Maoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872–1914
3. Henry Lawson's Aesthetic Crisis
3. Henry Lawson's Aesthetic Crisis
Henry Lawson first visited New Zealand in November 1893 'as part of the flow of unemployed from depressed Sydney trying their luck on the strength of reports of returning prosperity in New Zealand'.1 The reports were unreliable and Lawson spent time among the Auckland unemployed (among whom also was the immigrant writer, William Satchell),2 before returning to Australia in July 1894. He returned briefly to New Zealand in March 1896.3 Finally, he emigrated in April 1897 with his wife Bertha, taking a teaching position in a Native School at Mangamaunu near Kaikoura, returning, disillusioned, to Australia in March 1898.
Lawson published an optimistic poem, 'The Emigration to New Zealand', in Truth in 1893 to mark the occasion of his first visit to New Zealand:
I'm off to make inquiries as to when the next boat sails,
I'm sick of all these colonies, but most of New South Wales,
An' if you meet a friend of mine who wants to find my track,
Say you, 'He's gone to Maoriland, and isn't coming back'…4
He describes the voyage in a sketch, 'Coming Across: A Study in the Steerage' (1893), on a ship which has been partitioned 'to meet the emigration from Australia to New Zealand'.5 The story is a loose account of the exaggerations, mistakes, tall tales and self-promotions of the steerage passengers. The voice of narrator is casually racist about a Jewish traveller, but amused by a new-chum's inquiry 'whether the Maoris were very bad round Sydney'.6 In 'Across the Straits', a later account of a voyage across Cook Strait, a Maori traveller easily fits in page 86with the white men: 'The Maori helped us up, and we had a drink with him at the expense of one of the half-casers [half a crown] mentioned in the beginning of this article. Then the Maori shouted, then we, then the Maori again, then we again.'7
Maoriland writers could alternately render Maori in terms of the colonial sublime and dismiss them as cannibals or monkeys. Lawson represents different elements of the Maori stereotype for different publications. His representations of Maori range from light satire to exasperated polemic; he avoids the sublime. At times he enjoys jokes about Maori cannibalism, much as Domett does in his satirical squib, 'Recantation or an humble petition from the gentlemen and inhabitants of Nelson to the High & Mighty Prince Fizgig the First, one of the Kings of the Cannibal Islands', or Thomas Bracken does in 'Paddy Murphy's Budget: A Collection of Humorous Pomes, Tiligrams, an' Ipistols'.8 In 'The Home of the Gods' (1894), which appeared in the Pahiatua Herald, the name Pahiatua is translated as that happy state of nature in which 'man was a "savage" and nature was free'. Maori then existed in a state of nakedness and cannibalism, until the white man ran 'the fire through the bush and plough through the sods, / And altered the face of the Home of the Gods'. Now money becomes God, the Maori plenitude having been taken away.9 In "'Ake! Ake! Ake!": The Last Stand of the Maoris' the famous story of Rewi Maniapoto's valour against British troops at Orakau pa is recounted for the audience of the Australian Worker. Here the noble defiance of a young chief in the face of death and defeat connects not only savage subject and white reader in a common sense of humanity but also the parts of Australasia in a single identity: 'And so, from the lips of a "savage", yet from the soul of a man, came the southern war-cry which is destined to ring on through the stormy future histories of the Australias —"We will fight on! For ever! For ever! For ever!"'10
In 'Coming Across', the gap between hopeful expectation and likely realities is signalled at the close of the story when the steerage passengers, abandoning a depressed Australia, dubiously regard 'the Promised Land', and are brought 'face to face with the cursed question,"How to make a living?"'11 In a poetic version of this narrative, 'For'ard' (1893), it is the journey that temporarily establishes a world of camaraderie. The closing stanza optimistically announces that 'the curse o' class distinctions from our shoulders shall be hurled, / An' the influence of page 87women revolutionise the world'.12 New Zealand's advanced suffrage legislation is again noted approvingly in the poem 'The Morning of New Zealand' (1893) where the ennobling of women will bring praise to the Fathers of New Zealand.13 But the story of Lawson's experience in New Zealand turns continually on expectation and disappointment, a sense of possibility, the readiness to undertake new adventure, moments of near euphoria, before the doubts and constraints return.
This pattern underlies Lawson's experience of and response to New Zealand, the Maori people, and racial attitudes in New Zealand. The narrative of coming to New Zealand from a depressed Australia, seeking better opportunity and finding the same social misery is echoed at each level of his experience of the country. The abandonment of Australia, initially liberating, brings distress and longing, as in this sketch from 1894:
Things were awful bad in Maoriland just then, and in Wellington especially. There had been a lot of immigration from Australia, and the unemployed, mostly Australians, used to hang round the wharf, like lost souls, whenever there was a boat going to Sydney; and they'd watch the steamer swing off as if it was their last chance on earth slipping away from them.14
Lawson arrived in Wellington just in time to see women vote for the first time. Yet such moments of optimism were held in check by the difficulties of making a living in New Zealand. In an 1894 sketch, 'The Windy Hills o' Wellington', the narrator meets an old mate from Sydney 'who'd drawn New Zealand blank'. Unemployment and drink have wrecked his health and brought him low. In the ironic coda he has recovered and made a fortune, now snubbing the narrator whose own luck has gone the other way.15 New Zealand was no paradise for itinerant working men.
Two 1894 stories, 'A Wild Irishman' and 'First Impressions of Pahiatua' explore the gap between image and actuality. The latter story shows a dry appreciation of the New Zealand concern with scenery, even where little is apparent. In the midst of the raw settler ugliness produced by development, Lawson wryly observes Maoriland's token preservationism at work alongside the colonial horticultural cringe:page 88
Pahiatua will be a pretty park-like place by and by, when the ornamental trees have grown up and the homesteads are finished and surrounded by gardens, and the hills at the back of the 'Empire' are studded with villas. I'm glad to see that they are leaving clumps of native trees about in places like behind the racecourse; but there ought to be more trees saved, at least until better trees have time to grow.16
The tone towards New Zealand in the writings that derive from Lawson's first visit is variously admiring and mocking, enthusiastic and cynical, shifts that permanently marked his response to the country. Indeed, they are characteristic of Lawson's response to the world, but they take on a particular quality in New Zealand — usually affectionate but characteristically sceptical, even condescending — perhaps because Maoriland boosterism did not suit his pessimistic temper and laconic style. In a poem 'To Tom Bracken' published in Tua Marina in 1894, he advises 'New Zealand's poet' to thank God 'That you are of New Zealan'!' and congratulates him on writing for 'a kinder sort' than Australians.17 In 1899 he can still write in a Bulletin piece of 'Democratic Maoriland, with its natural and geographical advantages over Australia'.18 Yet as early as 1893 a deflating tone is directed at Maoriland self-satisfactions, its sense of itself as both advantaged and advanced, nicely registered in the conclusion to 'New Zealand from an Australian's point of view': 'And now, if you only put the Upper House and a few other things into the National Museum, and cease to blow about the big wooden humpy [Government Buildings], … and provided you don't get taken into the bowels of the earth by a 'quake — you stand a grand chance to lead the nations'.19
For Lawson, closer examination of Maoriland actualities demonstrates that its aspirations to lead the nations are deluded and that its patterns of development are unexceptional colonial ones clouded by romantic sentiment regarding Maori. Lawson had shown himself sceptical about the prevailing myths of Polynesia before his time at Mangamaunu. A poem, 'Coralisle', written in 1893 depicts the South Seas as the last home of 'Fairyland', the world of myth and monsters driven out by modernity:
But men grew wiser in the north
And lost their faith in fairy lore,
page 89 And all the fairies driven forth
Were fain to seek a foreign shore.
