Pākehā Māori

Pākehā Māori were early European settlers (known as Pākehā in the Māori language) who lived among the Māori in New Zealand.


Barnet Burns in Māori clothing, image from National Library of Australia

Māori kept some Pākehā as slaves, while others - many of them runaway seamen or escaped Australian convicts - settled in Māori communities by choice.[1] They often found a welcome, took wives and were treated as Māori, particularly in the first two decades of the 19th century. The rarity of Europeans in New Zealand and the importance of trade in European goods (particularly muskets) made Pākehā Māori highly prized for their trading skills. Some achieved a degree of prestige among the Māori and fought in battle with their adopted iwi (tribes) in the New Zealand Wars of 1843 to 1872, sometimes against European soldiers. While some lived the rest of their lives amongst Māori, others, such as the lapsed missionary Thomas Kendall, did so only briefly.

A few Pākehā Māori such as James Caddell, John Rutherford[2] and Barnet Burns even received moko (facial tattoos).

As more Europeans arrived, the status of early Europeans among Māori fell, and some of the early Pākehā Māori reverted to a more European existence.

In 1862 and 1863, the early settler Frederick Edward Maning published two books under the pseudonym "A Pakeha Maori" in which he describes how they lived.

Notable Pākehā MāoriEdit

See alsoEdit



  • Pakeha Maori: The extraordinary story of the Europeans who lived as Maori in early New Zealand by Trevor Bentley; published 1999 ISBN 0-14-028540-7
  • Old New Zealand: being Incidents of Native Customs and Character in the Old Times by 'A Pakeha Maori' (Frederick Edward Maning) Gutenberg ebook, originally published 1863