The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit FRIDAY, APRIL 18. 1890 THE MAORI RACE.
Though the numbers of the Maori people have fallen, it is estimated, from 140,000 to 40,000 souls, or thereabouts, within little more than half a I century of contact with' the European race, and although it appears to be the almost universal rule that brown races disappear before the white, there is we are glad to see some reason to hope that-the rapid decay of our predecessors in the colonisation of New Zealand has been arrested. The reason of this more hopeful state of things is to , be found in the fact that the younger' generation have become inured to European clothing and European modes of living, and still more in t^e yet more pleasing fact that they esch;-. the vices which their fathers adopted' I only too readily, and by the effects of which they were swept off the face of the earth. In an interesting article on the subject a Wanganui contemporary, the " Herald, " says:—" The Maori is undoubtedly changing in. his characteristics; he is becoming anglicised, and taking on the habits and customs of the colonising race. It could not have beeu otherwise. The knowledge of the English language imparted in the native schools is the first factor in bringing about the approach of the two races, and will ultimately effect the assimilation of the Maori. ISTow it is very often said that the Maori is losing all his best traits of chai'acter and acquiring only those which are objectionable in the people which are conquering his native wilds and have set up what are termed civilised standards, An article appeared recently in the " Pall Mall Gazette " in which it was asserted that all the old hospitality to strangers in the native settlements had completely disappeared. We are glad to be able to give the statement the most emphatic contradiction. The Maori has followed English custom. in many inI stances by exacting toll at ferries and in other matters, but the old custom of welcoming strangers at his kaingas is still preserved, and is continually being i experienced. Yet the change that is going on is no less observable. The young Maori has changed with the j conditions, because it was impossible not to change when his whole environment is different from what it was in the past. Yet we believe it will be found that the transformation will not destroy or weaken many of the best qualities of the people. We know chiefs, very young men, who are looked to by their tribes as leaders in thought and action, and who are in every respect worthy of the confidence ( reposed in them. There is no sign of that demoralisation going on among the young people which we so often dear of. They are more temperate in ■avoiding intoxicating drinks, and we ,ire informed this change is largely clue to the young people who have made resolutions and been able to keep ohem. In many parts of the colony the people are farming their own,land, and gradually acquiring the knowledge of husbandry which will enable them to live on the profits instead of the capital. It is at the same time true that ; though progress is being made, the Maori people are still very backward when compared with the colonists. We have urged that the one means of salvation is to bring about individual property; to give every family its own title to a piece of land out of which it will be able to get a living. This is the great civiliser, and it was applied ,1 few years ago with marked success to the land around Parihaka, v/here even Te Whiti felt its subduing influence. It was remarkable how quickly the natives responded, and how rapidly boundary fences Avere run up, as soon' as the Court had enabled the lines to be drawn. Reserves ought to be cut up, instead of being held in common, and when each head of a family had received his portion, the allotment should be inalienable. If this plan j were adepfcw], £he race would be| saved and its fmerifc qualities preserved. The result would reflect hoiior oa the cplony while contributing to "its material proj sperity."