Frederick Maning


Frederick Maning
Frederick Maning

Frederick Edward Maning (1811/12?–1883) was born in Ireland and arrived at Hokianga in 1833. He married into the local Māori tribe, acquired land, and set up as a trader.

He fitted easily into the role of a rough and ready "Pākehā-Māori" - a man equally at home in both worlds. He opposed the Treaty of Waitangi when it was brought to Hokianga in 1840, partly because he felt that Māori culture and British institutions could not mix, and partly because he feared that British sovereignty would end land speculation. He also despised the English missionaries who were likely to influence the new Lieutenant-Governor, William Hobson.

After working in the timber and gum trade in the 1850s, Maning was in 1865 made a judge of the newly constituted Native Land Court, a position he held until 1876.

Maning became alienated from Māori as he grew older. He resented criticism of his judgments, and was dismissive of Māori protest movements that developed in the north during the 1870s. He is best known today as an author. His books Old New Zealand, and A History of the War in the North, have become New Zealand classics.

Adapted from the DNZB biography by David Colquhoun

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