A dangerous people whose only occupation is war: Maori and Pakeha in 19th‐century New Zealand

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of California Santa Cruz]On: 11 November 2014, At: 15:07Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>The Journal of Pacific HistoryPublication details, including instructions for authorsand subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cjph20</p><p>A dangerous people whose onlyoccupation is war: Maori andPakeha in 19thcentury NewZealandChristina A. ThompsonPublished online: 04 Jun 2008.</p><p>To cite this article: Christina A. Thompson (1997) A dangerous people whose onlyoccupation is war: Maori and Pakeha in 19thcentury New Zealand , The Journal of PacificHistory, 32:1, 109-119, DOI: 10.1080/00223349708572831</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00223349708572831</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information(the Content) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor&amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warrantieswhatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purposeof the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are theopinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed byTaylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylorand Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings,demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation toor arising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly</p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cjph20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/00223349708572831http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00223349708572831</p></li><li><p>forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f C</p><p>alif</p><p>orni</p><p>a Sa</p><p>nta </p><p>Cru</p><p>z] a</p><p>t 15:</p><p>07 1</p><p>1 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p></li><li><p>A Dangerous People Whose Only Occupation is War</p><p>Maori and Pakeha in 19th-century New Zealand</p><p>In his preface to Islands and Beaches Greg Dening makes the following remark:</p><p>Death and Violence should be no surprise to any student of human nature, but I find I do notunderstand them. The (Marquesans'j lives were filled with fear and with an ordinary violenceto one another that seems extraordinary to one possessed of the rhetoric at least of one'sculture about the need for carefulness for individual life.'</p><p>This paper is about the European fascination with what one might call 'the ordinaryviolence' of Maori life. It is about how and why a mythology of violence, revolvingaround a figure of the warrior type, developed in the European literature of New Zealandin the 18 th and 19th centuries.</p><p>At the simplest level there are two possible explanations. One is that such a mythologyemerged because there is a pattern of Maori culture which is different from that ofPakeha culture, most notably in the prevalence and social acceptability of aggressiveness,or in the forms that aggression is allowed to take and still be socially acceptable. In otherwords, this mythology reflects, in condensed and distorted form, something that actuallyexists; it is, in some useful sense, descriptive.</p><p>The second possibility, much less problematic, is that colonial descriptions of this kindrepresent a projection by the people who utter them onto the people they are said todescribe. Insofar as what I am here calling a mythology is, in fact, simply a sort ofnegative stereotyping, it undoubtedly reflects the anxiety and fear felt by a small colonialpopulation in the face of the large native population that it seeks to displace. Imagery ofthis sort is not descriptive but justificatory.</p><p>While it seems clear that the second option describes what happened in New Zealandin the late 18th and early 19th centuries, I have never been able to rid myself of theimpression that it is not a sufficient explanation for what went on and continues to go onbetween Maori and Pakeha. I think that there is also something to be said for the firstview that this is not only a matter of projection, but one of cultural patterning as well.In other words, I think that the early European view of the Maori reveals somethingabout both European frames of reference and Maori attitudes and behaviour. Any argu-ment along these lines will always be speculative, naturally, and the biggest impedimentremains the one-sidedness of the historical sources. It will always be difficult to negate allthe filtering effects of Pakeha reporting. But the view of Maori as 'culturally staunch' hasbeen encouraged by Maori themselves in recent years and the historical material seemsto suggest that the roots of this image lie deep.</p><p>Darwin in New ZealandOn the evening of 19 December 1835, the crew and passengers of HMS Beagle sightedNew Zealand. They were four years into a voyage round the world and still one yearaway from England. Charles Darwin, then 26 years old, served as naturalist on thisexpedition.