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Creating a National Spirit: Celebrating New Zealand's Centennial

13: Making New Zealand: Pictorial Surveys of a Century

page 178

13: Making New Zealand: Pictorial Surveys of a Century

Heenan did not have anything like Making New Zealand in mind when he first thought of historical publications to mark the centennial. The idea came from Dr C.E. Beeby, the Director of the New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Beeby showed Heenan some copies of an educational publication, Building America, which was at the time being published in the United States. It was a series of twenty-four magazine-style numbers which presented a well-illustrated account of American political, economic, social, and cultural life. It was an attractive publication that made effective use of the relatively new processes of offset printing. Heenan immediately saw the possibility of producing something similar to provide a popular history of the nation's progress during its first century, and the standing committee of the National Historical Committee agreed with him.1

It was a project of daunting complexity and virtually everything had to be done from scratch, but Heenan had good reasons for backing his judgement. He had good working relationships with his minister, Hon W.E. Parry, who was also the minister in charge of the centennial celebrations, and with Peter Fraser and Walter Nash.2 He sat on all the committees he had devised to manage the government's responsibilities for the centennial and, as their chief executive officer, was ideally placed to clear rocks from their path. For the Making New Zealand project, for example, he obtained government approval to suspend the usual rule that all publications by government agencies be handled by the Government Printer. This enabled him to tender private printers, some of whose standards of book production were higher than those of the Government Printer.3

He was at the same time assembling an editorial team to have oversight of the book surveys and the pictorial surveys. J. D. Pascoe joined McCormick late in 1937 as illustrations editor. Oliver Duff took up duties as editor early in 1938. D. O. W. Hall, whose primary task was to write publicity material for centennial activities, was also called upon as a writer, Dr A.H. McLintock was employed as a researcher, writer, and staff artist until the latter part of 1939, when he became director of the centennial exhibition of New Zealand art. Between them, Pascoe, Hall, and McLintock wrote nine of the thirty pictorial surveys that would be produced, and Hall was joint author of two more. Heenan also invited Dr J.C. Beaglehole, a member page 179 of the National Historical Committee and of its influential Wellington-based standing committee, to assist the editorial team as typographical adviser. Beaglehole's contribution to the work of the editorial team became much larger than this title implied.

Except for Duff, an experienced newspaper man who was five years older than Heenan, the other members of the editorial team were young men whose practical abilities had scarcely yet been tested. Heenan enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of working with his new colleagues on tasks that he was as enthusiastic about as they were, he kept a watchful eye on them, and worked closely with them. McCormick thought of him as a 'a ballet impressario, a Diaghilev ... he liked to show us off, sometimes causing resentment among Heenan's 'old faithful people in the department'.4

The Building America series was to be no more than a starting point.5 The historical emphasis to be given to the New Zealand series made for an important difference. Duff also set his face against the 'rather blatant preaching' in the American publication, wanting instead 'directness, simplicity, clarity'.6 The standing committee was advised that the average reading age of the general public was between fourteen and seventeen years, encouraging Duff to quip that the pictorial surveys were to be written for adolescents of all ages. The pictorial surveys were accordingly planned to complement the book surveys by providing a comprehensive survey of the country's history for a broad popular readership.

They were also a useful backstop. The inclusion in the series of a number on defence and two on sport is probably to be seen as Heenan's way of meeting possible criticism of the standing committee's decision not to include these subjects in the book surveys. There was also the real possibility that suitable authors might not be found to write on subjects proposed for the book surveys, and that authors, once commissioned, might be unable to produce a satisfactory text in the time available to them. The comprehensive coverage intended for the pictorial surveys could be expected to fill any such gaps. Until quite late in the planning, there were proposals for pictorial surveys on banking, health, law and justice, social services, schools, and aliens. In the event, neither the book surveys nor the pictorial surveys proved as comprehensive as had been hoped. None of the proposals just mentioned was included in the pictorial surveys and, with the rejection of Dr Sutch's text on social services, education was the only one to have a volume in the book surveys.7

Heenan commissioned authors after taking advice from Duff, McCormick, and Pascoe, and taking note of suggestions and reservations expressed by members of the National Historical Committee and its standing committee. As a book lover, an encourager of writers, and something of a writer himself—he was a member of the New Zealand centre of PEN—he had his own preferences as well.8 He was a great admirer of Guthrie-Smith's Tutira and prevailed on him to write the letterpress for The Changing Land, which was planned for the final number of the series. He also page 180
Herbert Guthrie-Smith. The New Zealand author most admired by Heenan and Duff. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, F-1898-1/4.

