Go-betweens

Page 2 – Pākehā-Māori

In addition to traders, whalers and sealers, runaway seamen and escaped convicts from Australia settled in Maori communities. Some were described as 'Pākehā-Māori' as they often adopted a Māori lifestyle.

While some Europeans were treated as slaves, others received the honour of the moko, or facial tattoo. Barnet Burns, who was shipwrecked in New Zealand around 1810, married a Māori woman and had his face tattooed before returning to England, where he performed on stage as 'A New Zealand Chief'. Ta moko, meaning to strike or tap, is the long-standing art form of Māori tattooing. It has been practised for many generations and has withstood time and colonisation. It was used as a form of identification, as an indicator of rank, genealogy, tribal history or eligibility to marry, and as a mark of beauty and/or ferocity.

Later European settlers viewed Pakeha–Maori with contempt and suspicion. They were seen as men who had turned their backs on civilisation.

Dicky Barrett and Jacky Love

Two prime examples of early intermediaries were the European traders Dicky Barrett and Jacky Love, who formed an economic relationship with Te Ati Awa at Ngamotu in 1828. Both men were given Maori names: Barrett became Tiki Parete while Love became known as Hakirau.

Acceptance into Maori society was sealed through marriage. Barrett married into a high-ranking family: his wife Wakaiwa (or Rawinia) was the daughter of Eruera Te Puke ki Mahurangi, a leading Ngati Te Whiti chief, and was also related to many other important Te Ati Awa chiefs, including Te Wharepouri and Te Puni. The marriage was seen as a reflection of Barrett's status and importance to Te Ati Awa. The couple's children wore European clothes, spoke both languages and had Maori as well as English names. Barrett acted as interpreter for the New Zealand Company in its land purchases in the Cook Strait region.

Barrett, Love and a number of other Europeans also participated in Te Ati Awa's successful repulsion of a Waikato taua in 1832, with their cannons proving crucial in the battle. Europeans participated in other Maori battles. In 1837 Pomare II was aided by 131 Europeans living in his pa during his 3 month war with Titore.

How to cite this page

'Pākehā-Māori', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/maori-european-contact-pre-1840/pakeha-maori, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 25-Mar-2014