The Native Schools have an ambiguous place in New Zealand history. As an organ of the Pakeha state situated in Maori communities with an overt aim of assimilating Maori to European cultural habits, they have every appearance of a tool of oppression. To Ranginui Walker, in Struggle Without End, they were a potent weapon in the armoury of the coloniser: The process of colonisation is total, in that it involves cultural invasion and colonisation of the minds of the invaded as well. ...Beginning with the missionaries, the founding fathers of the new nation state were therefore committed to the policy of assimilation. To this end, the missionaries, and later the state, used education as an instrument of cultural invasion.1 1 Ranginui Walker, Ka Whajwhai Tonu Matou, Struggle Without End, Auckland: Penguin, 1990, p. 146. The Native Schools system evolved through various manifestations from George Grey's Education Ordinance of 1847 through to the 1867 Native Schools Act, but had little impact until given impetus by Donald McLean in the early 1870s.2 2 For the best discussion of the administrative development of the Native Schools system from subsidisation of Missionary Schools through to the fully-funded system administered by the Department of Education in 1879, see J.M. Barrington and T.H. Beaglehole, Maori Schools in a Changing Society: an Historical Review, Wellington: New Zealand Council For Educational Research, 1974. For briefer accounts, Judith Simon, (ed.), Nga Kura Maori, The Native Schools System 1867-1969, Auckland: Auckland University Press, pp. 1-21; and Judith Watson Bird, 'Government Administration of Maori Education, 1871-1930,' Master of Arts Thesis in Anthropology, University of Auckland, 1951, pp. 1-49; are both excellent. For McLean, a critic of the Government's handling of the Taranaki and Waikato campaigns, education was preferable to warfare as a method for tackling Maori resistance to colonisation and settlement.3 3 G.V. Butterworth. Aoteoroa 1769-1988: Towards a Tribal Perspective, Wellington: Department of Maori Affairs, 1888, pp.80-4. Since the 1950s, accounts have criticised the assimilationist goal of the schools, and in particular their role in the suppression of the Maori language. Walker put the argument succinctly: Schooling demanded cultural surrender, or at the very least surrender of one's language and identity. Instead of education being embraced as a process of growth and development, it became an arena of cultural conflict.4 4 Walker, Struggle Without End, 1990, p. 147. C. Lesley Andrews quoted Hokianga personality Frederick Maning's letter to Donald McLean to put the issue beyond doubt: 'I have nothing to report except that if all your schools are going on as well as that at Wirinake [Whirinaki] there will soon be no Maoris in New Zealand.'5 5 C. Lesley Andrews, 'Aspects of Development,' in Conflict and Compromise: Essays on the Maori since Colonisation, I. H. Kawharu, (ed.), Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1975, p. 88.