Herbert Guthrie-Smith. The New Zealand author most admired by Heenan and Duff. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, F-1898-1/4.

belonged, as McCormick noticed, 'to a tradition that required you if you could to look after your old cobbers'. One of these was the journalist O. N. Gillespie, whose name was down to write three numbers. But Gillespie's text for the first of these, on railways, fell far short of McCormick's editorial standards. McCormick arranged for the railways department to send him material that could be used to rewrite the piece, only to discover that it included a brochure written by Gillespie which was identical with the draft he had received from him. McCormick was shocked but Heenan 'only laughed' when he was told about it.9 Gillespie, with help from Hall, wrote the text of one number, Sea and Air.

McCormick's self-righteousness was a sign of the gulf that opened up during the thirties between younger university-trained researchers and older journalist-historians.10 Duff was happy to commission younger writers, and so was Heenan when not tugged by personal loyalties. Most of the authors of Making New Zealand were under the age of forty. Of these, only J. D. Pascoe was not a university graduate, and Pascoe, whose first book Unclimbed New Zealand was published in 1939 when he was thirty-one years old, was becoming an author in his own right. There would have been another author from the young brigade if Harold Miller had accepted Heenan's invitation to write the number on missionaries and settlers. Three of the page 181 authors—A. S. Allan, Ernest Beaglehole, and A. H. McLintock—were among that small number of PhDs who had returned to New Zealand to work after postgraduate study abroad. Doris Mcintosh was the only woman author in her own right. Pearl Beaglehole and Reda Ross became, at the request of their husbands, joint authors of numbers to which they had contributed but for which Beaglehole and Ross had been commissioned.11

Making New Zealand was written to a clear editorial plan. True to the subtitle of the series—Pictorial Surveys of a Century—its numbers were predominantly about that century, but they were placed within two outer frames. The first of these frames comprised the first and last numbers of the series—The Beginning and The Changing Land. These gave contrasting accounts of the land before it was Aotearoa or New Zealand, and what a century and more of European occupation had done to it. Making New Zealand was the first history of the country to place itself firmly in the land itself.12 The message was that, before humans arrived, the land was on the whole an example of 'Nature in her wisest mood'. Maori proved to be good conservationists who, with their stone-age technology and apart from some disasters with fires, lived in harmony with their new environment. But all that changed under European influence. 'Paradise', Guthrie-Smith lamented, had been turned into an 'ashpit'. New Zealand had become a 'busy modern state' at the cost of a despoiled land.13

The inner frame—number two, The Maori, and number twenty-nine, Polynesians—dealt with the Maori presence in New Zealand and the Polynesian peoples of New Zealand's South Pacific dependencies. As with the two numbers on the land, these gave accounts of Maori life before and after the arrival of Europeans, and of Samoans and Cook Islanders whose lives in the late 1930s were 'still largely uninfluenced by European civilisation'.14 McCormick's editorial influence was at work here. His thesis, nurtured during his postgraduate years at Cambridge and developed in his centennial survey Letters and Art in New Zealand, was that 'modern New Zealand' derived 'not from the culture of the primitive Maori' but from 'early Victorian times'.15 Maori culture was not portrayed in Maori as a formative influence in the history of the country's first hundred years but as a backdrop to it. Its authors, Ernest and Pearl Beaglehole, wrote a tidy ethnographic sketch of an apparently unchanging culture that was to be thought of in the past tense. The Maori frame to the country's first century thus performed a different purpose from the frame provided by the land. In the developing story of modern New Zealand, the land was depicted as an active agent during processes of induced change but Maori were depicted passively as a people and a culture from the country's past.

