Assessment Schedule – 2009 History: Examine a significant decision made by people in history, in an essay (90657) Judgement Statement



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Topic Two: Essay Three

Explain the factors that led to the decision by the Imperial Government to grant constitutional independent government to New Zealand in 1852.

Evaluate the consequences of this decision on New Zealand politics between 1852 and 1876.



The candidate’s response to the first part of the essay question could include:

  • New Zealand became a Crown Colony in November 1840. Governors were appointed and received their instructions directly from the Secretary of State for the Colonies. To help them rule, the Governors appointed an Executive Council to initiate and administer policy and a Legislative Council to pass ordinances. In practice, they met infrequently and had little power. The Governors initiated legislation and had the power to act against the advice of Council if necessary. Moreover, instructions from the Colonial Office were no great hindrance to the Governors’ freedom of action, since they were usually out of date or not specific enough to deal with the peculiarities of a situation. Thus, in principle, the Governors enjoyed almost autocratic power and upon them rested huge settler expectation of economic progress and prosperity.

  • In practice, however, they were unable to deliver (Judith Bassett – ‘impotent autocrats’) as they had very few resources – they had little money to buy land or provide administration (Could make reference to Hobson, FitzRoy, Gore-Browne, Grey). So political life in the Crown Colony period witnessed a struggle between the Governors and the wealthier educated settlers who demanded a constitution.

  • An earlier proposed constitution of 1846 had not been implemented, but its existence shows that right from the outset Pākehā settlers had wanted self-government. Accusations of ‘despotism’ also accompanied Grey’s success in achieving the postponement of the NZ Constitution Act of 1846, which effectively excluded Māori from its proposed provincial and national assemblies. Grey argued that Māori-Pākehā relations were still too unsettled for devolution of power to Pākehā settlers and Grey warned of a possible Māori uprising.

  • Settlers forming “Constitutional Societies” as pressure groups targeting both the Colonial Office and the Governor. They claimed the Governor was exaggerating the potential for violence and simply refused to share power.

  • Until the 1940s, historians agreed, however, Keith Sinclair has shown that at least some of Grey’s concerns were genuine. The timing was wrong and, in the long run, Grey himself could take no more responsibility than anyone else for the achievement of the 1852 constitution.

  • The key problem for early Governors was an ability to balance settler hunger for land with their duty to protect Māori interests. From the settlers’ point of view, the Governors’ policies were seen as philo-Māori and were a hindrance to their progress. Thus prompted a vigorous campaign to end the gubernatorial system. Many settlers wanted their own government in order to get their hands on cheap Māori land and government funding.

  • The British Government was unwilling to continue to be responsible for New Zealand because of the mounting costs.

  • British settlers were keen to establish British institutions and systems in New Zealand. They also wanted more say in government than they had had in Britain.

  • There was also a significant assumption made by Pākehā settlers that they would dominate Māori. The 1853 constitution, by weakening the power of the governor to protect them, would achieve this.

  • The regional nature of the country also contributed to the clamour for change. The term ‘irresponsible government’ was levelled at the Auckland-based gubernatorial system for its administrative ‘neglect’ of the Southern provinces.

The candidate’s response to the second part of the essay question could include:

  • The British Parliament passed the Act, which granted New Zealand the right to set up a democratic style government. (Whilst Governor Grey helped prepare the constitution and to set up the Provincial governments, he refused to call a general assembly and this was left for Lt. Col. Wynyard [Administrator] to do so in 1854.)

  • The General Assembly or Parliament had three parts: the Governor, Legislative Council (upper house), and House of Representatives (lower house).

  • A representative government was set up in 1854 with the first New Zealand Parliament meeting on 27 May 1854. Though ministers came from the House of Representatives, the Governor and his officials still held power. From 7 May 1856, ministers were responsible to the elected House of Representatives, not the Governor – this is known as responsible government.

  • A Central parliament consisting of an Upper House and a Lower House would control national affairs. The Governor continued to control defence, foreign relations, and Māori Affairs until they were devolved to Ministers in the 1860s.