They left a northern harbour's mouth
And sailed for many an ocean mile,
Until they reached the sunny south,
And made their home in 'Coralisle'.
But now their hearts are ill at ease,
They cannot keep their southern home,
For steamships sail across the seas,
And traders round their islands roam,
And Progress — fatal to the bard —
Is fatal to the fairy band.
The world must roll, but yet 'tis hard
That they must leave New Fairyland.20
The tone of disappointment in Lawson's New Zealand writing is a function of the author's investment, at least partially, in what he recognises as the myth of Maoriland progressiveness. In 1897 when Lawson came with Bertha he had high expectations of the country and of his opportunities for literary productivity. Yet his third period in the colony produced a disillusion tinged with bitterness rather than the slightly superior irony of his first visit. Maoriland optimism could not for long appeal to the depressive Australian, who could lose faith in even his most cherished values. W. H. [Bill] Pearson in a 1968 study of Lawson's time in New Zealand notes that he observed to John Le Gay Brereton: 'I couldn't say it in public because my living depends partly on what I'm writing for the Worker: but you can take it from me, Jack, the Australian worker is a brute and nothing else.'21 This fundamental fragility of Lawson's system of affiliations is crucial to his disillusion at Mangamaunu and it threatened a general dissolution of his values, but it was his encounter with actual Maori that provoked his most acute confrontation with Maoriland and romantic representations.
From the perspective of the Bulletin where, as Lawson himself notes, the term Maoriland originated, New Zealand writing in the 1890s looked comparatively serene, genteel and optimistic. There was a view that settlement had left fewer shadows in the consciousness of the settlers. Scenery in Maoriland writing was seen to evoke the sublime page 90rather than weird. G. B. Barton reviewing Arthur Adams's Maoriland and Other Verses (1899) in the Red Page of the Bulletin observes: 'There is no gloom, no shadow, no mystery in his view of life. The wild scenery of his native Maoriland has not left him full of haunting terrors, ghostly fancies, weird and [orphic] whisperings in the night-time….'22 Where New Zealand writers like Julius Vogel produced visions of nation and empire happily conjoined in a future where women had a dignified role, Australians like the labour leader William Lane penned admonitory dystopias based on racial fear. Lane's White or Yellow: A Story of Race War in A.D. 1908, first serialised in the Boomerang in 1888, is the obverse of Vogel's 1889 imperial Utopia, Anno Domini 2000.
Optimism about the future was less observable in Australia where there was a fear that white settlement might yet fail in the Darwinian struggle among races to possess desirable land. Australia was still not completely settled and might be taken away by a more vigorous and harsh race. David Walker notes that '[i]nvasion narratives frequently drew close analogies between the fate of the Australian Aborigines and the fate of white Australia', and observes the fear that a rampant Asia might 'Aboriginalise' the Australian people.23 While settlement in New Zealand became secure and the indigenous other could be safely marketed as a desirable and decorative feature of the nation, in Australia the fear of absorption by a threatening racial other increased.24
Where Maoriland did display invasion anxieties they were not, as in Australia, focused on Asia. A. A. Grace in 1894 published a pamphlet under the pseudonym, 'Artemidorus', New Zealand in the Next Great War — A Note of Warning. Blaming science and modernity for the expansion of armies and weapons of destruction in Europe, he considers the threat to the Empire and to its far-flung colony, New Zealand. The British Empire he considers invulnerable because of British command of the sea: 'The Ocean is the possession of the British nation, and … so long as we can hold our possession, we are perfectly safe.'25 Where Australians were expressing suspicion of British trading ties with China and Japan, here the threat comes not from race disloyalty on England's part but from an alliance between Russia (with its fabled cruelty) and France. Grace indicates the colony's sense of its own material advantage and desirability, hence the potential threat posed by Britain's imperial competitors.26 The use of the first person plural to include both colonials and British indicates how close the ties were conceived to be, so much page 91so that British identity, when conceived to be under external threat, is undivided and New Zealand becomes part of the 'British nation'.
The lack of external threat allowed Maoriland's imperial nationalism to develop without the need to establish an abrasive distance from the source culture captured in Joseph Furphy's famous phrase, 'temper, democratic; bias, offensively Australian'.27 At the same time, the removal of the internal threat to settler society posed by the wars of the 1860s and a more benevolent attitude towards Maori than that in Australia towards Aborigines (both attitudes reflecting imperial racism) meant that the idea of a distinctive national character could be articulated through a unifying ideology not unlike that which governed Maoriland's relations to empire. In late colonial New Zealand — a land where, according to Arthur Adams, 'faces [found] no furrow'28 — settler culture accepted the name Maoriland and built Maori myth into its literature and art. Yet Pakeha New Zealand was not Maorifying itself thereby or even accepting the Maori presence. Rather, Pakeha culture, as it began to feel a confident distance from settler anxieties, was appropriating the culture of the people the settlers had dispossessed; in the process Maori were reinvented and consigned to a romantic past. This was not, as Phillips observes, an incipiently bi-or multicultural society;29 it was one in which the two cultures were separated by the distance between the modern and the archaic — one real, the other fantastical, one owned by the coloniser, the other a prison-house of imagined tradition for the colonised. The willingness to adopt the name Maoriland in poetry and tourist advertising — both forms of colonial self-promotion — signified settler confidence about the fortunate disposition of the races in a land seen as especially suited to colonisation, possessing a native race especially suitable to be colonised, and settlers most suited to the business of colonising. This was the Maoriland that Lawson engaged with.
Lawson emigrated in 1897 seeking to escape the distractions and strife of Sydney life; like Domett, he seems also to have been looking for new experiences on which to base his writing. The cause of the disillusion that both men experienced in New Zealand can be attributed to a kind of negative epiphany about race. Domett's discovery of Maori page 92'savagery' during the Wairau Affray and official refusal to avenge the deaths of his friends occasioned his fierce reaction against Governor Fitzroy's position on race; similarly, Lawson's discovery at Mangamaunu that Maori were not as simple as sentimental convention painted them occasioned a strong disillusionment with his initially favourable attitude. This in turn produced what Pearson has called an 'aesthetic crisis'.30 Yet the antipathy that Domett developed towards Maori was expressed in his journalism and in his work as government agent and politician; it does not directly enter into his major literary work, Ranolf and Amohia. This is not the case with Lawson. For a time he planned a major work, to be called The Native School, which would represent 'quaint and queer' Maori life.31 He did not complete this work; its most significant fragment is 'A Daughter of Maoriland: A Sketch of Poor-Class Maoris', which records a romantic teacher's disappointment with one of his Maori charges, observes the difficulties of his relations with an isolated Maori community, and attacks the sentimental representation of Maori common in New Zealand and in Australia at that time.