Ngata was not involved in the planning of Making New Zealand and his views on its editorial concept are worth noting. He had no objection to Maori people being represented before European times, for how else, he told members of the House of Representatives, would it be possible to show how far Maori had 'advanced in one hundred years'? But he resented accounts written by Pakeha writers who page 182 marginalised the Maori contribution to the country's development or ignored it.16 The recurring theme of the century as the authors of Making New Zealand told it was the successful transplanting of British civilisation in a savage land. Five numbers set out the background to British annexation in 1840 and sketched out the first generation of organised settlement. The remaining twenty-one, each dealing with an aspect of the country's progress, gave a broad historical sweep of the main components of social and economic life—farming, manufacturing, forestry; the spread of communication by roads, railways, sea, air, radio and telephone; summer and winter sport, tramping and mountaineering, racing, and other recreations; housing, public buildings, and dress.

The first five of these were a salute to the pioneers who had successfully translated British civilisation in a strange, remote land. All but one of the initiatives recorded in these and later numbers were initiatives of 'the white man', and Maori contributions, when noticed, were ancillary. Maori carried the first mails, grew and traded crops and provided transport and labour during the early years of settlement. Some Maori distinguished themselves in politics and on the sports field, Maori soldiers made a 'splendid contribution' in the Great War, and the Maori Battalion was on its way to fight in the renewed conflict.17 But it was as beneficiaries of British civilisation that they were portrayed: of new technologies brought by navigators, whalers, and Pakeha Maori, and of the civilising influences of Christian missionaries and European settlers. As portrayed by the authors of Making New Zealand, Wakefield, leaders of the New Zealand Company, and the early governors had kept the 'welfare of the natives' very much in mind. Problems had arisen, however, because chiefs did not always have tribal consent when they sold land.18 The South Island outstripped the North Island because fewer Maori lived there and it was easier to buy land. Except to explain the slower progress of the North Island, however, the wars of the 1860s were not mentioned, nor were the land confiscations. Readers were left to assume that the misunderstandings, tensions, and conflicts of the early years of race contact reflected an initial inability of members of a stone-age culture to adapt to civilised ways. The authors of Making New Zealand did not follow James Cowan's example of calling these conflicts the New Zealand Wars, nor would Pakeha historians for at least another generation. The early settlers were not portrayed as being entirely faultless, however. 'The Wairau Massacre', though still a massacre, 'was directly the result of the clumsy handling of a doubtful land claim by [New Zealand] Company under pressure from settlers impatient to be put in possession of their land'. The leading assumption, nevertheless, was that the settlers had a rightful claim to the disputed land: a sale was a sale in anyone's language.19

Maori were presented in a positive though patronising light. Ernest and Pearl Beaglehole wrote that among the races of the world Maori 'most closely resembled the Caucasian race to which the white man belongs', and emphasised Maori 'generosity, friendliness, courage, bravery, and co-operation'. Hall noted that, page 183 contrary to what they heard before they left England, the first arrivals in the Wakefield settlements found the Maori a 'sociable, helpful race'.20

In the number on Missionaries and Settlers the Rev A.B. Chappell emphasised the sense of purpose of the early settlers. They came, he wrote, to New Zealand to create a home away from home. They came, too, overwhelmingly in the spirit of adventure because there was work to be done, there were hardships to endure, and dangers to be confronted. 'Life' for them 'was an adventure not a picnic'. Chappell conceded that they may not all have been 'of the right sort' but the general standard was very high and equal to the exacting conditions they met. They succeeded because they were courageous and resourceful and made the most of every opportunity. He quoted Frederick Maning with approval: 'The men were bigger and stouter in those days, and the women—ah!'21 Modern New Zealand, Hall wrote in The Squatters, was the best tribute that could be paid to the hard work of the pioneers. It still had 'some wild corners' but was 'one of the world's most successful farming countries'.22 Echoing the texts, the illustrations emphasised pioneering and nation-building as men's work. Duff was typical of educated men of the time in questioning whether it was 'logical or necessary to separate men and women historically'.23 But apart from being pictured in family and other domestic activities, women, like Maori, were largely out of sight. There were some references to women's achievement in mountaineering and in the numbers on summer and winter sports, and in H. C. D. Somerset's Recreation. 24 In the one number, Dress, where the main focus was on women, Doris Mcintosh unavoidably portrayed women as slaves to passing fashion.

