Before the 1840s there were many European groups that impacted Maori culture with positive, negative, major and minor impacts. These main groups that impacted Maori culture were the Explorers, Traders, Missionaries and the Sealers and Whalers. Some of these groups had major impacts on Maori culture and some of them had minor impacts. The explorers had a major impact to the Maori culture because they were the ones to start these changes and impacts to New Zealand and Maori culture.
There were two European explorers that were sent to find the great southern continent and claim it for England. One of them was Abel Tasman and the other James Cook. Abel Tasman was the first to set sail for the great Southern Continent in 1642 he tries to interact with the Maoris by sending them signals but the Maoris thought that thy were trying to challenge them so the Maoris attacked Tasman’s crew. Tasman and his crew retreated and never came back to New Zealand. James cook was the second man to set sail to the great southern continent that Tasman did not set foot on in 1769.
He was successful to interact with the Maoris and his crew were very attracted to Maori women, they made children with them and also might have introduced sexual diseases to the Maori. Cook also introduced metal, wool, guns pigs and potatoes through trading this benefited both races because the Maori got more resources that they could use in their lifestyle and the Europeans learnt about Maori culture and got Maori resources as well. The Sealers and Whalers had a minor impact on Maori culture.
They came to New Zealand because there were a lot of seals and whales at the time in New Zealand. They taught Maori new skills on how to kill and catch seals and whales so they could develop a good relationship between them and the Maori because they were dependent on Maori for food and supplies. One way they did this was to marry local Maori women. Both races benefited from the contact, Europeans were able to get resources such as whale oil for their country and at the same time Maori got access to tobacco and alcohol, learnt new skills nd got European goods such as blankets to use in their own way of life.
The Traders had a major impact on Maori culture because they introduced Maori with new technology such as Muskets. They came to New Zealand because they wanted New Zealand’s native plants such as flax and Kauri timber to use for building ships and to get food such as pigs and potatoes. Traders again had to develop a good relationship with the Maori to be able to cooperate with them. In exchange for Maori Cooperation and goods, European paid Maori with European goods and new technology such as muskets.
Muskets became a very popular and important tool in Maori warfare; tribes that had Muskets had a huge advantage over the one that did not have any. The introduction to muskets meant all Maori needed them for survival and this had a huge negative effect on the Maoris for example there were 20000 Maoris killed in the musket wars. The Missionaries had major impact on Maori culture because they introduced a new religion and new ways to improve their lifestyle.
They came to New Zealand because they wanted to convert Maori to Christianity and to change their lifestyle. Samuel Marsden was the first Missionary to arrive in New Zealand and he held a service in Ruatara on Christmas day 1814. At first Maori thought that if they follow and join the Missionaries they would gain access to European goods such as muskets, but they soon realized some Missionaries were unwilling to trade and this made Maori disappointed in this new group of Pakeha. However some Missionaries were willing to trade goods such as muskets.
Also Missionaries helped Maori learned to read ad write this was a major impact to Maori culture because they would be well educated and be taught the English language. The Missionaries also introduced new technology and farming skills to the Maori such as a metal spade to use instead of a ko (Maori digging tool) they did this because they wanted to civilize the Maori then convert them to Christianity also they wanted to develop a good relationship between them and the Maori because they depended on Maori to give them food and supplies.
Another positive major impact was the Missionaries tried to stop Maori culture from doing Polygamy (chiefs having more than one wife) Cannibalism (eating of human flesh) and Slavery because they thought these habits were wrong and the Christianity religion would not accept these types of habits. Maori thought that their gods were not protecting them, from the outbreak of diseases such as influenza so they thought they should switch to Christianity because they wanted to be with a god that accepted them and one that can protect them.
The main European group that impacted Maori the greatest was the Missionaries because their contact had the most important impacts to Maori culture for example they tried to stop the 3 worse habits that Maori did (Polygamy, Cannibalism and Slavery), introduced Maori to new technology such as the metal spade and taught them new farming skills so they could grow their own crops for their tribe.
All of these impacts were major in Maori society because it helped them in different ways so they could improve their own lifestyle. In conclusion most of these European groups impacted Maori culture majorly because they taught them new skills, introduced them to new technology and made a strong relationship between the Maori and European. If these groups never came to New Zealand, New Zealand would not be like it is today.
Courtney from Study Moose
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