Running, Jumping and Rowing to Marginalisation: THE MAORI ...
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Running, Jumping and Rowing to Marginalisation: THE MAORI ...

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to a dozen people) disappeared altogether as competitive sports.37. However, the primary influence on changing traditional Maori sporting practices may have ...

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Running, Jumping and Rowing toMarginalisation:THE MAORI EXPERIENCE OF SPORT INCANTERBURY, 1850-1880Geoffrey Vincent is a contract librarian and an independent historian whoconducts research and writes on the history of sport in New Zealand during thecolonial period, Catriona E. Timms, known as Kate, is of Ngati Raukawaand Scottish descent. She is a doctoral finalist in Maori Studies at the Universityof Otago, and works as a Kaiawhina and part-time lecturer. Her PhD topicexamines instances of language revitalisation in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Hawai'i,Eire/Ireland and Alba/Scotland, Toby Harfield is a contract researcher atUnitec New Zealand. Her interest in New Zealand history extends well beyondsports and has included the wine industry, the building industry and womenmissionary teachers.
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IntroductionIn his concise history of organised sport in Australia, Richard Cashman writest t spohrt 'did anot exist as a separat e compart mentpeople of the continent.1 Similarly, according to Robin McConnell, sport was'inseparable from ritual and daily life' for Maori,2 the tangata whenua (nativepeople) of New Zealand. McConnell details the nature of traditional Maorisports prior to 1840, and the reasons for their demise under the impact ofsteadily increasing colonisation.3 However, with the partial exception of somematerial relating to rugby football,4 virtually nothing has appeared in thescholarly literature regarding the participation of Maori in the sportingactivities organised by the New Zealand settler population during thenineteenth century.This paper, which is based primarily on information drawn from theprovince of Canterbury during the period between 1850 and 1880, is anattempt to rectify that omission. The concentration on a particular provinceis a consequence of the fact that no similar study of the subject has beenundertaken in relation to any other region.5 The evidence presented belowclearly indicates that Maori were increasingly marginalised from sportingactivity as a consequence of colonisation. Pakeha missionaries andeducationalists instigated the demise of traditional Maori sports,6 and thesubsequent efforts of Maori to participate in sporting activities organised by
Sporting Traditions, vol. 21, no. 2 (May 2005), pp. 57-74.Published by the Australian Society for Sports History.
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Pakeha colonists were increasingly hindered by a combination of adversematerial circumstances and growing antagonism from some within the settlerpopulation. The course of events will be illustrated in detail, firstly, byproviding a definition of what constituted sport for Maori prior to 1840 and,secondly, through a discussion of the factors that facilitated the extinction oftraditional Maori sporting practices. The difficulties subsequently experienc-ed by Maori when attempting to participate in sports organised by Pakeha willbe demonstrated through an examination of rowing regattas held at Akaroaduring the 1860s and several festive athletics events arranged in northCanterbury during the 1870s. Finally, a number of possible explanations willbe suggested to account for the marginalisation of Maori from the vigoroussporting culture that developed among the colonists in Canterbury.'The Nature and Context of Traditional MaoriSporting ActivitiesBecause pre-contact Maori sports and games were so embedded in theirculture, there was no single Maori word for the general activity called 'sport'.A wide range of Maori words could be understood as signifying sport. Inaddition to the words used to express the general concept, there is anextensive vocabulary relating to particular physical activities. Kaipara referredto athletic games, on the other hand para whakawhai or whakahoro rakausignified activities involved in training with weapons.8 Eventually, takarobecame the noun for 'sport' and purei the verb meaning 'to play'.9 The wordrteehriam, so raihguinaraellkya  tahnedt enrgma for1a0ll recreations, was eventually superseded by thehau.In tradition al Maori society, the creation of the domainrecreation and pastimes was attributed to the gods. Although tribal historiesdiffer, there is reference to a variety of different ancestors such as Raukatauri,Raukatamea, Takataka-putea, Marere-o-tonga and Ruhanui as the originatorsof the arts of amusement.11 Annette Golding refers to 'the origin of dances,games and other "arts of pleasure'" being from the God of Peace andAgriculture, Rongo-marae-roa.12 Rongo who ruled over the planting andgathering of the kumara (sweet vegetable, sweet potato) crop, was honouredat harvest time in songs, dances and games.13 In the traditional Maori worldthe relationships and boundaries between work and play, sport and exercise,recreation or entertainment and leisure pastimes were difficult to delineate.14Some types of activities were undertaken at times when Maori were freefrom the constraints of work. However, the concepts of time and work in theMaori differed markedly from those that dominated the nineteenth-centuryNew Zealand urban settler culture.15 Rather than engaging in rigidlystructured work schedules on a daily or weekly basis, the commitment ofMaori sustained labour fluctuated with the seasons.16 For example, for the
