Hauhauism: An Episode in the Maori Wars 1863-1866
CHAPTER VI. — General Significance of Hauhauism
General Significance of Hauhauism.
It seems impossible to regard Hauhauism simply as a religion. Keesing says:—
“The Maori people, through the forms, ritual and government… were seeking, however crudely and even dangerously, to give expression to their spiritual life.”1
Similarly the Reverend T. S. Grace says :—
“Who can blame them after 14 years' neglect by us, for framing a service more or less imperfect, with which to supply the need? They know they cannot do without religion.”2
But such an attitude seems untenable. It is more than doubtful whether the cult was ever sincerely adopted by the majority of the Maoris as a religion. As Christianity had allied itself with the political forces of the State, Hauhauism, too, became inseparably interwoven with the political struggle.
1 Keesing, J. M.: The Changing Maori. Printed under the Authority of the Board of Maori Ethnological Research. Part II, Ch. II, p. 49.
1 Despatch of Governor Gore-Browne to the Duke of Newcastle. App. H. of R. 1863. E. No. 2.
2 Ward, Rev. R.: Life Among the Maoris of New Zealand, being a description of Missionary, Colonial, and Military Achievements. London: G. Lamb. 1872. Ch. XIII, p. 294.
5 Grace, T. S.: op. cit., p. 257. Bishop Selwyn himself, when addressing the third Synod in Christchurch, said: “The missionary clergy were believed to be the agents of the Government in a deep laid plot for the subjugation of the native people.” Supra. Ch. 1, p. 15.
“Oh! how things have changed!… O earth! earth! earth! Such has been our cry. The Queen, law, religion, have been thrust aside in the one thought of the acquisition of land.”1
Bishop Selwyn obviously appreciated the fact that the question of the land was the fundamental issue. But by associating the Queen and law with the propagation of religion, he caused Christianity to become anathema to the natives, because of its associations with the political struggle. It is no wonder that there was a reversion to the old primitive policy, which was based on the mysterious influence of “tapu.”2
3 Supra, Ch. I, p. 16.
Its end left the Maori in a curiously unsettled state, his faith in Pakeha justice and truth undermined, his belief in Christianity shaken, his land still in danger, and his confidence in himself weakened. Though Hauhauism itself was dead, the discontents that had given rise to it were not allayed and further trouble lay ahead.