Maori at work : the shaping of a Maori workforce within the New Zealand state 1935 - 1975 : a thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social and Cultural Studies, Massey University

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This thesis examines the dynamics of the shaping of a Maori workforce within the New Zealand nation 1935 - 1975 as a significant outcome of colonial and postcolonial engagements under the introduced capitalist system. It is argued that this was part of a larger process of acculturation and assimilation of Maori. That Maori labour formed a second stage in the incorporation of three indigenous components into the New Zealand domain of a global capitalist market system is accepted conditionally with some modification. Essentially, the first stage (from about 1840) was the need for land for the production of farm commodities; the second stage (from about 1935) was the need for industrial labour power for manufacturing production; and the third stage (from about 1975) was the appropriation of socio-cultural values as instruments to be utilized in social and economic administration by the State. The focus is on the second stage of this process. The central objective is to assess the outcomes of this process on Maori, socially, economically and culturally. Two broad assumptions are interrogated: first, that pools of surplus Maori labour were created as an outcome of the expansion of capitalism on pre-capitalist economies; second, that the incorporation of this surplus labour via migration from about 1935 arose from patterns of capital accumulation that created excess labour demand in urban secondary industries. Successive government policies of racial amalgamation, assimilation, adaptation and integration from 1840 through to the early 1970s, assumed that civilisation and integration were one-way processes. Government policies were predicated on concepts of assimilation and individualisation in a plethora of government initiatives in health, education, housing and social welfare, most of which were unilaterally justified on the grounds of progress and modernisation. These policies, which came to be called 'integration' in the decade of the 1960s, were perceived by government to be for the benefit of Maori and the whole nation, Pakeha and Maori. Arguably, the Hunn Report of 1960/61 marked the high point of this postcolonial ideology. The narrative of the key developments in government policies is inter-woven with an account of race relations and Maori affairs. It is emphasised that these policies were instituted during a period of enormous change· in Maori society and in the configuration of relationships between Maori and Pakeha. The focus is shifted in the last section of the thesis to the response by Maori to government policies. The retreat by Maori from issues of class deprivation to the promotion of issues that centred on loss of land, language and culture is traced. It is noted that the concern with class that marked the rhetoric of many similar global protest movements was remarkably mild in the Maori protest litany. This thesis marks a first attempt to discuss the shaping of a Maori workforce by taking an approach which recognises that the separation between culture and political economy is itself culturally constructed by the dominant actor in the nation-state.
Maori workforce, Assimilation, Government policy