1779 By this time, Māori have begun to succumb to new diseases (TB, influenza, dysentery, measles, pertussis, STD’s)
1790 60% of the Māori population in the southern North Island die in an epidemic of an introduced disease, (possibly influenza) called rewha-rewha.
Tracking and Analyzing Disease Trends Vol.7, No5, 2001
Throughout the 1830’s a rapid spread of literacy occurred amongst Māori. Those who had learnt to read or write (in Māori) at the Mission schools, established their own schools and passed on their knowledge to others. The opening of trade relations and international business opportunities cause literacy to become highly valued amongst Iwi, leading to widespread educational systems.
‘Literacy became widespread amongst Māori, even so that by the middle of the nineteenth century a higher proportion of Māori were literate than that of the settlers’ (Biggs, 1968).
MAI Review, 2007, 1, Intern Research Report 8, Towards an educational analysis of Māori and Pacific Island student achievement at the Church College of New Zealand. Tereapii Solomon.
An estimated 4000 Māori (from the Ngai Tahu Iwi) die as a result of a measles epidemic. Introduced by whalers, it sweeps through the southern South Island, devastating local communities.
The Maoris of the South Island. Chapter V — The Decline of the Maori.T. A. Pybus.
1841 LAND CLAIMS ORDINANCE
This ordinance established that all ‘unappropriated’ or ‘waste land’, other than that required for the ‘rightful and necessary occupation of the aboriginal inhabitants of the said colony’ were deemed Crown land. The ordinance gave statutory recognition to the Crown right of pre-emption at the expense of any rights to Māori rangatiratanga over their own land, despite the promises of Article Two of the Treaty.
1844 NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT ACT
Royal Instructions were issued to Governor Grey to chart all lands in the Colony. Those lands not claimed or registered would automatically vest in the Crown. No Māori claim was to be admitted unless the claimants “actually had the occupation of the Lands so claimed, and have been accustomed to use and enjoy the same, either as places of abode, or for tillage, or for the growth of crops, or for the depasturing of cattle, or otherwise for the convenience and sustainment of life, by means of labour expended thereon.”
This not only diminished the Māori economic base by confiscating their land, but also violated both Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty.
1852 NEW ZEALAND CONSTITUTION ACT
This act gave the right to vote to men who owned (a small amount of) property. Communally-owned land was explicitly excluded, thereby denying Māori men a vote. As a result, Parliament became the domain of wealthy colonisers and land speculators.
This was a clear violation of Article Three (3)
1860 New Zealand Wars
17 March 1860: Crown troops attack the pa (settlement) of Te Ati Awa chief Te Rangitake at Te Kohia. Te Rangitake (also know as Wiremu Kingi) and his supporters had been resisting the government’s claims to have purchased the Waitara block of land.
The dispute initially arose in 1859 when another Te Ati Awa chief, Te Teira Manuka, had offered Governor Thomas Gore Browne land at Waitara. At the time, Te Rangitake opposed the offer and warned the Governor: ‘I will not permit the sale of Waitara to Pakeha. Waitara is in my hands, I will not give it up’. Te Rangitake’s supporters erected a flagstaff to mark the boundary of their land as a way of delineating what territory would not be sold.
12 July 1863: British troops invade Waikato, deliberately crossing the Mangatawhiri stream. The Kingitanga had declared the stream to be an aukati (a line that should not be crossed) and that they would consider any breach to be an act of war.
The Kingitanga or Māori King Movement had been established in 1858. The Crown viewed it as an anti-land-selling league and therefore an impediment to settler progress as well as a separatist movement that challenged British sovereignty in New Zealand. In January 1863, Governor George Grey stated he would ‘dig around the Kingitanga until it fell’.
During this era, settlers also provided liquor to Māori in a deliberate attempt to promote debt among Māori and therefore cause the mortgaging of Māori land.
1860’s-1890’s Dispossession of land leads the deterioration of Māori health. Worse health is noted among those Māori who have more dealings with Pakeha; Māori who shun contact with Europeans retain their health. “the men & women are healthy looking while the number of children playing about, and of fine stout infants to be seen in the arms of their mothers, is remarkable…it is sad to think that those natives who have least to do with eurpoeans are in every respect the best of their race, but so it is.: New Zealand Herald, 9 May, 1878.
As cited in Land Purchase Methods and their Effects on the Māori Population 1865-1901. M.P.K Sorrenson Journal of the Polynesians Society, 1956
Further dispossession from their land leads to further deterioration of Māori health not only because of the loss of an economic base but also due to the rapid deterioration in Māori living conditions.
1862 SUPPRESSION OF REBELLION ACT
This act suspended the right to habeas corpus for those found to be in rebellion against the Crown. Military courts were established, and land confiscation and execution were standard penalties for rebellion. This was a direct violation of Article Three (3)
1863 NEW ZEALAND SETTLEMENTS ACT
This Act permitted confiscation of Māori land in any district where a ‘considerable number’ of Māori were believed to be in rebellion. This facilitated Crown confiscation of millions of acres.
