CAPTAIN JOHN NIVEN:
A NEW ZEALAND ADVENTURE
When the barque England's Glory, failing to pay off, struck the rocks at Lookout Point near Bluff in 1881, she had a pilot aboard; Bluff (then called Campbelltown) had been a borough with a mayor since 1878, and a port of entry for Invercargill since the '50s. Wohlers, the Ruapuke missionary, was near the end of his ministry; his community, mainly half-caste by then, had moved to the more sheltered fishing havens of Stewart Island, leaving a few hard-up nobles in ‘a state of proud poverty’. Southland was now sheep country—and unfortunately rabbit country. Government schools, churches, the post office, the Bluff train were all under way. ‘Our Maoris,’ wrote Wohlers, who had been painfully teaching them English for their own good, ‘could now step into the ranks of civilised people.’ But there were few Maoris proper left; the half-castes were the hale and hearty ones … ‘When they grew up they married; sometimes among their own people, sometimes Maoris, sometimes Europeans. They were far more fruitful than the Maoris proper’ … Surrounded by the even more prolific European settlers, and ‘changed into civilised Christians, who in no respect are inferior to ordinary Christians in old Christendom’, they considerably surpased ‘the converted natives of the North Island’, at least in the view of their pastor.
Such was the society into which the real Captain Bollons, then a lad on board the England's Glory, was tossed by the sea. He elected to stay on with Foveaux Strait Maoris with whom he had made friends; then, five years later, he signed on as a seaman aboard the Government Steamer Stella. In 1892, when Bernard Fergusson's grandfather was Governor, Bollons was second mate on board the smart new Government vessel Hinemoa. Then, in the twenties, Captain Bollons commanded the Tutanekai, and young Bernard Fergusson, whose father was now Governor-General, spent an impressionable month on board, ‘storing up memories to last him all his days’. When I was three, the Tutanekai lay at anchor off Leasks Bay, and the deck of the Hinemoa, retired in Little Glory, was a wonderful playground for visiting children for many years. The names of Barney Buller and Captain Bollons had the same ring to me as Robinson Crusoe's.
Lord Ballantrae's Captain John Niven may well join the ranks of real and fictional seagoing heroes. He is based on Captain Bollons. ‘I have also,’ writes the author, ‘taken many liberties with time and place’. Yes indeed. But it doesn't matter, because he tells a rattling good story, and much genuine feeling for the real man comes through.
If, as some well-meaning people will keep saying, Maori-Pakeha integration is a joke and a bad joke at that, it is not the fault of the southern Maori, nor of people like Robert Murray, sealer, Captains Kent and Edwardson J. F. H. Wohlers, Captain Bollons, and the Fergusson family whose warm interest in the Maori people spans several generations and pervades this book. That there is an affinity between the Maori and the Gael is shown in the sympathetic and moving account of “Captain John Niven” 's going out on the ebb after the irirangi warning, and the episode of the house built on tapu land.
But the main thing about any book, however grave or gay its message, is readability. Who could resist a book beginning ‘It was blowing great guns from the North-west’, and going on ‘A ship! A ship! Driving in on our beach!’? Nor does the action let up: adventure follows adventure, some fact, some fiction, some a bit of both. I would like to have seen the southerners using Southern Maori and eating non-sweet potatoes, but that won't worry young Geordie and his friends in Ballantrae. Nor will respectable Stewart Islanders be too fussy about having their forebears mixed up with claim-jumping at Pegasus, or rum-running on the Mainland.
Pinching land is a very ancient New Zealand tradition, from moa hunting times on. Pinching people's sense of humour, so that they take themselves over-solemnly, is the greater crime. Long live Maori humour, and the twinkle in Lord Ballantrae's monocle!
SHORT STORIES BY
NEW ZEALANDERS TWO
This book contains a selection of short stories by ten well-known New Zealand authors, authors who not only have a unique and distinctive style of story telling but also because of their wide and varying backgrounds, introduce a flavour which is altogether human and humane.
So where does one begin in reviewing a book like this? The author has taken everything into consideration. A preface, background notes on the authors, on some of the stories and some skilfully directed questions and activities aimed at encouraging the reader to understand more fully the concepts hidden in the stories. The author directs the reader through her choice of stories to doing what all readers must do—
Read for enjoyment and read to gain a deeper understanding of the people who live around us and next to us—to foster and learn something which is outside our own experience, and thereby help us to understand ourselves a lot more.
