Friday 12 February 2021

Recalling The Past - And Its Ghosts.

Raising The Dead: There is a reason why so many of the signposts to old battle sites are weathered and overgrown; why lichen has been allowed to obliterate the names of those who fell. Sleeping ghosts, like sleeping dogs, should never be needlessly awakened.

THE NATIONAL PARTY started this. Back in 2016, when the clamour for a more fulsome historical accounting of Maori-Pakeha relations was rewarded with an official day for commemorating the dead of the New Zealand Wars.

No less a personage than National’s Deputy-Prime Minister, Bill English, declared that the moment had come “to recognise our own conflict, our own war, our own fallen, because there is no doubt at [the Battle of] Rangiriri ordinary people lost their lives fighting for principle in just the same way as New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives fighting on battlefields on the other side of the world.”

To which I responded with a heartfelt “uh-oh!”

Or, in the words of a slightly more coherent response, penned shortly after English’s woefully ill-judged observation:

“Of one thing we can be certain […] the dead who have slept for one-and-a-half centuries beneath the disputed soil of Aotearoa will have a very different story to tell. There is a reason why so many of the signposts to old battle sites are weathered and overgrown; why lichen has been allowed to obliterate the names of those who fell. Sleeping ghosts, like sleeping dogs, should never be needlessly awakened.”

Pish-tosh! The government of Jacinda Ardern is having none of that self-serving colonialist amnesia. The recently announced Aotearoa NZ history curriculum – compulsory, no less – is all about issuing our kids with scrapers, cleaning agents and scrubbing brushes, and setting them to cleaning up all those lichen-covered monuments.

During his famous “Long March”, the Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong and his followers were required to traverse the same mountain pass where an earlier revolutionary army had been wiped-out. “Fear no ghosts!”, Mao reassured his superstitious peasant soldiers: “The past does not return!”

But, Mao’s confidence was misplaced. If you ask it to return often enough, the past, just like the murderous ghost in the horror film, Candyman, is only too happy to oblige. The results are seldom pretty.

Reading between the lines of the government’s draft history curriculum the full extent of its revisionist ambitions soon become clear. Rather than the history of the colony-cum-nation-state that the world knows (pro-tem?) as New Zealand, the next generation of young New Zealanders will learn that the history of these islands actually began somewhere between a thousand and eight hundred years ago. In other words our national narrative must be understood as a Maori – not a Pakeha – story.

Indeed, the role assigned to the Pakeha in this narrative is almost entirely negative. At best, they might be described as disruptors. At worst, they will be painted as destroyers and appropriators: agents of an alien power that imposed its will unjustly on Aotearoa’s original inhabitants. If the history of this country is envisaged as a Hollywood western, then the Pakeha are wearing the black hats – they’re the baddies.

The logic of this new, profoundly revisionist, historiography is inescapable. If the story of Aotearoa is a Maori story, then the Pakeha intervention can only be understood as something temporary. Colonialism, and all the damage it inflicted on Aotearoa’s natural environment, and the culture of its indigenous population, will be presented as an historical phase through which it is passing. The direction of travel is clear: from a Maori past, towards a Maori future. And the Pakeha? Well, the Pakeha are tauiwi: strangers, outsiders, foreigners – just visiting. For them, the message could hardly be clearer: When in Aotearoa, behave like an Aotearoan – not a Roman.

All this is a far cry from the idea that Aotearoa-New Zealand is the creation of historical forces too vast for blame, too permanent for guilt, colliding in time. The achievements of the diminutive nation-state emerging from that historical collision once astounded the world.

In the 1958 edition of the Richards Topical Encyclopaedia, New Zealand’s entry is headed: “The World’s ‘Model Nation’”. The sub-heading is worth quoting in full:

“How little New Zealand, starting her career amid wars and many money problems, built up for herself a government so sound and humane that she came to be called the best-governed nation in the world.”

I like that story much better than the one embedded in the new curriculum. It’s an historical narrative in which all this country’s inhabitants once took enormous pride, and could again – if only the dead are allowed to sleep.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 12 February 2021.


Tom Hunter said...

But history ought never to be confused with nostalgia.
It's written, not to revere the dead, but inspire the living.
It's our cultural bloodstream - the secret of who we are.
And it tells us to let go of the past even as we honour it,
to lament what ought to be lamented, to celebrate what should be celebrated.
And if in the end that history turns out to reveal itself as a patriot,
well, then I think that neither Churchill nor Orwell would have minded that very much.
And, as a matter of fact, neither do I.

