The incorporations of the East Coast : one solution to the problem of Maori lands
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
In considering progressive movements within the Maori race during the 20th century, it has been usual to turn first to experiments being conducted on the East Coast especially among the Ngati Porou tribe. It would seem that the peculiar circumstances of this tribe in relation to their contact with and reaction to civilisation, have enabled them to become adjusted more successfully to the changing physical, cultural and social demands of modern life. This has been true especially in regard to attempts to overcome the problems of Maori land tenure, and to introduce modern efficient farming methods. In order to study the problems in detail the thesis has been divided into three distinct but closely inter-related sections. (I.) The introductory section describes the human and physical background of the East Coast - one of the problem areas of New Zealand. It discusses the physical effects of erosion, reversion and deterioration to provide a necessary basis for the main core of the subject which is an investigation of the far-ranging human problems. (II.) The second section analyses the problems of the social geography of the Tairawhiti Maori Land District. It is focussed on land tenure and the difficulty of obtaining not only an efficient tenure scheme but one which will also fulfil the wishes of the Maori people to whom the land belongs. The character of the numerous legal devices evolved to overcome both the tenure problem and the rigorous requirements of the Maori are outlined. Their apparent ineffectiveness contrasts strongly with the success of the practical application of the incorporation system. Yet, despite the latter’s undoubted advantages, inherent weaknesses arising from failings are evident. (III.) In conclusion some observations are made on the necessity to overcome these human failings which are hindering an otherwise noteworthy attempt to provide an answer to the problem of Maori land tenure.