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Creating a National Spirit: Celebrating New Zealand's Centennial

7: Reclaiming Waitangi

page 99

7: Reclaiming Waitangi

The purchase of the Waitangi site by Lord and Lady Bledisloe and its dedication to the people of New Zealand at celebrations on 5-6 February 1934 renewed interest in 'the cradle of the nation' after decades of official indifference.1 In other circumstances, Waitangi might once again have receded from public memory. But with the centennial only six years away, Maori and Pakeha leaders were very conscious of the symbolic importance of the site of the first Treaty signings and it was to have a central place in their celebrations.

My familiar use of 'Maori' and Pakeha' does, however, need to be qualified. In the late 1930s these were not necessarily the words that non-Maori New Zealanders used when referring to themselves and Maori New Zealanders. They were as likely to call themselves 'white', 'English', 'British', or 'European' as 'Pakeha'. This was a sign of an as-yet uncertain sense of themselves as New Zealanders. 'White' was to be expected as a verbal marker in a country where race was a defining characteristic. 'British' was constantly reinforced by taken-for-granted facts of everyday life. People of English, Welsh, Scots or Irish descent made up 91% of the population. New Zealanders travelled overseas on British passports and, despite the opening that had been provided in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster, most wanted to keep the British identity.2 For seventy years or more a stream of distinguished visitors had told them that New Zealand was the colony most like the motherland and the most loyal, and that they were the Britons of the South Seas.

But the centennial was conceived as a coming of age and a national stocktaking, and it posed a new question: apart from their sense of Britishness, what did it mean to be New Zealanders? The poets, writers, and scholars who wrestled with that question did not find it easy to speak of themselves as New Zealanders. When they referred to the people of New Zealand they usually spoke of 'New Zealand', shifting the subject of their remarks from the inhabitants to the country. It was as if the sense of their British identity kept crowding out formulations of themselves as New Zealanders. J. C. Beaglehole said flatly that, if culture was to be thought of as 'a common way of living and thinking, of making and considering the thing made'— 'of culture of this sort there is in New Zealand none'. The flower still had to find a permanent root. Allen Curnow, in a memorable couplet, had given the same answer: page 100 'Not I, but some child born in a marvellous year / will learn the trick of standing upright here.' Oliver Duff, in his widely read centennial survey, New Zealand Now, was also uncertain. 'The pioneers,' he wrote, 'knew who they were and where they were going. Their grandchildren stand bewildered at the crossroads, not sure whether to advance or retire, whether they are strayed Europeans or white Polynesians; immigrants, travellers, or natives.'3

But these were the thoughts of three literary men. The popular image of identity remained unambiguous and was graphically expressed in the certificates issued to visitors to the Centennial Exhibition. These portrayed a beautiful young Britannia draped in the Union Jack, commanding the picture plane and holding each recipient in her kindly gaze. Tens of thousands of these images found their way into family memorabilia. 'Where [Britain] goes, we go; where she stands, we stand,' Savage famously declared when he announced that New Zealand was at war.

There was a growing sentiment among Pakeha New Zealanders that the country could take pride in its race relations. Opinions of overseas visitors and commentators were rehearsed from time to time as confirmation. But there had never been any doubt in Pakeha minds about the basis on which relations between Pakeha and Maori should develop. It was Pakeha standards that were to be met, all changes of any importance were to be made on the Maori side, and progress was to be measured in terms of the proportions of Maori living according to Pakeha norms. The careers of Pomare, Ngata, Buck, and other Maori of their generation were pointed to as evidence that progress was possible. Ngata's political initiatives for the Maori people had won the respect of Pakeha political leaders and some moderation in the tone of newspaper editorials. Pakeha language habits reflected these changes. Among Pakeha speakers, 'pakeha' was beginning to rival 'white' when referring to themselves as an ethnic group. 'Maori' and 'Maoris' were coming into more common usage alongside 'native' and 'natives' in references to Maori New Zealanders.

