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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 6 (September 1, 1936)

Co-operative Work on the Land

Co-operative Work on the Land.

But Te Puea's most strenuous activity was her effort to restore her people to the farming life, following on the methods adopted so successfully by Sir Apirana Ngata on the East Coast and in the Bay of Plenty districts. Here her position as a rangatira was of value in reinforcing her natural gifts of leadership and her exceptional force of character. When Sir Apirana was Native Minister he placed great reliance on hereditary leadership and tribal organisation.

In the various tribes, teams of young Maoris with experience of work on the land and in such things as roadmaking, bridge-building and drainage were selected for the breaking-in work, under leaders who, wherever possible, were recognised rangatiras by pedigree, and who possessed the natural gifts desirable in a chief. Waikato were more backward than other tribes, because they had little usable land remaining to them after the confiscation by the Government. However, what little land was available was turned to use, Te Puea and her teams of people —women and men—handled one block after another, in order to turn them into productive farms.