New Zealand was the subject of Making New Zealand but its authors were very conscious that Britain was their Home away from home. And when they thought of Britain it was often England that they mentioned. English trees, plants, flowers, birds, and animals were a constant reminder. The games and pastimes of the migrants had from the beginning been modelled on those common in Britain. Letters and visits to and from family and friends kept memories alive; books and magazines built allegiances in the minds of others who, born in New Zealand, nevertheless built strong emotional ties with 'Home'. The monarchy, reinforced by regular royal tours, was acknowledged as another strong bond. When comparisons were to be made, Britain was usually the first and often the only country mentioned.

These close ties with Britain were thought of as being mutually beneficial. Refrigeration, for example, had changed the 'lives and social habits of New Zealanders, and it had also enabled people in Britain to maintain higher living standards than would have been possible without it'.25 The supreme example of reciprocity was of course to be found in defence relationships. New Zealand still depended on the Royal Navy to keep its sea lanes open but played a full part itself. New Zealand's latest contribution of troops to support Britain's war effort, Hall wrote, stemmed from an understanding that 'the security of the whole British Commonwealth of Nations is the vital concern of every member ... no matter how page 184 geographically remote. When we help in the defence of Britain, it is equally a defence of New Zealand. . . .The whole of New Zealand is quite aware that if the power of Britain should be destroyed, the destruction of our own liberty would be a matter only of time.'26

Making New Zealand presented the country as an exemplary member of the Commonwealth. A steady stream of initiatives taken in the public interest in the course of the century had produced rising levels of economic and social well-being. It had begun auspiciously with Gibbon Wakefield's enlightened views on systematic colonisation and the New Zealand Company's careful regulation of migrants to its settlements in this country. Governments, whether provincial or central, had taken charge of the development of public utilities with the aim of making their benefits available to all New Zealanders. The state, as presented in Making New Zealand, was benign and its interventions uniformly beneficial. In a small country like New Zealand, only the state had the authority and the financial backing to undertake the national development of railways, main highways, coal fields, hydroelectric schemes, telephonic communication, and radio. But the end result was a general standard of living that was among the highest in the world. The spectacular recent increase in hydroelectric generation, for example, was as important to farming, manufacturing, and communications, as it was beneficial to domestic consumers. Except in remote parts of the country, women were enjoying its labour-saving benefits, and the number of homes in isolated districts without electricity was quickly being reduced. 'The all-electric house is no longer a dream of the future, but is the present demand of most New Zealand women.'27

Governments of all political persuasions had at different times used the levers of state authority to make good progress in other fields as well. Atkinson had put an end to sweated labour, and the labour legislation of later governments, 'assisted by the vigilance of the trades unions', ensured that such conditions had not recurred.28 Seddon's Liberals had broken up the big sheep runs, and 'although it appeared to be at the expense of the squatters, the solution of the land problem was really to the advantage of the whole country'.29 Parliament had legislated first to conserve forest land and then to control forests according to principles that had been found 'in other countries to be in the best interests of the State'.30 The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, established in 1925, supported research and development that was invaluable to the country's agricultural and manufacturing industries. Also in the mid-twenties, town planning legislation had put an end to 'a long period of disastrous public indifference', and a national town planning scheme, soon to be introduced, would make it possible for 'the intelligent control of amenities' to become a matter of course.31

New Zealand's exemplary record was nowhere better illustrated than in Racing, one of the most popular of the series, written by Heenan and S. V. McEwen. New Zealand's soil and climate, they wrote, were the 'world's closest parallel' to those of page 185 England, 'the unrivalled nursery for the cultivation of the race-horse'. After a century of importing stock from Australia, England, France, and America and breeding its own lines, New Zealand's thoroughbreds 'were up to the standards of the world's best'. But the most noteworthy feature of horse racing in the Dominion was its democratic character. Racing was the most popular sport in the country, and there was probably no gathering at which New Zealanders were 'so directly and completely represented as at a local metropolitan race-meeting'. The sport of kings had become the people's sport. New Zealand, furthermore, was a world leader in the way it controlled, managed, and ran the racing industry. New Zealand ingenuity had contributed to the invention of the electric totalisator. The racing and trotting conferences, with their statutory authority to control the activities of racing clubs, were successful examples of cooperation and ensued a fair deal for everyone involved in the sport.32