Maori were no longer a dying race but, as Buck had shown in the early 1920s, the percentage of full-blooded Maori was decreasing with each generation. The future, as Condliffe and Airey viewed it in the 1938 edition of their widely read Short History of New Zealand, would be one of racial fusion. "Gradually,' they wrote, 'as Maori become absorbed into the dominant white race, there will grow up a people rich in the stories and traditions of both races, looking back with equal pride to the Maori explorers and navigators and to the great leaders of the British people.'4

Maori leaders viewed these matters of identity very differently, however. They did not think of their people being absorbed into the 'dominant white race'. Nor were they in any doubt who they were, where they stood, and where they were leading their people. Pakeha might think of themselves as antipodean Britons but Maori did not think of themselves as displaced Polynesians. Ngata, Buck, Henare, Te Puea, Ratana, and other leaders knew their whakapapa and they appealed to a shared sense of collective identity and cultural pride as defences against the assimilative pressures of the Pakeha world.5 They believed, too, in the resilience of page 101 their people and their ability to take the future in their own hands. Ngata saw it as his lot to ward off 'the wrong doings of the pakeha so that the spirit of the Maori people may emerge'. For him, cultural adaptation was not a process of making Maori the same as Pakeha but of preserving 'the old culture-forms as the foundation on which to reconstruct Maori life and hopes'.6

Ngata's sense of Maori identity had another important layer which he shared with Buck. Buck's ethnographic work in the Pacific supported their belief that the Maori of New Zealand were the 'leading branch of Polynesia', and this validated their efforts on behalf of their people. They saw the recent sufferings of the Maori people as a dark episode in the much longer cultural history of a people skilled in voyaging into the unknown. More than that, Maori were being pathfinders once again. Alone among Polynesian people they were 'struggling to maintain their individuality as a Race and moulding European culture to suit their requirements'.7

The essential features of Ngata's programme of cultural renewal were well established when the Bledisloes gifted the Waitangi site to the nation. He was the driving force and the cultural mediator who carried Pakeha politicians with him. The programme had been conceived twenty years earlier as the joint product of the efforts of the four Maori MPs—Pomare, Buck, and Henare as well as Ngata8—as a deliberate attempt to improve the standing of Maori in the eyes of Pakeha. Their first success was their insistence that the Maori Pioneer Battalion be organised as a distinct unit on tribal lines. The memory of shared sacrifice in war was permanently etched in public memory when other parts of Ngata's programme got under way in the 1920s. The Maori Ethnological Board initiated research on Maori mythology, material culture, and literature, and its publications, several by Elsdon Best, introduced Pakeha readers to a serious study of Maori culture. The introduction of Maori as a subject of study for a BA degree was the harbinger of the later development of teaching and research in Maori, anthropology, and Maori studies in the New Zealand universities. Ngata and Buck mentored a new generation of Pakeha scholars—Condliffe, Firth, Keesing, Sutherland, and Ernest Beaglehole—who through their books and teaching became important cultural mediators for Pakeha.9 Condliffe in his New Zealand in the Making, published in 1930, alerted Pakeha readers to what he described as the 'Maori renaissance' that was in progress. 'One foot on the Pakeha brake and the other on the Maori accelerator' was how Buck described the programme.10

Land development schemes and community development schemes undertaken in conjunction with the School of Maori Arts and Crafts at Rotorua were proving to be vital means of cultural renewal. Carvers from the arts and crafts school were available to build community houses wherever local communities had an approved project and local commitment to see it through. Between 1927 and 1940 Pine Taiapa, the master carver at the school, oversaw sixty-four community projects.11 Other initiatives were also bringing Maori from many parts of the country together. Railways and service car routes were making it possible for people to travel further page 102 from home. Large Maori gatherings for the dedication of buildings, church synods and conferences, political meetings, rugby and tennis tournaments were becoming regular events.

Ngata was a master at creating opportunities for such gatherings and then using them to further his political objectives. Marae were his starting points but his inspiration was Maori unity—unity on a tribal basis, not, as Ratana would have it, on a religious basis that subordinated tribal affiliation. He worked painstakingly, first to win the confidence of Te Puea and then to bring her into a working relationship with Coates and other leading politicians. The high point of his efforts was getting the Governor General and Coates to attend the ceremonial opening of Mahinerangi at Ngaruawahia in 1929. It is an example of his using community development projects as opportunities for tribal groups to come together to mark ceremonial occasions with appropriate cultural activities, and to draw Pakeha leaders to those occasions so that their eyes could be opened to the renaissance of the spirit that Maori were experiencing. Six thousand were at the hui and all the tribes were there. Ngata thought it 'the most historic assembly of tribes since the Maori wars of the sixties'. Waikato's seventy years of isolation was ending.12

