November 14, 2023
Beer the great leveller in kiwi society
The author of a new book on New Zealanders’ relationship with beer says Māori have faced an historic double standard on alcohol.
Lincoln University professor Greg Ryan says the first beer in Aotearoa was brewed by Captain Cook and his crew in their search for a cure for scurvy, and every pakeha settlement had a brewery attached.
While temperance movements tried to prevent the sale of spirits to Maori, beer was seen as a common drink.
“There’s a lovely case around Nelson in 1859, 1860 where local Māori say, ‘hold on, ‘f we’re not allowed to have beer alongside the Pākeha and they consider it normal after working a hard day in the fields but we’re not allowed it, then we might go off and establish our own brewery. They didn’t, but even the local newspapers thought that they actually had a reasonable point,” Professor Ryan says.
Continuous Ferment is published by Auckland University Press.