Pākehā Settlements in a Māori World

Pākehā Settlements in a Māori World

New Zealand Archaeology 1769–1860

Pākehā Settlements in a Māori World offers a vivid account of early European experience in these islands, through material evidence offered by the archaeological record. As European exploration in the 1770s gave way to sealing, whaling and timber-felling, Pākehā visitors first became sojourners in small, remote camps, then settlers scattered around the coast. Over time, mission stations were established, alongside farms, businesses and industries, and eventually towns and government centres.

Through these decades a small but growing Pākehā population lived within and alongside a Māori world, often interacting closely. This phase drew to a close in the 1850s, as the numbers of Pākehā began to exceed the Māori population, and the wars of the 1860s brought brutal transformation to the emerging society and its economy.

Archaeologist Ian Smith tells the story of adaptation, change and continuity as two vastly different cultures learned to inhabit the same country. From the scant physical signs of first contact to the wealth of detail about daily life in established settlements, archaeological evidence amplifies the historical narrative.

Glimpses of a world in the midst of turbulent change abound in this richly illustrated book. As the visual narrative makes clear, archaeology brings history into the present, making the past visible in the landscape around us and enabling an understanding of complex histories in the places we inhabit.

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Table of contents

  • Introduction: Uncovering the Pākehā Past
  • Chapter 1: A Māori World
  • Chapter 2: Pākehā Beginnings
  • Chapter 3: Sojourning Settlers
  • Chapter 4: First Permanent Residents
  • Chapter 5: Dispersal and Diversification
  • Chapter 6: Colonial Governance
  • Chapter 7: Colonial Settlements
  • Conclusion: A Changed World
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Print publication:
Ebook publication: Jan 2020
Pages: 328
RRP: $59.99
ISBN: 9780947492489
DOI: 10.7810/9780947492489

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'The largely forgotten history of how early Pākehā mixed with Māori', Sally Blundell, Noted, 9 January 2020 (first published in the 21 December 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener).

'The bay where Māori and Pākehā cultural traditions overlapped', Stuff newspapers and website, 27 November 2019 (book extract).

'Not one iota of evidence', Ian Smith, E-Tangata, 24 November 2019 (book extract).

'Signs of the Pakeha', Ian Smith, Otago Daily Times, 23 November 2019 (book extract).

'Pākehā Settlements in a Māori World', Ian Smith interviewed by Bryan Crump, Nights, RNZ, 20 November 2019, (audio 22'53'').

'Book review - Pākehā Settlements in a Māori World', Jonathan West, Nine to Noon, RNZ, 13 November 2019, (audio 3'00'').


'Smith’s aims in Pākehā Settlements, though, were never to make a case for archaeology in isolation, but rather to show the value of archaeological data used alongside documentary, oral and pictorial evidence, to build a more complete picture of the past. He has amply succeeded. Smith’s demonstration of the wonder and beauty of ordinary objects owes much to publisher Bridget Williams Books. Pākehā Settlements’ production values are glorious, and full justice is done to the many exquisite artefact photographs.'
Jonathan West, The Journal of New Zealand Studies, No NS30 (2020).

'It should do what Michael King did for the popularity of New Zealand history – it deserves to be under every reading household's Christmas tree this year.'
Jonathan West, Nine to Noon, RNZ, 13 November 2019.


'Lucid and illuminating, this archaeological exploration opens up a critical period in our past.'
Emeritus Professor Atholl Anderson, archaeologist

'Beneath the places we know lies the living history of those who were here before us.'
Professor Charlotte Macdonald, historian

'Archaeology fixes our history in the landscape and tells of spatial and material context. Based on impeccable scholarship, this book offers the first account of New Zealand archaeology in this significant period – a time when Pākehā became established in this country, with all the implications of that for an older land and prior people.'
Nigel Prickett, archaeologist