I was going to try to explain the dictionary definitions of the word `Pakeha' (A person of predominantly European descent) in an attempt to remove prejudices to the word. I realized that it's not the dry definition of the word that's important but how it makes you feel. I have a feeling of `belonging and `partnership' in a great place to live when called `Pakeha'.
What `Pakeha' means to you should not be calculated on a dictionary definition but on your experiences of living in Aotearoa. A contemporary book on "becoming Pakeha" is Robert Macdonald's book `The Fifth Wind", very enjoyable. ( P.Shields )
continued....from.....Two Worlds by Anne Salmond (1991)A Pakepakeha VesselIt was during the nights of Tangaroa [the 23rd to 26th nights of the moon], onthe night called Whatitiri Papaa [Crashing Thunder]. The seas were calm andthere was no wind. Before dawn when everything was still, the canoes floated,waiting to catch the hau taaraki [land breeze]. They sailed out and as dawncame, they reached the fishing-grounds. There they floated and let down theiranchors, and began to fish for tarakihi.When the sun was up, a boat was seen paddling towards them, coming from faroff. It was a long boat, with many paddlers on either side and rows of peoplein the middle, with a fugleman standing up and also a man in the stern. It camestraight towards them. The crew of the fishing canoe were afraid, thinking thatthis was a war canoe ... As the boat floated towards them however, its paddleswere lifted on board ... It turned and floated just like the fishing canoe.Then the local people saw how long it was, and the numbers of people that satin the middle.Now the men on either side of that boat took up their fishing-lines, baitedthem and threw them into the water. Soon they were all hauling in fish, four,five, six on the hooks of each line, on both sides of the boat. The people onthe local canoe no longer felt afraid, they were excited to see these peoplecatching so many fish. Their steersman ordered them to raise their anchor andthey paddled towards the place where the tarakihi were biting. As they paddledcloser, the people an the boast rolled up their lines. The local canoe floated,and its crew looked at those people - they appeared very strange. The man inthe stern of the boat stood up to haul in the anchor, all the people in themiddle grabbed the anchor rope, and as they hauled it in, they chanted. This ishow the words sounded:Ka whakatakotoriaKi te ika te wa o TuE ko te tae o TuE kore rariiOnce the anchor was on board those people took up their paddles, and as theyall moved they spoke in their language. This is what it sounded like:Pakepakeha, PakepakehaHoihoi hii, hoihoi hiiHihi hii, hihi hiiNow they could be plainly seen. They were turehu [fairy people], punehunehu[misty-looking], ma [fair], ma korako [pale, like albinos], whero takou [red,like red ochre] - that was the way their faces looked. The prow of the boatturned and they paddled back the way they had come. The fugleman and thesteersman stood up again. In no time their boat seemed to rise up on the sea,it looked as if they were paddling in mid-air, and finally they were lost inthe clouds.Then the local people knew that these were turhu [fairy people], patupaiarehe[fairies], aparangi [evil gods], atua kahukahu [still-born spirits], kowhiowhio[whistling spirits]. They were sighed many times, before and after that. Theirhaka [chants] are still remembered, and the place where they chanted was called'Haka of the god'.The sighting of this turehu boat was long before the arrival of Captain Cook'sship. When the old men and women saw Captain Cook's ship, they called out 'Itis an island, an island floating from afar. Here it is, coming towards us'.When they saw the sails, they cried out "Aha ha! The sails of this travellingisland are like clouds in the sky! ..."Written by Mohi Turei - a Ngati Porou leader born about 1830, south of EastCape, scribe for Pita Kapiti of Tapere-nui Whare Waananga (School of Learning).Transcribed by Reweti Kohere from Te Pipwharaurou 1911, ATL MS189, File 63,Translated by Anne Salmond and Mermeri Penfold 1991.A tribal account (discovered as this book went to press) of a visit bypale-skinned people to the East Coast, well before Captain Cook's arrival.Taken in conjunction with the 'Dieppe' maps of the mid-sixteenth century thatmark 'Cap Fremose', identified by some experts in historic cartography as theEast Cape of New Zealand (see Colour Plate I), and Herve's controversialarguments about a landfall by a Spanish caravels just south of East Cape in1526( Herve 1983), this manuscript adds further interest to speculations abouta possible Portuguese or Spanish 'discovery' of New Zealand.'Pakepakeha' is a fair skinned, human-like being, and its use in the haka aboveis a possible origin for the term 'pakeha' - European.
The causes of Maori depopulation were widely discussed, but in popular opinion the favoured reasons for it were all ones which put the onus of depopulation on the Maori people themselves. The earliest settlers, missionary and lay, blamed the Maori desire to acquire and use on each other European arms, and their practice of 'indulging' in tribal warfare, which they seemed to regard as a form of sport among the Maori, rather than taking note of introduced diseases and the political and social disruption of Maori society consequent upon contact with themselves. Their successors in the colonial period preferred to see depopulation as a result of what they termed the 'degeneration' of the Maori people. They did not recognise that this 'degeneration' was the outward symptom of a process in the Maori society that was the direct consequence of their own activities. Landlessness, poverty, lack of economic opportunities to break out of poverty save through landselling were the causes of social dislocation, the most obvious symptoms of which were disease, drinking, and apathy.
