Art. XII.—The Maoris To-day and To-morrow. (No. 2.)
[Read before the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 13th October, 1902.]
There is something fascinating in the Maori race. As a people they win the sympathy of every lover of humankind. Brave, generous, thriftless, courteous, and unstable, such are their characteristics when left to themselves, but under the higher influences of civilisation they are progressive, intelligent, appreciative, and ambitious. Few peoples have had so much written of them during the comparatively few years they have been in contact with the higher civilisation of the world. Americans, Frenchmen, Austrians, Germans, Englishmen, and colonists alike have written of them, praising and blaming according to circumstances of time and place. As one who has studied their characteristics for many years, and coming in contact as I do with them along the whole of the East Coast as far as Cape Runaway, I have little but praise to bestow upon this fading but noble race of people. A mere handful amidst the conflicting influences of a new social and political environment, there is little wonder that they should have misunderstood and have been misunderstood by colonists. The conflicts that have taken place since the incoming of Europeans into their land have only tended to bring out more prominently their leading characteristics. Until the latter quarter of the nineteenth century they were a factor to be considered by colonists, but of late their advancing civilisation(?) and their diminution have tended to lessen anxiety, until at the present time no one thinks that any danger is likely to result from disaffection among isolated hapus to be found among the Ureweras or other of the native tribes.
The interest in the native race to-day is mainly centred in the question of their probable continuance as a people and a nation. Contact with a higher civilisation has not always been of benefit to a conquered people, and the question has more than once been discussed as to whether the Maori race is doomed to disappear before the advancing strides of civilised Saxondom. In discussing the probabilities surrounding this interesting subject it may be well to inquire into matters
of native life and ways that throw us back to the days when few dwelt in New Zealand other than natives and missionaries, and we shall see how far changes have been made in the Maori forms of social life such as are likely to benefit the race and be counted as factors in estimating the possibilities of their continuance as a living force among the colonists.
The returns of the census that was taken in the month of February, 1901, have now been published, and it would appear from a memorandum, to the Hon. the Native Minister, appended to Maori census returns by Mr. Under-Secretary Waldegrave, that there has actually been an increase in the Maori population since 1896, when the previous census was taken, of over 8 per cent.; in other words, the native population is stated as having risen from 39,854 in 1896 to 43,101 in 1901. This result, it must be confessed, is most satisfactory as far as figures are concerned, and when at the same time the returns of the population show a marked diminution in the number of half-castes there is reason to hope that the influences working for the betterment of the native race may yet have the effect of staying their decadence and early disappearance, such as has already come about in the case of the Tasmanian natives. But although the census returns have evidently been arranged and carried out with much care by the official enumerators in the several districts, and possibly few errors have been made, it is still very doubtful whether the returns that have been made and published at former periods when the census has been taken were more than mere approximations. In 1867 the estimated population of the native race was returned at 38,540, and in 1871 at 37,520. When the first census attempted by the Colonial Government was made in 1874 the returns gave 45,470 as the native population, and in 1891 the numbers had fallen to 41,993. Then in 1896, as already explained, the statistics of population gave only 39,854; but since then a change has taken place of so marked a character that it would appear as if some cause had been operating to stay the constant diminution of population such as previous censuses from 1874 had shown to be going on. No one who is acquainted with the homes of the natives can doubt for a moment that wherever there has been contact with the Europeans improvements in many ways have taken place; but habit is a difficult thing to overcome, and men and women who have lived under certain conditions for half a lifetime are not likely to change suddenly their mode of living by merely listening to what their children tell them of hygiene and the way to maintain good health.
The Rev. William Yate, in 1835, wrote in his book
on New Zealand: “There are comparatively but few old people in New Zealand—scarcely any who have much exceeded fifty years of age. War, accidents, diseases have made sad havoc among them”; but just as the tohunga is to-day looked upon with favour and trustfulness by the older natives, even beyond the powers of the medical practitioner of the colonists, so in the matter of living the natives who at present dwell in isolated and remote districts look upon their ancestors as their ideals and type, and they prefer to follow their ways and customs rather than hearken to what the children have to say who are taught by the pakeha, and who do not know the ways of the great ancestors of their race. Yet it is the new influence that is the more active. The schools modify thought, and the old legends and tales of the pa are neglected or forgotten for the tales and stories told in the reading-books. Intercourse with the Europeans, the power to use the English language, and the formation of early habits of thought in English are all tending to the assimilation of the Maori. He reads Hans Andersen's fairy stories, but is not made aware of the stirring episodes in the history of his own people, and of the beautiful stories and legends that adorn the history of his own race. Surely the assimilative process is active in the school life of the children. But has the Maori race ever increased in the land so much as to make it probable that as a people they may yet be able to maintain a position in the country in face of the new forces that are operating under the controlling influence of Saxondom? The answer is one of doubt. Every year the relative position of the Maori and the colonist is changing. Even when there is an increase of the native population it cannot compare with the proportionate increase among the colonists, and although there is a process of assimilation going on it is more apparent than real.
