Jack Hunn


Jack Hunn

Jack Hunn’s early career was spent in the Public Trust Office and in the Public Service Association. In 1946 he became an Inspector in the Public Service Commission (later the State Services Commission).

In 1960 he was appointed temporary head of the Maori Affairs Department. Walter Nash, the Prime Minister and Minister of Maori Affairs, asked Hunn to undertake an accounting of Māori assets. Hunn commissioned a series of wide-ranging studies on Māori population, housing, education, employment, health, crime and land titles. He put these into a comprehensive report on the state of Māori. It painted a disturbing picture of Māori on the social and economic margins.

Hunn claimed that integrating Māori into Pākehā society was the answer, rather than strengthening their separate cultural identity. He welcomed the growing urban Māori population as it was the "quickest and surest way of integrating the two species of New Zealander", and would prevent a "colour problem".

Critics were quick to point out that Hunn did not understand a growing Māori desire to strengthen their cultural identity. Hunn pointed out that his report was a discussion document, and the Nash Labour government did not publish it during their term. But it strongly influenced the National government’s Māori policies during the 1960s.

See also: biography of Jack Hunn at DNZB website 

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