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Pakeha is a Maori word[edit]

it is not for Pakeha to redefine it to suit themselves. If you really respected Maori culture then you would respect the Maori meaning of Maori words.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:58, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

While it is certainly a Māori language word, it is also in common use in New Zealand English, and the concept is part on New Zealand culture. It is therefore entirely appropriate for English-language Wikipedia to have an article on the subject.-gadfium 20:23, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
I can understand the IP user's frustration - while can be annoying to have speakers of another language tell you what they think a word in your language really means, the reality is that the word is controversial for just that reason, and the Wikipedia article is only reflecting that, however imperfectly. Kahuroa (talk) 20:48, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Is there scope for a hat note clarifying this, and maybe linking to mi:Pākehā ? Stuartyeates (talk) 21:37, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't think an extra link to mi:Pākehā, besides the existing interlanguage link on the left border, is likely to help many readers. It only gives a brief one-sentence definition for the word, in Maori of course. The lead section does seem a bit misleading, in that it doesn't mention that the word is used in NZ English as well as in Maori. --Avenue (talk) 03:39, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Pakeha is a New Zealand word, not specifically a Maori word. What it means is simply customary - unless parliament legislates a meaning. The original meaning would seem to be any foreigner. I suppose it is fair to say the meaning now is any non-Maori New Zealander, rather than just those of British origin. (talk) 08:58, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
That doesn't quite hit the target imho. The controversy is really about the meaning in Maori - the idea that it is derogatory in Maori. There is no history per se - more like a lack of history, which leaves room for off the wall ideas to develop.  Kahuroa (talk) 08:36, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree with you. I certainly use macrons when writing Māori loan words in New Zealand Egnlish. Stuartyeates (talk) 09:22, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Suggested new lead (4): Pākehā (or Pakeha) is a Māori language[3] word for people of non-Māori descent or affiliation.  Borrowed into New Zealand English as a loanword in the early 19th Century, it is often used as a synonym for "of European" on official forms.  There is ongoing debate over the origins and etymology of the word. Kahuroa (talk) 19:50, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I think we're getting closer, but: (a) origins are etymology, so origins and etymology is redundant; (b) I prefer the word affiliation over descent since descent doesn't cover whāngai, which seems important in this context. Stuartyeates (talk) 20:17, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
fair enough, delete origins.  But can we keep descent - -- I think it's needed for simple clarity.  How about changing the first instance to "descent or affiliation" as above? Italics only to show I have edited 4. Kahuroa (talk) 21:24, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I generally like version (4) too. I'm not so sure about the second sentence though; it seems to put undue emphasis on official forms. The "of European" bit seems odd too; "New Zealand European" is the probably the right synonym in an official context, although "European New Zealanders" seems more natural. --Avenue (talk) 01:48, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I've been trying to avoid the term New Zealander and similar because 100 years ago New Zealander meant Māori and people who access historical sources are likely to get very confused by this. Stuartyeates (talk) 05:53, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Oops I meant to say "of European descent".  For "official forms" one example is the  Census forms of 1996. Could say something like ... its use in the 1996 Census provoked controversy ... 
Also on refection I think the definition we are using above is dubious when it says it means in Māori "a person of non-Māori descent".  The official dictionary of the Maori Language Commission defines it as "he tangata kiritea i tae mai no nga kawai o Uropi" = a white person who came/comes from the descent lines of Europe. I think that is the core meaning in Māori. 
  • Suggested beginning for a  new lead (5): Pākehā (or Pakeha) is a Māori language[4] word for people of European descent.  Borrowed into New Zealand English as a loanword in the early 19th Century, there is ongoing debate over its  etymology, and the use of "NZ European or Pakeha" as a choice in the ethnicity section of the 1996 Census provoked an adverse reaction.

