Nga reo o nga niupepa : Māori language newspapers 1855-1863

Author: Paterson, Lachlan

Date: 2004

Publisher: University of Otago

Type: Thesis

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University of Otago


By 1855, most Māori still lived in a tribal setting, with little official Pakeha interference. This would have been as they expected, exercising their tino rangatiratanga, the chiefly rights guaranteed by the Treaty of Waitangi. However, their world was changing. In an effort to gain Pakeha goods, many Māori had entered the market economy. Most had converted to Christianity. Many could read and write. Some had sold land to accommodate the increasing numbers of Pakeha settlers. These trends gratified the government. It envisaged a New Zealand society dominated by Pakeha, in which European mores would be norm, and where its sovereignty, gained through the Treaty, would be substantive rather than nominal. At this time, the government pursued the policy of iwi kotahi (one people) or quot;amalgamationquot;. This policy included the aim of elevating Māori socially and economically by extending to them the benefits of European civilisation. It sought too to encourage Māori to give up their quot;wastequot; lands for Pakeha settlement and for Māori to accept the rule of English law, and government authority. Ultimately the two races would become one society- a Pakeha-style society. The government used newspapers for disseminating its message to Māori, publishing the bi-lingual Māori Messenger-Te Karere Māori from January 1855 to September 1863. This thesis investigates the government's newspaper, plus other Māori language newspapers appearing within the period, printed by government agents, evangelical Pakeha, the Wesleyan Church, and the rival Māori government, the Kingitanga. The thesis not only looks at the impact of newspapers upon Māori society and politics at this time, but also how the newspapers portrayed the major social and political issues to Māori, including the first Taranaki War, the Kohimarama Conference, and the impending all-out war with the Kingitanga in Waikato. Using the newspapers as its major source, this thesis seeks to show how Māori might have understood the issues, and where possible, to allow them to respond in their own voices. We are fortunate that for almost a year the Kingitanga was able to publish its own views in Te Hokioi, thus allowing the anti-government Māori voice to articulate its stand. However, Māori opinion was hardly unitary. The Pakeha-run Māori language newspapers, through reports, reported speeches, and their corresponence columns, provide another set of Māori opinions, which show a variety of opinions on political and social issues. Many histories of this period focus on the tensions and conflicts between Crown and Māori, thus marginalising pro-government Māori, the waverers, and those who merely wanted to keep trouble from their door. This thesis endeavours to illuminate the whole colonial discourse as it appeared in the Māori language newspapers, providing as wide a range of opinions as possible.

Subjects: Maori, newspapers, language, te reo Maori, history

Citation: ["Paterson, L. (2004). Nga reo o nga niupepa : Māori language newspapers 1855-1863 (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from"]