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No. 34 (March 1961)
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Mr J. K. Hunn [NPS photo]

No departmental report of recent years has aroused so much immediate interest and attention as that of Mr J. K. Hunn, Deputy Chairman, Public Service Commission, and Acting Secretary for Maori Affairs. It covers most aspects of Maori life and contains some revolutionary proposals.


It points out the need for doubling and even trebling the Maori housing programme.


It shows that Maori representation at the university is only one eighth of what it should be.


It points out that there should be several thousand Maori apprentices rather than a few hundred only.


It makes strong arguments for a Maori land development programme of 50,000 acres a year rather than the present 10,000 acres.


It points out that the Maori crime rate is 3 ½ times the European rate.


It points out that intermarriage is integrating Maori and pakeha.


It shows that by the year 2000, the Maori population could number 700,000.


It proposes ways of overcoming the problem of multiple ownership of Maori land.


The Practical measures that induce closer racial integration move through a circle of chain reaction, says the Hunn report. Better education promotes better employment, which promotes better housing, which promotes better health and social standing, which promotes better education and thus closes the circle.


The object of land title reform must be to bring about sole ownership and to prevent it from disintegrating. Fragmentation of ownership proposed a serious bar to the proper use of land in the interests of the Maoris themselves, and in the national interest also.

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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:


A completely detribalised minority.


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


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.


In one form or another, the Department of Maori Affairs would survive for many years to come. Other departments might have the main responsibility for particular aspects of Maori welfare—health, education, employment—but the Department of Maori Affairs should be conceded, and should accept a residual responsibility to keep in close touch with these functions, and if necessary, exert its influence on behalf of the Maori people. Granted that the policy was to let Maoris stand on their own feet and deal with the ordinary departments; granted too that more of that could be done even now; the more of it that was done the more would the Department of Maori Affairs be forced to assume a watching brief over other departmental operations. The time had come, however, to think of transferring its physical operations—house-building, land development—to agency departments.

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Forty Wellington archaeologists spent their holidays in January working in the Wanganui area on ancient pa sites, among them the fortress of Tarata. The expedition, under the direction of the assistant ethnologist of the Dominion Museum (Mr D. C. Smart) was trying to learn more about early Maori culture. In earlier excavations on the site of Tarata last summer and winter, the archaeologists have already discovered interesting features in this ancient stronghold, which has unusually-shaped food pits and house sites, plus the main entrance to the pa. The entrance ramp was specially constructed of earth instead of the Maoris choosing a natural feature for the purpose. It was the only way of approach to the pa and was built narrow, so that only a few attackers at a time could assault the entrance. This feature is still largely preserved and above ground. Much of the remainder of the pa is within a few inches of the grass on the crest of a hill overlooking the Waitotara Valley.