Slavery in the popular imagination has always been associated with the enslavement of Africans, and with good reason. Slavery however, is universal and not something that only white people did to black people. Throughout history, slavery has been practiced in many different forms and Maori slavery readily fits definitions of slavery elsewhere in world.
This book discusses Pakeha (European) vassals or demi-slaves. Its main focus is the Europeans who lived and sometimes died as slaves in tribal New Zealand between the 1790s and 1880s. It examines when, where, why and how Maori obtained these slaves and the types of Europeans seized. It explores the diverse slave roles performed by white slaves, their sale prices and the immediate and long term physical and psychological effects of their servitude.
Using published histories by hapu and iwi historians and writings on customary law by Maori scholars, captivity narratives by returned Pakeha slaves, and contemporary accounts about white slaves in newspapers, journals, letters and logs historian Trevor Bentley paints a vivid picture of the interaction between Maori and Pakeha and life in the early days of the colony.