One story I will always return to is Amelia Batistich's—‘A place called Sarajevo’, where to summarise the whole story in a sentence or so, I would say … ‘Ketty gave a day and a night out of her life to Mrs Zelich, and only succeeded in heightening Mrs Zelich's loneliness—because loneliness in itself breeds utter despair through which even a ray of sunshine is dissolved.’
As a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would recommend it as one which covers our multicultural life here in New Zealand.
RATANA; the man, the Church, the political movement
Within recent years there has been a growth of interest in the Maori prophetic movements. It is as if the Maori prophet is at last becoming more widely regarded as an important figure in New Zealand history. In view of the topicality of the question the second edition of Henderson's Ratana is welcomed, the first edition having been unavailable for some time. However, the expectations which one has of a second edition of this type have not been fulfilled. It is unfortunate that Henderson's approach contains several flaws which have, for the reviewer at least, important implications for the study of Maori institutions as elements in New Zealand social history.
One such implication is that since New Zealand is a multi-racial society there is both the need and the scope for greater co-operation between the anthropologist and the historian. Both are confronted with the problem of translating the meaning of either another place or another time into contemporary, universalistic terms. The anthropologist is painfully aware of the problems in confronting a culture other than his own. He realises that even after a prolonged stay in another culture he will still know less of the culture than the average child growing up within it. The European historian looking at an earlier period in his own society is almost as alien to it as an anthopologist in the field situation. However, even though the one culture appears very differently through time, the historian remaining within his own culture at least shares the heritage of that culture. One he steps into another culture for the first time he confronts the problem which the anthropologist calls ‘culture shock’.
It certainly would not be valid to criticise a researcher on grounds other than those which he has explicitly taken into account
but I believe that Henderson's approach to the Ratana movement is lacking in the over-all perspective which anthropology could have provided. He clearly is aware of the anthropological research carried out on prophetic movements and mentions some of the more notable writers in the preface to the second edition. I searched in vain for his use of these sources throughout the text only to find them added on to the end of his original bibliography. One new source actually used in the text, however, is that of Smelser (p.10) and this rather fortuitously points to another flaw in Henderson's approach.
With the benefit of hindsight it might apēpar a simple matter to see ‘most of the determinants of collective action’ (p. 10), but I question to what extent social action is ever determined. Why, for example, did the Ratana movement begin as a religious movement when earlier Maori responses to ‘structural strain’ had been so varied? Apart from religious responses there had been isolationism, warfare, other forms of political action, or various combinations of these. Those who later became followers of Tahupotiki Ratana were first confronted with a conscious choice. In return for the promise of a better life they had to restructure certain of their traditional ways. That so many did is of more importance than any statistics show. Why did they do it for Ratana? When so many of their problems were of the here and now, why did they in fact seek the religious solution? Such questions are as valid to the historian as to the anthropologist. The very anthrological sources which Henderson cited but never used provide some of the answers.
Henderson quotes Bishop Selwyn who suggests that the Maori felt the missionary to be part of the government plot to subjugate him and goes on to say: ‘The shock to the Maori faith had caused the people to turn to the Maori messianic leaders’ (p.9). This is, at least, evidence of ethnocentricism. Is Henderson suggesting that had the missionary not failed the Maori the latter would not have turned to his own messianic leaders? The Maori messianic movements were more than a negative response toward the missionaries whom they felt had failed them. The Maori was responding to the whole Pakeha culture of which the missionaries were themselves part. Is it logically possible for the missionary as a partial cause of the problems perceived by the Maori to provide a solution to these same problems? We must look for explanations of Maori messianic movements from a positive, Maori point of view. Ad hoc explanations of the type which Henderson offers are just not defensible.
