Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/White, John (1826-1891)

946856Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 61 — White, John (1826-1891)1900Charles Alexander Harris

WHITE, JOHN (1826–1891), historian of the Maoris, son of Francis White, was born in England in 1826, and went out to New Zealand with his father in 1832, settling first at Kororareka; the sack of that place by the Maoris drove them to Auckland in 1844. He was early attracted towards the Maori race and their customs, and was employed by the government in positions where he came much into contact with them. Subsequently he was gold commissioner at Coromandel, and received the appointment of official interpreter and agent for the purchase of native lands; in this last capacity he succeeded in obtaining for the colonists the title to most of the lands round Auckland. At a later date he became magistrate of Central Wanganui. He died suddenly at Auckland on 13 Jan. 1891.

White was employed by the government of New Zealand to compile a complete history of the traditions of the Maori race; he had completed four volumes only at the time of his death. They appeared in 1889 with the title ‘The Ancient History of the Maori’ (Wellington, 8vo). He was also author of a novelette, entitled ‘Ta Rou, or the Maori at Home.’

[Mennell's Dict. of Australasian Biography; Auckland Weekly News, 24 Jan. 1891, p. 7.]

C. A. H.