Stewart Harvey


YOB: 1948
Experience: Commercial Fisherman
Regions: Catlins, Foveaux Strait, Fiordland, Stewart Island
Interview Location: Waikawa, NZ
Interview Date: 11 January 2016
Post Date: 11 November 2017; Copyright © 2017 Stewart Harvey and Steve Crawford


CRAWFORD: In general, how much has Māori culture and knowledge affected your understanding of how the marine ecosystem works? 

HARVEY: It's always been here like that. 

CRAWFORD: I think you said you have some family connections too?

HARVEY: Yeah, on my father’s side.

CRAWFORD: So, some Māori culture and knowledge would come through at family functions or whatever? 

HARVEY: No, not really. When we went to school, Māori was taboo. We were never taught none of it. We were taught English. 

CRAWFORD: In the 1950s? 

HARVEY: English was all we were taught. And yet, three families living in the village were all Māori descendant. Most of the school, we all had Māori on one side. 

CRAWFORD: Is there a marae here in the village? 


CRAWFORD: Where’s the closest marae? 

HARVEY: There’s one at Bluff and one in Invercargill.

CRAWFORD: Really? That’s a long distance away. 

HARVEY: Yeah. and the [Waibrow] descendants, they’re all, it was our family, [Leith] family, and the Kent family here ... They were here, there was 9 children in their family, 7 in the [Leiths], 7 in the Kent family. They were all down in school here, Māori descendent, and we were never taught anything. I started learning about the Māori when they put it on tv - the Māori Wars as they call it. We were always told they were just Māoris, they were beaten, they signed the Treaty, and that was it. Then you start seeing what actually happened, it's very interesting - the history and that, because we were never taught it. Down the island there’s a lot of Māori culture there. Ruapuke there was a whole heap - I think there was about 600 there at one time. 

CRAWFORD: The Topis - I'm trying to talk to them.

HARVEY: I think they're the sort of blokes that would talk with you. And the Fishers.

CRAWFORD: And the Whitetrees. 

HARVEY: They were half of Bluff at one time. They’re all in the fishing industry. All those blokes, they got a lot of knowledge on that too. Its right back through their family trees.

CRAWFORD: Ok, so on a scale from very low to very high for Māori knowledge affecting your understanding about the sea?

HARVEY: Down the list. We can’t even talk the language, you know. Funny in the later years, it was taught. The North Island has the culture more, come to that.

CRAWFORD:  How much do you reckon Science has affected your understanding of the marine ecosystem?

HARVEY: Pretty high now. Didn’t use to be, because we just carried on from the fishing that our Father’s done. But the technology, like echosounders made that much difference.

CRAWFORD: But there’s more to it than that. You talked about reading books, you watch TV, documentaries.

HARVEY: Nah, I’ve only done a bit of reading. But yeah, I love the documentaries and history. 

CRAWFORD: So, do you reckon maybe high or very high for Science having an effect on your understanding?

HARVEY: Yeah, I’d say that Sciences would be very high.

Copyright © 2017 Stewart Harvey and Steve Crawford