Dispatches from the Māori Dog Tax Resistance Campaigns

Māori resistance to dog taxes goes back to at least , but as these dispatches show, the resistance stubbornly continued for decades thereafter.

From the Vancouver Daily World:

Maoris Refuse To Pay Tax On Dogs

 — When the Maoris of the Chatham Islands, a dependency of New Zealand, were ordered to pay the dog-tax they did not refuse. They did not do anything else either.

Then they were summoned, they attended in a crowd at the native police court and they sat around and said nothing. The magistrate inflicted the usual small fines and looked surprised that no native came forward to explain.

Then the court tried to collect the tax. The Maoris said nothing, but moved off in a body 200 strong to the gaol. Outside it they insisted they should be imprisoned, but as the gaol would be crowded by a dozen — the Chathams being well-behaved and altogether peaceable Islanders — there was nothing to do but send them all home.

In future there will be no dog-tax in the Chathams. Passive resistance has won a complete victory.

It must not have been as complete as all that, as here’s another example from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Naoris [sic] Resist Tax on Their Dogs

 — Passive resistance to taxation, one of Mahatma Gandhi’s tactics in India, is being tested by Maori tribesmen.

The New Zealand aborigines literally are “trying it on the dog,” refusing to pay the annual licenses for their canines.

Chiefs have been traveling among the tribes arguing that the treaty which ended the Maori war with England exempts the natives from this tax.