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Runanga and Komiti: Maori Institutions of Self-Government in the Nineteenth Century

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dc.contributor.author O'Malley, Vincent Michael
dc.date.accessioned 2008-08-20T03:39:03Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-11-02T00:32:12Z
dc.date.available 2008-08-20T03:39:03Z
dc.date.available 2022-11-02T00:32:12Z
dc.date.copyright 2004
dc.date.issued 2004
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/28303
dc.description.abstract Nineteenth-century Maori society responded to the opportunities—and threats—posed by colonization in vigorous, vital and sophisticated ways. Old forms of self-government—runanga—were revived and transformed from the 1850s to serve new ends. New institutions—komiti—initially established by the missionaries as a means of social control over their Maori congregations, were similarly reappropriated and indigenized by Maori from the 1840s, and realigned in the 1870s to act as e counter to the Native Land Court. These mechanisms of self-government were neither grounded solely in tradition, nor mere imitations of Pakeha structures. Instead, these were genuinely bicultural institutions, directed at the pursuit of identifiably Maori aspirations. It was the Maori quest to find a meaningful place for themselves in the post-Waitangi colonial era, without being entirely subsumed by this new order, that lay at the heart of their efforts. This fundamental aspiration was not the exclusive preserve of a particular segment of Maori society, but endemic throughout it. It was not a question of 'resistance' versus 'collaboration', or 'loyalist' versus 'rebel', but simply a matter of survival. Nearly every Maori community in the country established runanga and komiti with this basic objective in mind. This thesis considers the efforts of nineteenth-century Maori to establish new and stronger institutions of self-government within the colonial context. A primary focus of the study is also concerned with the nature of Crown responses, ranging from periodic efforts at co-opting officially recognized but weak komiti and runanga into the framework of machinery governing Maori, through deliberate indifference (masking the hope or expectation that they would die a natural death, left unaided), to occasional outright persecution of such institutions. It will be shown that, whilst Maori never wavered in their enthusiasm to have these new mechanisms of self-government acknowledged by the Crown, the assimilationist agenda that lay at the heart of all government policy with respect to Maori in the nineteenth century did not allow for this possibility, except in so far as such institutions could be utilized for the purposes of indirect rule. Although the runanga and komiti of this period were in the long run unable to stem the wholesale expropriation of Maori lands, they played a critical role in the survival of Maori society itself. As agents of autonomy, this was their greatest legacy. en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title Runanga and Komiti: Maori Institutions of Self-Government in the Nineteenth Century en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Doctoral Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline New Zealand Studies en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en_NZ
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy en_NZ

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