  • Elected parliamentary government held authority over everyone in New Zealand, including Māori. Like Crown Colony government, self-government was based on the English version of Article One of the Treaty of Waitangi, ignoring the Māori understanding of the Treaty and Māori traditional power structures.

  • The 1852 Act set up six provinces, each with its own provincial government, an elected superintendent, and wide powers over local affairs including land revenue and purchase, customs revenue, public works, education, and immigration. They objected to interference by central government.

  • Local government, primarily through borough and road boards, was established by the Provinces after 1852, and regularised by the Municipal Corporations Acts of 1867 and 1876. A vast number of local bodies were set up, some very small. Harbour Boards were created from 1870 to help develop ports.

  • Most Members of the House of Representatives were well-off Pākehā property owners, professional men, merchants, and substantial farmers or run holders. They were a small elite group who focused substantially on improving their own situations. Some were ex-New Zealand Company men.

  • There were no political parties. Without a tight party structure, politics was largely personality-based and alliances were sometimes formed around significant business advantages offered. Shifting alliances meant some ministries were only briefly in power, but this did not usually mean instability since there was often considerable continuity of personnel.

  • There was plenty of “Pork Barrel” politics – political rivalry and desire often influenced national politics. People of specific regions and provinces expected their Members to get what they could for their area.

  • Eventually, the Provincial government system began to financially implode. A financial downturn in the later 1860s stopped all borrowing and, therefore, development.

  • There were different development rates of provinces also – gold in Otago and Westland, war in the North. Only the larger better-off provinces such as Canterbury and Otago could borrow the capital needed for development. Many provincial governments got into financial difficulties, especially in the late 1860s recession.

  • The issue of the capital city became more important with responsible government. Many MHRs and MLCs found it difficult to get to Auckland, especially those from the South Island. There was also concern that the issues of war with Māori in the Waikato and Auckland’s desire for land were dominating government too much in the early 1860s. In 1865, Parliament was shifted from Auckland to the more central Wellington, which became the capital.

  • Julius Vogel proposed large-scale borrowing to establish a railway, telegraph water supply, and immigration on a national basis. By the mid-1870s, the success of the Vogel Scheme led directly to the demise of the Provincial governments, which were abolished in 1876.

  • Franchise was male and property-based initially with a plural voting system. Māori were effectively unable to vote because they did not own land as individuals. Women were also excluded.

  • Māori franchise began in 1867 – four Māori seats were established as part of the resolution of the wars. The seats were regionally not tribally based, but all Māori men could vote. Māori seats were limited to four regardless of Māori population. This separate representation made sure there could be no possibility, if Māori did choose to vote, of Māori numbers influencing Pākehā government, even though Māori had been given all the rights of British citizens in the Treaty of Waitangi.

  • The franchise for Pākehā men was still bound by property qualifications. Pākehā representatives were numbered as a proportion of the Pākehā population. Pākehā men gained universal suffrage in 1879 (and women both Māori and Pākehā in 1893).

  • The Secret Ballot was introduced in 1870 (and Plural Voting was abolished in 1889).

Topic Two: Essay Four

Explain the factors that led to Parliament’s decision to abolish the Provincial Councils in 1875.

Evaluate the political, social, and economic consequences of the abolition of these councils between 1876 and 1890.



The candidate’s response to the first part of the essay question could include:

  • The 1852 Constitution had established three levels of government – The Legislative Council (Upper House), the House of Representatives, and the Provincial Councils. There was a proviso that the provinces could be abolished by a simple vote in the House of Representatives. The Abolition of the Provinces Bill was introduced to the General Assembly by Harry Atkinson in 1875. It was carried on the third reading by 40 votes to 21. Nearly all of the opposition came from Auckland and Otago members.

  • By the 1870s, many MHRs believed that the three-tiered system of government and, particularly, the provincial tier had become an inefficient way of governing New Zealand.

  • Each province had its own methods and standards for land survey, and a divided administration meant that there was no accurate system of triangulation to which land titles could be adjusted.

  • Different provinces had built railways with different gauges, which stunted the growth of national lines.

  • Steamships, telegraphs, railways, and the shifting of the capital to Wellington reduced the communication problems that had led to the initial decision to set up the provincial system.

