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State Authority, Indigenous Autonomy: Crown-Maori Relations in New Zealand/Aotearoa 1900-1950


Just as the search for autonomy by Maori had been fundamental to Maoridom in the nineteenth century, it remained at the heart of Maori aspirations throughout the twentieth. For decade after decade 'Maori people in each district constantly endeavoured to find ways to control their own affairs, proclaim their group identity whether as tribe or hapu, and enrich their lives; they aimed at enhancing the mana of the hapu in their inner affairs, and sometimes that of the tribe as they looked outward, striving to control their land and membership and take their affairs out of the hands of government.' But the Urewera example soon revealed that the Crown would not contemplate any meaningful tribally based autonomy, even in areas of minimal interest for settlement at that time. The best chance of major concessions, then, seemed to lie with the powerful unity movements.