1865 NATIVE LAND ACT
The right was given to any person to apply to the Land Court for determination of title to land. Courts were only permitted to consider the evidence before them in making title decisions. This meant that if a Māori owner did not take part in this long and costly title process, then title to their land would automatically be ceded to the claimant. Māori owners who did take part would often incur legal debts which resulted in forced sales anyway.
1867 MĀORI REPRESENTATION ACT
After legislation to individualise titles had (inadvertently) given some Māori the right to vote, the Crown realised that this would cause Māori voters to outnumber Pakeha in some electorates. This act was passed to remove the ‘threat’ of Māori outvoting Pakeha in these districts.
The act introduced racial separatism into the New Zealand political process by permitting Māori to vote only for Māori seats and not in general elections. The number of Māori seats were then deliberately held to a set minimum, ensuring that Māori would always have only a minority voice in government.
Alfred Kingcome Newman was born in Madras, India, on 27 April 1849 to Alfred Newman, commander of an East India Company ship, and his wife, Isabella Soames. The family emigrated to New Zealand in 1853 and farmed the 13,000-acre Arlington estate near Waipukurau, becoming prominent members of the local community.
Newman studied medicine in England, but upon his return to New Zealand, practiced medicine only briefly. Instead, he became a very successful merchant and property owner. In 1879, he became president of the Wellington Philosophical Society and also served on the governing body of the New Zealand Institute. He utilised his medical training to analyse and comment upon Māori. In 1882 he published ‘A study of the causes leading to the extinction of the Māori’, in which he depicted the race as diseased, depraved and brutal, already dying out even before the arrival of Europeans. Newman declared the disappearance of the race to be ‘scarcely subject for much regret. They are dying out in a quick, easy way, and are being supplanted by a superior race.’
1896 The Māori population reached its lowest point when a total Māori population of 42,113 people was recorded on the official census.
“Māori living with conditions were appalling. Most of them lived in makeshift camps, without sanitation. They were afflicted by a host of infectious diseases and there was a very high rate of infant mortality… They were seldom treated by doctors, let alone admitted to hospitals. For the most part, they had to fend for themselves.”
R T Lange.’ Oxford History of New Zealand. The Revival of a dying race: A brief chronology of health between Māori and Pakeha. p16-17
“Suppression of Tohunga” Act
The spiritual and educational role of the Tohunga (healers and teachers of Māori culture) in preserving traditional Māori society was seen as a threat to Māori amalgamation by non-Māori society. Accordingly the position was outlawed by the Crown, further diminishing the Māori population’s ability to care for themselves. Yet not improving their access to Crown (i.e. Pakeha) services.
The enumerator in Taranaki in 1891 reported that probably not more than one in three Māori children would survive to maturity. Maui Pomare estimated in 1903 that fewer than half of all Māori infants survived to their fourth birthday – generally due to the execrable living conditions and the lack of access to adequate health care.
Plunket Society Established. From its establishment, the Plunket Society specifically excluded Māori from its client base, despite their arguably having the highest need for such services. Māori were not provided with full access to Plunket services until some 70 years later.
All Māori gatherings and travel were forbidden during the smallpox epidemic; the Auckland Health officer further advocated the placement of Māori “in reservations under supervision”.
G.W. Rice, Black November: the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in New Zealand (1988; second edition, Canterbury University Press, 2005)
1918 Influenza Epidemic
Māori death rate: 22.6 per thousand (Non-Māori rate: 4.5)
1920 Studies of high infant death rates in Māori communities identified the main causes of death as pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, followed by diarrhea and enteritis. These were undoubtedly related to poor living conditions. In the 1920’s, Māori infant death rates were still four times higher than those for the non-Māori population.
1920 Peter Buck (Te Rangihiroa) nominated first Director of Māori Hygiene. Many reforms in the area of Māori health achieved.
1924 Plunket was allocated £26,831 of the government health budget for (Pakeha) infant and child healthcare; by contrast to this, ALL aspects of Māori health were to be addressed with a mere £10,689
1930s Economic Depression
- Māori usually excluded from unemployment relief
- Māori given smaller benefits “because they could grow their own food”
Plunket clinics in the 1930s provided their Pakeha clientele with not only advice and health checks, but also supplied free or subsidised breast-milk substitutes and food parcels for the poor and undernourished. This service, free and accessible with a well-established infrastructure, was widely believed at the time to be highly successful, yet it was for all practical purposes unavailable to Māori women.
1933 Three-quarters of the adult male Māori population was registered as unemployed yet it was harder for unemployed Māori to qualify for relief. Even when they did qualify, they received benefits at a lower rate.