Lawson was in Maoriland but not of it. In 'A Daughter of Maoriland' Lawson suggests a way of approaching the function of sentiment in racial representation in both countries. What makes this disquieting story worthy of attention is that Lawson's teacher-narrator — 'who was "green", "soft", and poetical'32 — meets in the strangeness of a Maori student he names 'August' the boundaries of what can be grasped about the other. Thus the story — consciously or unconsciously — examines the terms in which racial interpretation occurs. Read as a realistic account of Maori life, 'A Daughter of Maoriland' is disturbing and inaccurate, but its subject is also how Maori exist at a distance from their characteristic representations and the role of convention in shaping those representations. If Lawson harshly interprets the racial other, he also questions racial interpretation itself.33
The experience of teaching at Mangamaunu, intended to remove the writer from dangerous Sydney influences and associations, progressively and profoundly unsettled Lawson. Deeply but narrowly sentimental himself, he came to feel that Maori had been the subjects of misplaced sentimentality. His initial optimism about writing an extended treatment of Maori life collapsed. In a letter to Hugh MacCallum from Mangamaunu dated 25 June 1897 Lawson wrote of his impressions of his 'heathen' charges with amused affection. In 'A Daughter of page 93Maoriland' any initial pleasure the teacher finds in his Maori pupils succumbs to his fixation on the brooding August.
At Mangamaunu Lawson found himself on a kind of vantage point from which he observed with increasing scepticism Maoriland attitudes towards race. From here he could also test those attitudes against those which he brought with him. But he did not expect the process of distancing and disillusion that followed. His third return to New Zealand was accompanied by hopes both for his marriage in a new place and for the literary prospects afforded by the engaging Maori race that are expressed in a poem, 'The Writer's Dream' (1897):
So he sailed away from the Streets of Strife, he travelled by land and sea,
In search of a people who lived a life as life in the world should be.
And he reached a spot where the scene was fair, with forest and field and wood
… The lives of men from the wear of Change and the strife of the world were free….
And the last that were born of a noble race — when the page of the South was fair —
The last of the conquered dwelt in peace with the last of the victors there.
He saw their hearts with the author's eyes who had written their ancient lore,
And he saw their lives as he dreamed of such — ah! many a year before.
And 'I'll write a book of these simple folk ere I to the world return,
And the cold who read shall be kind for these — and the wise who read shall learn'.34
In fact, he went on to write not of harmony but of resentment, not of simplicity but of cunning and resistance. Lawson in some ways is the most shocking of late colonial writers on Maori, because his curiosity is complicated by an intense and exclusive class affiliation unusual in New Zealand — unlike most Maoriland writers, Lawson could draw directly on the values and experiences of very poor whites — and marked by a harshness of expression about race unusual in Maoriland writing page 94(except that regarding the Chinese). He is initially more sympathetic to Maori than to Aborigines — a common response in the racist Australian literary environment he inhabited35 — and at times depicts them with sympathy and even enthusiasm, but they never elicit the engaged admiration that surrounds his depiction of white bush people and their efforts to deal with isolation. Lawson did express sympathy for those outside his favoured group, including at times Aborigines and Chinese, but usually for individuals rather than the group, and he only has so much sympathy to squander.
Lawson's reputation in New Zealand was considerable enough to secure support from journalists and government officials. Tom Mills, a left-wing journalist who would help a young Katherine Mansfield publish her early stories in Australia a few year later, expected much from his visit: 'He will, no doubt, repay the colony's kindness by writing our land up in some of his best work — both prose and verse. The settlement of Australia's poet over here will be a good advertisement for Maoriland. He has done good propaganda work for socialism.'36 Mills touches on the common theme in Maoriland writing of national self-promotion; literature and advertisement are casually allied. Edward Tregear, as Secretary of Labour, helped him find a teaching post, writing to William Pember Reeves that '[h]e intends to write up New Zealand and I think it well for the colony for a man of such rare literary ability to come here'.37 Lawson may have intended to write up Maoriland and its quaint natives, but not for the purposes of Maoriland promotion.
When Lawson went to teach in a small school near Kaikoura, it was not just the literary relations between the two countries that were to be tested; the school served a Maori community and Lawson planned to explore the Maori character. In a letter to the Sydney publisher, Angus and Robertson, dated 25 June 1897, two months after his arrival, he indicates that he has literary rather than strictly pedagogical intentions for his new charges: '… am well on with a connected Book called the "Native School" — descriptive, reminiscent, and personal matter — in an altogether new, style for me'.38 The somewhat unreliable Mills later recounted that Lawson planned to 'immortalise the South Island Maori in [a] magnum opus',39 which would be the book of his life. Neither magnum opus nor immortalising eventuated, but 'A Daughter of Maoriland' did.
The story, obviously autobiographical, tells of a writer's taking a job page 95in a Maori school and his dealings with an odd young girl, apparently traumatised by the murder of her mother by her father some years previously. In a sense, it is a realistic story, deliberately at odds with the usual sentimentalised depictions of Maori life, in line with Robert Louis Stevenson's anti-romantic depictions of the colonial South Pacific in stories like 'The Beach at Falesa' (1892) or 'The Ebb-Tide' (1894). Lawson is invoking and undermining the romantic mist cast over the indigenous by Maoriland writers in favour of what he sees as a sternly realistic portrait. Pearson sees it as a hostile story, both in its structure and language, with August compared to animals and the adjective Maori used as a term of contempt.40 That hostility, however, is directed not only at August by way of insults directed at her appearance, behaviour and intelligence but at the conventionally favourable opinions of Maori. A series of narrative asides ironically intones the romantically positive views of Maori life: 'a brutality which must have been greatly exaggerated … seeing that unkindness of this description is, according to all the best authorities, altogether foreign to Maori nature'; 'for falsehood and deceit are foreign to the simple natures of the modern Maori'; '[t]he other Maoris were out of the question; they were all strictly honest'; '[a]ll of which sounds strange, considering that Maoris are very kind to each other'.41
The teacher in the story is captivated not by his more likeable charges but by the increasingly morose August, whose behaviour progressively suggests to him that the positive signifiers of romantic ethnology have been misapplied to Maori. Lawson described to Hugh MacCallum his first impressions of the girl, Mere or Mary Jacobs, on whom August is based:
[W]e are haunted just now by the eldest girl (16) a pure-blooded aborigine — if there ever was one — of the heavy negro type, whose father killed her mother eleven years ago (fit of jealousy) and on whose family (three or four sisters) there seems to be a brooding cloud. This girl, they say, would take to the bush, if the last teacher punished her, and climb a tree and sit there and brood for hours — for days, if they didn't find her and get her home. Poor girl — but I shouldn't care to punish her if there were knives handy.42
Lawson's story displays sympathy as well as growing antagonism and at times evokes a sense of threat occasioned by August's unreadable but volatile character. Mary Jacobs, Lawson writes in a letter 'haunts the school'; she clearly haunted Lawson, not just because he was eager for queer or quaint copy. It was her unalloyed aboriginality that unsettled him. In August, Lawson suggests, the ancient essence of the race had survived, and his racial interest was both quickened and disturbed by the confrontation with otherness she provoked in him.
