Pakeha migrated to New Zealand during the nineteenth century for a number of reasons. Some people made a rational economic decision, some were drawn by chain migration and some people- usually women and children- had no choice. In other areas there was a history or tradition of migration, often motivated by sheer hardship. James Belich claims that perhaps the most important reasons for the ancestors of most pakeha was the sheer mass of propaganda combined with assisted passage and chain migration.
Belich also sees the “Peopling” (or populating) and the “Imaging” ( or the image of New Zealand that was created in the minds of potential settlers – and sometimes in the minds of those who wanted them to come here) to all be phases of the same process; that of organised progressive British Colonisation. This was begun by the companies in the 1840s, carried on by the Provincial Governments in the 1850s and 60s, and taken over by the central government in the 1870s.
At that time, New Zealand was a frontier colony, which offered few actual or immediately obvious benefits to migrants. Indeed there were a number of problems with New Zealand as an immigration destination. For many people New Zealand was associated with the convict settlement of Australia, or else it was said to be populated by cannibals. For many people emigration meant North America, and other established colonies had to compete for the scraps. There was immigration destination further away from Britain, and long voyages were notoriously uncomfortable and dangerous, especially for children. Agricultural land was also costlier in New Zealand- “its fields were distant as well as dear”. Finally there was a general problem with emigration. It had come to be seen as a form of ‘social excretion’ and few volunteered to be labeled excrement for the sake of social good.
Therefore, James Belich argues that the 'bait' that...