Kahuroa (talk) 09:39, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

(a) I feel that mentioning the 1996 Census is recentism, it also gives the impression that this is a modern debate, when the history of the debate (as reflected in the rest of the article) suggests otherwise. (b) I'd really like to imply somehow that the word can mean different things in the two languages (which is very common in loanwords) but can't think of a good way to word that. Stuartyeates (talk) 02:53, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
(a) I partly agree about 1996, but prefacing that bit with "for example" might be enough to avoid it being too recentist. 
(b) The Maori definition given here (but not the cited source) seems more inclusive than the NZ English meaning, which I think now generally carries the connotation of King's "indigenous Pakeha".[1] --Avenue (talk) 03:36, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
(a) let's not get bogged down on the Census quote. I put it in because I think it gives a sense of the word's [former] status within NZ and gives some feel for the sort of reaons behind its controversial nature. Adding 'for example' is fine.  What say we leave it there for the moment and move on and develop some more sentences for the lede. (b) definition needs to match the source, and a quote from King is a good idea. Kahuroa (talk) 19:17, 3 September 2011 (UTC)


The article doesn't have a much in the way of the fact that a large number of people see the term as racist. The racism may, or may not, have any basis in truth but there is a definite perception and I think that this should be mentioned explicitely somewhere. I personally hate the term - I see it as akin to nigger, wog etc - as a descriptor I am a New Zealander. I was born here, my parents were born here and their parents were born here. (talk) 00:46, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

To be included in the article, content needs references. If you can include reliable references, pretty much any relevant content can go in. Stuartyeates (talk) 00:51, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Inappropriate Use of Pakeha on Wikipedia?[edit]

I've noticed the term Pakeha has been used on a number of pages here in Wikipedia. Given it's one of those words that may give offense i.e. akin to gaijin, nigger etc, is that really appropriate? Similarly if it's not an English word, by which I mean adopted into the English language should it be used on the English site? As an example I vaguely recall there was a debate about whether Pakeha should be spelt with the ~ symbols over certain letter. Given that's ~ is not an English character that implies to me Pakeha's still a Maori word.

I accept some people whole heartedly embrace the term but, like those I've mentioned previously, others passionately reject it. It certainly deserves this page to discuss the difficult topic but given it's contentiousness I would have thought an alternative term should be used more generally, Kiwi's, British New Zealanders, European New Zealanders, Whites etc. Given I've just read an article about using skin colour to reject ethnic identity constitutes racial vilification I'd guess the last term's out and I would have presume the first to be overly inclusive. For myself I'm fairly open to what I'm called pretty much as long as it's anything but Pakeha. Anyone else able to suggest an English language term for 'mainstream' ethnic Kiwi's? (talk)

It seems incontrovertible that some people do take offense at the term. However, generally no offense is intended - and certainly not anywhere here on Wikipedia. Usage here mirror usage in New Zealand government, and media. It's useful, and if you give it any thought you'll see that any alternatives you might come up with have their own problems. Snori (talk) 20:10, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Isn't that the same with nigger etc though? It may not be intended offensively but it's considered inappropriate to use as some people consider it offensive. Of course so's Black and negro if I recall correctly. Afro-American is the current acceptable term, which includes White Afro-Americans in theory. Using the 'some might take offence' view, isn't it dangerous? There was a court case here recently with a judge taking the view that as some people might take offence at their ethnicity being questioned racial vilification had occurred. Maybe I'm just being sensitive? And yes I'm aware the if the NZ Govt uses it that complicates the issue, comparable to official use in past decades of nigger. (talk)

@ Yes you are being "sensitive" about the term pakeha, I'd suggest you harden up. It's not an offensive term. Yes some European New Zealanders people find it offensive, but it isn't how the majority of intelligent educated people see it. I believe its "offensiveness" is overplayed in this article. Also you state "'mainstream' ethnic Kiwi's"? Please, think before you write (also check your use of apostrophe it's incorrect). Who are this "mainstream"? You? Who are the "ethnic kiwis"? Maori? Pakeha? European New Zealanders? I'm a 7th generation Pakeha by the way, you're probably just ignorant child of some bunch of whingeing Poms who came over to NZ in the 1950's!— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 21 June 2012

Please be civil and assume good faith in this discussion.-gadfium 05:03, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Pakeha References in Literature & Culture[edit]

Just a thought, is it worthwhile noting cultural or literary usage of pakeha outside NZ census forms etc? I'm thinking particularly of an alternate history story I read where Japan reached New Zealand before Britain and a scene where a Maori Cheftain invited the Samurai leader to die saying something along the lines of was the Pakeha dog ready to dance. I'd have to track down the novel for the exact reference - it's been quite a few years. There are probably other examples to be found but it's the only international example I can recall. It also demonstrates the use of Pakeha as an offensive not-Maori term. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:15, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Pakeha now the norm for non Maori person?[edit]

