ABSTRACT

To an observer on foot, traversing the country of the northern Tairora in 1925, there might seem little to shake the conventional view that subsistence-based villagers are stable folk, deeply attached to their land, even if not necessarily at peace with their neighbours. When asked the inevitable question where they belong, most people would say that they have always lived just where they are now. They are each other’s kin and have common ancestors who lived there before them. They could truthfully add — but most likely would not — that certain of those ancestors still visit the ancestral ground. To emphasize their complete attachment, some might pat the ground with their palms.