</p><p>Entering the Bay of Islands on 21 December, Darwin noted some small villages scat-tered by the water's edge, a couple of whalers lying at anchor and now and then a canoe,passing silently from shore to shore. 'An air of extreme quietness reigned over the whole</p><p>1 Greg Dening, Islands and Beaches: Discourse on a Silent Land, Marquesas 1774-1880 (Melbourne 1980), 3.</p><p>109 I l u - J m i m t i l l I'arijl, l l i \ l i m . i l . [ I I ' &gt; ' &gt; ; &gt; .</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f C</p><p>alif</p><p>orni</p><p>a Sa</p><p>nta </p><p>Cru</p><p>z] a</p><p>t 15:</p><p>07 1</p><p>1 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>1 10 JOURNAL OF PACIFIC HISTORY</p><p>district', he remarked. 'Only a single canoe came alongside. This, and the aspect of thewhole scene afforded a remarkable, and not very pleasing contrast, with our joyful andboisterous welcome at Tahiti.' 'The hovels of the natives are so diminutive and paltrythat they can scarcely be perceived from a distance.' 'The scenery is nowhere beautiful,and only occasionally pretty.' The Maori, while obviously 'belonging to the same familyof mankind' as the inhabitants of Tahiti, were, Darwin thought, 'of a much lowerorder'.2</p><p>This melancholy vision suggests various things about the Bay of Islands in 1835. Theappearance of depopulation raises questions about land sales and demographic shifts,the effects of contagious disease and inter-tribal war, while the lack of Maori interest inthe arrival of a European vessel seems to argue for a jaded state of affairs. And indeed, itwas not a period of great happiness or prosperity for the Maori, these years leading up toannexation and colonial war. But was it as grim as Darwin imagined? On the morning ofthe next day Darwin went out walking. 'I was surprised to find', he writes, 'that almostevery hill which I ascended, had been at some former time more or less fortified . . .These are the Pas, so frequently mentioned by Captain Cook.' 'I should think', hecontinues,</p><p>that a more warlike race of inhabitants could not be found in any part of the world than theNew Zealanders. Their conduct on first seeing a ship, as described by Captain Cook, stronglyillustrates this: the act of throwing volleys of stones at so great and novel an object, and theirdefiance of "Come on shore and we will kill and eat you all," shows uncommonboldness.1</p><p>Reading contact accounts one must ask oneself: what influences are at work here? Isthe informant reporting his own firsthand experience? What knowledge did he bring towhat he sees? How much of what he says is hearsay? Where does it come from and howmany times has it been repeated? How different from the original might this version be?In Tahiti, the Beagle's previous stop, Darwin had made a note on the very subject ofpreconceptions. 'From the varying accounts which I had read before reaching theseislands', he wrote, 'I was very anxious to form, from my own observation, a judgment oftheir moral state, although such judgment would necessarily be very imperfect. Firstimpressions', he added, 'at all times very much depend on one's previously-acquiredideas'.4</p><p>To Darwin, Tahiti was a sublime wilderness of soaring peaks and cascading falls, quietlagoons and mysterious grottoes, peopled by an elegant, exotic race of neo-classicalprimitives. In fact, Darwin's account of the island which, in his words, 'must for everremain classical to the voyager in the South Sea' was itself entirely classical, so classical itmight have been taken from any of a number of earlier journals, so classical it might havebeen written by someone who had never been to Tahiti at all.5 So it should come as nosurprise to find that Darwin's account of New Zealand is equally conventional.</p><p>Darwin's conclusion about New Zealand was that, despite its close cultural and his-torical ties with Tahiti, it was an utterly different sort of place. Darwin's New Zealand isalmost an inversion of Tahiti; if Tahiti is paradise on earth (not quite what he says, but hecertainly found it pleasant), then New Zealand must be the other place. And indeed,almost without setting foot on shore, Darwin comes to the conclusion that the Maori are</p><p>2 Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle (1839; London 1959), 401-8.3 Ibid., 402-3.4 Ibid., 397.5 Ibid., 387.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f C</p><p>alif</p><p>orni</p><p>a Sa</p><p>nta </p><p>Cru</p><p>z] a</p><p>t 15:</p><p>07 1</p><p>1 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>MAORI AND PAKEHA IN lgTH CENTURY NEW ZEALAND 111</p><p>probably the world's most warlike race. He has not had enough time to reach thisconclusion on the basis of experience alone, so where does the idea come from?</p><p>Darwin's claim that the Maori are the most warlike people on earth rests upon a 65-year-old citation in translation of a sentence shouted by a nameless New Zealanderacross an open expanse of water at Captain Cook. This is further complicated by the factthat the text of Cook's journals from which Darwin took this passage was rewritten byJohn Hawkesworth. And to top it off, Darwin misquotes the phrase. 