The story notes in her both conventional literary characteristics of Maori — awkwardness, naivety, and sadness43 — and an atavistic trait particular to her: her tendency, when disappointed, to abandon her community for the bush. A curious detail is that August has cut a portrait out of the Illustrated London News and pasted it to the wall, announcing that she is in love with the czar of Russia, a story Lawson attributes to her original, Mary Jacobs, in a letter.44 Such use of newspapers was a common colonial phenomenon, especially in the outback, and provided a useful literary trope. The isolated bush wife in Katherine Mansfield's 'The Woman at the Store' also decorates her primitive house with magazine illustrations. In Lawson's story the forlorn gesture of adornment, which partly prompts the idea of using her as a psychological character study, signals not so much loneliness and lack of any civilising opportunities as the acquisitive fixation of the primitive on the polished. Far from indicating the desire for self-improvement by August, it represents a kind of fetishisation: she drags the outward sign of civilisation back into the primitive.
Lawson's teacher is preoccupied by the atavistic aspect of the girl. She is 'evidently a true Maori or savage',45 hence his literary interest in her. What Lawson himself had seen in her model, Mary Jacobs, as 'a chance for a psychological sketch',46 is confounded in the story when her psychology remains elusive. Even the confident assertions about racial character at the close of the story — 'The teacher taught that school for three years afterwards, without a hitch. But he went no more on Universal Brotherhood lines. And, for years after he had gone, his name was spoken of with great respect by the Maoris'47 — cannot resolve the difficulties the teacher has interpreting August. It is what the teacher cannot read in her that troubles and haunts him, and his efforts to interpret her actions, words and silences are overdetermined, both by romantic expectation at the outset and by his disillusion later.page 97
The teacher's loss of faith in the romantic view of Maori leads to the narrator's rejection of universal brotherhood. Lawson clearly sympathises with this view and in one published version of the story the concluding insight is conveyed in stridently racist language:
And if this sketch, and others that will be written, do something towards knocking the sentimental rot out of current literature that teacher will not have lived, learned and been 'had' in vain. We rush off in imagination to coral isles and other places, and make heroes out of greasy, brown, loafing brutes, for no other reason, apparently, than that their fathers were even greasier and more brutal than their children, while thousands of brave, self-sacrificing white heroes, weeds for the most part, but heroic weeds, live, fight and die unnoticed in our cities and bush, all the year round.
For further information on the subject of this sketch, and for many profitable hours, the reader is confidently referred to Old New Zealand, by 'a Pakeha Maori' (Maning), one of the brightest and healthiest books ever written. The author, or the hero, lived this book, and was equal to the life.48
This stridency, however, indicates less an assured sense on the author's part of having discovered the key to understanding Maori than an attempt to reassert confidence in the sources of identity and affiliation whose fragility has been revealed. Lawson lacks the advantage of Domett's stable system of imperial valuing. Domett, like a host of writers of empire, establishes a distance from what is reported; his subject is how the other and their mythical accounts of reality are to be translated into terms known and familiar. In empire so much is known and what is experienced must be fitted into existing structures of knowledge. Lawson sets out to narrate Maori life from first-hand experience, yet in doing so he translates his subject into the unfamiliar. His Maori girl in 'A Daughter of Maoriland', unlike Domett's pliant Amohia, is subversive of the colonial education she receives. August seems tractable at first, but refuses to be improved and progressively undermines the teacher's benevolent project of rescue.
August is not resistant to education itself, she does her schoolwork with much brooding but 'fairly well'.49 Lawson himself wrote that his page 98Mangamaunu students were 'exceedingly willing, and eager to learn' (though this latter remark comes from a circumspect letter to the Secretary for Education, W. J. Habens).50 Contemporary and historical accounts demonstrate Maori eagerness for education.51 Sir Apirana Ngata recalled the enthusiasm of his tribal elders for the Native School where he was first educated, applauding the demonstration by the pupils of their grasp of the multiplication table.52 Pearson, refuting the more negative conclusions of J. W. Stack, Inspector of Native Schools in the South Island, asserts that 'South Island Maoris early recognised that their best hope of survival lay in education' and he painstakingly records the desire of the Mangamaunu community that their children be competently taught.53 Even where colonial accounts are inflected by a patronising racism, they acknowledge Maori enthusiasm. C. W. Grace in a letter to Alfred Grace, the writer, observes of his experiences teaching in a Native School:
The Maoris gave us a big welcome. They appear to be most eager to have a school, still, I fear that this great desire will vanish as the smoke when the newness of the thing has worn off! & I am not yet sure that any good object is gained when you have educated the Maori. Every white man I have met in these isolated parts tells me that you can only make a Maori out of a Maori.54
Yet August gives a highly negative focus to the story's representation of the Maori response to education, in spite of the charm of other pupils. She undermines the narrator's faith in his project to use her as the basis of a romantic literary account of Maori life. She also, as he sees it, undermines his place within the small community, and he holds her responsible for the difficulties he encounters as a teacher.
Pearson argues that at Mangamaunu, misunderstanding Maori codes, Lawson found himself thrown back on the affiliations that bound him to the code of mateship — of being white. 'A Daughter of Maoriland' is also a story about a mind disintegrating under its own depressive impetus and generating paranoia in the process. In the story August's capacity to upset the teacher's favourable perceptions of the Maori race threaten his writing, his optimism, the basis of his sympathies, even the balance of his mind. He discovers plots against him, exaggerates small events, reads page 99meaning into conversations he can neither hear nor understand. Lawson has clearly invested a great deal of his own threatened certainties and troubled alienation in the teacher and, whether by conscious authorial determination or not, the story does not wholly endorse the teacher in either the romantic or the disillusioned phases of his relations with August. The unsettling force of the story derives not only from what the teacher notices about August but also from what he resists noticing. August for her part is evaluating the teacher and, if he comes to see the way romantic convention misrepresents his Maori subject, he does not allow any justice to her representations of him. August's conduct can be viewed as a kind of talking back to her interpreter. Her delinquencies are often couched in the form of apparently subversive conversations with other Maori which make him the subject of jokes or mockery, and which can only decipher later by second-hand report:
The teacher put on his hat, and went up to the pa once more. He found August squatted in the midst of a circle of relations. She was entertaining them with one of a series of idealistic sketches of the teacher's domestic life, in which she showed a very vivid imagination, and exhibited an unaccountable savage sort of pessimism. Her intervals of absence had been occupied in this way from the first. The astounding slanders she had circulated concerning the teacher's private life came back, bit by bit, to his ears for a year afterwards…. She had cunningly, by straightforward and unscrupulous lying, prejudiced the principal mother and boss woman of the pa against the teacher and his wife.55
By mocking the teacher August indicates her inclusion within the life of the pa and calls into doubt the teacher's view of her as damaged by parental and communal lack of care, hence in need of white rescue. She also indicates a possible source of discomfort Lawson himself experienced as a teacher at Mangamaunu: he was the butt of subversive Maori humour. Pearson recounts a joke played on a previous teacher at the school, in which the Maori painted the teacher's horse so he would not recognize it on going to the paddock.56 He also cites a letter to a magazine by a man who had stayed at the Mangamaunu schoolhouse in the early 1900s and had heard from the teacher that 'some big Maori page 100girls' had imprisoned the previous teacher, Lawson, in the fireplace.57 Observing her talking with her aunt in Maori about whether she should stay with him, the teacher sees August's laughter as foolish.58 But later he comes to recognise in her a satirical talent directed at himself, one which only appears in her own cultural context, and which he over-interprets. Perhaps, like Margaret Mead in Samoa two decades later, Lawson was the victim of a satirical sense of humour which, unlike Mead, he partially recognised and which unnerved him.59
The most disturbing moment in the story is the unpleasant conflation of author with narrator in a coda to the version of 'A Daughter of Maoriland', which appeared in the Antipodean: 'greasy, brown, loafing brutes'. Such direct asides to an audience certain to agree with him were the stuff in trade of Lawson's writing and were routine in those magazines and newspapers where he published. The lines attach the author to his constituency and assert affiliations of class, colour and attitude, but they do so at the expense of the unease and irresolution in the rest of the story. Part of its unsettling effect on the reader arises not simply because the teacher displays such exasperated misunderstanding of August but because he dimly and frustratedly recognises that she exists outside his ability to account for her actions. The closing intrusion of the author, present in this version of the story, seems to further close down August's side of the story. Yet the need to force home the message so unsubtly reinforces the impression that she has a story, which both the teacher and the author find it necessary to suppress.