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duration of the harvest there was much work to be done and little time forrecreational activities until the crops had been gathered in and stored.However, at other times, particularly during the winter months, there wasample time and many opportunities to participate in such pastimes.17It was during these periods that the whare tapere was very popular. Thewhare tapere was a large common building, larger than a usual whare(building), which was used during evenings and on wet or stormy days as aplace to gather and to take part in recreational activities. James Cowan refersto the whare tapere as 'the hall of pleasure and song',18 whereas Elsdon Bestdescribes it as a 'play house [or] amusement house.'19 According to H. W.W ' Dictiionalliramsy of t h ethe members of the hapu (large extended family) met for amusement'.20Sedate activities such as story-telling, or competitive games such as ruru orkoruru (knuckle bones) were common. A number of activities primarilyrelated to music and dancing (though identifiable as traditional Maorisports), such as the practice of the poi (originally used as a means of21developing the muscles in the arms of young men for battle), and the haka(generic name for dance accompanied by chanting or singing) commonlytook place in the whare tap22ere .On fine days recreational pursuits, including organised sporting events,took place on the marae atea, the community common. Children, who hadmuch more freedom to engage in leisure activities than older hapu members,engaged in games. Impromptu sporting interactions between older membersof a hapu were also common. Organised sporting competitions between mem-bers of a hapu or iwi (tribe) or specially arranged contests between membersof different hapu were an aspect of larger tribal gatherings such as hakari,harvest festivals, and ceremonial and political meetings. The various contestscould include martial arts such as taiaha (long club), para whakawai (tests ofskill), kapa haka (performance arts, including stick games and poi, a dance withsmall balls on a string), canoe racing, ruru or koruru and kite flying.23Many traditional recreational activities were readily recognisable as sportsby Pakeha colonists. Oma (foot-racing), moari (giant strides), tutoko (polevaulting), tupeke (jumping), mamau, whaka toto, nonoke (all words for wrestling),tarere (swings) and teka or neti (dart throwing) all correspond very closely tocategories of athletics. Similarly, kaukau (swimming), ruku (diving), whakahekengaru (riding surf waves) and waka ama (canoe racing) clearly resemblevarious aquatic sports. Hoops, toreherehe or, retireti (tobogganing), poutoti,pouturu, p o u ko ki , psomersaults, backwards and forwards), piu (skipping) and climbing all hadtheir parallels among the sports and recreational activities in which childrenthroughout Western societies were engaged during the nineteenth century24
 
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Geoffrey Vincent, Catriona E. Timms, Toby HarfieldRunning, Jumping and Rowing to Marginalisation
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MELUVO   2no1  2                                NO6S0
The Arrival of the PakehaThe land which became known to Maori as Aotearoa, and to European settlersas 'New Zealand', became and remained, from the late 1830s, a source ofcontention between the two groups. For a time during the early nineteenthcentury New Zealand was promoted as an ideal destination by those whoformulated the systematic scheme of colonisation that was proposed as asolution to the rapid expansion of the population of Britain.25 However, bythe 1830s, even before the implementation of the first planned colonisinginitiatives, Maori were becoming apprehensive about the increasing numberof Pakeha missionaries, traders and settlers residing in their territories. Thegrowing complexity of local political and legal issues for both the British andMaori arising from the alienation of large tracts of Maori land, coupled witha growing lawlessness amongst many groups of the new arrivals, led to NewZealand becoming part of the British Empire.The Treaty of Waitangi,26 which was signed in 1840, set out the termswhich indicated cession by Maori of some degree of authority over their landsto Great Britain. The Treaty was signed by many, but by no means all, Maorichiefs. However, it was the signature of the representative of Queen Victoria,the designated Lieutenant Governor William Hobson, which effectivelydetermined the future of all who lived in Aotearoa. Under the constructionplaced upon the Treaty by Hobson, the