The day Maori first said, “Haere mai, Pakeha”

Treaty of WaitangiIt is 200 years ago this year since the first permanent European settlers arrived, at Maori invitation, in New Zealand.

To those on shore, it must have made an astonishing, even frightening sight. The animals that clambered onto the small stony beach in the northern Bay of Islands were like pigs but much bigger. A man sat astride one and was carried along.

The watchers had been told about this; Ruatara, who had lived in Australia, had come home with stories of animals on which a person could ride, but none of them had believed such things could exist.

So, in late December 1814, a crowd had gathered to watch these new Pakeha arrivals unpack their ship. There was much novelty on show: not only were the animals weird, but no one had seen European women or children before.  More. . .


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