Story: Sexual health

Early contact

Early contact

A peaceable camp of Māori and visiting English explorers is shown in this view of Ship Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound in the 1770s. The Māori are catching and drying fish, while the tents in the background house astronomical equipment. On visits like these, sexual contact between Māori and English undoubtedly occurred. Māori understood that the venereal disease that sometimes resulted was brought by the Europeans. In the late 18th or very early 19th century a song was composed about this:

Na te Pākehā, nana i tari mai
Te ure pukupuku ...

It was the European, who hither brought
The penis with chancres [sores from venereal disease] …

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: B-098-015
Aquatint by John Webber

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:

Jane Tolerton, 'Sexual health - Sexual health to 1914', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 June 2024)

Story by Jane Tolerton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 7 Dec 2018