British Crown assumed sovereigntyover all its lands, waters, resources and inhabitants.27Many scholars agree that the signing of the Treaty led directly to themarginalisation of Maori in their own homeland.28 For example, by the timethat the Pakeha 'Canterbury Pilgrims' arrived in Lyttelton Harbour in 1850,almost all the land in Canterbury had been alienated from the tangatawhenua. Of the twenty million acres 'sold' for £2,000 under the terms of the'Kemp Purchase' in 1848, the entire Ngai Tahu tribe were awarded reservesamounting to only 6,359 acres. Equating to a mere five acres per capita ofthe Maori population then living within the block, this estate was barelysufficient to enable subsistence farming and totally inadequate to provide abasis for economic development. These meagre holdings were principallyconcentrated near Akaroa on Banks' Peninsula, and in north Canterbury atthe Tuahiwi Reserve and the pa (stockaded village) at Kaiapoi.30 'In the longrun,' concludes Ann Parsonson, 'many people were ... left in poverty.'31The decline of the customs and established lifestyles of Maori, includingtraditional sporting activities, accelerated after 1840 under the impact ofsystematic colonisation organised through the various Wakefield schemes andlater by means of government-sponsored immigration.32With the arrival of the Pakeha, Maori were for the first time seen from a viewpoint external tothemselves, by people with deeply held cultural prejudices. The Britishcolonists regarded themselves as civilised and 'normal', and Maori as
TgARIDIT5sportin MAY 200
Geoffrey Vincent, Catriona E. Timms, Toby HarfieldRunning, Jumping and Rowing to Marginalisation
uncivilised and 'abnormal'. This novel circumstance had devastatingconsequences for Maori.33 Many of the new arrivals such as W. S. Swainsonwrote about Maori and their civilisation, but from the perspective of culturaland social 'superiors' who were the rightful proprietors of the land.34 Maoriwere initially perceived by Pakeha as 'Noble Savages', which enabled them tobe regarded as an abstract ideal rather than as individuals with whom personal35interaction was required. For the most part, no attempt was made by themajority of settlers to understand the 'natives' and, as Alan Ward has argued,those Pakeha who did care only wanted to re-shape the Maori in their ownimage.36 Despite this failure to comprehend the reality of Maori existence,European representations of Maori civilisation became part of the colonisingagenda of 'racial amalgamation' in which the superior European race wouldbring the desired attributes of civilisation to the inferior Maori race.The demise of Maori sporting activities, which McConnell describes as'Maori taonga or physical treasures', can be seen as one outcome of thisprocess. For example, traditional Maori sporting activities such as running,swimming, diving and pole-vaulting, were also standard sporting events for thecolonists. However, there were often marked differences in the techniquesemployed and Maori practices were rapidly supplanted by Pakeha norms. Forexample, in traditional Maori diving the practice was to dive feet first. Thismethod has been replaced over time with the Pakeha practice of divingheadfirst, even from the high cliffs which overlook many New Zealandwaterways. In this way, many Maori sporting activities were lost to Pakehapractices that became increasingly normative as the process of colonisationescalated and the Pakeha population gained economic, political and socialcontrol of the country. Other traditional activities that had no parallel amongstPakeha sporting practices, such as group skipping (performed in a squad of up3to a dozen people) disappeared altogether as competitive sports.7However, the primary influence on changing traditional Maori sportingpractices may have been exerted less by the perspectives on and definitions ofsport introduced by Pakeha and more by the characteristics of the introducedsports themselves. Pakeha settlers, especially the English, transplanted theirown particular sporting and recreational practices that had grown in8popularity 'at Home' during early part of the nineteenth century.3The notion that these sports were superior to those of the Maori wassupported by Pakeha during the early period of settlement. Indeed, by the1860s they were considered by some settlers to be a means by which Maorimight be 'elevated' into Pakeha culture and society at a time when somecolonial politicians considered that Maori living in the North Island musteither become 'civilised' or continue with their 'traditional... lifestyle' and becondemned to extinction. Motivated to some extent by the conviction thateducation would 'advance Maori away from their heathen culture and into
