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The Pakeha-Maori

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Pakeha Maori is a term referring to early European settlers in New Zealand who lived among the Maori people. There were those who were slaves to the Maori, while others settled among the Maori by their own conviction. However, many of the Pakeha Maori were runaway seamen or escaped convicts. They were treated well by the Maori communities; they could marry and were treated as Maori. The Pakeha Maori were highly prized due to the importance of trade in western goods and the rarity value of Europeans in New Zealand. As they lived among the communities, there were those who achieved a high stature among the Maori; there were those who fought in battle against the Europeans, while a few received the facial tattoo known as the “moko”. However, with the arrival of many more Europeans, their status fell. They were forced to adopt the western culture and English language as the European government was extended over the whole country.

Most of the Pakeha Maori settled in New Zealand as traders (King, 1985). The largest of their group before 1840 were mostly traders. They sold a number of things on behalf of the communities they lived in, for example, timber, flax, potatoes, and pigs. On the other hand, they bought for them food, muskets, clothing and alcohol. Louis Hetet was among the most successful traders. He was a French whaler who introduced European crops and livestock to the King Country around that period. Moreover, his descendants in the area known as Te Kuiti include a number of renowned traditional weavers.

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Another successful trader was Dicky Barrett. According to Trevor, he eventually opened a hotel in Port Nicholson, which came later to be known as Wellington. It became the most important building in the new settlement for a couple of years. Besides running the hotel, Barrett also acted as an interpreter. He came to be described as the main medium of communication between the New Zealand Company and Maori in almost all their affairs or businesses. Phillip Tapsell was Danish born who settled at Maketu in the Bay of Plenty. He became a successful trader by trading gunpowder, muskets, and a number of other goods for flux. Among his many descendants include the former cabinet minister Sir Peter Tapsell.

All in all, the Pakeha-Maori were instrumental in that they acted as intermediaries. Europeans knew of the existence of wealth in New Zealand through sealing, whaling, flax, and timber, and this is where intermediaries came in to smooth the transactions. On the other hand, the Maori were aware that there were potential benefits of establishing relationships with several Europeans. It is then that their women were used as a means of attracting or keeping a Pakeha in the Community, which eventually ensured contact with the other Europeans.

The Pakeha Maori did a lot to influence of interactions with the Maori communities. Most of them were integrated into the society as they went about their businesses. Due to their being outnumbered by the Maori, the Pakeha Maori had to depend on the local communities for safety and support. It became essential for the Pakeha Maori to be married to Maori women. This was so due to the Maori’s culture and beliefs; they viewed marriage as a way of binding the new comers. By the newcomers getting married to the local girls, they were assured of their loyalty and trade. Moreover, their children would be kept within the tribe. Manuel Jose, a Spanish whaler, married five chiefly Ngati Porou women, and each bore a child for him. He lived on the East Coast of the North Island and worked as a trader in the 1830s. It is believed that his descendants number several thousands in the region by now.

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There are some Pakeha Maori who became warriors, and were expected to fight alongside the tribespeople who adopted them (Trevor, 1999). James Caddell, a sealer, was only thirteen years old when his fellow shipmates were captured and terminated in 1810 by Ngai Tahu Maori. He was saved due to his young age and the fact that he was offered protection by a chief’s daughter, Tokitoki. He was then expected to fight alongside the fellowmen who spared his life. He later married the chief’s daughter and given a full facial moko. He learned the Maori language and spoke very fluently.

European traders Dicky Barrett and Jacky Love

Barret and Love were both given Maori names. Barrett was Tiki Parete while Love became known as Hakirau. Barrett married Wakaiwa, the daughter of Eruera Te Puke Ki Mahurangi, a leading chief. On the other hand, both Barrett and Love, with other Europeans, were part of the successful repulsion of a Waikato taua in 1832. James Caddell was a Pakeha-Maori who acquired the status of chief due to his ability of fighting along his hosts. He believed that the traditional weapons such as the short club were very much superior to European weapons. It is important to note that, a number of the Pakeha-Maori became wealthy traders by acting as intermediaries in trade between Europeans and the Maori. Without their skills and expertise in trade, things could have been different in New Zealand. Through them, the Maori got the things they wanted, for example, food, muskets, clothing and alcohol, while they sold for them timber, flax, potatoes, and pigs.

When these traders appear in New Zealand, they impacted a lot on the economy, as well as the occupation patterns of the local people. Notably, before any contact with the Europeans, the main crops grown were kumara, taro, and gourds. Wheat, potatoes, as well as other European fruits and vegetable, were grown later with the establishment of European contact through the Pakeha-Maori; other things that got to be introduced included maize, pigs, and potatoes. The Pakeha-Maori also influenced the population of the Maori in that; their children learned both English and the local language. It is important to note that the Maori were purely by themselves before the Pakeha-Maori came into the picture later in 1840s. They added into their population a number of other descendants who would become part and parcel of the Maori.

The Pakeha-Maori deemed it fit to adapt to the lifestyle of the Maori people. This was very important for their protection and welfare in general. Moreover, it was important for the Pakeha-Maori to integrate into the communities they lived in to avoid any suspicion. One of the most important aspects was marriage to a Maori native. By this, The Maori felt the Pakehas had become one of them and an important aspect of their community. Children who would be born out of this marriage would still be a Maori, so they saw this as a way of maintaining a relationship with the European world. It is important to note that, some Pakeha Maoris were respected by the Maori despite the fact that other Europeans despised them.

They also took part in several cultural traditions like getting or accepting a facial moko. By getting this type of tattoo, they eventually became respected members of the society as some of them event became tribesmen and chiefs, or were connected to influential chiefs by marrying the daughters of chiefs. A number of strong Pakeha-Maori even fought alongside their tribes men against European invasion. This depicted the fact that they had eventually accepted and become part of the Maori people besides accepting their culture.    

Conclusion

Pakeha Maori were early European settlers in New Zealand who lived among the Maori people. Many of the Pakeha Maori were runaway seamen or escaped convicts. They were treated well by the Maori communities; they could marry and were treated as Maori. The Pakeha Maori were highly prized due to the importance of trade in western goods and the rarity value of Europeans in New Zealand. The Pakeha Maori were integrated into the society as they went about their businesses. Due to their being outnumbered by the Maori, the Pakeha Maori had to depend on the local communities for safety and support. It became essential for the Pakeha Maori to be married to Maori women. By the newcomers getting married to the local girls, they were assured of their loyalty and trade. Moreover, their children would be kept within the tribe. Moreover, there are some Pakeha Maori who became warriors, and were expected to fight alongside the tribespeople who adopted them.

The Pakeha-Maori impacted a lot on the economy, as well as the occupation patterns of the local people. Notably, they introduced trade into the community and a number of new crops, for example, wheat, potatoes, as well as other European fruits and vegetable. The Pakeha-Maori deemed it fit to adapt to the lifestyle of the Maori people. This was very important for their protection and welfare in general. However, with the arrival of many more Europeans, their status fell. They were forced to adopt the western culture and English language as the European government was extended over the whole country. Examples of well-known Pakeha-Maori include Louis Hetet, Dicky Barrett, Phillip Tapsell, Manuel Jose, and Jacky love.

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