But if racing showed how New Zealand had gone beyond successful adaptation to create an important part of its popular culture that was distinctively its own, the same could not be said of other aspects of its cultural life. Paul Pascoe in Houses and Public Buildings, G. L. Gabites in Furniture, and Doris Mcintosh in Dress could not disguise their disappointment that a century of effort had so far not produced a national style in their fields. These youngish writers were imbued with the principles of the modern movement in architecture and design which insisted that form must follow function. Like McCormick, they were also frustrated that New Zealand was yet to evolve its own distinctive national culture. It had been unfortunate, Paul Pascoe wrote, that organised European settlement had coincided with 'the collapse of the architectural good taste of the Regency period in England'.33 It was the country's loss, Gabites wrote, that it did not have a folk tradition of craftsmanship comparable to the Shakers in America.34 Pascoe's search for a New Zealand vernacular in architecture, and Doris Mcintosh's wish that New Zealanders would develop their own 'native talents and powers of imagination' in the design of their clothes, led them to think of the achievements of pre-European Maori in ways that most other writers in the series did not do. What struck Mcintosh's eye was the lack of harmony between the prevailing English fashion and the New Zealand environment when compared with the simplicity and serviceability of Maori clothing and the beautiful weaving of 'even the simplest garment'.35 Pascoe wrote appreciatively of the success with which Maori, adapting to different conditions and materials, had 'gradually developed distinctive types of dwelling'. It was unlikely, he concluded, that an architecture as distinctive as that of the Maori would evolve, but there was no reason why the New Zealand contribution to architecture should not be 'as valuable as its contribution to other spheres of human effort'.36

British influences remained dominant at the end of the Dominion's first century but they were being challenged by styles of thought and behaviour and by new technologies from other sources, most notably from America. Direct telephone and page 186 regular shipping services with California had also opened the way to cultural influences. American styles of architecture were increasingly an influence on New Zealand house styles, with Spanish Mission proving to be particularly well adapted to the climate of the northern part of the North Island.37 The cover photograph of Sea and Air showed a Lockheed Electra, an American aeroplane, operating New Zealand's main trunk commercial air service. But it was through films and radio that American cultural influences were beginning to be most pervasive. Films, Doris Mcintosh noted, were becoming regulators of the clothes people wore. 'We can now be kept right up to date in the mode and are no longer an isolated community.'38

Making New Zealand was conceived as a retrospect. The unvoiced assumption seems to have been that, the uncertainties of war aside, the future would be much like the past. Progress would continue without upsetting well-established arrangements. Secondary industries were being set up but the wealth of the country was expected to remain in the land. The authors of Sea and Air thought it unlikely that air transport would ever supplant sea for the transport of New Zealand goods to Great Britain.39 But in a decade fascinated with what electric power was contributing to material progress, the author of Power saw the path of the future: 'We are on the brink of new developments in television, air conditioning, new forms of lighting, and electronic devices.'

But there was, as Ernest and Pearl Beaglehole noted, one big question for the future: relationships between Maori and 'the white man'. Changes to the Maori way of life, they wrote, had been quicker and more fundamental than for any other Polynesian people, but 'the tide seems definitely to have turned'. It was well to remember, they pointed out, that it was Maori 'drive and energy' that was behind current schemes and plans for their advance as a people. Despite 'their occasional puzzlement over the ways of the white man', Maori were law-abiding citizens, although they believed they still had grievances over the Treaty of Waitangi and over the sale of native land without full compensation. But '[a]ll of these puzzles can be solved, all of these grievances settled amicably, provided both European and Maori bring to them a sympathetic understanding, a sense of justice, and an ability to compromise'.40

It was from the beginning expected that, as illustrations editor, John Pascoe would have a crucial contribution to make. The letterpress of each number would stir curiosity, and seventy or so illustrations would satisfy that curiosity by giving 'life and colour to the topics surveyed'.41 Pascoe converted that hope into spectacular achievement. He carried out the first national survey of the pictorial holdings of the country's museums, art galleries, libraries, and private collections and, working with authors, painstakingly tracked down photographs and other images. Readers of Making New Zealand were offered a pictorial treat that ranged all the way from Tasman's journals and Cook's artists to Christopher Perkins, Rita Cook, and the country's leading photographers, including Pascoe himself. Some 1800 illustrations, page 187 all suitably referenced, were included in the 30 numbers of the series. Heenan came to think of the series as 'Johnny Pascoe's monument'.42 Though produced to tight deadlines, the series was almost entirely free of factual errors.

