Go-betweens

Page 2 – Pākehā-Māori

In addition to traders, whalers and sealers, runaway seamen and escaped convicts from Australia settled in Māori communities and adopted a Māori lifestyle. They were described as 'Pākehā-Māori'.

While some Europeans were treated as slaves, others received the honour of the moko (facial tattoo). The English sailor and trader Barnet Burns while resident on the Māhia Peninsula in the early 1830s, was protected by a chief known as Te Aria, and married his daughter, Amotawa. He learnt to speak Māori and fought alongside Te Aria's people. His negotiations between his Māori hosts and his British compatriots made him a significant cultural go-between in these early days of European settlement. Amotawa and Burns had three children together – Tauhinu, Mokoraurangi and Hori Waiti – before Burns returned to England. With his face tattooed he worked as a showman, exhibiting himself in a costume supposedly replicating that of a Māori chief. 

Later European settlers viewed Pākehā–Māori such as Barnet Burns with contempt and suspicion – they were men who had turned their backs on civilisation.

Dicky Barrett and Jacky Love

Two prime examples of early intermediaries were the European traders Dicky Barrett and Jacky Love, who formed an economic relationship with Te Āti Awa at Ngāmotu (now New Plymouth) in 1828. Both men were given Māori names: Barrett became Tiki Parete while Love became known as Hakirau.

Acceptance into Māori society was sealed through marriage. Barrett married into a high-ranking family: his wife Wakaiwa (or Rawinia) was the daughter of Eruera Te Puke ki Mahurangi, a leading Ngāti Te Whiti chief, and was also related to many other important Te Āti Awa chiefs, including Te Wharepōuri and Te Puni. The marriage was seen as a reflection of Barrett's status and importance to Te Āti Awa. The couple's children wore European clothes, spoke both languages and had Māori as well as English names. Barrett acted as interpreter for the New Zealand Company in its land purchases in the Cook Strait region.

Barrett, Love and a number of other Europeans also helped Te Āti Awa repulse a Waikato taua in 1832, with their cannon proving crucial in the battle. Europeans participated in other Maori battles. In 1837 Pōmare II was aided by 131 Europeans living in his Bay of Islands pā during his three-month-war with Titore.

How to cite this page

'Pākehā-Māori', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/maori-european-contact-pre-1840/pakeha-maori, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 30-Nov-2018