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Pākehā-Māori Narratives – A New Zealand Genre

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Trevor Bentley
October 2023
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First-hand accounts by Europeans who lived as Māori in early New Zealand.

PĀKEHĀ-MĀORI NARRATIVES is a collection of 20 first-hand accounts written or dictated by European men who voluntarily crossed cultures to live and trade among the Māori tribes of New Zealand during the 1800s. Valued conduits to prized flintlock muskets, munitions and general trade goods, they were soon firmly integrated into the communities of their hosts, becoming in the process, a distinctive hybrid class, recognised and described by both cultures as Pākehā Māori.
The narratives cast light on the cultural adaptations made by these entrepreneurial adventurers, their place in tribal hierarchies and their relationships with rangatira, tohunga and tribe. More importantly, they provide valuable eyewitness accounts of Te Ao Māori (the world of Māori), particularly their social order, beliefs, values and customary practices in
times of peace and war.
With notes that provide biographical, historical and cultural context, this anthology reveals how important Pākehā Māori were in shaping early race relations. Many thousands of New Zealanders, both Māori and Pākehā living today are the descendants of these bicultural mediators of meaning.
Trevor Bentley has a long-standing interest in the interaction of Māori and Pākehā in 19th century New Zealand. His primary interest is the Europeans who entered Māori tribal societies voluntarily or as captives. This is Dr Bentley’s eighth book to explore this subject and era.