Simon Schama - A History of Britain, Episode 15, The Two Winstons.

Anonymous said...

And the Pakeha? Well, the Pakeha are tauiwi: strangers, outsiders, foreigners – just visiting. For them, the message could hardly be clearer: When in Aotearoa, behave like an Aotearoan – not a Roman.

Problem is that many many generations of not just Pakeha, but many many other cultures, consider themselves as Tangata Whenua (People Of This land). They neither seek approval from anyone to be Tangata Whenua, or buy into the concept that only Maori can be people of this land.

And no, the tangata Whenua decendants of the many Tauiwi do not consider themselves as "visitors" "outsiders" or "foreign".

They are well and have a voice in how to behave like an Aotearoan.

Jack Scrivano said...

Hear, hear.

JanM said...

“If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.”

― Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight

John Hurley said...

Leigh-Marama McLachlan

My pakeha mate wants to talk about racism and white supremacy with me (she’s been trying to learn about inequality) but I still can’t get quite into it with her. I don’t feel safe. Realised how conditioned I am to NEVER offend white people.

Green heart
Replying to
Maybe tell her to watch your 'Aotearoa History Show' as a primer. I found it excellent, and I use it in school - and then it puts the onus on her to do the mahi, not on you (well, only on the video you)
[Pākehā. She/her. Educator. Passionate about support for students with additional learning and/or mental health needs. Jedi. Racists and TERFs can get in the sea]

There's an interview on Stuff where Jacida waxes about the need to learn history, but Stuff being Stuff, being RNZ, being Spinoff never questions that there is more to this than meets the eye and Teflon Jacinda walks away.

Shane McDowall said...

The Maori name for New Zealand is Niu Tireni ( Nui Tirini in Te Tiriti ). Aotearoa is one of the names for the North Island. Aotearoa has been used as the name for New Zealand by some Maori, the Pai Marire and Kingitanga, since the 1850s 0r 1860s. Its more widespread usage dates to the early 20th century.

Whatever the history curriculum becomes, it has to be an improvement on the crap taught in schools for generations. There are plenty of people who still believe that there were people living here prior to arrival of Polynesians in the late AD 1200s.

I wonder how many Pakeha are aware of the petty apartheid Maori, and others, were subjected to in our "model nation" into the 1960s. Overt discrimination in hotels, cinemas, even fish and f**king chip shops was widespread. Covert discrimination against Maori, and others, continues to this day.

New Zealand history should be taught in our schools. And our history is not just about Maori-Pakeha relations. The story of how New Zealand was transformed from a war-torn wilderness into a peaceful prosperous democratic state in roughly half-a-century from 1840, mostly thanks to British migrants backed by British capital, is a story worth telling.

Railroads, telegraphs and electricity are as much a part of New Zealand's story as the Musket Wars and the Anglo-Maori Wars.

The British are the most successful European colonisers bar none. The USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are what they are because of Britain. And these nations are the envy of the billions who live in the Third World kleptocracies.

The hundreds of thousands of people from Third World kleptocracies who have poured into New Zealand in the last few decades are living proof of the attractiveness of the British variant of Western civilisation.

Who wants to move to India, Samoa, the Philippines or South Africa?

Rule Zealandia!

Philip said...

A great analysis of the current risk of a revised history being implemented. I do fear we are becoming further apart rather than closer together off the back of all the "racist" allegations and dredging up of "past wrongs"(some of which should be addressed, while others are perhaps better to be left as happenings of the past which we move on from acknowledging it happened but as part of a larger world history). Perhaps I am completely out of step with the majority of NZ culture but the idea that all who are not Maori are part of the oppressive culture that is causing Maori to fail in the social statistics, just does not ring true to me.

History is history and we should know it and learn from it, however, it is becoming more and more difficult to know which history we should believe and which analysis of history is the "right one". I find that also with the news. It seems there are very one-sided news reports for every incident from either the left or the right - neither seems to give a clear report of what actually happened. This revision of history seems to be the same - eg. were Maori cannibals? - some say yes, others say no - it all seems to depend of the starting viewpoint of the historian and how much credence is given to letters written at the time. Did Maori live in harmony before Europeans came on the scene? Unlikely, but that is the impression we gain from the current history reports in the media. Were the Moriori a separate race/culture as taught in the 80's when I was at school? No probably not - however they were a tribe who was almost exterminated by inter-tribal warfare - the implications are still the same despite the technical definition change - ie warfare was common or at least occurred between tribes. If that is the case, then why don't we just all accept neither side is perfect, we are all NZers and we need to get on with improving the lot of everyone who lives here regardless of race, religion or creed? Those who have need should receive the appropriate help as a fellow human not because they belong to a European, Asian, African or Maori culture. How that support is given and in what context it is given can of course take into consideration the cultural practices and beliefs of the individual.

