Did whites treat the Maori better than the Aborigines?

Completely off-topic… but it reminded me of… “It’s the constitution. It’s MABO. It’s just…the vibe.” :smiley:

Aussies will get it.

Khoisan weren’t (just) hunter-gatherers. The bulk (Khoe-khoen) were agriculturalists. *Smallpox *was what made short work of the Khoe-khoen. That and the fact that they lived where the Europeans first landed. The Xhosa didn’t put up much more resistance when the Europeans actually arrived at where they lived to take over. Organised khoe-khoen resistance extended from 1652 to 1803. That’s not any “shorter work” than the Xosa and Zulu wars.


I sit corrected. I was being very sloppy - spelling included. Thank you.

Probably more the former than the latter; Cortes had many Indian allies, after all. Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec “empire,” was one of the largest cities in the world when he visited, and the neighboring tribes and city-states considered it more than a little overbearing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenochtitlan

See Gary Jennings’s excellent novel Aztec for a very readable account of Tenochtitlan in its days of power and glory.

Depends on what you mean by “not honoured” and which version of the treaty you are reading. A good number of the terms in the treaty meant different things to the Europeans and Maori. Much of this is still being debated today.

And while you may say “organised” to sign a treaty, do bear in mind that there are hundreds of tribes that are signatories to the treaty.

Good Post!

A couple of points I would like to add…

  1. Maori actually had a thriving trading culture long before Europeans arrived - particularly with Greenstone (too scared to attempt the Maori spelling)
  2. One of the key problems in the early years of the Treaty, and when it came to the franchise, was that Maori did not recognise individual ownership of land - they only recognised communal tribe ownership. I am not up on the actual process here but I know trying to vest Maori land in an individual led to big problems.
  3. Since the mid eighties New Zealand has been making a concerted effort to settle “treaty grievances” - something that Australia has not been as forthcoming about with the Aborigines.

Kinda hard to settle treaty differences when there is no treaty to be agrieved by.


Which is something that, while it happened, was perishingly rare. IIRC only 6 confirmed cases occured in over 200 years, and of those, two events resulted in murder convictions for the people involved. There are more verifiable accounts of European and Asian family groups being decimated by Aborigines than the converse.

Obviously this isn’t something that had any significant bearing at all the overall treatment of Aborigines

As did Aborigines

Far from being driven into the desert, Australian desert Aborigines invariably left the desert willingly to take up residence around European settlement as soon as they possibly could.

The very concept of driving Aborigines into the desert makes absolutely no sense. All of Australia has been occupied to maximum carrying capacity for 20, 00 years. Aborigines being driven into the desert simply could not survive because the land couldn’t hold any more people. The only time it would have been vaguely plausible is after the traditional owners had already deserted the land to become fringe dwellers, but under those conditions it makes no sense for the refugees not to also become fringe dwellers.

This myth of desert Aborigines is a very popular one in Australia for some reason. The fact is that most Aborigines lived where most later Australians lived. The traditional desert Aborigines rapidly deserted their traditional lands to take up residence around white settlements, and there is no evidence of any Aboriginal groups being driven into deserts.

Of course most aborigines lived in the most productive part of Australia, which is the eastern strip where most Australians live today. People lived in the desert, but not many because it was, you know, a desert. Just like today.

Yes I was guilty of being slightly glib here. I was a suggesting a pattern of Australian pastoralists displacing Aborigines during the early colonial period: driving them away from the fertile southeast, and inwards to more marginal lands, resulting in high levels of depopulation.

I still think it would be more humorous to picture the local leaders meeting and the conversation going like this:

Hey guys, these foreigners here are looking for some El Dorado. Something to do with a city of gold or whatever. They’re pretty weird.

I know! Send them over to our enemies over there! With any luck they’ll wipe each other out and we won’t have to see either of them again.

Great idea!

Hey Spanish guys, the place you want is right over there. Keep going til you see the big buildings.


But do you have any evidence at all that this ever happened? It seems impossible for it to happen for the reasons already given.