Since about 2000 there has been a gradual change in the use of Pakeha to mean any New Zealander who is not a Maori, apart from Pasifica people so it seems that it is the colour of the skin that is critical, rather than strictly the ethnic origins. I have seen Asians lumped in with Europeans as "Pakeha" although it is still most commonly used as meaning any kiwi who is white skinned. Media use the term in at least 3 different ways, although since about 2005 they normally use a capital P. It is a bit confusing when kiwis who are "officially" Maori are whiter than Pakeha with a bit of Yugoslav,Greek, Italian etc in their DNA. I guess this could be called the Christian Cullum syndrome. Not being fluent in te reo myself,it would be interesting to have comments from Maori speakers about how Maori media now use the term or rather what they mean by the term when it is used. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

The English language 2013 census forms use "New Zealand European" and the bilingual forms use "Pākehā" and "New Zealand European" See Stuartyeates (talk) 22:33, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Stuart. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:56, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Self-identifying Pakeha[edit]

In the last paragraph of the history section, it mentions a list of people who are Pakeha. Of these, how many self-identify with the term? It seems mildly inappropriate, perhaps, to bundle people into it based on outside observation if they are not on record as identifying specifically with Pakeka themselves over, say, kiwi, or New Zealander. This is especially so in a section which immediately before was talking about people who proudly identified with the term. At present there is no clear indication whether the last paragraph is a continuation of what had come before, and hence if it is saying these are all people who were part of the rise in developing a cultural identity based on the term Pakeha. Given that the term appears controversial to some, it seems wiser to be cautious about ascribing Pakeha identity to anyone who does not happily choose that word for themselves. Knowing nothing on the subject save what is written in the article itself, I am left confused, so there is perhaps a need for clarification here, or a removal of names who aren't known to personally subscribe to the term. Otherwise we are left simply with a list of prominent New Zealanders, bar those of one ethnic group, a list that would be better elsewhere perhaps. Walker Slake (talk) 02:13, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

I agree, we should remove these people from the list unless we have a source showing they self-identify as Pakeha. Likewise for Mansfield and Rutherford further up. --Avenue (talk) 02:31, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
Ok, I've done some searching for references that include quotes of the people in the list referring to themselves as Pakeha. So far this is what I've got:
  • Peter Jackson: nothing.
  • Richard Hadlee: nothing so far.
  • Mark Todd: nothing so far.
  • Susan Devoy: one interview where she describes herself as growing up in an area that was "half maori, half pakeha" [1] All other references for her that I can find she uses the word New Zealander to refer to non-maori nationals, and she does not seem to refer to herself as pakeha in any other context I can find so far.
  • Colin Mead: nothing so far. In all his articles for the NZ Herald he only ever refers to "New Zealanders" as a whole, never maori and other ethnicities separately.
  • Sean Fitzpatrick: only interview I can find that covers nationality is this one where he says he's "proud to be a New Zealander" [2]but in this context it was referring to the island as a whole not white-New Zealanders specifically.
  • Janet Frame: nothing obvious, but someone who knows her writing might know something better. Searching for her did bring up the person who wrote her biography, Michael King, who also wrote a book called "Being Pakeha Now" and an interview with him, so he might be a suitable candidate for self-identifying Pakeha. [3]
  • Lloyd Jones: difficult to ascertain whether he does or does not, but searching for 'Lloyd jones'+pakeha' produced an article on 4 authors including Glenn Colquhoun who wrote Jumping Ship, who identifies himself as Pakeha-maori: "For me to be Pakeha now is to be in part Maori,"[4] another candidate perhaps?
  • Billy Apple: I thought we had one there, as his NZ flag was described as "percentage maori, percentage pakeha" in the press, but in the interview about it he describes it as "percentage maori, percentage other" [5] definite answer there. In any case it doesn't say that he references himself that way.
Obviously there'll be more to find, and perhaps someone else can unearth interviews or works in their own words which reference themselves as Pakeha. I feel I'm stabbing in the dark somewhat as I doubtless don't know as much about NZ as you. But it's a start. Walker Slake (talk) 18:23, 1 October 2013 (UTC)