Nick J said...

I have Googled and found resources but cant find an overall precis of the new history curriculum. Does anybody have one, failing which Chris description must be taken at face value.

If that description is real I suspect it will only drive division between tangata whenua and pakeha. Goodies and baddies dont apply exclusively to any nation, race or tribe in history. History from a Maori perspective is a must, but not exclusively. Pakeha too have a history in Aotearoa.

I would pose this exercise to students, describe daily life in Aotearoa for Maori and Pakeha in 1820, prior to the Tiriti. Describe it today. Do a gap analysis and assess the difference. That should give good grounds to work out how we go forward.

It sounds to me that somebody with an agenda has over corrected the curriculum to meet critical theory. That our public servants do this is truly cancerous.

Barry said...

As I interpret the curriculum that the Minister of Education suggests we all check out (
it is mostly about the effects and consequences of the history - its not about the actual facts of history.
As it happens all around the world the current "In thing" in history departments is that history should be seen as cultural history - thus all the concentration on statue removal and 'cancelling' figures of history.

I see that the NZ history as suggested will have very few upsides and many downsides.
Maori will leave the education system with the message that its all against them - colonialism, the legal system, poverty, the health system, institutional racism, etc, etc - and the subconscious message is 'Why bother - I cant win'. That will not be a good state of affairs.
Young children of european descent - some will be taken in by the story - for a few years but will slowly get tired of being told its all their fault.
Others - Asians (theres more of them in NZ than Maori by percent)and other immigrants wont care - and do as theyre currently doing - topping the education results.

In 10 or 15 years I can envisage a similar situation happening as whats happening now with arithmatic, literacy and the open classroom (100 kids and 3 teachers)- which is pretty much -'That wasnt a good idea - things have only got worse'

The Barron said...

Matiu Rata was a visionary, long before international bodies favoured the approach, he introduced NZ to a truth and reconciliation commission in the form of the Waitangi Tribunal Act. Those two concepts work with each other, you cannot have reconciliation without truth - and truth without reconciliation is not progress.Rata also made the Crown as the transgressing Treaty partner responsible for redress.
Chris falls into a trap of trying to bring an indigenous concept into a western translation. Tauiwi is simply those that are not Tangata Whenua. To put it in Treaty terms, Tauiwi are those that generationally came to NZ under the auspice of the Crown signatory, Tangata Whenua are the decedents of the Maori signatories (and those hapu to which the Treaty was extended).
It is difficult to understand the colonial process without accepting that one party had the resources and were overwhelmed by those that came to take the resources. Empowerment and disempowerment are crucial in understanding where NZ is today. If inequity is as a result of a colonial process, decolonisation is a pathway forward or we remain a colonial nation. Few people would like that label, and all New Zealanders need to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery as the song informs.
Truth and reconciliation is a process that Matiu Rata got legislated. This has been a slow burning process for some that resist the truth, the history curricular is a step towards understanding, which in turn provides for reconciliation. In this, NZ is still the 'Worlds Model Nation'.

David Stone said...

It would be good if the new curriculum goes back before European settlement as honestly as possible to put all into perspective.
I'm sure many maori who feel themselves disenfranchised by colonialism imagine themselves far more important and significant inthe society that was than they would have been. Given the autonomy of Rangatira most maori would have had little freedom or autonomy or recourse to justice.
I suspect that closer to the transition to a colonial society most would have been very conscious of an improvement in their prospects offered by the colonial society. That perspective is now forgotten and neoliberalism has devastated the niche that many comfortably occupied in what was NZ society.

John Hurley said...

Kenneth Cumberland's treatment is great. NZ Wars Documentary Series set out to "disrupt the colonial narrative" reperesenting the growth of Critical Theory/ Post Modernism

this one has a different take on the Maori Wars

Kat said...

"Teflon Jacinda walks away........"

