“Kill or marry. The fate of the Maori.”

Auckland, June 1929

Ross cites the example of New Zealand’s Maori population to find fault with Britain’s inconsistent racial politics.

Recounting the colonial conquest of New Zealand, Ross casts the Maori as noble savages: they occasionally ate their victims, he claims, but their understanding of “fair play” in war exceeded that of their British opponents. The colonial policy towards the Maori after the war is described by Ross as singularly integrationist and egalitarian, not even shunning the children of mixed marriage.

“So, New Zealand could be considered proof that racial prejudice is not necessary and that all racial problems could be solved by the method of marriage.” Ross doesn’t seem to worry about such a radical conclusion. What he finds troubling about British colonial policy in New Zealand, though, is its exceptionality. It creates a precedent for other populations ruled by Britain who, for no good reason, have not been extended the same egalitarian treatment. If the Maori deserve such treatment, the population of India, as Aryans, would even more so.

The nationalist stakes in Ross’s argument become obvious when he mentions Samoans protesting against their unequal treatment compared to the Maori. As rule over Samoa had been taken from Germany by New Zealand in 1914, this is just another example of British colonial incompetence vis-à-vis German colonial know-how in the opinion of Ross and his fellow colonial revisionists back in Germany.

Joachim Schätz

Colin Ross. Totschlagen oder heiraten. Das Schicksal der Maoris. Vossische Zeitung. Nr. 508, Sonntags-Ausgabe. 1929 Oct 27;[4]

Topic: Indigenous peoples
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30

See also

in Geo Map
Kill or marry

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