The Interactions Between European Convicts and Maori

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The Interactions Between European Convicts and MaoriBy Edward Liu, BrynerLum, Alana Klein and Matthew TanWhy did they come?Just a few miles across the sea from Portsmouth…
The Interactions Between European Convicts and MaoriBy Edward Liu, BrynerLum, Alana Klein and Matthew TanWhy did they come?Just a few miles across the sea from Portsmouth on the south coast of England, lies a small island which is called the Isle of Wight. By 1838, the British Home Office had decided to convert the property into a prison for young boy offenders up to the age of 15 years, soon to be occupied by some 102 convicted boys transferred from other prisons. Many of these boys, some as young as twelve, had committed offences which could only be described today as misdemeanours. Theft and shoplifting, picking pockets or stealing food, were the main offences which had been dealt with harshly by the Police Magistrate's Court in those days, sentences of imprisonment and deportation to Australia for seven to ten years being quite common. Most of these lads had come from underprivileged homes where the act of theft and stealing had been generated by their need for food or adequate clothing to keep out the cold winter winds, frost and snow. boys were to serve a two-year apprenticeship on arrival in New Zealand before being given their independence, the authorities in England mistakenly believing that there was an acute shortage of labour in Auckland. The boys who accepted this 'pardon' were to be called 'immigrant boys,' however, the authorities both in England and later New Zealand, still recognised them as criminals just the same.First Convict SettlersSome time in the 18th century a trickle of escaped Convicts from Australia made it to New Zealand and built a community based on whaling and sealing. These escaped Convicts also formed relationships with the Maori. Because the nature of these relationships offended English religious figures, in 1814 a religious mission led by Samuel Marsden set out to convert the Maori to Christianity and so protect them from the corruptive influence of whalers and sealers. As reward for accepting the gospel, the Maori were often given guns. .First Women Convict SettlersThe first women settlers, who landed in 1806, were the notorious mutineer and ex-convict Charlotte Badger and her fellow rebel Catharine Hagerty. Some seamen or ex-convicts lived with or close to Maori, learning their language, often fathering children with Maori women, and acting as go-betweens for traders, and interpreters. They were known as Pakeha–Maori.By the early 1820s perhaps 100 sealers and deserters from ships were living semi-permanently in communities on the coasts of southern New Zealand. Many were ex-convicts of English or Irish background, but there were also a few Americans (at least one of who wasdark-0skinned), and Indians (known as Lascars and Sepoys), who had arrived with the East India Company trading ships. Gold RushIn 1856 gold was found in a district called Collingwood-Takaka at the top of the South Island and then in May 1861 Gabriel Read, an Australian gold prospector who had worked on both the fields of California and Victoria found gold in Otago. A major gold rush to Central Otago followed. A smaller rush occurred in Marlborough in 1862 and then in 1864 on the West Coast of the South Island, another major find was made.What occurred due to the Gold RushHokitika, on the West Coast of the South Island became a town with great population increase, and at one time there were nearly 200 public houses in the town all within the radius of a mile. Ships at a time sailed directly from Melbourne to Hokitika, although many did not make it across the river bar safely. Unfortunately the lure of gold also brought some unsavoury people to New Zealand including the Levy, Burgess, Kelly and Sullivan gang of bushrangers, who were career criminals and had all been deported to Australia from England.What is the difference between New Zealand and Australia?Before going to New Zealand, Marsden lived in Australia and had to deal with Convicts. He was known as a cruel man that took delight in the witness of human misery. Today, few Australians have heard of his name. In New Zealand; however, Marsden never had to deal with Convicts. Consequently, he devoted his energies towards converting the Maori and became widely respected. Almost all New Zealanders have heard of his name.The different histories between Australia and New Zealand are also reflected in the identities of the respective indigenous populations. The Maori have a warrior-style identity, but feel that their treaty with the British was never honoured by the other side. On the other hand, the Aborigines have more of a victim identity. They feel that they were wronged by Christian missionaries, and that their peaceful life was shattered by English soldiers.Today, the influence of history is best illustrated in Australians knowing less of their colonial history than New Zealanders know of theirs. Because Australia's urban history is based on 80 years of criminality, most Australians don't want to learn about it. On the other hand, because New Zealand's urban history is based on good Christians, New Zealanders do want to learn about it.
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