We are not in possession of sufficient evidence to guide us as to the population of Morioris who once lived in New Zealand, but who now are limited to the Chatham Islands, and number, according to the census, thirteen of pure blood and eighteen half-caste Moriori and Maori. Nor are we sure as to the time when they were overcome by the Maoris, who drove them southward; but when the Europeans first came into contact with the New-Zealanders the northern and eastern coasts of the North Island were the most populous, although settlement had taken place towards the interior and within the precincts of the volcanic area. The settlements in the Rotorua, Taupo, and Tokaanu districts imply, it seems to me, a much longer dwelling in the land than is generally supposed. The natives are naturally subject to peculiar fears. The darkness to them typifies the unseen, the un-
known danger, vengeance, death. They dread the influence of the atua, for every bad event, whether of fear, or pain, or disease, was the outcome of anger on the part of an active avenger, who to them only manifested himself to show displeasure, resentment, or vengeance. Taupo was in truth a place of darkness; but at the time of the incoming of the colonists all its terrors to the natives had passed away, and the unknown and dreaded forces which manifest themselves within the volcanic zone from time to time had little or no dread for the thousands of natives who resided within the limits of devastating influences of the active volcanoes of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, Ruapehu, and Edgecumbe.
And, as showing the long residence of the natives in the country, the legends concerning the extinct volcanoes of Pihanga, near Tokaanu, of Egmont, in Taranaki, and of Tongariro and Ngauruhoe, imply settlement in the vicinity of the volcanoes at the time of great activity, such as must have modified very largely the topographical aspects of the country. One legend runs to the effect that Egmont at one time stood on the spot now known as Lake Roto-aira, that Tongariro was in love with Pihanga, and that Egmont, having made improper advances to Pihanga, was struck by Tongariro and forced to flee to where he now stands. Of the volcano Ngauruhoe the story runs “that when Ngatororirangi, the chief priest, or tohunga, who piloted the ‘Arawa’ canoe from Hawaiki, with Tia, another great chief, took possession of the country extending from the Bay of Islands to Ruapehu for his people, he ascended Ngauruhoe (which at that time was not a volcano) to perform his needful incantations. In accordance with Maori rites he set up a tuahu, or altar, so as to insure to his people the possession of the country and a happy and fruitful future. When in the midst of his karakias, or incantations, the cold was so intense that it seemed as if he must die. It then occurred to him to send for the sacred fire, which was kept during his absence in the custody of his sisters, Hoata and Pupu. Seeing them at that moment on Whakaari, or White Island [120 miles], he urged them to bring the fire if they would save him from perishing. In response one of his sisters dived into the sea in the direction of Tongariro, and reached her starving brother in time to save him from a cruel death. In her passage underground she set fire to the world below, hence the hot springs, puias, fumeroles, & c., in the line of route. In commemoration of the event Ngatororirangi left the sacred fire burning in the mountain.” Then, again, the word “Ruapehu” implies a shattering or a breaking to pieces, and it may have been that the name was given in response to the explosions and the ejection of stones of many varie-
ties such as have no doubt been cast from the mountain at different times and of which the Rangipo Desert bears full testimony. These legends concerning the volcanic area, which might easily be increased, imply a long residence in the country, for clearly great changes must have taken place in the surface features of the entire district extending from the Bay of Plenty to Ruapehu, and even to Taranaki, and yet everything is embraced in the period since the arrival of the tohunga who led the “Arawa” canoe to the shores of New Zealand.
But, notwithstanding the long residence of the Maoris, they do not appear to have ever reached in population the numbers to be found in a third- or fourth-rate town in England. The Rev. Mr. Yate, in “An Account of New Zealand,” published in 1835, says (page 164), “The population of the whole northern island may, perhaps, be taken at one hundred and sixty thousand, though possibly there may be more. Twenty-eight thousand would, perhaps, be the utmost extent of numbers from the Bay [of Islands], taking in all tribes connected with it, down to the North Gape…. We know the total number of fighting-men in the northern island to be about forty thousand, and the number in the neighbourhood of the Bay and northward to be about seven thousand. What number there may be in the southern island we have hitherto had no means of ascertaining.”