I guess that comment is an accurate representation of the 26%, hopefully crushed sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

In answer to The Baron...........

This whole concept that non Maori are colonisers and as such not Tangata Whenua is fading into history.

Teach it if you like in schools, but it will not alter the nuance that it is no longer relevant in the lives of people (most who have enough trouble worrying about keeping body and soul together, never mind having a guilt trip about being colonisers).

There have been generations (up to 10 in some cases) who consider themselves Tangata Whenua.

Preaching that only Maori can be Tangata Whenua simply gets a shrug of the shoulder and a "yea whatever".

All people born here are Tangata Whenua. For it translate literaly to "born OF This Land".

As I said teach children what ever you like but it will not alter the fact that the Treaty Of Waitangi has very little relevance in peoples lives.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"it is mostly about the effects and consequences of the history - its not about the actual facts of history."

Someone hasn't got a clue as to what history is about.

Jens Meder said...

So would a systematic effort with participation by all towards at least a minimally meaningful level of personal long term (retirement) wealth ownership and the elimination of poverty with this -

be an effectively adequate common vision and goal (focus) for the future to forget the fights and grievances of the past ?

Cheers - Jens.

John Hurley said...

The Barron said...

You confuse truth with perspective. Dig into Post Colonial Theory and you find Truth is what Franky says is Truth. One of the people identified in the new curriculum promo, I looked for papers she had published and she quotes Linda Tuhiwai Smith, who doesn't believe in scientific research: it is "deeply implicated in forms of colonialism and had to stop"

I suppose that is the watershed. Point A there are two completely different ways of thinking here that have slipped past politicians and public but are badly needing to be confronted.

Paul Spoonley sits beside Michael Barnet on Duncan Garners show: left & right - the oligarchs who control what it is O.K for the public to hear (which is why Vodafone, Kiwibank, Spark cancelled Sean Plunket but couldn't give a stuff about house prices).

In a review of Recalling Aotearoa Andrew Sharp writes:

As a moral background it sets out to propose, that of all the possible understandings of our history, the best is one which begins with the colonisation by the British of another people’s land. Further, the most morally valuable events since then have been those of Maori resistance to Crown sovereignty in the name of tino rangatiratanga, together with those recent events (both in practical politics and in people’s minds) which are able to be expressed as part of a history of continued de-colonisation, the tide of which continues to rise, and which the reader is urged both to recognise and to swim with. All other events and thoughts tend to be dismissed as self-seeking, obtuse and insensitive. Such a background is asserted rather than defended; and it is probable it cannot be defended in the authors’ own terms, which are perspectival and relativist, and ill-equipped to deal with truth claims.

Yet this has become the road map, the uncontested (thankyou journalists), national plan.

John Hurley said...

When you think about it legitimizing biculturalism meant legitimizing the idea that we construct truth through discourse and that is all about power. The new truth is the harmony that would have occurred had Cameron not invaded the Waikato and disrupted the nascent cooperative economy. In that economy there is no hierarchy and each is rewarded according to his needs, nature is cared for... except that agricultural and industrial economies evolved from tribal economies and require disciple and separation (division of labour). A white child captured by Amerindians described every day as "like being on holiday".

For much of the twentieth century it was assumed that the state operated on behalf of a single nation that the two (the nation and the state were indivisible) The state represented all New Zealanders. It deserved their undivided loyalty and in return the state was neutral with respect of the ethnic identity of it's citizens. The identity politics of Maori challenged all of these elements. The nation was made up, it was argued, of two groups and the operation of the state ought to recognise the particular circumstances and the rights of Maori. Something which it had not done previously. In fact the state had seemed to operate in ways that had directly disadvantaged Maori. The state was hardly neutral. According to Ranginui and others the state preserved Pakeha interests even if it continued to claim universality and neutrality. It was a radical rethinking of what the nation state of NZ ought to be. It required a de coupling of the nation now defined as Maori and Pakeha or Maori and the Crown and required the state to operate in new and different ways. A new understanding and a new social contract needed to be established . But of course there was no compulsion for the state to acknowledge these new expectations. It was left to the good sense and sensitivities of some key players: Maori, Pakeha and representatives of the state to explore what this means.

Treaty Debate 1 2010

Note that the journalists have circled the wagons around Spoonley, he never has to face a serious challenger such as the Free Speech Coalition (although he was challenged by Dennis Dutton).

greywarbler said...