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Pakeha colonists were increasingly hindered by a combination of adversematerial circumstances and growing antagonism from some within the settlerpopulation. The course of events will be illustrated in detail, firstly, byproviding a definition of what constituted sport for Maori prior to 1840 and,secondly, through a discussion of the factors that facilitated the extinction oftraditional Maori sporting practices. The difficulties subsequently experienc-ed by Maori when attempting to participate in sports organised by Pakeha willbe demonstrated through an examination of rowing regattas held at Akaroaduring the 1860s and several festive athletics events arranged in northCanterbury during the 1870s. Finally, a number of possible explanations willbe suggested to account for the marginalisation of Maori from the vigoroussporting culture that developed among the colonists in Canterbury.'The Nature and Context of Traditional MaoriSporting ActivitiesBecause pre-contact Maori sports and games were so embedded in theirculture, there was no single Maori word for the general activity called 'sport'.A wide range of Maori words could be understood as signifying sport. Inaddition to the words used to express the general concept, there is anextensive vocabulary relating to particular physical activities. Kaipara referredto athletic games, on the other hand para whakawhai or whakahoro rakausignified activities involved in training with weapons.8 Eventually, takarobecame the noun for 'sport' and purei the verb meaning 'to play'.9 The word thtrehiam, s oarihguianraellkya  tahnedt enrgmah faour. 1a0ll recreations, was eventually superseded by eerIn tradition al Maori society, the creation of the domainrecreation and pastimes was attributed to the gods. Although tribal historiesdiffer, there is reference to a variety of different ancestors such as Raukatauri,Raukatamea, Takataka-putea, Marere-o-tonga and Ruhanui as the originatorsof the arts of amusement.11 Annette Golding refers to 'the origin of dances,games and other "arts of pleasure'" being from the God of Peace andAgriculture, Rongo-marae-roa.12 Rongo who ruled over the planting andgathering of the kumara (sweet vegetable, sweet potato) crop, was honouredat harvest time in songs, dances and games.13 In the traditional Maori worldthe relationships and boundaries between work and play, sport and exercise,recreation or entertainment and leisure pastimes were difficult to delineate.14Some types of activities were undertaken at times when Maori were freefrom the constraints of work. However, the concepts of time and work in theMaori differed markedly from those that dominated the nineteenth-centuryNew Zealand urban settler culture.15 Rather than engaging in rigidlystructured work schedules on a daily or weekly basis, the commitment ofMaori sustained labour fluctuated with the seasons.16 For example, for the
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modern civilization , settler politicians enacted the Native Schools Act in 1867.39'Thus, under the provisions of this legislation, many young Maori entered aneducational environment in which the sporting activities of the Pakeha werean integral part of the curriculum, while those of the Maori were ignored.Few among the settler population appear to have doubted the beneficialinfluence of this arrangement. For instance, one observer, evidently aneducated Pakeha, wrote in Te Waka Maori o Niu Tirani, an early Maori languagenewspaper, thatKo nga purei Ingarihi kua whakaturua ki roto ki nga tamariki, aahuareka rawa ana ratou ki nga mahi kiriketi, pooro aha atu ... Na,he mea tino tika tenei... kua tango ratou i nga purei whakangahau eora ai te tinana, whakarerea ana nga mahi ahuareka, ngoikore a tetamariki Maori o mua.English games have been introduced among the lads and cricket,football, rounders, & co., have been eagerly adopted. In every sensethis is an improvement ... healthy recreation has taken the place ofthe few inane and listless amusements which Native boys formerlypossessed.40Clearly the introduction of Pakeha games into the curricula of childrenattending Native Schools was a significant means of marginalising traditionalMaori concepts of sport.As noted missionaries also played a part in facilitating the dismantling ofsports that were integral to the everyday life of traditional Maori. Oneevidently pious Maori wrote thatTe ratapu kia taua ki te Maori he tino ra okiokitanga i nga mahi. Tetakaro ki te Maori he mahi. Na reira kaore he mahi, kaore he takaro itaua ra. Heoi ano te mahi he karakia me ona whakapuputatanga katoa.Na nga mihingare i whakaako o tatou matua ki te tapu o tenei ra.To Maori, Sunday is a day of rest from work. To Maori, sport is a formof work. So there should be no work and no sport on that day.However, the work of that day should be prayer and its associatedceremonies. The missionaries taught our parents the sacredness ofthis day.41Changing the accepted meaning of work and play, new ways ofdistinguishing right from wrong, and introducing the Christian notion of theSabbath as a day of rest all ensured that Maori sporting practices weremarginalised by separating them from 'daily life'. Indeed, the loss of mana(integrity, charisma, prestige) associated with their traditional sports wasprobably a major factor in the eventual conversion of Maori to participation42in the imported sports of Pakeha settler society.
          ME 2VOLU                        
Geoffrey Vincent, Catriona E. Timms, Toby HarfieldRunning, Jumping and Rowing to Marginalisation63
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