Story: Māori overseas

Letter from a Māori chief in England

Letter from a Māori chief in England

A number of Māori visited England in the 19th century – the English were curious about people from the South Seas, and Māori were also interested to see where Pākehā had come from.

This letter from Kamariera (Gamaliel) Te Hautakiri Te Wharepapa, dated 29 January 1864, is addressed to ‘Miss Selwyn and all the relations of the Bishop of New Zealand’. Te Wharepapa was a member of a Māori performing tour party organised by the Wesleyan lay preacher William Jenkins. Although the party were received as distinguished guests in England, they had had a miserable voyage and Jenkins had mistreated them. By the time he wrote this, Te Wharepapa was ill and homesick. Te Wharepapa’s words were translated into English and written down for him by missionary friends. The letter reads:

‘We are losing health & strength. In my opinion, if we stay long, we must find out some devices for ourselves for these days. That is all, the trouble of this expedition can not be enumerated. You are the sister of the Bishop who loves New Zealand so well & you will declare to him our sentiments. Your goodness to the Maories who have visited you gives us light and gladness in our hearts & makes us bold to speak out the burden that is laid on us thro’ this our ill considered visit to England.’

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Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira
Reference: MS 60 FOLDER 108

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Māori overseas - 18th- and 19th-century travellers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 28 June 2022)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 8 Feb 2005