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Medicine Amongst the Maoris, in Ancient and Modern Times



Whilst it is recognised that there is a racial difference in height, Peckham finds that race has no influence on weight. Landberger also did not find any evidence of its influence, up to the age of ten, at least, on the comparative proportions of Germans and Poles. Bowditch in his American investigations was struck with factors not due to race alone. The statement is made that serious conclusions can be drawn only by comparing subjects that shall differ only in race-subjects having physiological antecedents equally favourable. In the figures given below, the European children had a better environment than the Maori children. The European boys at King's College are the children of parents in comfortable page break
Height of Tasmanian, N.Z. European and Moari children

Height of Tasmanian, N.Z. European and Moari children

page 93 circumstances. They are well-clothed, well-fed and well-housed whilst the Maori children, with the exception of those at St. Stephens, are much worse off. The clothing, houses and food are much inferior to those of European children, therefore the advantage is with the latter.
Age. Tasmania. N.Z. (European). Maori.
5 - 6 381bs. - 431bs.
6 - 7 43.5 - 49.
7 - 8 47. - 53.
8 - 9 51.3 - 60.
9 - 10 55.3 - 68.
10 - 11 59.8 70. 76.
11 - 12 66.1 77. 80.
12 - 13 70.6 79. 84.
13 - 14 78.4 87. 103.
14 - 15 82.3 98. 116.
15 - 16 93.7 110. 128.5

From the above table it will be seen that Maoris are far heavier than Tasmanian boys and considerably in excess of N.Z. boys who live in the same country but have advantages which should make them heavier, if the racial element had no influence upon weight. At the ages of 10 and 11, when the N.Z. boys are taller the Maoris are heavier. That the difference in the older ages is not due entirely to superiority in height, is shown by the fact that the Maori boy of 13 whilst 5ft. in height weighs 105 lbs. whilst the N.Z. boy of 14 and of the same height 5ft. weighs 98 lbs. or 5 lbs, less than the Maori. The Maori boy of 14 whilst 1.75 inches shorter than the European boy of 15, weighs 6 lbs. more. I cannot see what makes the difference except race.

Dr. Thomson gave the weight of the Maoris as being equal to that of Englishmen, the average being 10 stone. My figures give youths of 15 as only 11.5 lbs short of this. Thomson's figures are again too low. Certainly in the early days the Maoris were in a constant state of training for war and other occupations, page break
Weight of Tasmanian, N.Z. European and Maori children

Weight of Tasmanian, N.Z. European and Maori children

page 94 so that the excessively stout men and woman of the present day were not so numerous. The speedy putting on of flesh is characteristic of the Maori. The boys at the boarding school of St. Stephens, where the food is good and the meals regular show superiority in weight over the boys of the Native Schools where the conditions are not so good. Men of 18 to 20 stone weight are fairly common. In a Maori tug-of-war team, of 11 men selected from the limited number of men present at the International Exhibition in Christchurch in 1907, there were two men weighing 20 stone each, one of 19, and only one under 15 stone.

In physique, the men may not reach the chest and arm development of the most muscular Europeans, but on the average the muscular development of the loins, thighs and lower leg are much superior.

The woman are much heavier than European woman. Some tribes such as the Whanganui would be little, if at all, inferior to the men in weight.