The next time that all the tribes would come together again would be for the dedication of the Waitangi National Reserve. Bledisloe had insisted that the Waitangi Trust Board be 'national' in its composition and he took great care with the representation on it of Maori.13 The board was unquestionably prestigious in its membership. Lord and Lady Bledisloe became life members. The Prime Minister, G. W. Forbes, E. A. Ransom, and Ngata were the government members, ex officio. Sir Heaton Rhodes, Sir Francis Dillon Bell, Coates, Tau Henare, Riri Maihi Kawiti, and Te Rata Mahuta, the Maori King, were foundation members.14 Maori were thus for the first time able to influence the form of ceremonial events and the development of a site that was as full of meaning for them as it was for Pakeha. Ngata and Henare seized the opportunity. The national festivities on the site in 1934 and 1940 reinvented Waitangi in the popular imagination, and Ngata and Henare ensured that Maori understandings of its symbolic importance had equal place with those of Pakeha. The modern history of Waitangi and of the Treaty dates from those events.

By the eve of 5 February 1934, Te Ti marae had become a temporary township of 6000 people. Pakeha swelled that number by another 4000 for the ceremonies on the next two days. The official party arrived next morning and included most members of the government and fifty MPs. The presence of the young King Koroki was welcomed by Pakeha and Maori alike. The welcoming ceremonies for Governor General and Lady Bledisloe which Ngata and Henare had masterminded were remarkable demonstrations of Maori unity and goodwill. Some 1200 dancers took part. Pakeha were riveted by the power of the peruperu, the traditional Nga Puhi challenge led by Tau Henare, and by a succession of dances from all tribal districts.15 For the climax 170 Ngati Porou and East Coast warriors advanced to the official stage in close formation. Ngata stepped forward and, stripped except for his chiefly page 103 mat, addressed his fellow politicians. 'No speeches will be delivered by the hosts,' he said. Then, sweeping his mere 'imperiously' to associate all the assembled dancers and singers with what he was saying, he said,

What you have just seen represents the Maori speeches of welcome. It is the spirit of Waitangi. It may be misunderstood, but the Maoris of New Zealand would like to retain some of their ancient culture and let Parliament today realise what that means. There are plenty of Pakehas in New Zealand without us. I think the people of New Zealand would regret the loss of their Maoris and the best of their culture.

His speech was greeted with loud applause. The Pakeha audience was deeply impressed with what they had seen and heard, as Ngata and Henare had hoped they would be. 'Nothing,' Ngata wrote to Buck, 'could be more timely to weld the race together and convince our Statesmen and others that policies based on goodwill and sympathetic consideration are still necessary and profitable to the State.' A reporter wrote that the day 'crowned the crusade for the renaissance of Maori culture'.16

The dedication the next morning on the grassy slope below the Busby house was celebrated as a great defining moment in the history of the British Empire. The symbolism of the occasion was unreservedly imperial. Two ships of the Royal Navy, Dunedin and Diomede, were standing offshore. For the occasion, a great flagstaff— at ninety-four feet tall thought to be the largest in the country—had been erected on what was believed to be the spot where the Treaty signings had taken place. At its base stood a commemoration stone with the following text:

On this spot on the sixth day of February 1840 was signed the Treaty of Waitangi under which New Zealand became part of the British Empire.

A naval honour guard of 150 fired a royal salute. Lord Bledisloe pulled the halyards and released the huge Union Jack to fly from the masthead. 'It affords me great joy,' he declared, 'to unfurl this Union Jack over the cradle of this Dominion. . . . May this flag, the symbol of British Sovereignty, ever betoken justice, equality and peace between the two races which inhabit this Dominion. God save the King.' The assembled crowd sang the national anthem accompanied by the bands of the visiting warships. Three cheers were called for and given. A Maori haka party did 'Ka mate'. Ships' horns sounded around the bay. A form of service steeped in imperial symbolism had been invented that would be the basis of commemorative services at Waitangi for a generation or more.17

The assembly moved up the slope for the laying of the foundation stone of the whare runanga, on which was inscribed: 'Ko te paepae tapu o te tiriti o Waitangi' (the sacred threshold of the Treaty of Waitangi). This was more than a dedication of the wharenui. It was an invocation of the Treaty itself and an affirmation that the Maori people were a party to it. Bledisloe also spoke of that larger meaning. The 'old British Residency', he said, 'the Meeting House and the flagstaff would page 104
Members of the Maori Battalion are greeted by whanau on their arrival. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 14 February 1940, p41, C-27619-1/2a.