The contract to print Making New Zealand, the biggest offset printing order to have been placed with a New Zealand printer, was won by Wilson and Horton, publishers of the New Zealand Herald. Newspapers throughout the country voluntarily publicised the series, and 2000 complete sets were sold before the first number appeared. By the end of 1940, when the sets were better known, 6000 had been sold. Peter Fraser, when minister of education, ordered 2600 copies of the bound two-volume sets to be distributed to all schools in the country.43 They were eagerly taken up in schools that had virtually no visual materials for the teaching of the new primary and post-primary social studies syllabuses that were introduced in the mid 1940s, and their coverage and quality has yet to be surpassed.

Making New Zealand, as Heenan intended, publicised New Zealand overseas. Complimentary sets were sent to the libraries of both Houses of Parliament and to many universities and important people. New Zealand tourist and trade commissioners in England, the United States, Canada, and Australia promoted it.

John Pascoe, Oliver Duff and Eric McCormick watch the first number of Making New Zealand roll of the printing press. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, Eric McCormick Collection, PAColl-5030-2-018.

John Pascoe, Oliver Duff and Eric McCormick watch the first number of Making New Zealand roll of the printing press. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, Eric McCormick Collection, PAColl-5030-2-018.

page 188

Several hundred copies of complete sets were sold at the New Zealand pavilion at the New York World Fair. Requests for more sets were regularly received from English-speaking countries. Competent judges considered the quality of the offset printing 'to be equal to the best in the world'.44

Duff marked the publication of the last number of the pictorial surveys, Guthrie-Smith's posthumous The Changing Land, with some editorial reflections. He, like Heenan, idolised Guthrie-Smith, and the elegy for a pioneer in the closing paragraph of The Changing Land was for him the epitome of the series. Within a century, Guthrie-Smith had written, the 'home of the pioneer' had changed from 'untilled barreness to garden and green and trees' and had been 'beautified by sorrow, joy, and toil'. That home had been 'a nucleus of culture and continuity, a centre radiating the ancient virtues of hardihood and simplicity'. It was also a spiritual progress: 'the pilgrim's path' that every man must tread.45 Making New Zealand, Duff observed, was the 'pilgrim path' that three generations of New Zealanders had now trodden'.46 Like Guthrie-Smith, he wrote from within the pioneering tradition, and his experience as one of the makers of Making New Zealand intensified his identification with it.

For his younger colleagues McCormick and Beaglehole, that tradition and their experience while working on the centennial historical publications had a very different meaning. Through their postgraduate studies in England they had come to view the country's history and its people from the outside and had concluded that there was more to criticise than celebrate in an insular narrative of pioneering progress. In his New Zealand, published in 1936, Beaglehole suggested an interpretation not in terms of pioneering achievement but as one more example of modern capitalist expansion.47 McCormick's study of New Zealand writers and painters had led him to conclude that the emergence of a distinctive form of European culture was being 'impeded by imitative ideals and subservient habits'.48 But despite their predilections, they both found themselves becoming reluctant nationalists.

For McCormick, living in England had been transformative, for it was there that he came to know himself as 'a New Zealander, not some species of offshore Englishman'.49 His appointment as secretary of the National Historical Committee in 1936 gave him the opportunity to inject into the thinking of that committee the interpretation of New Zealand's cultural history that he had developed in the thesis he wrote for his Cambridge MLitt.

Beaglehole's change of heart came through his increasing involvement in the centennial historical publications. He had, he recalled in 1940, been

dragged into the centennial racket very unwillingly ... to find that if was not altogether a racket. I have taken a twist towards nationalism I never expected, which will, I hope, turn out to be not so deplorable as some nationalist passions. New Zealand as a piece of history, I have always thought, was interesting chiefly as an example of what happened when page 189 capitalist civilisation in its heyday stretched out and started to interfere with a land and a culture hitherto untouched by this dubious way of life. It wasn't particularly interesting in itself, and it was the duty of the New Zealander to step outside his narrow experience, contemporary and historical, and become a citizen of the world, in history and in his own life. I still believe that, except that now I think New Zealand in itself is thoroughly interesting, and that one does not get at its real significance for ourselves in the wider world of history without a good deal more attention than I have been prepared to give to it.