The Ratana movement, like those which preceded it, was a natural response on the part of a highly religious people toward their problems. By this I mean that, traditionally, religion has pervaded all aspects of Maori life and Henderson points to this (p.9). From Papahurihia in the 1830s onward the Maori has embraced Christianity, but he could only have done this in his own terms. Here the institution of the marae already presented a model much closer to that of Biblical Christianity than that of Pakeha society. Furthermore the Pakeha preached of one God but were themselves divided into many denominations. Maori Christianity thus became a synthesis of two worlds, the world of the Maori and his view of the world of Biblical Christianity. There is an arrogance on the part of the Pakeha that, despite his own denominationalism, he implies there is but one form of Christianity. For example, Henderson says ‘… it is true that the prime influence has been Wesleyan in so far as the Ratana Church can claim to be still Christian’ (p.50). This is to deny again the nature of a distinctly Maori Christianity and the part it still plays in New Zealand society.
The major criticism to be made is that the data which Henderson provides lack a general framework. No attempt has been made to link the Maori prophetic movements in terms of tradition and historical interconnections. Henderson has failed to show the systematic relationships between the sectarian and the non-sectarian aspects of the rise, course, and consequences of the Ratana movement. In the early years of this century two streams were emerging
in Maori political life. There were those who advocated a wider adoption of the European life-style and others, such as in Mana Maori Motuhake, who maintained a more separatist approach. In the two phases of the Ratana movement, Ture Wairua and Ture Tangata, there seems to have been an attempt to synthesize the division occurring in the political front. The Maori identity was realised for Ratana in religious terms and his wider appeal to Maori society was made initially in the well-established prophetic tradition. It seems as if the modern meaning of Maoritanga, although the term was not originated by Ratana, has almost taken on the spiritual expression of Maori identity used by him. The reviewer suggests that the genius of Ratana lies in his recognition of the need to transcend the problems created by divisions in the political sphere and he did this by establishing a new identity in the religious sphere. Furthermore, I suggest that Ratana was not, after the establishment of his Church, merely ‘… free to attend to the demands of the Morehu concerning their lands’ (p.55-6). The Church and the political movement can be shown in Ratana's view to be inseparable. This is a consequence of the traditional Maori world view. In all of this, Maori history is more than a negative response to Pakeha history.
KAPITI — Collected Poems
A poet's own selection of his work is bound to be interesting for it is also his personal assessment of his poetic achievement — such is the case with Alistair Campbell's volume Kapiti, a selection of poems from earlier collections and literary magazines.
With nearly a quarter of a century separating the first poem from the last, one can trace the development of Campbell's art. The earlier poems are lyrical, many very slight, with constant nature imagery, particularly driftwood and bones, but conveying an air of contentment and interest in the world around.
Some of the poems have a more intense impact — the effect of the hard heat of The Cromwell Gorge comes across vividly, as does the hardness and harshness of nature in the seven poems which comprise Elegy for a friend killed mountaineering.
Looking at Kapiti is the first poem where the island is mentioned. The ghosts of the island's past visit Campbell, to be developed more fully in the major poem — or series of poems — Sanctuary of Spirits.
The Maori of old creep from the island and numbers of them speak—an old woman briefly; an old man in shame; a chief defeated; Nga Roimata, strangled by her father to avoid slavery, with grief; Tamihana Te Rauparaha, proudly.
Te Rauparaha himself makes only one appearance in person. Otherwise, he is the subject of the Others' speech, the leaders of the Spirits.
The poet tries, with grim humour, to belittle Te Rauparaha's present power, but the old chief persists. Both subject matter and language make this definitely a poem of New Zealand.
In the later poems, the tone changes. Colours, not nature, are dominant in the imagery. Few of these poems are as happy as those of the earlier years.
The subjects become more personal and several deal with broken relationships. Reflections On Some Great Chiefs is a wryly amusing look at some of the characters who figure earlier — Te Rauparaha, Tamaiharanui, along with Te Wherowhero.
The last poem, Walk The Black Path, is surrealist in effect and a very bleak vision of city life. Perhaps it is a taste of the Campbell to come.
It is good to have such a wide selection from one of New Zealand's leading poets so widely available. The variety makes for interesting reading and the presentation is good — both in hard and soft cover.
In its soft cover form, it is ideal as a school set for secondary schools — and New Zealand students would obviously find more to relate to in Campbell's poetry than
in much overseas poetry taught them.
The poems are well set out and not jammed together as sometimes regrettably happens with some collections, and the cover, with Kapiti brooding greyly over it, complements the contents.