Lawson's subject is the role of sentimentality in interpreting racial character. Brian Matthews notes that, in spite of Lawson's desire to be 'scrupulously accurate' in stories like 'The Union Buries its Dead', he 'is really more interested in the ruthless anti-sentimentality that his accuracy implies'.60 Yet in 'A Daughter of Maoriland' he cannot oppose sentimentalising one group without sentimentally affirming another. At the point where he lapses into an emotive defence of the heroic white 'weeds' of the bush — his own tribe — he is forced violently to expel any lingering affection for August and the brown tribe she represents. Katherine Mansfield, like Lawson, was both drawn to sentimentality yet able to stand back from it; a cynical edge and a fundamental scepticism about human beings prevented both writers from acceding. For Lawson, however, sentiment was part of his social background. Manning Clark notes the saturation of his sensibility with 'the superficial sentimentality page 101and comedy with which the bush people glossed over the squalor and suffering in their own lives'.61 Sentiment here is not just a feature of Victorian taste exported to the colonies along with crockery and pianos. There was a species of colonial sentimentality which allowed the heroic tale of empire to be redrawn from the point of view neither of the imperialists nor of the indigenous but of the colonial, placed in between and painfully making a new home without wholly repudiating the home of the former or, more tellingly for Lawson, from the whites who have not settled, the wanderers of the outback.
Lawson himself seems to have viewed the story as replacing conventionality with truth telling, misplaced optimism with trenchant realism. Yet there is a conflict between the writer's consciousness of the guardedness of the girl and any confidence that the dismissal of romanticism will solve her enigmas or those of her people. Lawson sees the limits of Maoriland representations of Maori people, but can only do so by assuming that there is an opposing and more truthful form of representation. Pearson, contributing to a critical re-evaluation of Australian nationalist writing as the blind spot of its racism was becoming apparent,62 criticises Lawson for the distortions in this corrective representation. Yet this also is to assume that such representations can ever be either true or false. For Pearson, it is Lawson's identification with the teacher's concluding assessment of Maori that produces the story's most disturbingly inaccurate picture. Leonard Bell, however, in Colonial Constructs, argues that '[r]epresentations of Maori were never unproblematic, "faithful" transcriptions of the visible…. Conventions … inevitably affected how Maori were represented and what about them Europeans chose to represent'.63 Realism, in other words, did not represent 'reality' in colonial writing. The question is whether Pearson's minutely researched historical contestations of earlier misrepresentations is itself exempt from Bell's scepticism about 'faithfulness' to the observable.
Lawson's realism is distorted by a bitter disappointment that seems to have derived from sources within himself rather than objective assessment of the other. His representation of Maori in the story is condescending and at times callous, as Pearson amply demonstrates, but this antagonism does not constitute his final view of the Mangamaunu, before, during or after his stay. Nor does it invalidate his critique of Maoriland representation. Moreover, in a story told by a narrator page 102too mobile in his sympathies to be reliable, given to over-reading, and subject to mockery of his domestic life in a language he cannot understand, Lawson does not appear confident about whether there is ever any truthful representation. Lawson cannot be expected to be a relativist, anticipating postmodern understandings of the inevitable distortion in all representations of the other, realistic as well as romantic. Nevertheless, there is a pervasive scepticism in the story about all efforts at cultural interpretation and understanding. Even the teacher's closing threat to the visiting Maori by discharging his gun is misinterpreted; he is merely shooting at a hawk. The bluff intrusion about the 'brave, self-sacrificing white heroes' in one version of the story cannot altogether dissipate this scepticism.
Pearson argues that Lawson at Mangamaunu retreated into what he knew and where he felt safe. Lawson, as he sees it, is unable to separate art and authorial attitude in the story and falls at the end into mere assertion, the assertion that sympathy is wasted on Maori people because they don't correspond in actuality to their conventional picture. The notion of universal brotherhood is thus exposed as a sham. Lawson faced his own limits, this is true, but he also confronted those of the dominant romantic representations of Maori found in Australia as well as in New Zealand. As the poem recording his disillusion, 'The Writer's Dream', makes clear, he came to see his initial version of Maori simplicity and removal from human malice as a 'dreamland', locating by a word that recalls Domett's 'South-Sea Day-Dream', the weakness in Maoriland generally — its desire to confine Maori to an imaginary world. August is disillusioning not simply because she fails to correspond to the images of Maori maidens in the Bulletin or the New Zealand Illustrated Magazine. She breaks the spell of optimism which had accompanied his migration and his desire to write of a world without the taint he had known in Sydney's 'Streets of Strife'. She resists figuration within the readily available literary modes — pathos, sentiment or comedy — and turns the last of these back upon her interpreter.
A Daughter of Maoriland', with its sense that alterity is unknowable, does more than critique such representations; in the excess of baffled emotion it generates it also suggests a writer probing without fully understanding the ambivalences on which his own affiliations, as well as his aversions, rested. August, for Lawson, is what Maori become when the gloss of sentiment is removed. Why, then, the initial interest, page 103itself excessive, directed at the Maori; why the wish to write himself into their lives; and why the fondness with which, retrospectively, he viewed the Maori he knew at Mangamaunu? In expressing the desire to write about Maori life, Lawson indicates a readiness to stand outside the sources of belonging that had supported his writing thus far. At Mangamaunu he became preoccupied not merely by race but by the systems of identity that bind individuals to groups, by those that bound him to the group consciousness that had provided a structure of emotion for his writing and secured him an audience. 'A Daughter of Maoriland' records both his testing of those sympathies and his anxious recoil back to the familiar — but the return in its most egregious expression is a strident and insecure one and the aversion it produced did not prove permanent.
