‘Aristocrats of Knowledge’: Māori Anthropologists and the Survival of the ‘Race’

  • Barbara BrookesEmail author


This chapter explores the significant role played by well-educated Māori politicians in the racial and bio-political debates of early twentieth-century New Zealand. Māori leaders such as Āpirana Ngata and Peter Buck contested the idea, promulgated by some colonial intellectuals and politicians, that the Māori race was doomed to disappear before the incoming Briton. They argued instead that government policy should enable Māori to flourish alongside settlers of British descent in a bi-racial society. They did, however, express concern about and opposition to reproductive relationships between Chinese men and Māori women, echoing the concerns of politicians such as William Pember Reeves.


Peter Buck Chinese Market Gardeners Maori Race Auckland Star Sorrenson 
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My thanks to Warwick Anderson who invited me to give a Sawyer Lecture at the University of Sydney in 2010 which led to the genesis of this paper. Thanks to those who commented on the paper at that time and to the editors for their suggestions.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History and Art HistoryUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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