Economics of the New Zealand Maori

Economics of the New Zealand Maori

Economics of the New Zealand Maori

Economics of the New Zealand Maori

Excerpt

The Maori people are honourably known far outside the confines of their New Zealand home. Acknowledged to be one of the finest of the native races within the British Empire they have long been celebrated for their splendid physical appearance, their proud bearing, their aristocratic spirit, their fluent oratory, and above all for their prowess in war. The untiring defence of their ingeniously constructed earthwork strongholds against superior numbers of British troops in the middle decades of the last century wrung a tribute of admiration even from their enemy. The warlike habits of the people have coloured even the prosaic ethnographic accounts of their customs and history. Tales of battle, cannibalism, murder, heroic defence, and all the other ingredients incident to relentless tribal feuds dominate the scene, and tend to overshadow their more substantial achievements in the field of industry and art. Yet the Maori in peace is of no less interest than the Maori in war.

One of the fundamental bases of primitive culture is its economic organisation, which provides the medium whereby food, clothing, shelter, tools, and objects of wealth of less utilitarian kind are secured to the service of man. It is the problems of this aspect of life which form the theme of the present book.

My aim has been to bridge in some measure the gap between economics and anthropology. While this volume is primarily a monograph dealing with the institutions of a single native people it also raises and discusses a number of problems of general theory, and though making no pretence of offering an ultimate solution, points to valid conclusions in the Maori field and thus suggests significant lines of inquiry.

The opening chapter indicates the scope of primitive economics, giving a review of the principal contributions which have been made to the subject and a critical estimate of the methods employed by various writers. It is not without interest for social science to note that, with one or two brilliant exceptions, this work stands to the credit of German scholars. This chapter provides also a general introduction to the analysis of economic problems in their . . .

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