As far as I can trace, the first estimate of the native population based upon a division of the Island into districts was made by the Rev. James Hamlin in the year 1842. His purpose was to show the actual number of fighting-men in the North Island, and he bases his estimate upon the number of births that had come under his immediate notice as a missionary and the number of those who survived in a certain hapu with which he was intimately acquainted. Knowing all the men and women of the hapu, he took careful count of the number of births and deaths during a given period, and then made an estimate of the fighting-men that would be available from the hapu, and then, dividing the whole of the Island into twenty-one districts, he gave an estimate of the population and of the probable number of fighting-men in the country. The information supplied by Mr. Hamlin appears to me as being of much public interest in connection with the Maori race; and, as the information is not easily available, I shall quote the facts here for the benefit of future students with a turn for statistics bearing upon the natives. “Perhaps,” says Mr. Hamlin, “the number of families I have written down,
with the number of children born and those who are now alive, will give us an idea of the number born and of the proportionate number of deaths:—
|Eight families grown up …||63||2||38||23|
|Nine families young …||28||0||17||11|
|Nine families young …||26||1||12||13|
These families have not been selected, but have been taken in little parties as they sat together…. It has been observed that two-thirds of the deaths in New Zealand take place under twenty years of age. If this is the case, I think half of them occur inefinfancy. Within a fortnight of our Sophia's birth, either before or after, there were five native children born of natives living near us, only one of whom is now alive. These died within six months of their birth. The one who is now alive was medicined and fed by us when he was ill. Some of the New-Zealanders have a great many children born—some as many as fourteen, others fifteen, and a few have had twenty; nor are these occurrences rare, and yet if five or six of these arrive at middle age it is considered a large family. When something of the kind was mentioned some time ago I was unwilling to admit the fact, but from my own observation I find it is the case. From 1835 to 1838 it was considered that the population decreased, but from 1838 to 1841 it has increased. If a reason be asked why so many of the New-Zealanders die in infancy, I should answer, first, from the idleness, negligence, and thoughtlessness of the mothers; and, secondly, from want of proper food and clothing. Some persons may perhaps think it difficult to reconcile the first of these with the hypothesis that generally prevails that the New-Zealanders in general are fond of their children. While this is the case, it is also true that they are very careless, inconsistent, and, I should in justice to them say, ignorant mothers…. With regard to the fighting-men, I think the natives are very correct in general in giving the number in each tribe. I subjoin a calculation of the number of inhabitants in each district and throughout the Island:—
|District, Station, and Location.||Fighting-men.||Total Inhabitants.|
|1. Church Missionary station, East and West Coasts Northern district; tribe, Raraua||1,500||4,500|
|2. West Coast, Wesleyan Missionary station, Hokianga district; Ngapuhi or Hokianga||1,200||3,600|
|3. East Coast, Church Missionary station, Bay of Islands, two districts, Taramai and Waimate; tribe, Ngapuhi||2,400||7,200|
|4. West Coast, Wesleyan Missionary station; Kaipara and Wairoa||400||1,200|
|5. West Coast, Church Missionary station, Waikato and Manukau; tribe, Waikato||6,000||18,000|
|6. East Coast, Church Missionary station, Thames district; tribe, Ngatimaru||1,300||3,9000|
|7. East Coast, Church Missionary station, Tauranga district, Bay of Plenty; tribe, Ngatiawa||700||2,100|
|8. East Coast (inland), Church Missionary station, Rotorua district; tribe, Ngatiwakawe||4,500||13,500|
|9. Middle of Island, Church Missionary station, Taupo district; tribe, Ngatituwaretoa||600||1,800|
|10. East Coast, Bay of Plenty, Whakatane district, Church Missionary Society; tribe, Ngatiawa||1,460||4,380|
|11. East Coast, Bay of Plenty, Opotiki district, Church Missionary Society; tribe, Wakatohea||800||2,400|
|12. East Coast (inland from Whakatane), Church Missionary Society; tribe, Urewera||1,000||3,000|
|13. East Coast, near Cape Runaway, Church Missionary Society, Torere district; tribe, Ngatiawa||1,200||3,600|
|14. West Coast, Wesleyan Missionary Society, Taranaki district; tribe, Ngatiawa||60||180|
|15. West Coast, Wesleyan Missionary Society, about Egmont; tribe, Taranaki||60||180|
|16. West Coast, Wesleyan Missionary Society, south of Egmont; tribe, Ngatiruanui||1,200||3,600|
|17. West Coast, Church Missionary Society, Wanganui district; tribe, Wanganui||1,800||5,400|
|18. West Coast, Church Missionary Society, Kapiti and adjacent district; tribe, Ngatitoa||1,000||3,000|
|19. South (Port Nicholson) and towards East Coast, Wesleyan Missionary Society; tribe, Ngatiawa||1,000||3,000|
|20. East Coast, Church Missionary Society, Mahia and Nukutaurua district||4,040||12,120|
|21. East Coast, Church Missionary Society, Waiapu, district; tribe, Ngapaeruru||6,000||18,000|
|Tate Apuree(?) Haikeke (between Port Nicholson and East Cape ?)||200||600|
|Supposed to be inland, and imperfectly known to Europeans||640||1920|
|Grand totals … …||40,000||120,000|
It will be noticed that Mr. Yate's estimate in 1835 exceeds that of Mr. Hamlin's in 1842 by 40,000, whilst the
number of fighting-men in each case is the same. Between 1835 and 1842 the country was very much disturbed, and fighting was frequent and fierce. But Mr. Hamlin had many opportunities of gaining information, and his figures may be accepted as approximately correct.
