Story: Intermarriage

Mere, Alexander and Pita Cowan

Mere, Alexander and Pita Cowan

Dressed in their best, Mere Cowan (née Whakamairu) and her husband Alexander, from the Wairarapa area, sit for their portrait in 1870 with their new baby, Pita (or Peter). It was a time when  Māori were declining in numbers and were widely expected to disappear altogether. Little Pita Cowan therefore represents a way for Māori to survive and, eventually, increase their numbers again.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Bennett Iorns Collection
Reference: PA1-q-131-32-1

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:

Angela Wanhalla, 'Intermarriage - Intermarriage in colonial society', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 6 December 2023)

Story by Angela Wanhalla, published 5 May 2011