  • The Pākehā population had boomed in the 1860s and 1870s, and the new migrants were too removed to be committed to the founding principles of their founding fathers. The Wakefield experiments were effectively over, and the Otago gold rush had ended the dreams of a tight Free Church Presbyterian settlement in Dunedin.

  • The gold rush had also led to transience. People moved around the country in search of gold, and this created less parochial regionalism, but it annoyed the miners that there were different regulations and rules in each province. It seemed ridiculous that the miners should have to apply for a new “Miner’s Right” when they moved from an Otago goldfield to a West Coast one.

  • Most of the provinces were financially weak. Only Otago and Canterbury had generated significant revenue from the sale of land. Most relied on loans from central government to stay afloat.

  • With some justification, Vogel was able to accuse the provinces of being inward-looking. Conversely, the provinces seemed to always be objecting to the interference of central government.

  • The provinces were developing at different rates. While Taranaki had war, Otago had gold.

  • There was concern in the central government about the quality of education throughout the country. Education was a provincial responsibility, and many MHRs believed that the provinces were spending too little on it.

  • The abolition of the provinces was part of a gradual process as central government gradually absorbed the functions of provincial government. In 1867, the provinces lost the power to raise overseas loans. By 1875, they had also lost their immigration and public works responsibilities.

  • Vogel’s public works projects had made central government popular. They also placed centralist and provincial interests in direct conflict. The final catalyst for the abolition of the provinces was the refusal of several provinces to guarantee a Vogel loan by creating a Crown endowment of reserve land adjacent to the railways.



The candidate’s response to the second part of essay question could include:

  • The Abolition of the Provinces Act became operative in November 1876, and the administration of local matters was made the responsibility of elective borough and county councils.

  • The Counties Bill of 1876 required the merger of the 314 road boards into 39 counties, but parochial interests ensured that there were 63 counties by the time the Bill became an Act.

  • Following the abolition of the provinces in 1876, several major consolidating Acts assimilated the mass of provincial legislation into the law of the colony. The most important of these was the Education Act of 1877, which provided for “free, secular and compulsory” schooling throughout New Zealand.

  • The Municipal Corporations Act (1876) and the Counties Act (1876) legislated for local government. The Land Act (1877) brought the survey and sale of land under the control of one government department.

  • The old provinces still served as administrative areas for the education boards and for the decentralised offices of several government departments, including Lands and Survey.

  • Regionalism continued to exist, but now central government could dominate all the New Zealand economy, society and economics.

  • The abolition of the provinces strengthened the House of Representatives and ensured that it could dominate both the Legislative Council and the Governor.

  • There was an increase in the number of New Zealanders who voted. This was also stimulated by the economic downturn that coincidentally took place in the early years after the abolition of the provinces.

  • Government became more involved in the lives of New Zealanders and in a wider range of activities. Most citizens approved of government intervention.

Topic Two: Essay Five

Explain the factors that led to the Government’s decision to order the military invasion of the settlement of Parihaka in 1881.

Evaluate the consequences of the 1881 invasion on Te Whiti o Rongomai, Tohu Kakahi, and their followers between 1881 and 1900.



The candidate’s response to the first part of the essay question could include:

  • The military invasion of Parihaka is set in the context of the New Zealand wars, followed by large-scale confiscation of land.

  • Located halfway between Mount Taranaki and the Tasman Sea, Parihaka became the centre of a peaceful resistance movement from the mid-1860s. The movement involved not only other Taranaki tribes, but also Māori from around the country. The confiscation of Taranaki Māori land prompted Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi to develop a campaign to resist European settlement on confiscated land.

  • Parihaka was created in 1867. Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi and their 600 followers developed a community centred on religion and peace. It was a model village built on hard work, enterprise and communal responsibility. Though they did reject some Pākehā institutions, the spiritual leadership provided by Te Whiti and Tohu was very positive. The aim of Te Whiti and Tohu was to save the land and restore the self-respect of the people. Energy was directed into developing large-scale cultivations of maize, potatoes, tobacco and vegetables.