Sir George Grey, when Governor of the colony in 1851, accepted the estimate in his letters to the Home Government, and he had the best means of obtaining information at that time. (See despatch No. 121, Legislative, 1851.)
It is somewhat difficult to arrange the Maori census returns for 1901 in the same way as they are given in the above tabulation. The results on page 21 of the “Census of Maori Population for 1901” are arranged by counties, and it is hardly possible to compare the districts at the two periods. However, by putting together a whole district like that to the north of Auckland, for the purpose of comparing the present population with the estimate made in 1842, it will be found that marked changes have taken place. Adding together the first four districts named in Mr. Hamlin's table, the estimated population in 1842 was 16,500 Maoris, whilst the census returns for 1901 for the whole of the peninsula to the north of the Eden County gave a population of 9,651. The Waikato and Manukau districts were estimated at 18,000 natives in 1842, but the entire district from Eden County to the Piako County contains to-day less than 6,000! The East Coast district, extending from Cape Runaway to Ahuriri (Napier), was undoubtedly the most populous portion of the North Island. The late Bishop of Waiapu, who first visited it in company with the late Rev. W. Colenso, F.R.S., expressed surprise at the large population to be found at Hicks' Bay, Waiapu, Poverty Bay, and Te Mahia, and Mr. Colenso, in a separate account that he gave of a second visit along the coast, said that Wikawitira, in the valley of the Waiapu, “is one of the largest native towns in New Zealand, containing, when all are assembled, from 3,000 to 4,000 souls.” When he visited the place in 1838, with the late Bishop Williams, he says, “the-inhabitants were living in the grossest darkness of heathenism. None knew how to read Now nearly seven hundred persons assembled for service in the chapel of this village, a building which they had themselves built, measuring nearly 80 ft. by 40 ft., while in the school I had—First-class readers in the New Testament, 77; second - class readers who required prompting, 92; third class, 128; fourth class, rehearsers of catechisms, 240; and infants, 98: making a total at school, when numbers were in their plantations, of 635 persons, of whom more than 100 could read well.”
Mr. Hamlin sets down the population of the whole East Coast (Nos. 19-20) at 30,120; and the census for last year
for the whole district from Cape Runaway to the Hutt, and including the Rangitikei, only amounts to 10,005, or to just one-third of what it was in 1842. These results suffice to show that the native population has markedly diminished since New Zealand became a British colony; and the diminution, such as is shown to have taken place in the most populous part of the Island, approximates closely to the average “falling - off” between Mr. Hamlin's estimate of 120,000 in 1842 and 43,101 in 1901.
