Ngā reo o ngā niupepa: Māori language newspapers 1855-1863
Paterson, Lachlan (2004) Ngā reo o ngā niupepa: Māori language newspapers 1855-1863. PhD thesis, University of Otago.
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By 1855, most Mäori still lived in a tribal setting, with little official Päkehä 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 Päkehä goods, many Mäori had entered the market economy. Most had converted to Christianity. Many could read and write. Some sold land to accommodate the increasing number of Päkehä settlers. These trends gratified the government. It envisaged a New Zealand society dominated by Päkehä, in which European mores would be norm, and where its sovereignty, gained through the Treaty, would be more substantive rather than nominal. At this tme, the government pursued the policy of iwi kotahi (one people) or "amalgamation". The policy included the aim of elevating Mäori socially and economically by extending to them the benefits of European civilisation. It sought too to encourage Mäori to give up their "waste" lands for Päkehä settlement, and for Mäori to accept the rule of English law, and government authority. Ultimately the two races would become one society - a Päkehä-style society. The government used newspapers for disseminating its message to Mäori, publishing the bi-lingual Maori Messenger - Te Karere Maori from January 1855 to Spetember 1863. This thesis investigates the government's newspaper, plus other Mäori language newspapers appearing within the period, printed by government agents, evangelical Päkehä, the Wesleyan Church, and the rival Mäori government, the Kïngitanga. The thesis not only looks at the impact of newspapers upon Mäori society and political issues to Mäori, including the first Taranaki War, the Kohimarama Conference, and the impending all-out war with the Kïngitanga in Waikato. Using the newspapers as its major source, this thesis seeks to show how Mäori 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 Kïngitanga was able to publish its own views in Te Hokioi, thus allowing the anti-government Mäori voice to articulate its stand. However, Mäori opinion was hardly unitary. The Päkehä-run Mäori language newspapers, through reports, reported speeches, and their corrsepondence columns, provide another set of Mäori 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 Mäori, thus marginalising pro-government Mäori, 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 Mäori language newspaper, providing a wide range of opinions as possible.
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