Gerrit I don;t get it - how can people who have come here from afar be tangata whenua? I say go and paddle your own canoe. People who are registered NZs especially those who have been born here with a number of generations do 'feel like tangata whenua'.

But that being so they should learn about their 'parent' group and understand and carry the culture in their hearts, otherwise they are just usurping colonialists. And that is the sort of person (usually grey haired and feeling smug privilege and entitlement) that pop up when there is talk of forming a Constitution and start trying to reduce the standing of the real tangata whenua and their rights that have been eroded as well as their lost land and food gathering sites. They loved Don Brash - he thinks and talks like them, they think 'he's one of us'.

Having been able to grasp much privilege and status for themselves, they want to take the rest of it as well, just leaving the dregs for what they think of as the 'deplorables', which includes a lot of Maori and a large number of poor whites which in the USA they would 'diss' as 'trash'. The Constitution Conversation held decades back did not leave me feeling buoyed up about the state of co-operative, respectful community in NZ. That's the sort of NZ that will enable us all to live happy, fulfilled lives - something the right-wing don't give a toss about.

The Barron said...

David Stone shows a Banksian understanding of Maori society at the time of colonisation. Rangitira could only govern through tangata mana, prestige bestowed by the people. It was a consensus democracy, albeit highly influenced by mana. Women had rights and rose to leadership roles in many hapu. By the Treaty, Maori were Christianised, more literate than Pakeha and traded under the independent flag recognized by Westminster. It was far from Utopian, but neither was the colonial society or London. Certainly not the autocratic nations of Europe.
It is of no use to freeze a culture in time, just as European societies developed laws and rights, so did non-colonised nations such as Japan, Thailand and Tonga. Maori would have developed into a global nation or nations. Counter-factuals can never be anything other than speculation, however, the stating point should at least be the facts before the speculative divergence.

boudicca said...

The one-sided story being told in this new curriculum is nothing less than propaganda to indoctrinate children and teenagers, in effect softening them up for the constitutional transformation which is to come. This is no conspiracy theory I can assure you, and well documented. Last year's very comprehensive Te Tiriti Based Futures online conference involved academics from NZ and around the world, including historian Paul Spoonley, many Maori scholars, but also Critical Race Theory 'experts' from overseas.
It concerns me that few non-Maori know what is going on 'behind the scenes', particularly with the Te Tiriti-centred Constitutional Transformation being discussed by Maori with, as far as I can see, no input from non-Maori

DS said...

There is much nuance and complexity to nineteenth century New Zealand. Did Maori have land unjustly stolen? Yes. Did Maori suffer immensely from introduced diseases? Yes. Did Maori suffer decades of neglect? Yes.

But there were plenty of Maori who fought on the side of the Crown against other Maori, and the Maori vs Maori horrors of the Musket Wars was as significant an event as what came later. The only genocide ever to be committed on New Zealand soil? Not committed by Pakeha.

To treat nineteenth century Maori as merely passive victims of oppression robs them of agency - and ironically erases history as much as the most jingoistic imperialist nonsense.

sumsuch said...

I remember when you talked for a Maori upper house. Don't think it's in anyway a sin to change your mind.

The new history curriculum sounds like everything we learnt who stayed on for 6th and 7th form History.

You're getting coracled, crummy, coruscated, cruddy -- I'd need to go to the toilet to remember the other c names. Cranky?

David George said...

"Maori will leave the education system with the message that its all against them - colonialism, the legal system, poverty, the health system, institutional racism, etc, etc - and the subconscious message is 'Why bother - I cant win'. That will not be a good state of affairs."
Perhaps that's the intention Barry, surely no one is that foolish to not see, at least, the possibility of that outcome.
Andrew Little and others have managed to convince themselves that equality is proof of injustice. To do that you need to completely discount the many reasons folk have different outcomes in life and to fundamentally change the meaning of "justice" to become a principle with only one side to it. If you want to indulge in that simplistic way of "thinking", different outcomes could just as easily be "proof" of justice. What has the biggest effect; ability, attitude, aim and action on the one hand or the hand of injustice on the other?
Looking back 50 years to my acquaintances from high school (Northland College, Kaikohe), they have, almost without exception, got what they deserved. I don't buy the idea that we're helpless victims; convincing people that they are is just about the worst thing you can do for them.
Ancient Chinese saying: Man going nowhere is certain to get there.

Gerrit said...


