of overcrowding is set at the level of over 2 people a room which was the English definition in 1935 (Stone 1970:73).
61   Jackson and Wood 1964:383-96.
62   N.Z.P.D. Vol. 273:420.
63   Cody 1953:122-3.
64   Interview with P. te H. Jones, Wellington, 10 November, 1969.
65   Interview with Arnold Reedy, Gisborne, 12 January, 1970.
66   A.J.H.R. 1936 H-33A :33 and A.J.H.R. 1939 H.33A:31.
67   Ramsden Msb: Ngata to Buck 15 July, 1940. Ramsden Papers Folder 310c.
68   See:38 for a fuller discussion of the nature and work of the Maori War Effort Organisation. See Butterworth et al 1967:18-48 for discussion of economic changes and population movements since 1936.
69   Beaglehole 1946:25, 35-43 and 67.
70   Ibid:42.
71   Rose 1964:42.
72   Ibid:47.
73   Pool 1962:2-4.
74   Pool 1964:30.
75   Pool 1963:6-19.
76   Sutch 1966:364.
77   Barrington 1965:9-10.
78   These figures were calculated from the Education Reports for 1936 and 1954 in the Parliamentary Appendices and from the 1936 and 1951 N.Z.P.C. Maori Censuses.
79   Ausubel (1965:140) noted this quality in Maori children. It is also implied by Metge 1964:258-63.
80   Ritchie 1964:77, 81, and 82.
81   N.Z.P.D. Vol. 272:472.
82   McLeod 1970:8.
83   Ausubel 1965:230.
84   Butterworth, et al. 1967:42.
85   N.Z. Official Year Book 1952:915.
86   For example, McQueen 1945:88.
87   Henderson 1963:86; Thorn 1952:243.
88   Ibid:244.
89   A.J.H.R. 1949:G-9:2.
90   1947 Maori Purposes Act.
91   Henderson:89.
92   N.Z.P.D. Vol. 272:515.
93   A.J.H.R. 1946:G-9:2-3. A.J.H.R. G-9:10.
94   A.J.H.R. 1949:G-9:10.
95   Ibid:20.
96   Compiled from 1936, 1951 and 1956 N.Z.P.C.
97   Butterworth, et al. 1967:34-8.
98   McQueen 1945:1.
99   Perhaps the impact can best be seen on incomes:
100   Flynn 1967:133.
101   McQueen 1945
102   Belshaw 1940:190.
103   In this paper it has not been possible to discuss what was happening to individual tribes and their responses to Government policies. Educational facilities, housing, health services and welfare benefits could, to a great extent, be made available to everybody. Land development and the cultural and community revival all depended on a variety of local and regional factors such as historical experience, attitude of tribal and local leaders, interest and experience in farming, availability of suitable land and adequate transport. These differences can be seen most strikingly in the decline of land development.
North Auckland land tended to be of poor quality and had been divided into too many holdings too early so that the enthusiasm for land development had waned by at least the early 1940s. In Rotorua, the late 1940s seem to have seen disillusionment with land development as a solution to Maori economic problems. In Waiapu County on the East Coast significant areas of land, high prices for primary produce, lack of alternative employment and strong tribal leadership ensured that enthusiasm for farming was undiminished until the late 1950s. In Taupo, Maori land development was still continuing unabated in the early 1960s.
I am indebted to Professor Kawharu for making this general point and informing me about the North Auckland situation. Mrs Hingston and Mr Coughlin, both both of Rotorua, commented on the Horohoro Scheme that enthusiasm ran out in the 1940s because returns from the farms were too small. Ward (1955) presents a picture of vigorous land development in Taupo county. It was not until the 1961 main census that there was notable migration from Waiapu county (Butterworth 1966).
104   Hohepa 1969:43-5.
105   Available only with the consent of the Department of Maori and Island Affairs.
106   Available only by permission of the Librarian.