NIDEA Seminar Series 2019 (20 August 2019)

Date Tuesday 20 August 2019
Time 1:10pm - 2pm
Where KG.06 (University of Waikato)
Presenter Ian Pool
Contact Shefali Pawar
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

The history of Aotearoa New Zealand after Cook: The turbulent 120 years, 1769-1890s

Ian Pool, CNZM, PhD, FRSNZ, Emeritus Professor, National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis University of Waikato

For one-third of our history since 1769, New Zealand was Maori. We thus have to draw back the Euro-centric cloak imposed on this period by the written accounts (all European but see Anne Salmond), and typically missionary. They portrayed a savage, unproductive Maori population engaged in the ‘Musket Wars’ that produced high fatalityrates. I will show that mission records were at best distortions of reality. 1. Until the 1850s Maori contributed the major part of GDP, and of both overseas trading and domestic business. 2. After colonisation, they contributed the major part of the colony’s budget – exceeding the large disbursements received from Whitehall through the ‘Commissariat Military Chest’. 3. Maori had complex technologies, and social and economic organisation., including trading perishables from the far south to the far north, and vice versa. 4. The fatality rates of the inter-tribal wars (and of muskets and cannibalism ) have been grossly exaggerated - - the wars were not continuous and were geographically dispersed. Incidentally Taua ate potatoes !!! Easy to find, carry, cook and chew. New Zealand’s history since Cook has lasted a quarter of a millennium. But, as seen through the lens of an historical demographer, for almost HALF of that entire period New Zealand went through an era of extreme turbulence. It started before Waitangi, when Maori were building their ‘golden era of business’ and participating in extractive industry joint ventures. But, Maori numbers also declined as they were struck down by introduced pathogens: the lethality of the ‘Musket wars’ has been exaggerated, as I will show.

In 1840 Maori, who were 98% of NZers, brought a rich dowry to Waitangi – all NZ’s resources and a thriving business sector. But over 1840-58, disease caused the most rapid Maori population declines ever. From 1860-1900, Pakeha displaced Maori, by warring with them, dispossessing them from their North Island lands, and ‘swamping’ them through huge, but brief, migratory inflows and, above all, by the hyper-reproductive capacities of colonists. Turbulence took other forms before and after Waitangi, such as racing down economic paths that seemed rewarding but were un-sustained as lead factors: eg gold, wool, grain. Pakeha production involved largely pre-industrial technologically, extractive industries, (including ranching) that ‘quarried’ New Zealand (economic historian Phil Briggs).

But, by the 1890s, Aotearoa was establishing stability in its peopling, in sustainable economic structures, in forming a settler-society that was social-democratic, and in its population geography, features that then lasted 80-90 years – through our early lives. *


Salmond, A (2017), Tears of Rangi , Auck Univ Press.

Pool, I (2015) Colonisation and Development, NZ 1769-1900: The Seeds of Rangiatea, Springer

Pool, I (being edited) The Peopling and Development of a Settler-Society: NZ 1769-2010

David Greasley and Les Oxley have a run of authoritative papers on the causes and processes of intensification post-1180 and their impacts (eg 2005, Amer Econ Hist Rev).

Ian Pool has been studying New Zealand population since 1958. He has published numerous books, monographs and articles, many specifically on the demography of Aotearoa, as in the case of four of his major books, The Maori population, 1977, Auckland University Press (AUP); Te Iwi Maori, 1991, AUP; and Colonization and Development, New Zealand 1769-1900: The Seeds of Rangiatea, 2015, Springer; and (with A Dharmalingam and J Sceats) The New Zealand Family, 2007, AUP, which covers Maori and Pakeha. Recent co-authored monographs cover contraception, family formation (two monographs) and hospitalisation trends in New Zealand. He has also worked in and published books, monographs and papers on Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Recent international books include: (Eds. S Tuljapurkar, I Pool and V Prachuabmoh) Riding the Age Waves, 2005, Springer; (Eds I Pool, L. Rodriguez Wong and E Vilquin) Age Structural Transitions:  challenges for Development, 2006, CICRED, Paris. He has worked in Australia, England, Canada, United States, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Niger, and carried out numerous missions for United Nations’ and other agencies across francophone and anglophone Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Within New Zealand his applied research has been with numerous government and other agencies. He has been an expert witness for Waitangi Tribunal Hearings, alone or with a team, especially as a generic witness for the Central North Island Claim (Ohinemutu, 2005; with T Kukutai and J Sceats). Most recently he was an adviser to the Moriori Claim.