The Fate of the Land reviewed in the Waiheke Weekender


Jenny Nicholls has reviewed Danny Keenan’s latest, The Fate of the Land Ko ngā Ākinga a ngā Rangatira: Māori political struggle in the Liberal era 1891–1912 for the Waiheke Weekender:

‘Another book of New Zealand history which draws back the curtain on the unsavory past, this time from the two decades after 1891, an era with lasting political significance for Māori. By the 1890s iwi retained only fragments of the ancestral rohe (homelands) they had known only decades earlier. And still, boatloads of immigrants hungry for land were pouring into New Zealand ports; many of these arrivals got the farms they wanted. Danny Keenan (Ngāti Te Whiti ki Te Ātiawa) describes the politics behind this vast New Zealand land grab; the Māori leaders who fought it, and their differing styles, personalities and strategies. Many of these rangatira should be as well known to us today as Richard Seddon or George Grey — outstanding leaders, orators, writers and fighters like James Carroll, Wiremu Pere, Pāora Tūhaere and Te Keepa Te Rangihiwinui. This is a scrupulously told and illustrated story of Māori political struggle during a formative era in New Zealand political history. “The most effective compulsive measure [to get land] of all, however, was the Maori Land Settlement Act, passed on 8 November 1905. Not for the fi rst time, the name was a misnomer: this legislation was not about settling Māori, it was about settling Pākehā.’