P?keh? (or Pakeha; , M?ori pronunciation: ['pa:k?ha:]) is a M?ori-language term for New Zealanders of European descent. The term has also recently come to refer inclusively either to fair-skinned persons, or to any non-M?ori New Zealander.Papa'a has a similar meaning in Cook Islands M?ori.
Its etymology is unclear, but the term p?keh? was in use by the late 18th century. In December 1814, the M?ori children at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands were "no less eager to see the packaha than the grown folks". In M?ori, plural nouns of the term include ng? p?keh? (the definite article) and he p?keh? (the indefinite article). When the word was first adopted, the usual plural in English was "pakehas". However, speakers of New Zealand English are increasingly removing the terminal "s" and treating the term as a collective noun.
Opinions of the term vary amongst European New Zealanders. Some reject it on the ground that they claim it is offensive, or they object to being named in a language other than their own. A sample of 6,507 New Zealanders found no support for the claim that the term "P?keh?" is associated with a negative evaluation.
In 2013, the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study carried out by the University of Auckland found no evidence that the word was widely considered to be derogatory; however, only 12 per cent of New Zealanders of European descent chose to be identified by the term, with the remainder preferring "New Zealander" (53 per cent), "New Zealand European" (25 per cent) or "Kiwi" (17 per cent).
M?ori in the Bay of Islands and surrounding districts had no doubts about the meaning of the word p?keh? in the 19th century. In 1831, thirteen rangatira from the Far North met at Kerikeri to compose a letter to King William IV, seeking protection from the French, "the tribe of Marion". Written in M?ori, the letter used the word "p?keh?" to mean "British European", and the words tau iwi to mean "strangers (non-British)"--as shown in the translation that year of the letter from M?ori to English by the missionary William Yate. To this day, the M?ori term for the English language is "reo p?keh?". M?ori also used other terms such as tupua ("supernatural", "object of fear, strange being"),kehua ("ghosts"), and maitai ("metal" or referring to persons "foreign") to refer to some of the earliest visitors.
However, The Concise M?ori Dictionary (K?retu, 1990) defines the word p?keh? as "foreign, foreigner (usually applied to white person)", while the English-M?ori, M?ori-English Dictionary (Biggs, 1990) defines P?keh? as "white (person)". Sometimes the term applies more widely to include all non-M?ori. No M?ori dictionary cites p?keh? as derogatory. Some early European settlers who lived among M?ori became known as "P?keh? M?ori".
The etymology of p?keh? is unknown, although the most likely sources are the words p?kehakeha or pakepakeh?, which refer to an oral tale of a "mythical, human like being, with fair skin and hair who possessed canoes made of reeds which changed magically into sailing vessels". When Europeans first arrived they rowed to shore in longboats, facing backwards while rowing the boats to shore. In traditional M?ori canoes or "waka", paddlers face the direction of travel. This is supposed to have led to the belief that the sailors were supernatural beings.
In her book The Trial of the Cannibal Dog: The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook's Encounters in the South Seas, the anthropologist Anne Salmond recorded that tribal traditions held that Toiroa, a tohunga from Mahia, had predicted the coming of the Europeans. He said "ko te pakerewha", meaning "it is the pakerewh?", red and white strangers.
There have been several dubious interpretations given to the word. One claims that it derives from poaka, the M?ori word for "pig", and keha, one of the M?ori words for "flea", and therefore expresses derogatory implications. There is no etymological or linguistic support for this notion--like all Polynesian languages, M?ori is generally very conservative in terms of vowels; it would be extremely unusual for p?- to derive from poaka. The word poaka itself may come from the proto-polynesian root *puaka, known in every Polynesian language ("puaka in Tongan, Uvean, Futunian, Rapa, Marquisian, Niuean, Rarotongan, Tokelauan, and Tuvaluan; it evolved to the later form pua?a in Samoan, Tahitian, some Rapa dialects, and Hawaiian); or it might be borrowed or mixed with the English "porker". It is hard to say, since Polynesian peoples populated their islands bringing pigs with them from East Asia, but no pigs were brought to Aotearoa by them. The more common M?ori word for flea is puruhi. It is also sometimes claimed that p?keh? means "white pig" or "unwelcome white stranger". However, no part of the word signifies "pig", "white", "unwelcome", or "stranger".
New Zealanders of European ancestry vary in their attitudes toward the word p?keh? when applied to themselves. Some embrace it wholeheartedly as a sign of their connection to New Zealand, in contrast to the European identity of their forebears. Others object to the word, some strongly, claiming it to be derogatory or to carry implications of being an outsider, although this is often based on false information about the meaning of the term. Some believe being labelled "P?keh?" compromises their status and their birthright links to New Zealand. In the 1986 census, over 36,000 respondents ignored the ethnicities offered, including "P?keh?", writing-in their ethnicity as "New Zealander", or ignoring the question completely. A joint response code of "NZ European or Pakeha" was tried in the 1996 census, but was replaced by "New Zealand European" in later censuses because it drew what Statistics New Zealand described as a "significant adverse reaction from some respondents". Sociologist Paul Spoonley criticised the new version, however, saying that many P?keh? would not identify as European.
