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No. 34 (March 1961)
– 61 –

INTEGRATION

Intermarriage is relentlessly integrating, even assimilating, Maori and pakeha while philosophers soberly meditate what the policy should be, states the Hunn report.

Intermarriage was believed to have reduced the number of full-blooded Maoris to 30,000, or about 20% of the Maori population. Consequently, says the report, the number of Maoris with some strain of pakeha in them may be as high as 120,000. The Maoris have taken quite remarkable strides forward in the last two generations. In another two generations, it states, they should be almost fully integrated. Full integration of the Maori people into the main stream of New Zealand life was coming to be recognised as about the most important objective ahead in the country today.

The report asks, what precisely is New Zealand's policy for the future of the Maori race? The answer was elusive, because nowhere was it defined. This was probably deliberate and wise. It recognised that evolution would take its course and pay scant attention to statutory formulas. Evolution governed policy, not vice versa. This would be the lesson of South Africa's attempt to force a policy of apartheid on an unwilling people.

Integration means combining, not fusing, the Maori and pakeha elements to form one nation in which Maori culture will remain distinct. The Swiss-French, Italians, Germans—appeared to be an integrated society. The British—Celts, Britons, Hibernians, Danes, Anglo-Saxons, Normans—appeared to be an assimilated society. Britain passed through integration to assimilation. Signs were not wanting that that might be the destiny of New Zealand in the distant future. The Maoris today could be broadly classified in three groups:

1

A completely detribalised minority.

2

The main body, pretty much at home in either society.

3

Another minority complacently living a backward life in primitive conditions.

The object of policy should be, presumably, to eliminate the third group by raising it to the second, and to leave it to the personal choice of group 2 whether they stayed there or joined group 1—in other words, whether they remained integrated or became assimilated.

Here and there were Maoris who resented the pressure brought to bear on them to conform to what they regarded as the pakeha or alien mode of life. It was not, in fact, a pakeha way of life, simply, but the modern way, common to advanced people—the Japanese, for example—in all parts of the world.