4 Sep 2013

Book published on Maori and Pakeha unions and marriages

7:33 pm on 4 September 2013

A Ngai Tahu historian has published a book about what she calls an unspoken part of New Zealand history - inter-racial Maori and Pakeha unions and marriages.

For the book, Matters of the Heart, the University of Otago's Angela Wanhalla spent several years researching the unions spanning from when early settlers arrived.

Dr Wanhalla says it was some of the key findings about the reasons for inter-racial marriages found after the 1840s, that may surprise some people.

She says it was for political, strategic, and economic benefit, but also about love - and enduring unions even took place during the New Zealand wars.

Dr Wanhalla says the book also touches on the 1970s and 1980s, when attitudes to marriage and relationships markedly changed and society became more accepting.