But the reports of the census enumerators who were responsible for the native returns last year are in some respects reassuring. Judged alone by a comparison between the results of 1896 and 1901 the increase is certainly more than 8 per cent., whilst during the same period the increase of the colonists was 9–86 per cent. It is necessary to be careful, however, in accepting the facts of the native increase, although most capable men were appointed to collect the information. But it is for this very reason that extra caution is required. Thus, Mr. Gilbert Mair, chief enumerator for the Waikato and nine other counties, states, “The total population of the ten counties is shown to be 7,731, including 358 half-castes, whilst the number for the same counties in 1896 was only 6,661, an apparent increase of 1,070; but I very much doubt if there has been a real augmentation of numbers, and I attribute the increase more to the fact that my sub-enumerator visited every settlement and dwelling-place, which I am assured by the natives themselves was never before attempted.” This statement exactly explains the position as to why such a marked apparent increase in population has taken place. The natives are now far more amenable to European regulations than they were a few years ago, and most of them do not object to give information which in previous years they were afraid to give, thinking that some bad result would be sure to follow. Thus, the enumerator for Taranaki and Patea points out that objections were raised by the native adherents of Tohu and Te Whiti, and “observations of querulous irritability were frequently made.” Some wished to know whether the Government wanted to ascertain their numbers with a view to sending them against the Boers or otherwise deporting them. Many said, “Go thou to Tohu; if he signs we will sign.” Inquiries as to the number of stock provoked bitter resentment. Here we have examples of the difficulties experienced by sub-enumerators when taking the census; and no doubt the difficulties were much greater in former years, hence it may be that the seeming increase in the native population is merely the outcome of more efficient means, being employed by the sub-enumerators.
Mr. Hutchison, S.M., chief enumerator for Kaipara, Whangarei, & c., is convinced that the natives are rapidly diminishing in the north, for he says, “In some of the counties enumerated there appears to be an increase, in others of them a decrease, in the native population. But the increase in one does not set off the decrease in another, and upon the whole there is a positive falling-off in the numbers. Some-thing of this result may perhaps have to be discounted, because many of the natives who employ themselves in gum-digging are of a migratory disposition, … but these cannot affect the conclusion that the native population, in these counties at all events, is a diminishing, and a rapidly diminishing, quantity.”
The Rev. Mr. Bennett, native minister at Waitara, Taranaki, informed me that, in his opinion, the natives are not on the increase, and my own experience for more than twenty years along the East Coast leads me to the same conclusion.
No doubt there has been of late years an awakening in certain quarters of Maoridom. The young men from Te Aute College, the girls from the native schools at Hukarere, & c., are becoming in a measure alive to the dangers that threaten their race, and friends of the natives are not wanting to help on the “new growth” along European lines. The task is one of great difficulty owing to the opposing interests that exist; but to the credit of the General Government be it said that generous efforts have been made during the past few years, and since my former paper on the Maoris was written, to give to the natives the best advice in matters dealing with health and sanitation. Nor have the efforts been thrown away, if we may take the reports of the census enumerators as a guide. For example, Mr. E. C. Blomfield, S.M., in his admirable report on the northern district, tells us that he trusts the “tohungas are falling into disrepute with the Maoris”; that “drunkenness is undoubtedly decreasing”; that” no benefit was ever derived from the gumfields” by the natives; that “farming will undoubtedly be the future of the Maori”; that the Government should largely direct its attention to this aspect of training, and that “the social condition of the Maori requires more attention. Unfortunately, the women, not being trained to a satisfactory condition of domestic economy, gradually tire of the restraint of keeping a home clean, neat, and in pakeha style, and eventually find it so irksome as to warrant falling back into the free-and-easy style of living pursued by their forefathers”; and he closes with the statement that” more care and attention is required in the domestic education of the women.”
On this latter point the enumerator of the Wairarapa district remarks, “If some native women or half-castes were
taught in the first principles of nursing they could soon instruct the others, and it would aid materially in the saving of life.” The enumerator for the Waikato urges that “the inordinate use of tobacco, and, worse still, vile cigarettes and crude tobacco-leaf (torori), is really becoming a frightful curse, and must be checked if the race is to continue. It is not unusual to see mothers give infants their pipes to quieten them, and so strong a hold has smoking obtained that it is a deadly privation to keep a Maori from smoking for half an hour at a stretch.” “I believe it would prove a great boon,” continues the enumerator, “if a small pamphlet containing simple rules of sanitation were printed and widely circulated warning the natives of the dangers of inordinate use of tobacco, sleeping on the ground, and drinking Maori tea,” & c.
Other quotations might be given to show how diverse are the conditions existing at present among the Maoris. There is, however, a consensus of opinion that crime, drunkenness, and even poverty are diminishing among them, and that they are coming to look upon European ways of living favourably, although, unfortunately, they do not always practise what they know to be best for their own well-being.
