'A Civilising Mission' uses both oral testimony and documentary resources to offer a detailed and analytic account of the Native School system, where Māori and Pākehā culture confronted each other for a hundred years.
Simon, J. and L. T. Smith (Eds). A Civilising Mission? Perceptions and Representations of the New Zealand Native Schools System. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2001
The Native Schools was a system of village primary schools for Māori children operated by the New Zealand state from 1867 to 1969. The official purpose of the system was assimilation. Virtually all previous historical accounts of the Native Schools have been written by Pākehā (non-Māori, usually of European descent) and based on material from official sources. This account is structured around oral testimonies of pupils and teachers, and all aspects of the research were shared by Māori and Pakeha researchers.
While a few Māori scholars have written of their school days in Native Schools, and a number of former teachers have written personal anecdotal accounts of their experiences in Native Schools, prior to this publication, there have been no systematic accounts of how Native Schools operated and how they were perceived by the Māori communities they served. It was the desire to address this knowledge gap that led to this important publication
This publication is part of the series Te Takarangi: Celebrating Māori publications - a sample list of 150 non-fiction books produced by a partnership between Royal Society Te Apārangi and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.