Europeans tended to see 'idleness' and drunkenness as the causes of Maori 'degeneration' rather than as the results of poverty and despair, and to link these with depopulation in a 'cause-and-effect' chain:
Sir John Gorst made the same point in 1864:
New Zealand has been recently quoted as a proof of the impossibility of civilising barbarous races. It is urged that, whenever the brown and white skins come in contact, the former must disappear, and that the old fashion once pursued by our forefathers in the back woods of America was a more merciful, because a more speedy, was of doing the inevitable work than lingering modern method which has superseded it.
How far they will now form an exception to the many deplorable instances of an aboriginal population dwindling away before the face of civilised innovators, it will not take many years to determine ... [there are] many indications, that the aboriginal race of New Zealanders will ultimately become extinct: or be so merged in the immigrating population as to lose almost all characteristics of their being a distinct people.
In the South Island Commissioner A. Mackay, inquiring into Maori Land claims there, found that: At all settlements [he] was met with the statement, "That the people were weary of the continual delay ... These postponements [of settlement of claims] seemed to indicate that the object was to delay matters until the Natives had all died out. Their old people had nearly all gone ... it would seem that the object [of inquiries] was merely to pacify and amuse the people until they all died out. Probably this was the object of the periodical counting [taking the census]: Government appeared to be desirous of ascertaining how long it would be before the race became extinct." 14
Dr. Alfred Newman maintained that New Zealand was the healthiest country in the world. His statistical evidence failed to take into account the poor levels of health of Maori, which is not altogether surprising, since he had argued two years earlier for the demise of the entire race: "the disappearance of the race is scarcely a subject for much regret. They are dying out in a quick, easy way, and are being supplanted by a superior race" (Newman A. K. A Study of the Causes loading to the Extinction of the Maori) 1883
Decade 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890Maori 60,000 57,000 47,330 46,141 42,113
The ‘English speaking New Zealander’ (Opotiki News Feb 6th) has a point but the issues are just as valid for speeches given in English to be translated into Maori. I know many New Zealanders for whom the Maori language is still their language of choice. New Zealand recognises two official languages in this country Maori and English.
Language is a huge issue when it comes to bridging barriers between cultures. English speaking New Zealanders have the biggest task now in catching up with the revival of the native language of this country. I know it’s not easy especially for people my age but every effort should be made to learn Te Reo.
Listening to Te Reo spoken without translation is a great motivator for me to learn more Te Reo.
I wrote the following simplified article for a treaty study that might give some insight into how powerful language is in changing society; see if you can work out what country I’m talking about, no its not New Zealand.
Imagine a group of beautiful islands populated by tribes of people rich in local culture and language but with a common bond in ancestry, a love of the land, the surrounding oceans and seabeds. A culture rich in warrior traditions tempered by close family and inter-tribal bonds. A culture based on oral traditions and worship of natural laws and beliefs expressed in song, dance with a tradition of body markings telling close held beliefs and ancestry.
For generations these islands remained almost untouched and although further migrations of people came the culture remained intact because of the common ancestry that these later migrants held.
Suddenly, migration/colonisation takes place by a people from a different culture, language and ancestors turns the people of the land into second-class citizens in their own land. The traditional language is replaced by one foreign to the people and is used to rule the courts, commerce and other activities that ensure exclusiveness and prosperity for the new dominant culture.
The original inhabitants either have to learn the new culture and language or be excluded from the benefits of the new dominant culture. The traditions of these island people are strong and remain the strength of the majority. Generations pass and the new dominant culture integrates the belief that the islands are now their home and country, in time they learn the original peoples language and some of their cultural norms.
Through intermarriage and generational integration, the language (and parts of the culture) of the original people becomes commonplace in a new bi-cultural society and takes its place in commercial, legal and international dialogue by the new integrated society. Eventually after several generations the language of the land is enshrined in law and the two cultures of the islands merge with a common culture and acceptance that a new culture made up of the two conflicting cultures of the past has bonded and started to make the people of the islands a whole again.
This acceptance of the language of the original island inhabitants leads eventually to special legislation, enshrining the original language in common law of the islands for all time and states it as an official language of the courts, commerce and everyday common usage.
The above history is I know much more complicated than I have reported but never the less reflects the feelings and general problems experienced by the indigenous populations at the time.
September 25, 2006
This article reflects the history of the Anglo-Saxon from 1066 - 1338 with regards to their language after the colonisation by French speaking Normans. It could have been about many different colonisations even Aoatearoa New Zealand.