I visited the South Australian Migration Museum recently (a school holiday trip with the girls). There were some fascinating exhibits, including one about the 1903 Naturalisation Act in Australia, which of course, functioned to keep “undesirables” out of the great white nation.
The Act has some rules about who may, or may not, become naturalised citizens of Australia. The people who could become citizens included:
A person resident in the Commonwealth, not being a British subject, and not being an Aboriginal native of Asia, Africa, or the Islands of the Pacific, excepting New Zealand, who intends to settle in the Commonwealth…
So why were Maori acceptable? I had a dig around on google, and the Australian Federal parliament site, but I couldn’t find anything. It would be interesting to know the reasoning of the framers of the Act. I speculate that it may be because Maori were already sitting in the New Zealand parliament, but I don’t know. Does anyone have any idea?