"I don;t get it - how can people who have come here from afar be tangata whenua? "

Each generation born here is "born of this land". That is what Tangata Whenua means no?

"Born of this land" is not a status only issued to Maori.

Quite simple really.

You throw the "colonist" tag around willy nilly but I put it to you, People "born of this land" don't see themselves as "colonists". They are New Zealander/Aoteroan and will strife to better the society they are born into.

The "colonist" guilt trip no longer washes. Especially here in deepest darkest, "deplorables" land of South Auckland. The treaty, its settlements and grievance industry simple does not trickle down to us "poor". It is a joke that enriches only the "elites" be they red or blue,Maori or otherwise.

The Barron said...

I stated in my contribution that taking indigenous concepts and trying to convert to a western language is problematic.
Cultural appropriation even more problematic.
NZ census defines Maori as someone who is defended from a NZ Maori and self identifies as such. Some hapu will recognize those adopted, traditionally or legally into the hapu, and on occasion marriage into the hapu brings differing status.
Some hapu have mana whenua where tangata whenua is otherwise recognised.
Gerit's view of claiming a Polynesian cultural status without any of the above is the worst type of neo-colonialism and appropriation. I was going to compare to the anachronistic Auckland University Engineering students haka, but I think Gerit deserves almost pity for the display of cultural and intellectual dislocation shown.
Every New Zealander should have pride in their personal, cultural, ethnic and National identity. There is no need to try to be that which you are not

Anonymous said...

The Baron,

High brow pity is not required. As I said earlier, many many generations and many many cultures are "born of this land".

They feel as attached to this land as any other culture.

Call it Tangata Whenua, call it Born Of This Land, each culture is attached to this land. The notion that one culture is more attached then another is plainly absurd.

I pity all those who are bound by anachronistic concepts that one culture, due to arriving a few years earlier than any other settler, is awarded privilege above more recent settlers.

So enjoy your meaningless cultural ethnicity whilst it last. The melting pot is brewing us all into Aotearoans, irrespective of the order of arrival.

As I said to greywarbler, here in South Auckland the much vaunted trickle down from treaty settlements is but as prevalent as unicorns and fairy dust.

And the concept of one culture having a higher standing than another is derided.

Kat said...

We are getting there slowly, not having men forced to wear those silly bits of coloured material around their necks in parliament is a decision that will have wider effect as the team of five million sail on into the mystic.

greywarbler said...

Gerrit You can try and make racism and colonialism simple but that can't be done. Enabling Maori to find a place outside the deplorable zone in people's minds and move to a place where they are regarded as tall and proud is the right way to go. And they should have a place where they can nurture the good things of their own culture in one place, and share that culture in another place so that overall we respect each other from a bi-cultural level and accept other cultures into that mix who learn to live bi-culturally; that will be the answer.

Your view sounds arrogant and divisive and, yes colonial. You are not the original tangata whenua as we who want to join Maori in being New Zealanders have accepted. If you want to regard yourself as tangata whenua then you must join in with the culture and find ways to live co-operative lives that are satisfying. We won't get such lives if we keep going as we are now, and putting money as the high point for reaching status. That is hollowing out this country's self belief and hope for a continuing future as a nation of good people.

John Hurley said...

Queer folk about

The Barron said...

The interesting thing about the Waitangi Tribunal and overseas Truth and Reconciliation tribunals is they serve as judicial enquiry. This creates a difference between perspective and truth as there is a legal recognition of fact.
Historians quite rightly bulk at a legally accepted account of history, however, it is a process to come to a legal 'truth'.

David George said...

What about the children.
The high probability of unintended (?) consequences requires great caution. Handled badly there's a high chance the children will identify themselves, by virtue of a slender genetic/racial connection, with the participants of the time. There needs to be genuine balance, something in it for everyone - OK my lot weren't angels but you lot weren't either, we lost here but gained there.

More importantly there needs to be recognition and reinforcement that you are not morally responsible for the sins or virtues of your identity group. Your sins are your sins and between you and God. Increasingly, and against the principles of Christianity, adults fall into this hole so not an easy concept for a kid to grasp and also completely at odds with the identity politics/critical theory ideas permeating academia and probably the developers of this programme.

The resulting alienation will manifest in the class almost immediately with classmates and friends divided by race. It could even extend to the home if one parents is Maori. Dependent on your skin tone you're either a perpetrator or a victim. What would MLK say about that one, what would any reasonable person say about it..