At Mangamaunu Lawson experienced homesickness prompted not simply by physical migration but by removal from his emotional grounding. Lawson characterises his blackest moods in a 1917 letter to a wounded soldier friend as not being at home in the world. Pearson quotes a passage:
there's such a thing as home home sickness as well as the foreign kind or brand; and when the hero-welcome … is over, you'll feel in you[r] bowels that aweful, sinking, world-emptiness which is infinitely worse than any home-sickness abroad, because it is born of [the] hoary Grand-father of all disallusions.64
Lawson's disillusion at Mangamaunu was undoubtedly a function of a depression with overlapping sources — the demands of marriage, his ill-suitedness to teaching, a longing for the familiar, a sense of displacement — and these contributed to his difficulties with August and her people. Did the failure to understand Maori codes recorded in 'A Daughter of Maoriland' indicate that Australian nationalism, centred on mateship and the convivial codes of the outback, was inadequate to the representation of Maori? Pearson argues that '[t]he moral of the story is that it is useless to extend mateship to a people who don't recognise the code' and that the story demonstrates 'failure, not only in Lawson but also in the philosophy he propagated'.65 Those codes themselves and the sense of belonging they provided were, however, caught up in a more wide-reaching and vague sense of displacement — homelessness rather than page 104homesickness. Vincent O'Sullivan has talked about Katherine Mansfield's capacity to feel 'discomposure everywhere'.66 Lawson, seemingly rooted in the codes of late colonial Australian nationalism, was also capable of such discomposure, a sense of fundamental displacement in the world that a sentimental attachment to place and people could not protect him from, an unease even towards the codes signalling belonging. This condition threatened him more than it did Mansfield, for whom homelessness is the enabling condition of much of her writing. August rattled Lawson because by exposing the inadequacy of sentimental convention she questioned his most basic sources of affiliation. Seen without sentiment, the worker-heroes of Australia, as much as the quaint natives of Maoriland, become mere 'brutes'.
A possible key to Lawson's slip from attraction to aversion here is the erotic component of the conventional representations of Maori 'maidens'. Young Maori women were commonly eroticised in the stories that appeared in the Bulletin and even the xenophobic Lone Hand. Lawson does not merely avoid the erotic lure of Maoriland, he inverts it so that the beckoning maiden of the magazines becomes literally as well as figuratively impenetrable. In a sense he aboriginalises August, emphasising her savagery, her blackness and her otherness, dissolving the difference granted in both countries to the Maori as a superior and desirable native.67
The degree to which August is not sexualised is significant. Her being in the teacher's house is carefully accounted for. She is rescued by an act of altruism. Plucked from the rough treatment of her people into the teacher's civil household, she is invited in to be cared for not exploited. She enters into a domestic arrangement in which the teacher's loyalties to his wife are established. She is too ugly to attract colonial desire, and part of her ugliness is her blackness, her unalloyed aboriginality. She is precisely the opposite of the photographs of Maori maidens Lawson may have had in mind as a background to the story.68 Lawson did write one poem about a woman with brown eyes with whom he seems to have had a dalliance in New Zealand in 1894. It is likely that she was the Pakeha daughter of his friend at Pahiatua,69 but an 1894 poem, 'Beautiful Maoriland', published in the Worker, has the refrain, 'She draws me back with her great brown eyes, over the leagues of sea'. The accompanying illustration shows a smiling Maori girl in traditional costume.70 Perhaps brown eyes signal the desire to page 105which Lawson was eager to appear indifferent at Mangamaunu, yet about which he had been teased before.71 In countering the romantic eroticism of the two Maori maidens in the Bulletin photograph, also called 'Daughters of Maoriland', Lawson substitutes a girl so plain that desire is unthinkable.
Settler New Zealand in the late colonial period observed a disparity between the conventional romanticised portraits of Maori belles and actual Maori women. Reeves in The Long White Cloud remarks that Maori women, 'even when young, are less attractive to the European eye' than the men.72 Lawson tellingly identifies the archaic savagery of the race with the negro darkness of August. As an 'aboriginal' New Zealander, August becomes the subject of an aversion to miscegenation much less pronounced in New Zealand than in colonial Australia. Robert Young notes that the concept of racial amalgamation in colonial discourse contained within itself opposing associations: as a feared descent of the superior type into despised otherness, or as an improving blend of higher and lower, redeeming the latter from its state of savagery and allowing it to be brought within the condition of civilisation.73 In colonial New Zealand the latter view predominated (so long as the commingling was confined to European with Maori and no other race). Arthur S. Thomson closes his 1859 Story of New Zealand by predicting that English colonisation will visit progressive improvement upon an amenable native population by its assimilation:
In all conquests, whether by the mind or the sword, which have terminated in good to the weaker party, the conquerors have invariably amalgamated with the conquered; and this is most necessary among the New Zealanders [that is, the Maori], as their rapid decrease is much aggravated by breeding in and in [sic]. It is therefore satisfactory to find that Caucasian blood already flows in the veins of two thousand of the native population.
Thomson quotes a Rev. Lawry who remarked that while the New Zealanders — that is Maori — were 'melting away', 'they are not lost, they are merging into another and a better class. In this process there lacketh not sin, but Providence will overrule this, and bring forth a fine new race of civilised mixed people'.74 Late colonial New Zealand literature is resonant with sentiment which celebrates the passing of the Maori as page 106the enabling condition of a new and vigorous race combining British and Polynesian virtues. In Arthur Adams's Tussock Land: A Romance of New Zealand and the Commonwealth (1904) the fading Maori race gifts genetic advantage to the conquering European:
though [the Maori race] was not dying out, its impress upon history was destined to become fainter. Its destiny was intermarriage with the Pakeha — and though thus it would bestow on the New Zealand race of the future a physique and vitality that belong to primitive things, a gift that would carry the new race far — as a people the brown Maori must cease, submerged beneath the greater number of whites.75
What is striking here is the confidence with which some colonial apologists express their belief in the joining of different races to produce a positive fusion. Thomson assumes that amalgamation will mean the effective extinction of one partner in the pairing, but he is optimistic about the outcome.
Yet such tolerance of (even enthusiasm for) miscegenation was not extended to other coloured races, especially the Chinese. Tony Ballantyne has pointed out that the racialised formation of settler nationalism in late nineteenth-century New Zealand co-existed with a fierce racism directed at Chinese immigrants.76 As in Australia in the same period, anti-Chinese sentiment was seen not only as justified by demographic threat but as politically progressive; Chinese could not be assimilated into the liberal nation state under manufacture. Reeves confirms the commonalities of racial aversion as well as attraction in his immensely influential Long White Cloud:
certain colonial writers have exhausted their powers of ridicule — no very difficult task — upon what they inaccurately call Maori communism. But the system, in full working order, at least developed the finest race of savages the world has seen, and taught them barbaric virtues which have won from their White supplanters not only respect, but liking. The average colonist regards a Mongolian with repulsion, a Negro with contempt, and looks on an Australian black as very near to a wild beast; but he likes the Maoris, and is sorry that they are dying out.77
Maori, then, were an exception within the coloured base of a minutely graded system of racial declension, even within the racist Australian labour movement of the late nineteenth century. Lawson came to New Zealand mindful of that exceptionalism and of his own agreeable past relations with Maori. But at Mangamaunu he lost connection with his white tribes — the impoverished white farmers, the itinerants of the outback and the boozers of Sydney Bohemia — whose limitations he could observe without losing all sense of solidarity with them. Around the Native School there were no Pakeha neighbours with whom he could meet convivially. There were apparently swaggers, as August accuses them of stealing from the household, but the teacher fails to respond to them. Lawson quarrelled with the Pakeha who were available, considering them low class. The local Ngai Tahu community also, as Lawson saw it, 'Poor-Class' in their own Maori world, proved to be no exception to what he had come to escape. Cliquish, back-biting, disrespectful, mercenary — they were all too human. Despising the Pakeha and the Maori alike, Lawson was forced back onto a difficult domesticity and his own deepest doubts about the human race and its various categories of difference.
