Ivan Sutherland was the first Pakeha scholar to recognise that Maori New Zealanders are not brown-skinned Pakeha but heirs to their own cultural beliefs, customs and practices.
Born in 1897, Sutherland was a brilliant scholar who studied at Victoria University College and Glasgow University before returning to Victoria to work under his mentor, Professor Thomas Hunter. He shared Hunter's liberal convictions and engaged in various progressive community initiatives, including establishing New Zealand's first children's psychological clinic, attacking the rise of the eugenics movement, helping launch the Wellington Film Society, and campaigning for public radio. During the 1930s he was part of a young group of lively intellectuals including John Beaglehole, Horace Belshaw, R.M. Campbell and W.B. Sutch.
His commitment to social psychology drew him into the world of Ngati Porou, where Apirana Ngata became his second mentor and a life-long friend. Dismayed by what he considered to be undeserved criticism of Ngata in the report of a 1934 commission of inquiry into the Native Affairs Department, Sutherland published The Maori Situation, denouncing Pakeha 'racialism' and affirming his commitment to a bicultural New Zealand. Later he master-minded and edited The Maori People Today, published as New Zealand celebrated the 1940 centennial.
In 1937 Sutherland became professor of philosophy at Canterbury University College, appointed at the same time as Karl Popper, with whom he had a difficult relationship. Nevertheless the two worked together spearheading a committee dedicated to bringing Jewish war refugees from Hitler's Germany into New Zealand.
After several decades working tirelessly to gain Pakeha tolerance and understanding of Maori aspiration, Sutherland died unexpectedly aged 54. This impressive biography reveals Ivan Sutherland as a sensitive, compassionate man, and an enthusiastic and far-sighted advocate for Maori self-determination.
As a mark of respect for Ivan Sutherland, Ngati Porou gave him the name of one of their legendary tipuna: Paikea.
Dimensions: 152 x 228 mm
Publication Date: 21-10-2013