Members of the Maori Battalion are greeted by whanau on their arrival. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 14 February 1940, p41, C-27619-1/2a.

'henceforth' stand together 'in close proximity'. Thus would the meaning of the Treaty be enshrined in the grounds where it was entered into. Responding for the Kingitangi, Te Hurinui Pei Jones told Bledisloe: 'You have revived the memory of the Treaty of Waitangi and it has brought back the manhood of the Maori Race.'18

The ceremony ended with the tribes formally asking Bledisloe to convey to the King a resolution they had passed reaffirming their 'allegiance and loyalty to the British Throne'.19 Ngata was well pleased with the effect of the two days of festivities. Writing to Buck, he said that their 'greatest service to New Zealand was the stocktaking of ideas of relationships between tribes and between the Maori people and the Pakeha, the partners in the agreements of 1840'.20

When planning the dedication ceremonies the trust board were also foreshadowing the centennial. The flagstaff was already in place. The renovation of Busby's house, now renamed the Treaty House, was well in hand. Ngata and Henare went to work to have the whare runanga, the third symbolic feature of the Treaty grounds, ready for a ceremonial opening on 6 February 1940. The Centennial Council played its part by declaring the celebration of the Treaty signings at Waitangi to be a national centennial event and the main one for the Maori people. The government spent £26,300 to ensure the completion of the whare runanga and the upgrading of facilities at Waitangi for the large numbers who would be there. There was a moment of uncertainty when war broke out but the government decided to proceed.21

The celebrations, as we shall see, were not the occasion of entirely united celebration but were nevertheless a great bicultural occasion. As with the celebrations of six years earlier, the imperial theme was ever-present but so, too, was its counterpoint, harmonious nationhood. Working behind the scenes, Ngata had page 105 arranged for 500 men of the recently assembled Maori Battalion to be present to form the honour guard for the Governor General. There could have been no clearer sign that Maori were at one with Pakeha even to the point of making the highest sacrifice for King and country. The place, the time of year, and the weather on the day, made it a truly festive day for the crowd variously estimated to be between 10,000 and 14,000. A much larger audience followed the day's events through radio broadcasts. The medium of radio turned the Waitangi celebrations into a truly national centennial event.

The celebration had two main events: a re-enactment of the meetings of 5 and 6 February 1840 that culminated in the first Treaty signings; and the opening of the whare runanga, the centennial memorial of the Maori people. The pageant was a dramatic representation of Colenso's Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. This, the Herald reported, was 'presented with the utmost faithfulness to historical fact', and 'was a conspicuous success'. The European members of the cast played their parts with 'evident enthusiasm', and cthe Maoris' natural oratorical gifts were utilised to the full'.22

The pageant was played out on a square facing the Treaty House, where a stage surmounted by Union Jacks and other flags of empire had been built. A large table covered with a Union Jack was the only stage prop. The pageant began with the lowering of the Union Jack from the Treaty flagstaff to indicate that sovereignty had yet to be conceded. Captain Hobson seated himself behind the table, supported by the other members of the official party. The Maori chiefs gathered in a rough semicircle on the ground in front of the stage, and the meeting of the 5 February was re-enacted. Actors and audience then moved down the lawn to the base of the flagstaff for the Treaty signings of 6 February, the shaking of hands, and Hobson's declaration: 'He iwi tahi tatou.' The Union Jack was raised again.23 Sovereignty (in the English
The actors leave the stage afterthe first act of the pageant re-enacting the first signings of the Treaty of Waitangi. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 14 February 1940, p41, C-27619-1/2b.

The actors leave the stage afterthe first act of the pageant re-enacting the first signings of the Treaty of Waitangi. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 14 February 1940, p41, C-27619-1/2b.

page 106 language version of the Treaty) had been conceded to Queen Victoria and New-Zealand was henceforth part of the British Empire. In return the Maori people were promised that their property rights were safeguarded and they would receive the Royal Protection and all the rights of British subjects.

The celebrations were completed with the official opening of the whare runanga by the Governor General. Pakeha may have seen it as just another beautifully carved house but to Maori it was much more than that. Its siting was important. It stood side by side with the Treaty House: the two buildings were to be seen as standing together, as the Treaty had intended the Crown's representatives and the Maori people to stand. The house was, as Ngata had intended, a symbol of tribal unity: the carving styles of all tribal areas were represented in the fourteen pairs of poupou inside the house. The carving and weaving of the house, and the cooperation and organisation that had brought it into being were expressions of a vibrant cultural revival. It was thus a place where all Maori could stand in the familiar surroundings of their own cultural identity.

