Intermixture between the two races has been going on from the earliest days of colonization. Newman held that half-castes were a feeble race, tending rapidly to extinction, and with no improved fertility. He produced no data to support his statement. I doubt its applicability at the present time, but hope to acquire further data on the subject. In the United States Boas found that in half-breed women the fertility was considerably larger than among full-blooded women. At the present time there is, in the accredited Maori population, a larger percentage with mixed blood than we are apt to think. In the census returns half-castes living as Maoris are counted with the Maori population, and those living as Europeans are correspondingly counted with the European. It would be interesting to know what are the exact boundaries of the two modes of living. In lieu of the 1921 census, if we take the 1916 census and add the European half-castes to it and then work out the percentage of the total half-castes to the full Maori population, we get 6,750 half-castes, or 12.7 per cent. Thus we know definitely that 12.7 per cent, of the 1916 population had European blood in their veins. But this is not the full measure of intermixture, for the children of half-castes with Maori and other combinations are counted as Maori in the census. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the 52,751 in the last census had white blood. Of 814 men of the Maori Battalion examined by me in 1919, 48 per cent, had white Hood. Of 4,039 pupils from 94 Native schools the following results were obtained:—
|Maori with white blood||2,023||50.1|
These results would indicate that a considerable amount of miscegenation exists. With the increasing dilution of the Maori in so many districts, and improved material welfare and education making both sexes more attractive, miscegenation is likely to increase. Every person of mixed blood marrying a full-blooded Maori adds further to the process of gradual assimilation or absorption. The full Maoris are constantly having their ranks depleted by marriages, not only with full Europeans but with Maoris of mixed blood. The question is whether the full Maoris are reproducing enough to make up for the wastage from their ranks by death and marriage. To keep up their numbers they must, of course, marry full Maoris themselves. Every full Maori who marries any one not of full blood like himself has deliberately stepped outside the narrowing confines of the full-bloods, and the more children he begets the more he is assisting in changing the full Maori into another type.
An idea prevails that the full Maori is really decreasing in this manner, and it is the mixed part of the Maori population that is causing the increase in the census returns. A very significant fact was brought to light by the returns kindly sent me by the Native-school teachers. In the proportion of sexes already dealt with the return for over 4,000 children of full and mixed blood was 921 females per 1,000 males. Returns for 1,159 children of the same series enumerated the sexes in each class from full blood to the various fractions of mixed blood. From them I give the following:—
|Race.||Males.||Females.||Number of Females per 1,000 Males.|
The numbers are too small, but the hint is so important that I give them. If in the improved condition of the total Maori population the improvement augured by the increase in the proportion of males applies only to the mixed-blood element, whilst with the full Maori it is falling, as hinted at by the figures 748 per 1,000, then the full Maori will disappear more quickly than we imagined. However, there is need of research work here. The only scientific method to apply is to subject as many settlements as possible to investigation by the genealogical method. Every family should be traced back genealogically until full blood is arrived at on both sides. Thus the amount of miscegenation could be arrived at, and light thrown on various other important matters.
In conclusion, I have to thank the Native-school teachers for sending me returns from their schools showing the proportion of sexes and the amount of mixed blood amongst their pupils. Available data from the census returns has been used to show that the rapid rate of decrease that occurred in the early half of the nineteenth century has ceased, and that the pendulum has begun to swing in the other direction.
The large pre-European population will never be regained by the full-blooded race, but the steady increase of the last twenty years shows there is something in the old tribal proverb, “We will never be lost, for we spring from the Sacred Seed which was sown from Rangiatea.”
Miscegenation has stepped in, as it has all down the ages, and will render the assimilation of culture and physical features the stepping-stone to the evolution of a future type of New-Zealander in which we hope the best features of the Maori race will be perpetuated for ever.