Showing posts from June, 2014

Pioneering Exporters: The Early Maori Wheat Trade

It is well known that Maori were major players in the New Zealand economy in the first two decades after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. Many European settlers to the country during this period were reliant upon Maori for their basic supplies, while Maori labour was vital to the construction of new roads and other key infrastructure. But Maori were also contributing greatly to the colony's exports. By the mid-1850s many Maori communities were exporting vast quantities of wheat to Australia, via Auckland, to feed the huge influx of miners attracted by the gold rushes. It was a lucrative trade. But then, early in 1856, the price of wheat fell dramatically. Maori responded by withholding their produce from sale. That prompted the government's Maori-language newspaper, Te Karere Maori , to issue the following advice: Native readers will observe in the market prices current published in this journal every month, that the prices of wheat, potatoes, and other New