The term p?keh? is also sometimes used among New Zealanders of European ancestry in distinction to the M?ori term tauiwi ("foreigner"), as an act of emphasising their claims of belonging to the space of New Zealand in contrast to more recent arrivals. Those who prefer to emphasise nationality rather than ethnicity in relating to others living in New Zealand may refer to all New Zealand citizens only as "New Zealanders" or by the colloquial term "Kiwis".
The term is commonly used by a range of journalists and columnists from The New Zealand Herald, the country's largest-circulation daily newspaper. Historian Judith Binney called herself a P?keh? and said, "I think it is the most simple and practical term. It is a name given to us by M?ori. It has no pejorative associations like people think it does—it's a descriptive term. I think it's nice to have a name the people who live here gave you, because that's what I am." New Zealand writer and historian Michael King wrote in 1985: "To say something is Pakeha in character is not to diminish its New Zealand-ness, as some people imply. It is to emphasise it." New Zealand politicians from across the political spectrum use the term, including Don Brash,John Key,Helen Clark, and Te Ururoa Flavell.
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The point at which European settlers in New Zealand became P?keh?--or indeed New Zealanders--is subjective.
The first European settlers arrived in New Zealand in the early nineteenth century, but most were missionaries, traders and adventurers who did not intend to stay permanently. From the 1840s, following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the assumption of British sovereignty, large numbers of Europeans began to settle permanently in New Zealand. Most of these settlers were from Britain, with a disproportionate number coming from Scotland. There were also numerous settlers from Ireland and Northern and Central Europe.
In the late nineteenth century there were some moves towards cultural nationalism, and many P?keh? began to see themselves as different from people living in Britain. However, there were still strong ties to the "mother country" (the United Kingdom, particularly England), which were maintained well into the twentieth century. Until some point in the mid-twentieth century most P?keh? considered themselves to be both British and New Zealanders. Many P?keh? intellectuals migrated to Britain in order to pursue their careers as this was not possible in New Zealand. Notable expatriate P?keh? from this period include writer Katherine Mansfield and physicist Ernest Rutherford.
P?keh? ties with Britain were drastically weakened in the decades after World War II. Quicker, cheaper international travel allowed more P?keh? to visit and live in other countries, where they saw that they were different from the British and felt the need for a stronger national identity. In 1973, Britain joined the European Economic Community, cutting New Zealand off from free trade with its biggest market and leaving P?keh? feeling betrayed by the people they had thought of as their own. Meanwhile, M?ori were becoming more assertive, especially about the value of their culture and their ownership over it. The M?ori cultural renaissance made many P?keh? feel that they lacked a culture of their own, and from the 1970s numerous P?keh? writers and artists began to explore issues of P?keh? identity and culture. It was at this point that the word "P?keh?" grew in popularity, although it remained controversial.
In general, P?keh? continue to develop identities distinct from and complementary to those of their (often) British origins and those of the other Anglophone nation-states such as Australia, the United States, Canada and Ireland, as well as M?ori. As with most other settler societies, it can be said descriptively that P?keh? contemporary culture is an amalgam of cultural practices, tensions, and accommodations: British/European with some M?ori and Polynesian influences and more recently wider cultural inputs, particularly from Chinese and other Far Eastern cultures.
Christianity in New Zealand, despite its foreign origins, has also been shaped by M?ori through movements such as the R?tana Church and Destiny Church, as well as their involvement in churches of European origin such as the Anglican Church. Where P?keh? identity is identified, commonly NZ kitsch and symbols from marketing such as the Chesdale Cheese men are used as signifiers, and might more appropriately be called "Kiwiana".
Michael King, a leading writer and historian on P?keh? identity, discussed the concept of distinct P?keh? practices and imaginations in his books:Being P?keh? (1985) and Being P?keh? Now (1999), and the edited collection, Pakeha: The Quest for Identity in New Zealand (1991), conceptualising P?keh? as New Zealand's "second indigenous" culture. By contrast, M?ori art historian Jonathan Mane-Wheoki described P?keh? as "the people who define themselves by what they are not. Who want to forget their origins, their history, their cultural inheritance - who want Maori, likewise, to deny their origins so that we can all start off afresh."
One approach continues the references to those with white skin colour while the more inclusive refers to all those who are non-Maori appears to be gaining currency. Today 'Pakeha' is used to describe any peoples of non-Maori or non-Polynesian heritage