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Showing posts from February, 2013

Early contacts between Maori and Pakeha in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Date: 7 MarchTime: 12.15pm–1.00pmLocation: Te Wehenga and Malaga Pasifika Rooms, Ground Floor, National Library
Isaac Coates's portraits are a window into a world of contact between Māori and Pākehā. They were created at a turning point in Māori-Pākehā relations, marked by the Wairau Affray – a confrontation over land in June 1843 in which at least 26 people died.

Historian Vincent O’Malley surveyed the history of the period leading up to this change in his recent book, The Meeting Place: Maori and Pakeha Encounters, 1642-1840. In this session Vincent, in discussion with Paul Diamond, will survey this period of early contact between the two races, and the enduring historical lessons.

The speakers
Dr Vincent O’Malley, Research Director of HistoryWorks and author of The Meeting Place; Paul Diamond, Curator of the exhibition

Part of the Turnbull Gallery exhibition, Head and shoulders: Portraits of Māori by Isaac Coates.

On Tribalism and Democracy

In a recent comment piece in the New Zealand Herald, Elizabeth Rata argued that tribalism and democracy ‘are incompatible — they cannot exist together as political systems in the one nation’. Tribalism, she further argued, was premised ‘on principles of inequality’, since kin status was what mattered. If chieftainship still exists to be expressed, Rata argued, then ‘so too must the tribal political system of 1840 also exist.’

Morgan Godfery has written a careful reply to Rata’s piece on his Maui Street Blog. But I want to comment further on Rata’s argument that tribalism and democracy are mutually incompatible. Historical Maori leadership structures have always fascinated me. My first book, published back in 1998, was on the role of committees in the administration of Maori affairs (Agents of Autonomy: Maori Committees in the Nineteenth Century). Later I wrote a PhD thesis at Victoria University of Wellington on a similar topic (‘Runanga and Komiti: Maori Institutions of Self-Governme…