Friday, 22 May 2015

A Whanganui Māori Meeting with the British Royal Family

Following Prince Harry’s recent visit to the Whanganui region, where he met with local iwi representatives (and impressed Tariana Turia), much older connections between local Māori and the British royal family are worth remembering.

In my recently-published book Haerenga: Early Māori Journeys Across the Globe I tell the story of Whanganui chief Hoani Wiremu Hipango, known to many Europeans as John Williams.

In 1855 Hipango accompanied the Whanganui-based missionary Richard Taylor on a journey to England. During the course of his stay, the young Whanganui leader and Taylor met with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace.

Hoani Wiremu Hipango (right), with Richard Taylor (seated) and his son Basil, PAColl-5185, ATL

Hipango presented the Queen with a prized pounamu weapon, a large cloak made of kiwi feathers, and other items. Victoria took a great interest in the gifts and assured Hipango that she had the welfare of the Māori people in her heart.

He became just the second Māori after Tamihana Te Rauparaha of Ngāti Toa known to have met with Queen Victoria. However, it was said that the Queen was so plainly dressed that he did not realise it was her, later scolding Taylor for failing to tell him.

Hipango was killed in battle in February 1865 leading an attack on a Pai Marire pā at Ohoutahi. Two years later his son, Hori Kingi Hipango, also travelled to England, where he spent the next four years, before dying there in 1871.

The stories of Hoani Hipango and his son are just two of many told in my book, published by Bridget Williams Books, as part of its popular Texts series.  The book explores the history of Māori travel from the late eighteenth century through to the early twentieth century.

Hipango and his son reflected an almost insatiable Māori appetite to travel and explore the world, although many of these stories of voyaging are today little known beyond the immediate descendants of those involved.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

'Recording the Incident with a Monument': The Waikato War in Historical Memory

As I have been researching the Waikato War one topic that I have devoted considerable attention to is the question of how the war has been remembered or forgotten historically. This was the main focus of my J D Stout lecture in 2014, as well as various other public talks and presentations.

I have now made my first published foray into the field of memory studies with a paper on the same topic. It is published in a special issue of the Journal of New Zealand Studies 'James Cowan and the Legacies of Late Colonial Culture in Aotearoa New Zealand', edited by Annabel Cooper and Ariana Tikao.

This paper charts changing perceptions of the Waikato War in national memory and consciousness. The recent sesquicentenary passed by most New Zealanders largely unnoticed. Historical memories of the war that once (in part thanks to James Cowan) fed into larger nation-building narratives cut across them today. A century ago it was possible for Pākehā to believe that the Waikato War had given birth to fifty years of peace and that mutual respect forged in battle had provided the basis for “race relations” of unparalleled harmony. By the 1970s such a notion could no longer be sustained, leaving a kind of uncomfortable silence about one of the decisive events in New Zealand history.

The Journal of New Zealand Studies is an open access publication, committed to making research freely available to the wider community. Here is a link to the full text of my own paper.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Haerenga - Early Māori Journeys Across the Globe

My new history of early Māori travel has been released today as part of the BWB Texts series. Here is some information on it from the publisher's press release:

Acclaimed historian Vincent O’Malley has written the latest addition to Bridget Williams Books’ Texts series, Haerenga: Early Māori Journeys Across the Globe.

O’Malley’s book tells the stories of early Māori voyagers who, from the eighteenth century on, left New Zealand to travel overseas in search of adventure, commercial opportunities and political recognition.

‘Europeans began to visit New Zealand from 1642 and in earnest after 1769,’ says O’Malley, commenting that while this fact is generally well known, what is less well known is that many Māori took advantage of these new links with the rest of the world to join European ships and make their own voyages of discovery. According to O’Malley, ‘an almost insatiable appetite to travel, explore and discover the rest of the world was unleashed, and over the coming centuries, Māori travelled to Australia, to Europe, and many destinations between them.’

‘I wanted to cast fresh light on an absorbing aspect of early New Zealand history,’ says O’Malley, pointing out that it is not widely known that the first New Zealander to sight Antarctica was the Māori sailor Tuati, in 1840.

In Haerenga, O’Malley collects for the first time the stories of Tuati and other Māori travellers in an accessible short work that will engage both general and specialist readers.