THREE BOOKS FOR SCHOOLS
THE MAORI—An action text for Social Studies
Barry Mitcalfe, lecturer in Polynesian Studies at the Wellington Teachers' College has written The Maori to help schools develop Social Studies incorporating anthropological skills and insights. The ‘new’ Social Studies syllabus (currently being developed) for Forms I-IV specifically requires the study of social and cultural interaction and New Zealand's bi-racial society offers relevant material at first hand.
In Chapter 10 page 93 it says, ‘the attitude of others helped to shape the child's attitude to himself.’ This I feel is a true summation of this book and all other books written about the Maori for the Maori by an author who is not ‘Maori’, and the following review is based on my own experiences, attitudes and prejudices.
Content-wise, this book is overloaded. There is far too much information for a student to wade through to find what he needs for a specific study. In fact, I doubt if an average student in Form V, or Form VI could present a ‘balanced’ study of any phase of the Maori life after using this text book, let alone fully understand one of the many paths that the author has opened up. Barry tried to take a scientific or anthropological slant in this textbook and backed by such ‘respected authorities’ as Kenneth B. Cumberland, Dr Roger Duff, Sir Peter Buck to mention three of his resource references, I would say he succeeded.
Reference materials scattered liberally throughout the book were plucked from a very wide field beginning on the archaeological sites through filed and categorised records, journals, letters and publications to history books. As I commented before, the content is loaded. As an average teacher, I would need many hours to sift through and find a single workable ‘unit of work’ and even then probably end up taking one of the other references mentioned in this text book.
The illustrations, especially where they depict people, I simply do not like. They are too stilted and are perhaps even romanticised portraits of people engaged in physical labour, yet frozen by the artist's pen. The drawing on page 34 of a woman cleverly draped in a revealing ‘gown’ and the young man on page 88, framed by the fruits of the land and the storehouse are two I find particularly distasteful and everything Maori in me screams out against it.
I am surprised that these as well as others were accepted by both the author and the publishers as worthy complements to such a textbook as ‘The Maori’. Finally, perhaps only an anthropology student could benefit from this book and I would be most interested to see how this gets on when it is freely available for use in the schools, but then remember, I too am guilty of being prejudiced.
WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?
This book, “is written for 11 to 12 year olds (a range of about pupils S.4 to Form II) and it deals with questions of how people migrated, how culture changed and gives many practical exercises in the kind of deductive and scientific reasoning that underlies the whole ‘new’ Social Studies syllabus”—(which is currently being developed.) In this I would say Barry has succeeded in fulfilling the above aims. It introduces other authors naturally and in such a way that a student could progress from one idea through to another. That is, Percy Smith, Peter Buck, Thor Heyerdahl and on to Andrew Sharp, and yet it doesn't end there, does it?
The layout is pleasing and informative allowing the teacher to insist on mapwork and many other allied activities to complement the class work and study. Alan Howie's drawings do much to illustrate the feeling that the Maori and Polynesian were and are from a moving ever-changing yet basic cultural group that came from over the seas and are going to a point in time wherever that is.
I feel this book would be valuable as a resource and work book in our classrooms and a steady prop for some of our teachers who aren't confident in their knowledge of things Maori and Polynesian.
MAORI & PAKEHA, 1900 until today
Once again Barry recognises the value of other people's views and pays tribute by using these views liberally to form a platform from which to operate.
The text then is succinct, precise, concise and an accurate summary of the historical context within which the Maori has lived and interacted from 1900 up to today. Barry does take the reader through the important phases of the Maori people, which today holds true: the young Maori party, Ratana, the depression and so on.
Use and choice of photographs are such that they complement the text rather than compete with it, yet I feel that the choice of these could tend to limit the interest which a book of this kind could stimulate especially as it is a resource book.
Perhaps the author if anything has not allowed for any individual thought on the part of the teacher or his pupils by directing their thinking and methods of study. Be that as it may this is a resource book and as such will fulfill a need in our classrooms.
The N.Z. National Band is to take a Maori group of one man and seven girls on its three-month American tour between July and November 1974. Applications close on 31 August with the Secretary, N.Z.B.B.A., Box 13211, Armagh, Christchurch.