  • Parihaka was established on land that had been confiscated but not yet occupied. Te Whiti felt that the confiscation of the land was unfair. He was angered by the government’s failure to keep its promise to set aside reserves for the Māori people.

  • In 1879, the government planned to open up the Waimate Plains to Pākehā farmers. Surveying began on confiscated land on the Waimate Plain without setting aside Māori reserves. The surveyors ran their projected roads right through the cultivations of the Parihaka settlement.

  • In response, Te Whiti devised a policy to put pressure on the government. Under the leadership of Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi, Parihaka Māori embarked upon a ploughing campaign to protest against European settlement on confiscated Māori land. This campaign used non-violent methods. Te Whiti’s followers disrupted these surveys by ploughing and fencing land occupied by settlers. Each day, two men went out from Parihaka with a team of horses to plough up the land of Pākehā farmers nearby. Many were arrested and held without trial in the South Island. As each pair was arrested, another two were sent out. The protests continued, and more took part. They also cut the numbers off survey pegs and pulled them out. They erected fences across the roads.

  • In 1881, the West Coast Settlements Act was passed, making it legal to jail protestors without trial for up to two years. The jails could not hold the prisoners, and most were released.

  • Parihaka became a concern to the government as it was seen as a place that could reignite Māori opposition to Pākehā progress. Hazel Riseborough wrote ‘Parihaka had become a haven for the dispossessed and disillusioned from the length and breadth of the coast, and as far away as North Auckland, the King Country, Wairarapa and the Chatham Islands.’

  • Te Whiti was turned into a bogeyman by the Pākehā press. He was seen not just as a raving religious fanatic but also as a threat to the stability of the whole country. According to the press, he was preparing for rebellion against the Queen. The presence of Titokowaru in the Parihaka settlement was enough to make alarm bells ring in the minds of the Taranaki settlers, who were strongly represented in Parliament by leading politicians like Harry Atkinson.

  • Parihaka became a symbol for many Māori, and its people received food and other supplies from many tribes throughout the country – including those as far away as the Chatham Islands.

  • The invasion decision based on the imminent return to New Zealand of Governor Gordon, who would never have agreed to the attack. Judge Prendergast signed the invasion order. (Dick Scott, p 100)

  • In October 1881, a government proclamation demanded that Te Whiti and Tohu step aside and accept the confiscations or risk war. Te Whiti must be taught a lesson and be made to recognise the dominance of the Pākehā. Rumours that Parihaka was fortified also inflamed Pākehā fears.

  • On the morning of 5 November 1881 (while the Governor was out of the country), some 1 600 volunteers and Armed Constabulary invaded the settlement. More than 2 000 villagers sat quietly on the marae and put up no resistance as a group of singing children greeted the force led by Native Minister John Bryce. Bryce had described Parihaka as ‘that headquarters of fanaticism and disaffection’. He was a local MP and had fought in the war against Titokowaru.

The candidate’s response to the second part of the essay question could include:

  • Bryce ordered the arrest of Parihaka’s leaders. In the following days, he ordered the destruction of the village and the dispersal of the bulk of its inhabitants. The soldiers then systematically wrecked the settlement, and Māori tradition speaks of brutality and rape.

  • Te Whiti and Tohu were arrested in 1881 and exiled and imprisoned until 1883. In their absence, Parihaka was rebuilt and the ploughing campaigns continued into the 1890s. The imprisonment of Parihaka protesters without trial also continued until the late 1890s.

  • Te Whiti was charged with ‘wickedly, maliciously, and seditiously contriving and intending to disturb the peace’. Held without trial, he was not released until 1883, when he returned to the ruined Parihaka settlement. Te Whiti and Tohu continued to lead peaceful Māori protest, and Te Whiti was imprisoned again for six months in 1886.

  • Long promised reserves were eventually set aside for Māori owners, but most were placed in public trust and let to settlers on terms over which the Māori owners had no control.

  • In 1892, the West Coast Settlement Reserves Act brought in a system of renewable leases to settlers on over 200 000 acres of Māori land. Māori persisted with the ploughing campaigns in protest at the Act. In 1897, 92 Māori were arrested for ploughing in protest at delays in resolving the grievances over the Native Trustee’s management of these leases.

