The Treaty of Waitangi, 1840

Just over a hundred and thirty years ago, writes Sarah Searight Great Britain acquired New Zealand with a minimum of political and financial fuss.

The modern concern for race relations throughout the world has had its repercussions even in those countries with a reasonable record in that field, such as New Zealand. Sociological studies of the Maori’s standing in a pakeha or European society; the higher percentage of increase in the Maori population compared with the European; and the growing urbanization of the Maoris (with its concomitant problems of rootlessness and juvenile crime) have all awoken in the white New Zealander an uneasy suspicion that his much-vaunted racial tolerance is not so perfect as he had been brought up to believe. They have also aroused in the Maori a desire to know how and why he lost out to the European, and what part he should play in such an inexorably WASP-ish society.

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