Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Autobiography of a Maori

An Inadequate Wage

An Inadequate Wage

A more kindly and a more upright man than Wi Tito, I had never met, and yet, now, since I am sophisticated, I am set wondering whether Wi paid us adequately for our services. He had a large bullock which was found necessary to keep on the rope. Every afternoon after school a number of children climbed the steep slopes of Te Whetu-mata-rau in order to get karaka and mahoe branches with which to feed the bullock and, for what each of us could carry, he was paid one small boiled lolly. On present-day values one small boiled lolly for a load of green branches obtained with no small effort, does seem extremely inadequate. And yet we were happy to receive that one lolly as the bullock was, I am sure, to get the green branches. The bullock's need for the green branches was far greater than ours for the lollies; as a matter of fact he would have perished without the green branches, but it would not have mattered in the least if we never saw a lolly. However, the owner of the bullock should have paid us a great deal more than a small boiled lolly. The world has, in a sense, progressed very slowly. Before the Labour Party took over the reins of Government in 1935, the old Government was paying, on Public Works, 12/-for a white man and 5/-for a Maori, and a leading member of the old party was a grandson of Wi Tito.1

1 Sir Apirana Ngata.