Te Hiima : Reverend A. J. Seamer and his Māori mission
Cervin, Georgia R
This is a thematic biography of the Reverend A. J. Seamer and his Māori mission. Arthur John Seamer was a Methodist missionary in the first half of the twentieth century, who began his work with a three year period in the Salvation Army. This biography sets out to discover who the man was and why he was significant. It also seeks to understand why Seamer was so passionate about his work with Māori people, and in turn why he was so trusted amongst them, known as Te Hiima. The first chapter examines the importance of Seamer's experience in the Salvation Army, which was to influence him for the rest of his life. Chapter two then moves on to analyse Seamer's significance in the Methodist Church's relationship with the Rātana movement. As representative of the Methodist mission, Seamer was very important in his silence on doctrinal deviations within the Rātana movement, preventing its alienation, and allowing the Methodists to be the only European church to retain links with the movement. He encouraged Rātana, along with Te Puea in the King Country, away from becoming what James Belich calls 'disengager' movements, and toward a shared life with Pākehā. The third chapter examines the idea of Seamer's 'conversion' by the people he set out to convert, as he became intimate with Māori life and adopted many of their customs and traditions. Finally, chapter four questions previous interpretations of racial understanding in the first half of twentieth century. Seamer, as a case study, does not fit with James Belich's argument that Māori as 'brown Britons' were to be assimilated into Pakeha society (in the sense of the adoption of one culture's customs as the norm, coupled with the rejection of traditional ways of the other culture). With reference to Seamer's own adoption of Māori language and customs, as well as his promotion of Māori culture through Māori choirs, it can be seen that New Zealanders celebrated Māori culture as part of New Zealandness. Seamer's case suggests then, that it would be better to incorporate great room for Māori culture in our understandings of race relations in early-twentieth century New Zealand.
Advisor: Stenhouse, John
Degree Name: Bachelor of Arts with Honours
Degree Discipline: History
Research Type: Dissertation
Description: vi, 59 leaves : ill., ports. ; 30 cm. Notes: Cover title. "October 2011". University of Otago department: History. Thesis (B.A. (Hons.))--University of Otago, 2011. Includes bibliographical references.