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Role Models For The Future.
Intertribal war was a central feature of Maori culture. Conflict was highly enjoyable for warrior chiefs & they actively sought it. It made them important. Hongi Hika told Samuel Marsden that when he was at war he was feared & respected, but when he returned home others would not listen to anything he had to say. Many northern Ngapuhi Maori chiefs became disillusioned with the demands of utu & moved away from their old ways to the peace of the missionaries. Tamati Waka Nene joined in calls to Britain for help in 1831 & 1835 & welcomed the handing over of sovereignty at Waitangi in 1840. He was a valued advisor to Governors & was able to join chiefs from across NZ in 1860 to celebrate the success of colonisation at the Kohimaramara conference.
Apirana Ngata grew up in both cultures & throughout his life he debated the question of which cultural practices of Maori should be rejected (including the misguided health care of tohunga) & which should be preserved & encouraaged (with his championing of the haka). He was a Maori champion within the halls of power as a Member of Parliament & a Government Minister.
Both these men worked with others across party lines & helped those with whom they disagreed or fought. Both thought hard & realistically of the challenges of changing times. Nene, along with many fellow chiefs, was willing to give up much of his personal power to bring peace & advancement. Ngata kept questioning & listening throughout his life, always seeking a policy most relevant to the time.
Their examples show a way ahead for 21st century NZ - away from separatism & glorification of deeds of warrior chiefs, towards the one nation of the Treaty of Waitangi & a recognition of steady, co-operative striving for a better life for all.

Author: John Robinson
Binding: Card cover, 328 pgs, photos & illustrations
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  • Seller location: Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, NZ

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