1935 T.W. Ratana, an influential Māori prophet appealing directly to the morehu (the poor and dispossessed) embarked on a significant political campaign from 1928. In alliance with the first Labour government after 1935, he was able to achieve some significant gains for Māori under the new welfare state.
In 1937, Labour launched a massive State housing programme, building 32,000 houses by 1949. Yet, because the homes were urban based and relied on the principle of cost recovery, the scheme had little impact on the housing situation for Māori.
Furthermore, racist attitudes by allocation committees also prevented Māori from gaining access to State housing. A major barrier to improving housing and sanitary conditions for Māori was the prevailing attitude among the government and allocation committees (whose members were Pakeha) that ‘a new house will be of no use without a new mentality to go with it’. This view was expressed, for example, by Dr Duncan Cook, Medical Officer of Health for the predominantly Māori area of Whangarei, in 1936. By 1940, with an estimated 45,000 Māori people in inadequate housing, fewer than 500 houses had been built.
1940 Māori Housing reports stated that 57% of Māori homes were overcrowded, 45% had unsafe water supplies and 36% were ‘unfit for habitation’.
During the Second World War, the Māori War Effort Organisation mobilised more than 27,000 Māori men and women – nearly a third of the Māori population. Of the more than 3600 men who served voluntarily with the Māori Battalion:
- 618 were killed.
- 1710 were wounded.
- 267 were taken prisoner or reported as missing.
This casualty rate was almost 50% higher than the average for the New Zealand infantry battalions. By the time the Second World War ended in 1945, the 28th (Māori) Battalion had become one of the most celebrated and decorated units in the New Zealand forces. The pinnacle of its achievement was the Victoria Cross won by Te Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu in 1943.
1954 MĀORI AFFAIRS ACT
The Māori Affairs Department was established to act as a Māori Land Purchase Agent for the Government. Māori land deemed “uneconomic” could be compulsorily purchased at state valuation (i.e. seized). The (Pakeha) trustee was given power to buy Māori land worth less than 50 pounds without the owners’ consent, to use as he wished.
1971 Nga Tamatoa (The Young Warriors) was one of the new groups that questioned racial politics. This Auckland-based student movement took its lead from liberation struggles elsewhere.
1974 MĀORI AFFAIRS AMENDMENT ACT
This curbed some of the most iniquitous aspects of the 1954 Act. It was largely the work of Matiu Rata (1934 – 1997) who subsequently left the Labour party due to their lack of support on this amendment.
1975 A wide range of Māori came together under the leadership of Whina Cooper, a respected Northland kuia (elder), to peacefully protest against the ongoing loss of Māori land. About 30,000 people marched the length of the North Island to Parliament to raise awreness about this issue.
1975 Waitangi Tribunal Act
This act set up a politically appointed Tribunal to examine Māori claims from 1975 onwards. Two non-Māori and one Māori were members. The Tribunal was only given the power to make non-binding recommendations to the Crown.
1985 Waitangi Tribunal Amendment Act
This act made Tribunal jurisdiction retrospective from 1840 onwards. Membership was increased to 7, of whom 4 must be Māori. In addition, it required the Tribunal to be headed by Māori through the Tribunal still only had the power to make non-binding recommendations.
1977 – 1978
Member of Ngāti Whātua occupied land at bastion point, Orakei for 507 days. The occupation ended in a dramatic eviction by the police. The Crown later admitted the land had been unfairly acquired from the tribe.
Our Current Legislative Position
The New Zealand Public Health & Disability Act 2000, incorporates a number of significant references in relation to Māori Health. The New Zealand Public Health & Disability Act 2000 requires District Health Boards to establish and maintain processes to enable Māori to participate in and contribute to strategies for Māori health improvement. These, and related requirements, are imposed in order to recognise and respect the Treaty principles and to improve the health status of Māori.
For example, Section 4 of the Act for example states that:
“In order to recognise and respect the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, and with a view to improving health outcomes for Māori, part 3 provides for mechanisms to enable Māori to contribute to decision making on, and to participate in the delivery of health and disability services.
Part 3 of the Act provides for the establishment of District Health Boards and sets out their objectives and functions. Of particular relevance are sections 22 and 23 of the Act. Section 22 specifies the objectives of the District Health Boards.
They include the objective of reducing health disparities by improving health outcomes for Māori and other population groups, and to reduce, with a view to eliminating, health outcome disparities between the various population groups (s 22 (1) (e) (f).
Section 23 sets out the functions of the District Health Board (“for the purpose of pursuing its objectives”). Of particular relevance is the requirement to establish and maintain processes to enable Māori to participate in, and contribute to, strategies for Māori health improvement (s 23 (1) (d)).
The New Zealand Health Strategy acknowledges the special relationship between Māori and the Crown under the Treaty of Waitangi (Chapter 3 pp 7-8). The New Zealand Health Strategy also refers to the Māori Health Strategy, which was developed later to provide strategic direction and guidance to the sector in implementing the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act.