Matters of the Heart explores a surprisingly unspoken part of New Zealand’s history, the intimate relations between Māori and Pākehā, how they lived together and our changing attitudes to race, marriage and intimacy.
Wanhalla, A. Matters of the Heart: A History of Interracial Marriage in New Zealand. Auckland, Auckland University Press, 2013.
Philip Soutar died at Ypres in 1917. Before becoming a soldier, Soutar’s life revolved around his farm at Whakatāne, where he lived with his Māori wife Kathleen Pine in an ‘as-you-please marriage, uncelebrated by a clergyman’.
In Matters of the Heart, Wanhalla introduces us to couples such as Philip and Kathleen to unravel the long history of interracial relationships in New Zealand. That history runs from whalers and traders marrying into Māori families in the early nineteenth century through to the growth of interracial marriages in the later twentieth. Demonstrating that interracial marriage has been a feature of life from first contact through the colonial period and beyond. The book explores common law marriages and Māori customary marriages to formal arrangements recognised by church and state.
A scholarly and thoroughly research book, Matters of the Heart reveals much about how Māori and Pākehā have lived together in this country and our changing attitudes to race, marriage and intimacy.
Funded by Marsden Fast-Start Award.
Winner of Ernest Scott Prize, 2014.
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.