It is often urged by those who know but little of the ways of living among the Maoris that many of them are lazy, but this is a mistake. They are, indeed, industrious, but at present ambitionless, and as a rule they only toil to produce sufficient food for the year. Their surplus, whatever it may be other than sheep or cattle, is wasted; but this is the result of neglect, of ignorance, and of imperfect business knowledge. That considerable progress is being made by them is amply shown by the extent of their cultivations. In 1901 the acreage under crop owned by the natives was: Potatoes, 7,369; wheat, 3,724; maize, 4,943; other crops, 8,780; sown grasses, 78,628. Their sheep numbered 317,436; cattle, 36,943; and pigs, 57,642. The total number of sheep in the colony was 19,355,195; cattle, 1,256,680; and pigs, 250,975: in other words, the natives possess one in five of the pigs, one in thirty-four of the cattle, and one in sixty of the sheep; and in addition 1,793,880 acres of native land was held under lease by Europeans.
With such possessions it would be absurd to suppose the natives are a poverty-stricken people, for the income from the produce of their crops, & c., would amply suffice to sustain all of them in comfort; but there is a contra side to this apparent wealth. I do not know whether a return has ever been made of the indebtedness of the Maoris to storekeepers, hotelkeepers, general dealers, and others, but such a return would, no doubt, possess many interesting features. The thriftlessness of the Maoris is well known. “Sufficient unto
the day” is his motto, and, although many years have passed by since the natives first came in contact with the higher influences of civilisation such as were first represented by the missionaries, it is seldom one meets with members of the native race who display foresight like what is found among the colonists. There are those among them who fully realise the necessity of exercising foresight; but opposing interests, and the absence of emulation and of local government, all combine to produce an indifference even among the better educated and more ambitious young men, whilst the young women have no possible chance of improving under present social conditions.
The passing of the Maori Councils Act of 1900 is referred to by two of the enumerators, and possibly the granting of executive power to elective bodies may tend to improve the social status of the natives, and at the same time causa the disappearance of some of the weaknesses which beset the race and are carrying them down to certain ruin.
The home of the Maori in the “Land of the Great White Cloud” may, perhaps, be long continued, but it depends on the creation of activities, ambitions, and responsibilities, and the providing of ways for these qualities and attendants of progressive government to have full sway, as pointed out by me in a former paper. Let the improvements that have as yet taken place be balanced beside the losses and what do they show? The modern natives have acquired the habit of dressing in the fashions of the colonists, of eating similar food, and of living in similar houses. Many think that these are in themselves proofs of advancing civilisation. But the tinsel and the show and the thriftlessness, with the total absence of regard as to domestic responsibilities, are the bars to progressive growth, and unless internal government is introduced through which these aspects of social, and as a consequence political, progress can be guaranteed the Maori as an entity cannot continue in the land.
The Maori is the product of his special environment. The conditions that have operated through missionaries and whalers and colonists have undoubtedly produced a change in his ideals; but, unfortunately, he does not see along what lines he must go in order to bring about the realisation of his desires. Even the older natives are well aware that their children and grandchildren ought to be trained in the ways of the pakeha if they are to play their parts with any hope of success, and this desire manifests itself again and again wherever natives and colonists dwell near one another. The Maori Council is a step forward in the direction of progress, but the natives are scattered over a wide extent of country, and supervision can never become effective without
the recognised head man with some executive authority drawn from the Maori Council.
As the question of organization is the most pressing matter in the regeneration of the Maori race, I shall give here a summary of the proposals recommended by me six years ago.* These proposals were: (1.) The establishment of a system of internal local government. (2.) The opening of cottage hospitals for nursing the sick in various centres, where native girls could be trained in the art of nursing and healing, and, it should be added, cooking. (3.) An improved scheme of native education, so arranged that pupil-teachers and assistants might be selected from the native race for native schools. (4.) A system of scholarships for the specialisation of native studies adapted to native wants.
The first recommendation included all those measures that tend to the physical, social, and moral advancement of the people, such as (a) the regulation of buildings, (b) sanitation, (c) executive powers in case of epidemics or local forms of sickness, (d) regulation of stores, and (e) regulation of accommodation-houses and places of amusement. Attempts have lately been made to carry out the regeneration of the Maori by following along several of the lines indicated above; but there has also been introduced the plan of establishing a “special settlement” and starting technical schools. No one is more desirous than I am to see success crown the efforts of friends who would rescue a noble and intelligent race like the Maori, but technical schools on lines such as those shown in the Annual Report on the Native Schools are doomed to failure, for the simple reason that they fail in the initial step. Here are commenced among a people just emerging from barbarism, and from conditions altogether different from the twentieth-century civilisation, the system and the training such as are found in the most advanced kindergarten schools of commercial peoples to-day. In other words, a high type of modern utilitarian education is presented to a people whose minds have been moulded for generations along planes of objective training with nature as the great teacher, and who view things in a different way from what they are viewed by colonists and by the people at Home. Native children are imitative. They are copyists, and will imitate whatever is put before them, either in paper, plasticine, or paint; but is imitation to be the end of training? I take it that training is directive and suggestive. It aims to bring out characteristics of the individual. The bent of mind, the creative faculty, the application of one set of life phases to the regulation of conduct
[Footnote] * Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. XXIX., art. X., p. 150, et seq.