To be a nationalist, for Beaglehole, was to want a 'national culture', and he had come to realise that that could 'only come from the free intelligence working on its environment and its history'.50

Beaglehole had already earned the reputation as the leading younger historian in the country, and his conversion to New Zealand history was highly important. But he was not alone. Other younger historians were also drawn into historical activities associated with the centennial, with similar results. Professor Rutherford, Professor Wood and W. T. G. Airey were members of the National Historical Committee, and Wood and Rutherford published works to mark the centennial.51 Airey joined J. B. Condliffe in 1938 as joint author of the sixth edition of A Short History of New Zealand. A. H. McLintock and D. O. W. Hall became engaged in the writing of New Zealand history through their work on the centennial publications. These historians and their students would make important contributions to the writing of New Zealand history during the next thirty years. So, too, would McCormick as the country's leading cultural historian and Pascoe as author and archivist. In their generation the writing of history moved beyond the chronicling of events to searches for explanation.

The effect of Making New Zealand on its readers was more immediate. The size of its print runs and its magazine format gave it greater public appeal than any other centennial publication. It proved, as its originators had hoped it would, to be 'interesting to the general reader and permanently valuable in the teaching of New Zealand history'.52 Its regular use in schools and its availability in public libraries made it the main source of New Zealanders' knowledge of their history until the early 1970s, when it was replaced by New Zealand's Heritage: The Making of a Nation, a magazine-style popular publication which repeated its winning formula.53 It was on any reckoning one of the triumphs of the centennial celebrations.

Of course Making New Zealand reflected the intellectual climate of its time. Its authors differed among themselves in the way they thought about the pioneer legend and the British legacy but they were of one mind about what European civilisation had done for Maori and what the future held for them. Maori had been adapting to European ways for more than a century and, except for some cultural vestiges, would, as they saw it, become virtually indistinguishable from New Zealanders of European page 190 stock as time went on. That remained conventional Pakeha wisdom until the 1970s when it began to be disputed by Maori who vigorously challenged the ideal of assimilation and the loss of cultural identity it implied. A revision of the Pakeha grand narrative of New Zealand history was under way, and it was in that spirit that, in 1983, A. J. Booker examined the historical assumptions that animated the writing of Making New Zealand.

Booker read the series as 'an exercise, albeit restrained, in self-gratulation and satisfying reflection' that conveyed an 'overall impression' of a 'romantic, prosperous, noble' country. He was most severe on Ernest and Pearl Beaglehole, whose contributions on The Maori and Polynesians were in his view written from an 'overpowering Euro-centric perspective': their texts were 'paternalistic, patronising, pontifical, and racialist'.54 Compare those strictures with Dr W.B. Sutch's opinion of The Maori when it was published: he thought it the best work that had ever been done on the subject.55 What Sutch and other informed readers thought of as reputable history in 1940 was beginning to be dismissed as unconscious mythmaking a generation later.

1 Minutes of standing committee of the National Historical Committee (NHC), 24 June 1937, p.2, Internal Affairs (IA), series 1, National Archives, (NA), 62/7/2.

2 Michael Bassett, The Mother of All Departments: The History of the Department of Internal Affairs (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1997), chapters 5 and 6; Rachel Barrowman, 'Joseph William Allan Heenan', The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography', vol.4, 1921-1940 (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1998), p.232.

3 Cabinet approval, 4 February 1938, IA 1, 62/7/4; B. W. Ashwin to Heenan, 26 May 1938, IA 1, 62/97/1; Heenan to W. E. Parry, 28 October 1938, IA 1, 62/7/4.

4 E. H. McCormick, An Absurd Ambition: Autobiographical Writings, Dennis McEldowney ed, (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1996), pp.141-2, 145.

5 Making New Zealand (MNZ), Introduction.

6 O. Duff to Angus Ross, 5 October 1938, IA 1, 62/97/15.

7 Minutes of second meeting of NHC, 17 June 1938, pp.5-6, IA 1, 62/7/1; J. D. Pascoe to O. Duff, 28 June 1938, and O. Duff to J. W. Heenan, 17 August 1938, IA 1,62/97/1; J. D. Pascoe, List of topics and authors for the Pictorial Surveys, IA 1, 62/9; O. Duff to H. K. Kippenberger, 2 August 1938, IA 1, 62/97/20; Keith Sinclair, Walter Nash (Auckland: Auckland University Press/Oxford University Press, 1976), p.208; Rachel Barrowman, A Popular Vision: The Arts and the Left in New Zealand, 1930-1950 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1991), pp. 158-9.