  • The presses were banned from the field of action by Bryce. They were ambivalent about the government’s actions, but the great majority of colonists were reportedly in favour. Te Whiti and Tohu were detained without trial for 16 months. The government managed to suppress all official documents relating to these events, and their publication in New Zealand was delayed until 1883 and 1884.

  • Some prisoners were held for up to 18 years without trial. In the absence of the leadership, Parihaka fell away and ceased to pose a threat to the government. Parihaka was destroyed for a time as a viable village. It never regained its full strength.

  • Bryce and others were in time shown up as heavy-handed and fanatical.

  • Parihaka and other Taranaki villages lost most of their land to the confiscations.

  • Te Whiti and Tohu died in 1907 within a few months of each other. The white albatross feather, which Te Whiti’s followers adopted as a symbol protecting the mana of the Parihaka settlement, remains an enduring emblem among Te Ati Awa.

Topic Two: Essay Six

Explain the factors that led to the decision by women’s groups to campaign from the 1850s onwards for the right of women to vote.

Evaluate the political and social consequences that gaining the right to vote in 1893 had on New Zealand women’s lives until the early 1900s.



The candidate’s response to the first part of the essay question could include:

  • The limited and changing roles of women led to a desire amongst some women for greater independence and equality towards the end of the century. The desire found expression in the women’s suffrage campaign.

  • The valuable contribution of women in marriage and to their family in New Zealand gave women greater independence in colonial society. Women had different roles because New Zealand was such a young, raw frontier society with a weaker class structure and because farming areas were isolated and had to be self-sufficient.

  • In 1870, women couldn’t vote, serve on a jury, or own property if married; yet, they could be arrested on suspicion of prostitution. Other issues for women were equal pay for equal work, the divorce laws and legal disabilities, and gender issues such as male alcohol consumption and male violence. Colonial women also faced a number of unsettling circumstances and problems such as:

  • Health problems – diseases and problems with childbirth, physically hard work

  • Personal danger from male alcoholism, violence, prostitution

  • Social problems such as disorder, poverty, law and order issues and unemployment

  • Relationship breakdowns such as desertion, sexual double standards.

  • Women experienced much discrimination in New Zealand during the 1800s. The marriage laws were discriminatory and unequal, but they gradually changed in women’s favour during the latter part of the century:

  • Deserted wives gained the right to their wages and property in 1860.

  • Married women had no control of property that they brought to a marriage or of their wages before the Married Women’s Property Act 1884 gave them the same rights as their husbands in these areas.

  • Until 1898, the Divorce Laws made it much easier for a man to divorce his wife than it was for a woman to divorce her husband. Wives could divorce their husbands only for aggravated adultery.

  • The Contagious Diseases Act of 1869 legislated for the arrest, inspection for venereal disease, and incarceration of women suspected of being prostitutes. Their male clients were not inspected. This law was regarded by women as a blatant example of sexual double standards and sexual discrimination.

  • Women did much unpaid domestic work in the 19th century. Paid employment was usually lower-paid work, with many women working as servants or in farming and later in factories.

  • The Education Act of 1877 made schooling compulsory for boys and girls, but the curriculum prepared girls for the domestic sphere and girls’ participation was less than boys’. Girls often started primary school later and withdrew earlier. The first woman university graduate was Kate Edger who graduated BA in 1877; about half of the Arts students at Canterbury University College in the 1890s were women.

  • There were clear boundaries to women’s independence in 19th century Pākehā society, and as a consequence increasing questioning by some women of their limited roles.

  • A female culture emerged in the main centres, which had more women and older women than in the smaller towns and rural areas. Problems such as drunkenness affecting women were more visible in the main centres.

  • Middle class women especially wanted greater independence and equality. and this found expression in a social mobilisation of some, but not all, women in the latter 19th century – women moving beyond the family and raising feminist issues.