and action should all be brought to operate in the case of native children; and, whilst the effect of contact with a higher civilisation should be felt, it should only be manifested in the higher producing capacity of the natives along their own creative lines and concepts.
As for the “special settlements” for natives, the plan is simply the old “flour and sugar and blanket” system of the earlier history of the colonists. The natives have been spoilt by the insensible and ignorant method of destroying their self-reliance and independence. As a people they are powerful in government, but the loss of their recognised leaders and the hurry of reformers to make the “Maori a pakeha” has brought retrogression rather than progression among them. The Maori wants responsibility, and the moment he feels responsibility upon him there will be hope for his continuance as a living and progressive factor in the community. The Maori Council may be a means of doing good, but it has already been pointed out by many intelligent natives who are interested in land that the difficulties surrounding their interests are increased because they understood the plan of the Government, but now the “Councils” do as they please, and owners of “interests” are worse off than before, owing to their ignorance of the newer conditions. But the difficulties that appear at the outset of a scheme need not cause anxiety.
The functions of the Maori Council are important, and if rightly carried out will certainly tend to create a great interest in the internal affairs of native life and growth; but an important aspect yet remains neglected, and perhaps it is this that will affect, for better or for worse, the whole success of Maori regeneration. I refer to the home life as represented by the women. Suggestion has been made by me for the establishment of “cottage hospitals” in Maori districts. At small cost there could be provided in centres like Nuhaka, Tolago Bay, Tokomaru, Waipiro Matakawa, Waiapu, and other native centres “cottage hospitals,” under the control of trained hospital nurses, assisted by the native girls drawn from a high-class native girls' school like Hukarere, in Napier. These hospitals might be made the very centre of a civilising influence such as cannot be introduced by any other means. Sympathy, kindness, home training, the healing of the sick, training in cleanliness and in cooking, could all be shown and illustrated, and the introduction of a humanising form of training such as could be carried out in the way suggested would bring the native women under the active influences of that form of living that is so much lacking among them to-day.
There is hardly a more pitiful sight than the Maori woman, ambitionless, homeless though not houseless, in-
different to opinion, to responsibility, to home. To gossip, to smoke, and while away the time in frivolous conversation, are common wherever native pas are to be found. When not on the cultivation, which she tends from sheer necessity, she is usually to be found smoking her pipe on the “village green,” indifferent to home, and apparently without the ambition to have her surroundings improved. She has no home such as the colonist deems a necessity. A place to sleep, a place to cook, and a place to grow food or to gather shellfish, and you have the social environment of the Maori womanhood of the country, with a few rare exceptions. Contrast this with the training of the native girls at such a school as the Hukarere boarding-school for natives in the Town of Napier. There the girls are brought up under the higher influences of home life. They are trained to be clean and tidy and methodical. They have good beds to sleep in, healthy rooms to live in, and are provided with nourishing food at regular intervals. Neatness in dress, cleanliness in body and surroundings, and healthy living conditions are all brought to bear upon their training; but what do they find at home? How wide are the contrasts, and what little wonder it is that so many girls fall back into the old ways when they leave school to enter into life. Their home, they find, is as it was when they left it at the first. There are no sanitary arrangements, no water-supply, no regular meals, no privacy, nothing for their improvement, nothing to cheer, to attract, or to create hope and emulation. Nor is it possible for girls who know better and would be better to improve matters very much. A few days or weeks from school suffice to bring about the reaction. Hope is replaced by despair and indifference, for, after all, we are the creatures of our environment. And yet the natives are fond of tasty food; many of the women can cook to perfection in the kopa Maori, or native oven, but few of them know the value of milk, and eggs, and poultry, in providing suitable and nourishing food for the sick.
