Story: Ngā tuakiri hōu – new Māori identities

Racist letter

Racist letter

This 1868 letter from Isaac Featherston, the superintendent of Wellington province, to Donald McLean, the Hawke's Bay government agent, refers to 'niggers', a term widely used by Pākehā at that time to refer to Māori, even those who were loyal to the government. Featherston wrote, 'I could have got together some 500 or 600 friendly Natives, and have hurled them at Toto Kawarrus [war leader Tītokowaru's] head, but Hau Haus and [Colonel George] Whitmore dont believe in Kupapas – or in the "black niggers" the only force we here can depend upon.'

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: MS-Papers-0032-0266-11 Dec 1868-4

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:

Rawiri Taonui, 'Ngā tuakiri hōu – new Māori identities - Urban identifiers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/document/29808/racist-letter (accessed 19 March 2019)

Story by Rawiri Taonui, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jun 2017