8 Barrowman, A Popular Vision, p.231.

9 McCormick, An Absurd Ambition, p. 146.

10 Chris Hilliard, 'Stories of Becoming: The Centennial Surveys and the Colonization of New Zealand', The New Zealand Journal of History, vol.33, no.l, p.5.

11 Duff to Heenan, 17 August 1938, IA 1, 62/97/1; Harold Miller to Duff, 25 July 1937, IA 1, 62/97/14

12 New Zealand Listener, 14 March 1941, p.4.

13 MNZ, The Beginning, pp.2 and 31; MNZ, The Forest, p.16.

14 MNZ, Polynesians, p.24.

15 E. H. McCormick, Letters and Art in New Zealand (Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs, 1940), p. 17.

16 NZPD, vol.253,15 September 1938, p.453: Na To Hoa Aroha. From Your Dear Friend: The correspondence between Sir Apirana Ngata and Sir Peter Buck, 1925-50, M. P. K. Sorrenson ed, (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1986), vol.1, p.91-2.

17 MNZ, Defence, p. 19.

18 MNZ, The Voyage Out, p.4; The Squatters, p.8.

19 Ibid., pp.4,6, 8,10; MNZ, Manufacturing, p.12; James Cowan, The New Zealand Wars, 2 volumes (Wellington: Government Printer, 1983), see Michael King's Introduction, p.xi.

20 MNZ, The Maori, pp.4, 30; MNZ, The Voyage Out, p.30.

21 MNZ, Missionaries and Settlers, pp.2, 30.

22 MNZ, The Squatters, p.30.

23 Duff to Heenan, 3 May 1938, IA 1, 62/97/1.

24 MNZ, Recreation, passim.

25 MNZ, Refrigeration, p.30.

26 MNZ, Sea and Air, p.18; MNZ, Defence, pp.30-31.

27 MNZ, Power, p.23.

28 MNZ, Manufacturing, p. 19.

29 MNZ, The Squatters, p.31.

30 MNZ, The Forest, p.24.

31 MNZ, Houses,p..28.

32 MNZ, Racing, pp.12, 22-30.

33 MNZ, Houses, p.30.

34 MNZ, Furniture, p.30.

35 MNZ, Dress, pp.2, 30.

36 MNZ, Houses, p.30.

37 MNZ, Houses p.18.

38 MNZ, Dress, p.28.

39 MNZ, Pasture Land, p.2; MNZ, Sea and Air, p.30.

40 MNZ, Polynesians, pp.30-1.

41 MNZ, Preface to vol.1.

42 Heenan to Webb, 4 February 1941, Heenan Papers, Ms-Papers 1132: 250.

43 New Zealand Listener, 14 March 1941, p.14.

44 Ibid.

45 MNZ, The Changing Land, p.30.

46 New Zealand Listener, 14 March 1941, p.4.

47 J. C. Beaglehole, New Zealand: A Short History (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1936).

48 McCormick, Letters and Art in NZ, p. 131.

49 Ibid.,pp.l26-31.

50 J. C. Beaglehole, 'Centennial Meditations', Spike: The Victoria University College Review, 1940, pp. 18-19.

51 J. Rutherford ed, The Founding of New Zealand: The journals of Felton Mathew, first surveyor general of New Zealand, and his wife, 1840-1847 (Wellington: Reed, 1940); F. L. W. Wood, New Zealand in the Worlds New Zealand Centennial Surveys, no.ll, (Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs, 1940).

52 IA 1,62/7/4.

53 Ray Knox ed, New Zealand's Heritage: The Making of a Nation., (Wellington: Paul Hamlyn, 1971-75). 104 volumes and index.

54 Antony James Booker, 'The Centennial Surveys of New Zealand, 1936£41, BA Hons thesis, Massey University, 1983, pp.15, 17, 18.

55 Talk by Dr W.B. Sutch, 2ZB Book Review Session, 3 November 1939, typescript, IA 1, 62/8/31, Pt.l.