Look, the fact is that the vest majority of Aborigines died of disease. The vast majority of the remainder voluntarily became fringe dwellers around white settlements. A tiny number, all in the north AFAIK, were forcibly relocated to government and church communities. The idea that large numbers were driven into marginal areas is a popular myth, but not one that I have ever seen a shred of evidence for. Yet for some reason it is a very potent myth in Australia, akin to the image of Adam and Eve being driven out of paradise. Which makes me think that it is entirely mythical.

true it is, true it is…but its also a bit disingenuous on your part. The fact of the matter is that New Zealand has made a far more determined and persistent effort to handle and settle grievances than Australia has - just look at how long it took Canberra to apologise for the lost generation.

I assume you mean the so-called “Stolen Generation”. But you need to realise a few things.

Firstly the entire concept is based purely on hearsay.

Secondly, despite at least 14 separate trials of the best cases that ATSIC could put forth, only two black people have ever been shown to have been unfairly removed form their parents. In the other 13 cases the children were either removed from abusive parents or surrendered or abandoned volountarily by parents who could no longer care for them. In contrast in the same time period 4 non-Aboriginal children have been shown to have been unjustly removed.

Thirdly, since this forced removal of black children has become absolutely verboten we have seen such shocking statistics as 50% of children in Aboriginal communities being regularly raped. 20% of children under 14 having venereal disease and instances where multiple children were forcibly housed with known repeat peadophiles and subsequently repeatedly raped.

So there’s a pretty damn strong case that the so-called stolen generation never existed, and that the enforced removal was undertaken for some very compelling reasons, and should be initiated again.

When looked at in light of those facts, is it really surprising that it took along time to apologise for something that apparently never happened?

A lot of shit has been heaped on Black Australians, much of which deserves an apology. The “Stolen Generation” almost certainly wasn’t one of them.

Between slavery in America, apartheid in South Africa, the aborigines in Australia, the Indians in India and now this, it makes you wonder what part of colonialism was ever pretty.

Pounamu {Poh-oo-nah-moo}

From an earlier thread, here’s a very brief synopsis of 19th Century relations between Maori and European settlers, to add to HMW’s splendid summary.

The very edited highlights:

Stable Government
International Trade

Look, as much of a Colonialist and Imperialist as I am, I do concede that it wasn’t all cricket, drinks on the verandah, and the odd spot of tiger hunting on weekends. But neither was it purely a horrible, irredeemable, indefensible thing IMHO, and overall I think was a net good for the world, if a bit misguided at times.

Let’s face it, without Colonialism 99% of us on these boards wouldn’t be here.

Also, the Maori weren’t cannibals by the time the Europeans showed up. They did, however, have an astonishing affinity for firearms and guerrilla warfare, and they also liked the neat stuff (trade goods) the British brought with them. The Maori were also skilled artesans, whereas most of the Aboriginal tribes were still stuck firmly in the stone age and whilst they did (and still do!) create many great artistic things, they weren’t on the same level as the sort of stuff created by Maori craftsmen at the time the Europeans showed up and decided to play Colonisation two hundred odd-years before the invention of the personal computer.

“But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?” :slight_smile:

Ummm… are you sure? Conversations with natives regarding cannibalism (that was going on at the time) appear in Captain Cook’s writing, and as late as 1835 when the Taranaki Maori invaded and conquered the Chatams they are recorded as having slaughtered and eaten the natives.

I know our modern imperialist will probably be frothing at the mouth when I write this:D, but in relation to India

Railways and Telegraph
Yup, and would have come anyway. Like the Internet, Computers etc came without any colonial master. Ditto Electricity.

Education, Stable Government, Internation Trade

All existed before the British and indeed the Raj hurt the caiuse much more than it helped. Trade with Iran, the Middle East, C Asia died out pretty much, trade upon which the whole sub-continent depended, replaced with becoming a raw material source for Manchester. In the field of education, literacy actually went down, you had two foreign langauges imposed, English and Urdu, so a good amount of people who were literate in their own native language suddenly overnight became illiterate. And of course the British administration was far far removed from the locals than what replaced them.

I am an anglophile, but frankly any benefit of colonialism was incidentak at beat and would have happened anyway.


BTW, as an aside the south island is at times referred to as Te Wai Pounamu, or land / place of greenstone.

As another aside, and just pulling this out of my backside…

most New Zealanders know at least some Maori, words like Pounamu (greenstone), Marae (village), Kaumatua (elder), Hikoi (gathering / walk), Whare (family if I recall correctly), Haka, Kai (food), Wai (water, I think), Hangi, Hongi (way of greeting) etc etc…how many Aboriginal words are in daily usage in Australia (beside Ulluru)?