August is an intermediary between the teacher's domestic life and that of the community. She is taken into the household like the girl in Kipling's story, 'Lispeth', to be rescued from savagery yet, unlike Lispeth, she resists.78 Sceptical of the missionaries who lie to Lispeth, Kipling has some sympathy for his beautiful savage, who reverts when they betray her trust. Lawson, in casting August for his version of this colonial narrative, shows little for August. August is not driven back to her original savagery by any failing in the teacher or his wife but by her own poisonous behaviour. How, then, do we account for the force of rejection in the story of August and her people and for Lawson's identification with the teacher's closing view of Maori? Pearson sees Lawson as driven back upon the code of mateship, too narrow to accommodate the codes of the Mangamaunu Maori. It is also possible that the effort to rescue Mary and the disappointment it entailed cast Lawson back even earlier, into his earliest conscious acquaintance with racial attitudes at Eurunderee, New South Wales, where he was brought up. August moves from a dreamland figuration of Maori as simple and unspoiled all the way down the racial hierarchy to a position alongside those aboriginals of Lawson's childhood, described in an Australian page 108school textbook as 'amongst the lowest and most degraded to be found on the surface of the earth'.79
At Mangamaunu Lawson seems to have regressed to the world of his childhood where poor-class whites despised poor-class blacks. The story's dynamic is produced by a contest between loathing and sentiment, the latter representing the only means of holding intact a collapsing world of values, always fragile for the doubting Lawson. Given the failure of the Maori to live up to their reputation, Lawson found his sentimental affiliation with his elected white tribe — battlers with bush and bottle — both confirmed and problematicised. The white 'weeds' call forth his loyalty but only by carrying him back to the small bitter world in which he grew up, where failing whites faced dying blacks with mutual incomprehension.
made it clear that the duties of the Native School teachers extended beyond the schoolroom, the children and the lesson periods. The entire village was their school, their hours of duty were the whole day long. Steadily penetrating the fastnesses of Maoridom the Native School teachers and their wives were sent out as missionaries of a new social order. The children they taught in school; the older generation they influenced by their lives and conduct generally, by their neat, clean homes and tidy cultivated gardens, and by their ever-ready counsel and practical aid freely rendered to the Natives in times of sickness and in their various difficulties in adjusting themselves to the new order of things.80
Such high-mindedness oppressed others among the Native School teachers than Lawson. William Satchell in The Toll of the Bush depicts a group of them as 'men with miscellaneous pasts, but of approved probity', discussing helplessly 'the encroachments of an experimental Government, who had made of them postmasters and dispensers of medicine and meteorologists and nurserymen, and studiously neglected page 109inquiries as to the pecuniary emoluments attached to the collateral professions'.
Lawson failed the requirements of the code he never wholeheartedly embraced: missionary purpose and exemplary pedagogy. Nevertheless, Lawson's desire to write up his experience of Maoriland should be judged at least partially successful. 'A Daughter of Maoriland', no magnum opus, serves as a critique of a prominent mode of representing Maori, that of romantic sentimentality which existed at a distance not only from Maori actuality but also from the practical efforts of the state to improve Maori education. By presenting his scepticism as the discovery of a trenchant and principled 'truth' Lawson exposed the limits of the code of mateship but he also exposed the limits of Maoriland sentimentality.
3 Tom L. Mills makes no mention of this visit in his retrospective sketch in Aussie, where he describes Lawson's 'second visit to N.Z.' as that when Bertha accompanied him to 'Maungamanu' [sic], Aussie, 15 November 1922, p. 23.
4 Henry Lawson, 'The Emigration to New Zealand', first published in Truth, 1893, A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885–1900, comp. and ed. Leonard Cronin (Sydney: Lansdowne, 1984), p. 335.
6 Lawson, A Camp-Fire Yarn, p. 337.
8 In the Turnbull Library is a handwritten poem in broad satire on Maori, at odds with the romantic mode of Ranolf and Amohia (1844 [1854?]), Domett collection, qms-0617, ATL; 'Paddy Murphy's Budget: A Collection of Humorous 'Pomes, Tiligrams, an' Ipistols' by Paddy Murphy (Dunedin: Mackay, Bracken and Co, 1880), p. 57. See Jane Stafford, "'To Sing this Bryce and Bunkum Age": Colonial Poetry and Parihaka', Parihaka: The Art of Passive Resistance, eds. Te Miringa Hohaia, Gregory O'Brien and Lara Strongman (Wellington: City Gallery/Victoria University Press/Parihaka Pa Trustees, 2001), pp. 179–85.
11 Lawson, A Camp-Fire Yarn, p. 341.
12 Henry Lawson, 'For'ard', Henry Lawson: Collected Verse, Volume One: 1885–1900, ed. Colin Roderick (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1967), pp. 258–61. Roderick notes that Lawson later instructed that the word 'Kindness' be substituted for 'women' in the phrase, 'and the influence of women revolutionise the world', p. 450.
15 Lawson, 'The Windy Hills o' Wellington', New Zealand Times, 1894, A Camp-fire Yarn, p. 357.
16 Lawson, 'First Impressions of Pahiatua', Pahiatua Herald, 1894, A Camp-fire Yarn, p. 366.
19 Lawson, 'New Zealand from an Australian's Point of View', 1893, A Camp-fire Yarn, p. 346.
22 G. B. Barton Collection, MS-Papers-2739, p. 5, ATL.
23 David Walker, Anxious Nation: Australia and the Rise of Asia, 1850-1939 (St Lucia: Queensland, 1999), p. 9.
24 See Mark Williams, 'Sentimental Racism', East by South: Australasian Representations of China and the Chinese, eds. Charles Ferrall, Paul Millar and Keren Smith (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2005) pp. 29–45.
25 'Artemidorus' [A. A. Grace], New Zealand in the Next Great War — A Note of Warning (Nelson: Alfred G. Betts, 1894), pp. 2–4.
26 Grace's solution is that John Bull should immediately spend £23 million on warships. He also favoured the territorial army. Five years earlier in Anno Domini 2000 Julius Vogel had envisaged volunteer forces as the security of a future British empire organised as an egalitarian federation of states: 'Long since the absurdity had been recognised of placing the Volunteer force on a lower footing than the paid forces', Vogel, Anno Domini 2000, p. 58.
29 'This was not a multi-cultural movement; but one that answered strictly Pakeha needs — an effort to provide instant history and mythology in a new and unlettered land', Phillips, 'Musings in Maoriland', p. 534.
30 Pearson, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, pp. 137–55.
31 'The book will be mostly New Zealand character sketches, personal reflections, some old debts paid to one or two unfair critics, literary and otherwise, and scenery — with the Native School as a peg to hang on.' 'Two Australian scenes, called the Cinematograph … have dropped into the book, and read like a summary of all I have ever written or may write about Australia', letter to Hugh Maccallum, 25 June 1897 in Henry Lawson: Letters 1890–1922, ed. Colin Roderick (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1970), p. 71. On the same day he sent a letter to Messrs Angus and Robertson stating that he was 'well on with a … book called The Native School', Letters 1890-1922, p. 72.
32 Henry Lawson, 'A Daughter of Maoriland: A Sketch of Poor-Class Maoris', Henry Lawson: Short Stories and Sketches 1888–1922, Volume One of Collected Prose, ed. Colin Roderick (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1972), p. 370.
