The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 6 (September 1, 1937.)
Pictures of New Zealand Life
The New Maori Farms.
Under the Government scheme for re-establishing the Maori on the land good progress has already been made. The Maori farmer, I have observed particularly in the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty country, can farm industriously and well when he is given a fair show and assisted with advice and capital as the pakeha settler is assisted. I have not seen any farms better managed or kept more free from noxious growth than some of the group settlements started in the Rotorua country that was a waste of scrub and fern only a few years ago. The Horohoro small farms, already productive beyond all expectations, are a lesson to very many of our less thorough pakeha farmers. The grand old walls of mighty Horohoro, mountain of fame and poetry, stand guard over the new homes and wellkept farms below, where bright streams coil through grassy fields, all Maori. The scheme has cost much money, but the expenditure is well justified.
There are far too many of the Maori people leading a hand-to-mouth existence, or depending on the sustenance scheme; they are willing and anxious to work and their greatest wish is to be established on farms of their own. Land and money are needed, and the scheme for providing both has been worked out well by the Native Department. The Government is taking up the problem of decently housing the people in those districts most in need of it.
There would not be any necessity for State action, of course, if the old independent primitive life of the Maori could have been restored. Some tribes, within one's own memory, possessed a vast range of country, and were self-contained, and could subsist and thrive without any pakeha supplies if need be. But the old Maori life can never be restored completely, and the Maori himself has changed. Problems of today are being grappled with successfully, in one district after another, and the Maori farmer of the new order will become an increasingly valuable part of our national life.
The Community Hall.
The ancient community life, however, will remain, in part. The tribal meeting houses and the marae are necessary features of the social organisations, and the arts of wood-carving and (in the Waikato, in particular) canoe-making will not be allowed to fade out.
I called at one of the Horohoro settlements a few months ago, in the course of a cruise through the country between Rotorua and Taupo. I thought the arrangement of the kainga was excellent. It was Sunday afternoon, and most of the people were gathered at the meeting-hall, built in part-Maori style. There had been a church service in the morning, and the Maori clergyman was there, sitting in front of the big house, watching the young fellows playing tennis on the hard court. “A spot of church, a spot of tennis, and plenty of korero” was one young farmer's pakeha-Maori summing up of the social gathering. Presently they would be off to the milking machine, for the golden cow is she-who-must-be-obeyed.
Don't Want to Lose It.
There is a curious reluctance in Poverty Bay to make away with that ill-omened name and replace it with something more truthfully descriptive of the district. Some amusing reasons for hanging on to the absurd name have been put forth in Gisborne and further north. One resident thought that the words “Poverty Bay” held “great possibilities” as an advertisement for the place. The contrast between name and facts would attract widespread attention. Too true, but not in the way that the speaker imagined!
A Maori of the young generation said that to change it would be “an insult to the great navigator” who christened the Bay. This point of view is decidedly humorous, coming from a Maori whose district was so libelled by Cook because, in the language of the restarurant, “veges” were off the day he called.
The rest of New Zealand wonders why P.B. declines to shuffle out of its threadbare garment and choose a new dress name that will fittingly indicate its history and describe its fertility and wealth. Gisborne and the country around it are looking forward to railway connections with the rest of the world. But what does a “Poverty Bay” want with a railway? That is a pertinent question that could be put to the princes of commerce and the kings of the milking herds and the sheep flocks of that good country.
“Endeavour Bay” is hereby once more offered as a fitting name for the Turanga-nui-a-Rua—the Maori name of the place (which is not suitable as an official name, because it might be confused with Tauranga). There is already an Endeavour Bay, in Queen Charlotte Sound, but the historic title could quite well be transferred from that uninhabited cove to Gisborne's roadstead, which has a prior right to it. Really, Turanga-nui does not deserve to have its railway until it has plainly indicated to the world that Poverty is no longer endurable as its first name!page 16 page break
In the Nursery—Wellington New Station.
(Rly. Publicity Photo.)
From top left: The Minister of Railways, Hon. D. G. Sullivan, speaking at the opening ceremony; in the background is Mr. G. H. Mackley, General Manager of Railways, and on the left, Misis Small, the Matron. Barrie Nicol, the first client in the playroom, tries out the new equipment. A young visitor stays to ten. The gateway and corridor to the Nursery. The Matron, Miss G. Small, at her desk. A view of the modern kitchen. Views of the two sleeping rooms.