Story: Pacific Islands and New Zealand

New Zealand in the Cook Islands, 1900

New Zealand in the Cook Islands, 1900

Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Gudgeon (seated, left), a New Zealander appointed as British resident commissioner in the Cook Islands in 1898, was photographed with the islands' chief justice (seated, right) in 1900. As colonial control was imposed, the authority of indigenous leaders was considerably weakened, and their judicial role was reduced to making local regulations which had to be approved by the resident commissioner. By 1902 Gudgeon had become chief justice and chief judge of the Cook and Other Islands Land and Titles Court.

For Gudgeon, who had fought in the New Zealand wars and worked for years as a Native Land Court judge, New Zealand’s ‘success’ in dealing with Māori gave it the right – if not the responsibility – to govern all Polynesians. He remained in the Cook Islands until 1909, becoming notorious for belittling Cook Island Māori and favouring his friends and relatives.

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Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: SEDDON3 105 105

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How to cite this page:

Jon Fraenkel, 'Pacific Islands and New Zealand - Colonisation and trade in the Pacific', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 May 2022)

Story by Jon Fraenkel, published 20 Jun 2012