The plaque which Galway unveiled inside the whare said:


There is no translation but it says in English:

Opened by Lord Galway on 6th February 1940 following the ceremonial rites performed in the presence of the two peoples, Maori and Pakeha.

As there will have been few Maori speakers among the Pakeha present, the message of the plaque will have remained mute. Translated, it is very clear. Two messages were inscribed in the symbolism of the centennial celebration, both of them, ironically, in Maori: one, Hobson's statement 'He iwi tahi tatou' (Now we are one people); the other, Ngata's 'Maori and Pakeha'. In Pakeha perceptions New Zealanders were one people but in Maori perceptions they were 'two peoples, Maori and Pakeha'.

But there was also, both in 1934 and in 1940, another thread in the weave of Maori responses. On both occasions Pakeha political leaders began to learn that great ceremonial occasions that brought Maori and Pakeha together in demonstrations of national unity also provided opportunities for Maori to remind Pakeha of their grievances. Only Ngata's last-minute efforts had prevented a Maori boycott of the dedication celebrations in 1934. Maori throughout the country had been outraged by the auditor general's report on Ngata's department and wanted to demonstrate their support for him by staying away. Ngata spent much of January 1934 crisscrossing the North Island in what proved to be a successful attempt 'to put all resentment aside and so make of Waitangi a convincing demonstration of the progress made since 1840'.25

page 107

The welcoming ceremony at Te Ti on 5 February 1934 nevertheless included expressions of Maori protest. In the course of their performance of a traditional haka, for instance, Ngati Porou, led by Ngata, lamented the loss of tribal lands and called on the Treaty of Waitangi for protection. Reporting this, The Weekly News added that, because Maori was the language of these performances, the Europeans present were able to get only a general idea of what was said.26 No untoward incidents were reported from the ceremony at Waitangi the next day. If, however, the celebrations gave scope for protest they also provided a rare occasion for dialogue. Maori leaders seized the chance to have informal discussions with members of the government on the Maori land development schemes and the sensitive issue of the rating of Maori land among other matters.27

There was disquiet within Nga Puhi in the run-up to the Waitangi centennial celebrations. An issue of mana had erupted following the release of the centennial stamps in November 1939. One of these depicted Kawiti signing the Treaty. Hone Heke's whanau at Kaikohe took this as a slight on their forebear and threatened not to take any further part in the preparations for the centennial celebration at which his namesake was to play the part of his famous tipuna. Heenan had to work very hard behind the scenes to smooth things over. Closer to the day, the issue of surplus lands—lands that the Governor had retained when the pre-1840 land claims had been adjudicated—surfaced again. Judge Acheson, the native land court judge, counselled Nga Puhi that if they did not draw attention to the sanctity of the Treaty and the question of surplus lands at the celebrations 'the British Government would assume they were a satisfied people'. This was reported to the government, and Fraser went to Waitangi forearmed.28

The politics of Pakeha-Maori relationships had entered a new phase. The Waitangi celebration had been highlighted as the most important event in the centennial calendar. The image of exemplary race relations was so important to Pakeha conceptions of themselves that any evidence of Maori discontent was bound to be damaging. Maori leaders knew that, too, and it weighed in their decisions. Koroki's well-publicised decision and those of the Waikato and Taranaki tribes not to go to Waitangi were clear evidence of grievances that still hurt. A press statement issued for the Maori King stressed that he intended no disrespect to King George VI: his quarrel was with the government on a matter of mana and over the lack of an assurance of compensation for the raupatu.29

Nga Puhi were the host tribe but that did not stop them from making their own passive protest. Some of their members wore red blankets to draw attention to the surplus lands issue. The nature of their grievance was scarcely known outside Maoridom, and very few Pakeha would have got the point, but Ngata, in his speech at the opening of the whare runanga, ensured that those present were alerted to it by directing attention to the blankets and why they were being worn.

Marae are places for plain speaking, and Ngata claimed that right as the first page 108
Sir Apirana Ngata leading a Ngati Porou haka at the opening of the whare whakairo. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 14 February 1940, p36, C-27618-1/2.

Sir Apirana Ngata leading a Ngati Porou haka at the opening of the whare whakairo. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 14 February 1940, p36, C-27618-1/2.

