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No. 26 (March 1959)
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No. 26 (Vol. 7, No. 1)


The question whether Maori members should be included in the New Zealand Rugby Team visiting South Africa in 1960 has been debated more than any other Maori question over the last few months. If there had not been so much debate, we should not have devoted an editorial to the question. However, looking through literally hundreds of newspaper clippings from many prominent authorities throughout the land, we thought it worthwhile to add our own comments.

First of all, it is certainly gratifying that a Maori cause should receive such widespread publicity and support as we have witnessed. Not only football authorities, but also churchmen and public figures of all descriptions have stood behind the Maori footballers, emphasising that the whole world will be watching what New Zealand will do. There was a feeling that New Zealand should not compromise on the principle of racial equality.

Our own concern with all this is that in the heat of the Rugby argument we are in danger of losing sight of the main issues. The world is certainly watching carefully how New Zealand handles its race relations problems. The world is impressed that a Maori was chosen as High Commissioner in Malaya, gratified by the social and economic progress of the Maori people and their generally high standard of living; if over the next twenty years we manage to solve the Maori housing problem and the difficulties of large-scale Maori migration to the cities, then the world will be even more impressed.

How can we solve these greater problems? Partly we can solve them by Maori effort. European help and sympathy however are equally necessary. The Department of Maori Affairs, in its own work, has found that New Zealanders are generally sympathetic and prepared to give young Maoris a chance to do any work for which they are qualified. In the sphere of accommodation, a little more practical help would at times be appreciated. For instance, when it comes to selling building sections for Maori housing, any help given would be very valuable for improving Maori social conditions and thus overcoming what minor barriers there are between the races.

Let us hope that all the writers in newspapers, all sympathetic readers of the wide publicity about the Maori footballers, will use any available opportunity to help in a practical way. In that case, whether the footballers go or not, the controversy will benefit the future of New Zealand.