'Come on shore andwe will kill and eat you all' is not what Hawkesworth said that Cook said that Tupaia hisTahitian interpreter said that the Maori said when they greeted the British ships. Theirgreeting or challenge, as reported by Hawkesworth, was Haromai, haromai, harre uta aPatoo-Patoo oge, translated as, 'Come to us, come on shore, and we will kill you all with ourPatoo-PatoosV'</p><p>The proper Maori form of the phrase is probably something like Haere mai, haere ki utaheipatu ake: literally, 'Come here, come to shore to bepatu-ed'J A patu is a short, flat,spatula-shaped hand club with a sharpened edge made from wood, whalebone or green-stone; used as a verb patu means to hit or strike. A patu was typically worn stuck in awarrior's belt, rather the way an 18th-century English gentleman might wear a dagger part ready weapon, part decorative show. In combat it was attached by a dog-skin thongto the warrior's wrist and used to deliver the death blow to an opponent, first with anupthrust of the sharpened edge to the temple, neck or ribs, followed by a downwardblow with the butt of the weapon upon the enemy's head. Banks described the 'patoopatoo' he was given to examine as weighing 'not less than 4 or 5 pounds' and 'certainlywell contrived for splitting sculls'.8 An early French visitor referred to this implement as a'casse-tete', 'parce qu'ils n'en font pas d'autre usage'.9 The business about being eaten(though it may well have been implied) was textually interpolated by Darwin.</p><p>A Reputation for InfamyCook was not Darwin's only source of information, however. By 1835, the year ofDarwin's visit, the Maori reputation for infamy was firmly fixed in European minds. Thefirst European to record a visit to New Zealand was Abel Tasman, who in 1642 lost fourmen in a skirmish at Taitapu (called by the Dutch Murderers' Bay) and was chased awaywithout making land. Cook, the next to arrive, met with resistance in his first encounterat Turanga-nui in late 1769 and again at various points along the coast in the course of hiscircumnavigation.</p><p>Surville, the first Frenchman on these shores, reached New Zealand in that same yearof 1769 after a long and pointless passage through the Coral Sea with a crew that wasdying of scurvy. After several weeks of uneasy dealings, Surville set fire to a fishing campand kidnapped a man in retaliation for the 'theft' of a sunken yawl. The next to arrive,Marion du Fresne, is sometimes said to have reaped the reward of Surville's reprisals.This is not strictly true (Surville, in any case, got his just deserts: after losing most of hisanchors and cables, one of his boats and most of his crew he was drowned off the coast ofPeru), but there is an element of natural justice in the idea that has appealed to Anglo-colonial historians. In 1771 Fresne and several of his crew were killed and eaten in the</p><p>6 John Hawkesworth, An A ccount of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of his Present Majesty for making Discoveriesin the Southern Hemisphere etc., 3 vols (London 1773), III, 467.</p><p>7 James Cook, The Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery, ed. J. C. Beaglehole, 4 vols (Cam-bridge 1968), I, 281n.</p><p>8 Joseph Banks, The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks, ed. J. C. Beaglehole, 2 vols (Sydney 1962), I, 406.9 Historical Records of New Zealand, ed. Robert McNab, 2 vols (Wellington 1914), II, 474-5.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f C</p><p>alif</p><p>orni</p><p>a Sa</p><p>nta </p><p>Cru</p><p>z] a</p><p>t 15:</p><p>07 1</p><p>1 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>112 JOURNAL OF PACIFIC HISTORY</p><p>Bay of Islands. Finally, on Cook's second trip in 1773a boatload of men belonging to hiscompanion vessel the Adventure was massacred at Grass Cove in Queen CharlotteSound.</p><p>As the years passed and the number of Europeans visiting New Zealand increasedthere were more misadventures. In 1806 the colonial brig Venus was seized by convicts atPort Dalrymple in Van Diemen's Land and taken to New Zealand, where some of thepirates disembarked and some Maori women were kidnapped. The Venus then saileddown the coast, stopping to sell the women outside their own tribal territory (a series ofevents subsequently cited by Nga Puhi as the cause of a retaliatory raid upon Ngati Poroua full decade later). The ship was finally captured and burned and all her crew,reportedly, killed and eaten. A few years later in 1809 the Boyd was sacked by Te Puhi inWhangaroa harbour and most of its passengers, including women and children, killed.Such was the effect of this event that when, shortly afterward, the Rev. Samuel Marsdentried to charter a vessel at Sydney for New Zealand it...</p></li></ul>


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