Story: Ideas about Māori origins

‘Maori bargaining with a pakeha’

‘Maori bargaining with a pakeha’

This image, from around 1845, is of Māori in the Bay of Islands. They are depicted as great traders, which they were. The early missionary Samuel Marsden likened the Māori to Jews, because of their ‘great natural turn for traffic’. This notion set off a hunt for Semitic origins of Māori.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-079-017
Ink and wash drawing by John Williams

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

K. R. Howe, 'Ideas about Māori origins - 1770s–1840s: early ideas', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 3 July 2022)

Story by K. R. Howe, published 8 Feb 2005