Maori to speak on the Waitangi marae. In one of his speeches in which he deliberately-tugged at Pakeha heartstrings, Ngata tellingly reminded his audience of the wrongs that Maori had suffered and still suffered. Before the new century got under way, he insisted, the government 'must wipe out the mistakes of the last 100 years'. It must settle all land grievances before Maori could 'close their eyes to the past' and 'go forward confidently, side by side with the Europeans'. But, despite his misgivings, Ngata believed in the relationship forged at Waitangi. The Treaty had been 'a gentleman's agreement which on the whole, had been not badly observed'. He doubted if any other native race 'had been so well treated by a European race as in New Zealand'. It was by handing 'the shield of sovereignty to Queen Victoria and the descendents' that there was 'a free Maori race today'. In acknowledgement, he said, the Maori Battalion, 'the flower of the race', was being offered up. Maori began the new century with their 'eyes wide open to their obligations'. But Pakeha must always remember that policies intended for their betterment 'might contain dynamic forces which shattered the individuality of the Maori race'.30

The contrast between the two main events of the day is more obvious to non-Maori New Zealanders today than it could have been to those experiencing them at the time. To Pakeha the historical pageant re-enacted the decisive moment when the Treaty was signed, sovereignty was ceded to Queen Victoria, and the New Zealand nation was born, bringing benefits to Maori and Pakeha alike. To Maori the whare runanga, standing side by side with the Treaty House, symbolised a distinctive Maori identity. They had not been absorbed, fused, or assimilated into an undifferentiated Pakeha community, and they wanted the Pakeha majority to recognise that fact and respect it. They were regularly being told by Pakeha leaders that they must look to the future—and both the Governor General and Peter Fraser, speaking after Ngata, page 109 did so again—but the whare runanga was an impressive sign of a reinvigorated, united people who were ready for whatever the future might bring. It was a reminder and a challenge to Pakeha.

The next day the New Zealand Herald reported the cautionary as well as the comforting parts of Ngata's speech but its leader writer put the emphasis on the comforting parts. Ngata, the leader writer wrote, had not 'gloss[ed] over' the existence of grievances; in fact, he had stated them with considerable emphasis, but transcending them was his declaration that 'in the whole world [he] doubted if any native race had been so well treated by a European race as in New Zealand'. His 'confession' was 'proof that, whatever failures there may have been on either side, the balance after 100 years was on the right side. So much must be counted as gain in an imperfect world.' Ngata's plea for recognition of the cultural distinctiveness of Maori New Zealanders did not get a mention.31

It was not the first, and it would not be the last time that Pakeha and Maori, sharing the same moment of national celebration, would talk past each other. Waitangi had become the site of two competing narratives of the history of the nation's first century. The celebratory Pakeha narrative of one people living together in equality and friendship would be repeated annually at Waitangi until the early 1970s, when a new generation of politically active Maori began to challenge the country to come
Minhinnick's coment. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 14 February 1940, p8, C-27620-1/2.

Minhinnick's coment. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 14 February 1940, p8, C-27620-1/2.

page 110 to terms with the Maori counternarrative. The seeds of that future had been sown during the dedication ceremonies at Waitangi in 1934, and the 1940 celebrations showed that they were germinating. The absence of the Maori King and of other Waikato and Taranaki leaders was a reminder that durable relations between Maori and Pakeha must be based on continuing negotiation. Nga Puhi's blankets were also a portent of political theatre to come. Peter Fraser's response at the centennial ceremony was the response of a Pakeha political leader who wanted to maintain the country's reputation for good race relations and would do what he thought necessary to stave off adverse publicity. He announced that the government would set up a commission to inquire into the surplus lands question.32

Not until 1974, with the enactment of 6 February as a public holiday to mark New Zealand Day, did Waitangi again become briefly the scene of a national celebration of nationhood. Some of the younger Maori who were at Waitangi in 1940 were by then leaders in a new generation advocating Maori recognition under the Treaty. James Henare, son of Tau Henare (who had died less than a month before the Waitangi celebrations), had been secretary of the Nga Puhi committee in charge of the Waitangi celebration. Whina Cooper had lifted the tapu from the whare runanga at a dawn ceremony a few days before the official opening.33 By the 1970s both were respected leaders of Nga Puhi and of Maori people in general.