34 The poem also conveys his hopes for his marriage: 'And the writer kissed his girlish wife, and he kissed her twice for pride: / "'Tis a book of love, though a book of life! and a book you'll read!" he cried', 'The Writer's Dream' in Henry Lawson: Collected Verse, Volume One, pp. 343–5.
35 Phillips notes that '[i]n the Bulletin itself there was a fascination with the Maori quite unlike the contempt for the Aborigine and this was expressed in the fact that early in the 1890s the term New Zealand died out in the magazine to be replaced by "Maoriland"', 'Musings in Maoriland', p. 527.
37 Edward Tregear, letter to William Pember Reeves, 13 April 1897, Tregear notes that Lawson has come to New Zealand to live with a letter of introduction to Mr Seddon from Mr Archibald, the editor of the Bulletin, William Pember Reeves Collection, Letters Written by Men of Mark to W. P. Reeves, vol. 1, section I, item 10, qms-1680, ATL.
38 Pearson, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, p. 109.
40 Pearson, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, p. xiii.
41 Lawson, 'A Daughter of Maoriland', pp. 370, 373.
42 Henry Lawson: Letters, 1890–1922, p. 69.
43 H. P. Sealy in an essay on Goldie's Maori 'Heads' observes: 'underlying all the genial good humour and bonhomie of the Native character runs a deep sentiment of sadness, every bit as genuine, though perhaps more lightly borne and more easily disposed of than that of their more civilized brethren', 'In the Studio: Mr C. F. Goldie's Work', New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, November 1901, p. 146.
45 Lawson, 'A Daughter of Maoriland', p. 370.
47 Lawson, 'A Daughter of Maoriland', p. 375.
48 These paragraphs are cited by Pearson, who observes that they were 'later scrapped from the first version in the Antipodean of 1897', Henry Lawson Among Maoris, p. 141.
49 Lawson, 'A Daughter of Maoriland', p. 370.
50 Letter to Mr Habens, 10 May 1897, Henry Lawson: Letters, 1890–1922, p. 68.
51 Pearson records the eagerness of Mangamaunu Maori to see their children educated, noting that less than two years after Lawson's father, Pete, applied in 1875 for the establishment of a new school at Eurunderee, K. Wiremu Kerei of Orau, near Kaikoura, 'petitioned for a school for Maori children to be built at Kaikoura, and offered to provide the land on which the teacher would live', Henry Lawson Among Maoris, p. 49.
52 Ranginui Walker, He Tipua: The Life and Times of Sir Apirana Ngata (Auckland: Viking, 2001), p. 58.
53 Pearson, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, pp. 46–9.
55 Lawson, 'A Daughter of Maoriland', pp. 373–4.
56 Pearson, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, p. 71.
57 Pearson, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, p. 98.
58 Lawson, 'A Daughter of Maoriland', p. 371.
59 Derek Freeman reports the view that Mead's informants on Samoan sexual morality were 'telling lies in order to tease her', Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1983), p. 290.
60 Matthews, The Receding Wave, p. 7.
62 The Australian response to Pearson's book indicates this shift in response to the literary nationalism of the 1890s. Nancy Keesing reviewed it positively in the Bulletin observing that it threw 'a timely douche of cold water on to some of the hotter smoke of the Lawson myth', Keesing, 'Lawson as a Racist', Bulletin, 30 November 1968, p. 83. Scrapbook Two, Reviews of Henry Lawson among Maoris and Fretful Sleepers and Other Writings, MSZ-0456, ATL. Colin Roderick in The Age was unimpressed, charging Pearson with conflating literature and history: 'To regard "A Daughter of Maoriland" as a slander on the Maoris is no more valid than to regard "Hungerford" as a libel on New South Wales. At question is the validity of Dr Pearson's approach to the story for historical accuracy, reflection of social personality and biographically factual significance. To interpret the story as Dr Pearson has done is to reduce it to propaganda', Colin Roderick, 'Lawson's Maori Friends', The Age, 23 November 1968, MS-Papers-4343 -130, ATL. Writing in Australian journals, two Australian academics with New Zealand connections, W. S. Ransom and Ian Reid were highly positive about Pearson's scholarship. For later revaluations of Australian nationalism see, for example: Humphrey McQueen, A New Britannia (Ringwood: Penguin, 1986), Stephen Alomes, 'Australian Nationalism in the Eras of Imperialism and Internationalism', The Australian Journal of Politics and History, 34 no. 3 (1968), pp. 320–32; David Walker, Anxious Nation; Phillip Raymond O'Neill, 'Unsettling the Empire: Postcolonialism and the Troubled Identities of Settler Nations', Ph.D. Diss., New York University, 1993.
63 Leonard Bell, Colonial Constructs (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1992), p. 2.
64 Quoted in Pearson, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, p. 26.
65 Pearson, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, pp. xiii, xiv.
66 Vincent O'Sullivan, '"Finding the Pattern, Solving the Problem": Katherine Mansfield: The New Zealand European', Katherine Mansfield: In from the Margins, ed. Roger Robinson (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1994), p. 13.
67 The higher ranking granted to some indigenous peoples within the general template of Victorian racism extended to North American Indians, and were sometimes shared by those affected. Oronhyatekha (aka Dr Peter Martin 1841–1908) became the supreme chief ranger of the Independent Order of Foresters only after he repudiated an article in its constitution that limited membership to those of European origin. Communicating pride in his own people as well as a sense of superiority to Black North Americans, he explained that the only intent of the offending article was 'to exclude those who belonged to a race which was considered to be inferior to the white race' and his admission was approved 'because I belong to a race which was superior to the white race'. See Veronica Strong-Boag and Carole Gerson, Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2000), p. 42; Gerson is quoting Ethel Brant Monture, Canadian Portraits: Brant, Crowfoot, Oronhyatekha: Famous Indians (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1960), p. 146.
68 Pearson notes that a photographic study, 'A Maori Belle', and another of two girls entitled 'Two Daughters of Maoriland' appeared in the Bulletin in 1897 and observes: 'it is clear that Henry Lawson … was reacting against the sentimentality of the tradition', Henry Lawson Among Maoris, p. 140.
69 'The Latter End of Spring' published in the Bulletin is a romantic ballad of a lover in Maoriland writing back to his beloved, presumably in Australia, promising to return. But he finds love with a 'brown-eyed girl', less likely Maori than Gertrude Moore with whom Lawson had an affair during his 1894 stay in Pahiatua, A Camp-Fire Yarn, p. 371.
71 Pearson mentions that Lawson was said to have married a Maori woman during his first visit.
72 Reeves, The Long White Cloud, p. 53.
73 Robert Young, Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race (London: Routledge, 1995), p. 143.
76 See P. J. Gibbons, 'The Climate of Opinion', The Oxford History of New Zealand, 2nd ed., ed. Geoffrey W. Rice (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 310; see also Ballantyne, Orientalism and Race, pp. 80–1.
77 Reeves, The Long White Cloud, p. 57. Later editions of the book replaced the last phrase with the more positive, 'treats them in many respects as his equals', indicating consolidation of the myth of harmonious relations between Maori and Pakeha.
78 Kipling, Plain Tales from the Hills, pp. 7–11.
79 School geography book cited in Pearson, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, p. 7.
80 A. G. Butchers, The Education System: A Concise History of the New Zealand Education System (Auckland: National Printing Co., 1932), p. 87.