A short time since, when visiting up the East Coast, I went into a native village and found two young men suffering from pneumonia. Both of them were very sick. Each was lying on the ground with a small piece of takapau under him, and in a whare that was far from being waterproof. Their pale haggard faces betokened pain, and the hollow cough showed how rapidly their ailment was moving deathward. In reply to inquiries it appeared that the only food given to the patients was kumara and strong tea without milk, while hundreds of ducks, geese, and turkeys were running about in the pa, and eggs and milk were available in plenty. The common-sense and the experience of the nurse, however, were
wanting. This is only one illustration of scores that might be cited to show that it is the social, the domestic side of native life that should receive more attention if the race is to be preserved. Questions of land and of title, of technical schools, and of special native settlements, are insignificant compared with the social life of the natives, and those who would help in the regeneration of the Maori will need to begin at the home and with the womenkind, whose lot is so nearly associated with the perpetuation of the race. Homes have to be made and responsibilities realised, and these can be done by presenting, as in the case of the working-men's homes of the Old Land, higher ideals of domestic life, greater comfort, and more attractions. The women should know how to cook, to bake, to nurse the sick, and how to deal with child-life, and those things can be best done by the help of women who interest themselves in the uplifting of their kind to a higher and better plane of living.
The missionaries have had their day, and so have the land-seeking pakehas, and the result cannot be deemed as wholly satisfactory. As means to an end it is the women of New Zealand who can influence the social life of the Maori, and I would suggest to the Women's Council of New Zealand that the line of least resistance and of greatest promise in the uplifting of the people is among the native women. To establish a mission for the social regeneration of the women would prepare the native for conditions which the school life has made him ready to accept, but which he is unable to carry out himself. To bring the native women under the home influence, as represented by a school for plain cooking, nursing, and house management, should be the aim of those who have to do with the Native Councils, whose work muse fail unless action is at once taken to influence the women in all that makes for healthy and happy homes, along lines such as the girls have learnt when drawn to such schools as those established at Hukarere and elsewhere.
As for the young men, I would again urge their claims to become the teachers, the ministers, doctors, and lawyers of their own people. There is no reason why a young and intelligent native should not receive an appointment as a pupil-teacher, an assistant, and finally as principal teacher in a native school. The natives are apt teachers. They can explain matters in a simple and interesting way, and should a training-school for the technical training of teachers be established in the North Island a proportionate number of young Te Aute students who are desirous of becoming teachers should be drafted into the school as a preparatory step.
In conclusion, I would point out what appear to me as serious omissions with respect to the Maori census. We give
the population—natives, half-castes, and so on—and each census shows a sudden change; sometimes there are a large number of half-castes, at other times there is a notable decrease. Yet no efforts, as far as I can gather, have ever been made to keep a record of births and deaths among the natives. This is now comparatively an easy matter, for the native schools and the half-educated native are to be met everywhere, and there would be no difficulty in keeping fairly correct records, just as is done in the case of the colonists. In the early days, when the missionaries dwelt in the land, the returns of births, marriages, baptisms, and deaths were carefully kept, and now that the breath of colonial advancement has been felt, even in the inmost recesses of the Urewera country, efforts should be made by the Government, acting through the Native Councils, to keep a record ot all births, marriages, and deaths. When this takes place it will be seen that the period of childhood is a sad one among the Maoris. Thoughtlessness, want of proper food, and ignorance, are the three factors operating to-day among the Maori women, just as they operated in the early days of settlement; and, notwithstanding all the pretended sympathy that has been shown to them, no effort has ever been made to organize them and to bring them under regulations such as they must have if they are to continue as a people among us.
Organization is the only hope for continuance among an advancing community, and to destroy the organization of a people is to ensure their certain disappearance. This has been done in the case of the natives. Their methods of government have gone, for the chief is only so in name; and, although nominally there has been an increase in the native population, it undoubtedly arises from causes set forth in this paper. Unless means are adopted to help in the betterment of the women there can be no doubt as to the fate of the native race; but just as the Saxon women at the Conquest saved the language of their country and their identity as a people, so will the Maori women save their people if means are taken to train them in all those aspects of domestic and social life of which they are so sadly ignorant and without which progress is impossible.
A summary of this paper was published by the Hawke's Bay Herald after it had been read, and Mr. Hindmarsh, sheep-farmer, of Tokomaru Bay, East Coast, forwarded to me a return of thirty married native couples whom he had known
since residing in that district. I give the return here as of much interest in its relation to the facts quoted by me from Mr. Hamlin's paper bearing upon the number of children born among the Maoris. The thirty married couples had a total of 113 children, of whom thirty-eight died and seventy-five are still alive. In one instance thirteen children were born, in two instances nine children, and in seven cases there was no issue. The following tabulation shows the results in each case:—