The whare runanga gave Maori their place to stand at Waitangi. But the Treaty, as Jock Phillips notes in the afterword of this book, was not prominent in the centennial celebrations. The Treaty was part of a passive display in the Treaty House with other memorabilia but no one seems to have remarked that it was written in Maori. It would be thirty years and more before the Treaty became the focus of public attention and New Zealanders found that they must learn how to interpret it in the light of the meanings of its Maori as well as its English version.34

1 Claudia Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi (Wellington: Allen and Unwin, Port Nicholson Press, 1987),p.234.

2 A. Smithies, Australian Supplementary Paper no.2, in Contemporary New Zealand: A Survey of Domestic and Foreign Policy (Auckland: New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, 1939), p.184.

3 J.C.Beaglehole, New Zealand in the Commonwealth: an attempt at objectivity, in Smithies, Contemporary New Zealand, op. cit., p. 13; Allen Curnow, 'Attitudes for a New Zealand Poet III: The Skeleton of the Great Moa in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch' in Enemies: Poems 1934-36 (Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1937), p. 166; Oliver Duff, New Zealand Now (Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs, 1941), p.116.

4 J.B.Condliffe and Willis T.G. Airey, Short History of New Zealand, 6th edition revised (Auckland: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1938), p.2.

5 See generally M. P. K. Sorrenson ed, Na To Hoa Aroha, From your Dear Friend: The correspondence between Sir Apirana Ngata and Sir Peter Buck, 1925-50, 3 vols (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1986); G. V. Butterworth, 'The Politics of Adaptation. The Career of Sir Apirana Ngata, 1874-1928', MA thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, 1969; Michael King, Te Puea: A Biography (Auckland: Hodder and Stoughton, 1977); R. Ngatata Love, The Politics of Frustration: The Growth of Maori Politics in the the Ratana/Labour Era', PhD thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, 1977.

6 Sorrenson, Na To Hoa Aroha, vol.1, pp.85, 123.

7 Ibid., p.144.

8 G. V. Butterworth, pp.159-64, 214-27.

9 Sorrenson, Na To Hoa Aroha, vols 1, 2, passim.

10 J.B.Condliffe, New Zealand in the Making: A Survey of Economic and Social Development (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1930), pp.60-90; Sorrenson, Na To Hoa Aroha, vol.1, p. 144.

11 Angela Ballara, Tineamine Taiapa', in The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol.4, 1921-1940 (Auckland: Auckland University Press with Bridget Williams Books and Department of Internal Affairs, 1998), p.511.

12 G. V. Butterworth, p.102; Michael King, Te Puea, p.142.

13 Declaration of Trust, in T. Lindsay Buick, Waitangi Ninety-Four Years After (New Plymouth: Thomas Avery, 1934), p. 16 (emphasis in original).

14 Ibid., pp.25-6.

15 Otago Daily Times, 6 February 1934; Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi, pp.234-5; Michael King, Te Puea, pp. 180-1.

16 Sorrenson, Na To Hoa Aroha, vol.3, p.130; Otago Daily Times, 6 February 1934.

17 Vernon H. Reed, The Gift of Waitangi, pp.53-5; The Weekly News, 7 February 1934; Otago Daily Times, 7 February 1934.

18 Reed, The Gift, pp.55-6; Otago Daily Times, 7 February 1934.

19 Otago Daily Times, 7 February 1934.

20 Sorrenson, Na To Hoa Aroha, vol.3, pp.135-6.

21 Internal Affairs IA 1,62/25/1, H. W. Ballinger to Heenan, 7 March 1944; A. W. Mulligan and W. S. Wauchop to Heenan, 14 September 1939, IA 1, 62/25/1.

22 New Zealand Herald, 7 February 1940.

23 Northern Advocate, 6 February 1940; New Zealand Herald, 3, 6, 7 February 1940.

24 Waitangi Carved Meeting House Whare Runanga, Waitangi National Trust, 1981, [p.5.]

25 Sorrenson, Na To Hoa Aroha, vol.3, pp. 129-30.

26 The Weekly News, 14 February 1934.

27 Ibid.

28 IA 1, 62/25/1, A. W. Mulligan to Heenan, 4 December 1939 and 30 January 1940; New Zealand Herald, 7 February 1940.

29 Michael King, Te Puea, pp.203-5.

30 New Zealand Herald, 7 February 1940.

31 Ibid.

32 Northern Advocate, 6 February 1940

33 Northern Advocate, 31 January 1940, 5 February 1940; Reed, The Gift, p.97.

34 Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi, pp.238-54.