  • The women’s franchise campaign in New Zealand began in the 1850s after some articles were written by Mary Muller from Nelson, but the debate really escalated after Sir George Grey’s Government advocated women’s franchise in the late 1870s. The “woman question” was the subject of articles and debates in the 1860s and 1870s. Mary Ann Muller (Femina), Mary Taylor, and Mary Colclough (Polly Plum) were key writers about women’s rights. In particular, they focused on the injustices of inequalities between women and men before the law and within the constitution.

  • 1850–1900 saw some challenging of women’s roles, eg some questioning of women’s subordinate position in marriage, arguing for schools for girls, establishing cycling clubs, women entering the paid workforce, women’s trade unions (Tailoresses Union), the emergence of the Rational Dress Movement.

  • In 1875, women ratepayers were granted a vote in local body elections; and from 1877, they could sit on school committees. In 1882, women won the right to vote for licensing committees; in 1884, the Married Women’s Property Act enabled married women to own property in their own right; previously all of a woman’s property passed to her husband on marriage. In 1885, women won the right to vote for hospital and Charitable Aid Boards.

  • The founding of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1884. Concerns over alcohol abuse advanced the programme for prohibition and temperance. Initially, this was a temperance organisation, but soon the vote for women became one of its major goals. Securing the vote for women could be used to pass prohibition laws through Parliament.

  • In 1891, Kate Sheppard essentially turned the WCTU into a single-issue pressure group that dominated the franchise campaign. The WCTU organised letters, public meetings, deputations and nationwide petitions to publicise issues and put pressure on male politicians, and a major controversy resulted. The suffrage movement was supported by a number of important MPs such as Robert Stout and John Hall.

  • In 1892, the Women’s Franchise League (WFL) was formed. A WFL petition in 1893 had 30 000 signatures.

  • Women’s suffrage was finally won in 1893, resulting in the entry of women into political sphere.

The candidate’s response to the second part of the essay question could include:

  • Success of female suffrage by 1900 – 78 percent of women registered for the 1893 election and 85 percent
    (90 000) of these voted. Only 70 percent of men on the roll voted. The Liberal Government was elected.

  • Women largely voted conservatively. Female voting patterns don’t appear to have been much different to those of men, but male politicians did start to take note of issues concerning women and families.

  • Women were not granted the right to stand for parliament till 1919.

  • The first woman MP was Elizabeth McCombs in 1933: she was elected after the sudden death of her husband.

  • The National Council of Women was set up in 1896 to agitate for further improvements, a broadening of women’s rights, and the passing of humanitarian laws in areas such as care of children and prison reform.

  • Women became politically active in groups such as the Society for the Protection of Women and Children.

  • Towards the end of the century, some women made it in the workplace despite the patriarchal society (eg Kate Edger, Elizabeth Yates, and Ethel Benjamin entering professions); but the majority of women were in a limited range of jobs, most of which were related to their accepted domestic roles.

  • There was an appearance of the ‘new woman’ – dress reform and the wider use of bicycles by women.

  • Rutherford Waddell’s sermon, the Sweating Commission and the Liberal legislation (Factory Act 1896, Shop and Shop Assistants Act), that resulted helped women improve their working conditions.

  • Development of trade unions such as the Tailors and Tailoresses Union helped improve pay and working conditions for women.

  • Very few women had economic independence from men and were still tied to marriage and children.

  • Women were appointed to sit on Charitable Aid Boards.

  • There was still a double standard in attitudes to sex. Women had little control over their fertility and were generally ignorant about their own reproductive functions.

  • Meri Mangakahia sought rights for Māori women through Kotahitanga; in 1895, Te Hauke enabled Māori women to discuss land matters / equal rights for women within Kotahitanga.

  • The franchise movement of the 1880s–90s led to wider debate on the comparative physical and intellectual capabilities of men and women and their social positions.

  • More liberal legislation of the sort women wanted was passed after 1893, in part because of the new influence of women as voters:

  • Infant Life Protection Act (1896).

  • The Married Women’s Property Act improved the situation of women but was still well short of equality.

  • Divorce Act Reform (1898) gave equal access to divorce for men and women.

  • The repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act.

  • Although there had been progress, women were not emancipated to any great extent.



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