New Zealand Culture Clash II

Program Information

Series: A Moment in Time
Duration: 00:03:18
Year Produced: 2009
Description:

With the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, the indigenous culture of the Maori faced a challenge which they were unable to resist.

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Transcript

Lead: With the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, the indigenous culture of the Maori faced a challenge which they were unable to resist.

Intro: A Moment In Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In December 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sailed into what became Golden Bay on the northern coast of New Zealand's south island. He received a curious but hostile reception as did British Captain James Cook a century later. Cook's trip was for scientific exploration; he was commissioned to examine and classify new species of plants and animals, but his claim of the islands for Britain set the stage for the arrival of colonists, traders and missionaries during the following decades.

At first resistant to this influx of Europeans, the Maori gradually adapted to their presence. In some ways, tribal life improved through the introduction of metal tools, new crops and domesticated animals; but traders also introduced firearms which helped intensify Maori internecine warfare. Europeans also brought venereal diseases, influenza, and measles, against which the indigenous population had no natural immunity. This reduced the Maori populations.

By the late 1830s, internal tensions among Maori clans and with the European immigrants led to the Treaty of Waitangi. Eventually over 500 chiefs adopted this document, which virtually ceded New Zealand to the British. Its poorly written, ambiguous and often contradictory promises of Maori rights have led to a running controversy that continues into the 21st century.

Research assistance by Eleanor Gretes, Elida Karyshyn, and Joseph Braz. The producer of A Moment In Time is Steve Clark. At the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.