As Barry pointed out there's the danger that it could damage a kids outlook on life and, consequently, their future. The idea that my failings are the fault of someone else, society, whitey, can cause a nihilistic failure to engage and make the best of your life. Or heads and hearts becoming filled with toxic resentment and hate. Equally as bad is the possibility of unearned guilt and the perverse, zero sum idea that your achievements are not yours, that they came at the cost of someone else.

Were do the Asian kids fit into this. If they've any sense they will try and stay the hell away from it and get on with prospering as a result.

I'm not hopeful but have encouraged my children to help correct any imbalance and indoctrination in their kids.

The Barron said...

I am proudly Tauiwi, Pakeha New Zealander, so my apologies if my te ao Maori is from that perspective, but I will give a go straightening Garit's view.
Polynesian interrelationships link all things through whakapapa. These relationships are reflected through interlinking linguistic concepts, Iwi means bones, but is also used to denote a wider related political group.
Hapu is pregnancy, as well as the immediate related political group. Whanau is birth, and the wider familial group. Whenua is the afterbirth, which is traditionally left in the land which shares the name.
I have stated several times on this thread the folly of taking Pasifika ontology into a narrow Western translation.
Rather than pity Garit, perhaps it is better to challenge for Garit to have a journey of understanding. Clearly, the current knowledge is in deficit as both in translation and conceptionally the current thoughts of Garit on Tangata Whenua is outside any of these interconnectivity and is empty, misunderstood appropriation.

David George said...

That's not particularly helpful Barron, reads more like an incantation of magic words than an attempt to address the substance of Garit's argument.
The ancient Maori religion (paganism?) has it's adherents and fair enough, I'm a religious man myself. What I see is an attempt to leverage the mythology into a justification for some sort of Maori Zionism and a roadblock to the recognition of the obvious reality that we are now a diverse nation. You can't just pretend it away, we are a people with mixed ancestry, different religions, races and cultures and our spiritual connection to this land isn't something to be just assumed as exclusive to one race. What is the justification for such a claim on something so nebulous, what is the motivation?

We who were born here have no where else to go that we can call home. That makes us the people of this land. Get used to it.

greywarbler said...

We who were born here have no where else to go that we can call home. That makes us the people of this land. Get used to it.

Seems to come from the 'Me, me, me' part of the brain. Suggest change to the 'Us, us, us' and make the 'we' attach first to the bi-cultural, Maori and pakeha settlers agreements in an attempt to have a marriage of minds and ways fair to the original occupants. Then the following tau iwi must gain an understanding and compliance with the ways and laws that make this country unique, and different to where they came from. These ways and laws need discussion and revision in some aspects from time to time. Did tauiwi expect 'a home away from home'? When in Rome etc.

The Barron said...

Linguistics are reflective of indigenous ontology. Words are concepts that are entrenched and steeped in culture.
Sorry KDave, but the reason te two came close to lost was because repression of language and culture was seen by missionaries, schools and state as a reflection of paganism and a barrier to colonisation.
My point is as simple as can be, language has meaning that defies simple translation from one world view to another.
If that is accepted, Gerit has no argument.
If meaning within another language and culture seems like an 'incantation of magic words', that displays your problems and unwillingness to go beyond a monocultural understanding of the world.

The Barron said...

Thanks Greywarbler for bringing up an important point I will try to give an understanding to. The colonists came to NZ with Eurocentricism, which in turn is an egocentric society (the me, me, me as G.warb put it). This is community and structure based upon the individual in ownership, rights and action. Pacifica ontology is sociocentric, where the individual is emerged, part of, but subservient to, the wider political group which is inter-related. The language and status must be seen within inter-relatedness. Gerit, as an individual cannot bestow upon himself Tangata Whenau status, independent upon the recognition of whanau, hapu and Iwi, It is as linguistically and culturally sensible as a strawberry announcing it is an elephant.
As for KiwiDave, you have chosen the portmanteau name. It is presumably because you wish to reflect both the indigenous and the introduced. A noble goal, but if I can give some constructive criticism - you ain't anywhere near there.

greywarbler said...

It is interesting that sometimes standing outside yourself and getting a new view of something can lead to breakthroughs in understanding. The idea that other languages that lay heavy emphasis on particular words, evoking something deep and perhaps spiritual, is 'like an incantation of magic words' is just an acknowledgement of what words are all the time; not just sounds, even grunts in different tones or levels could mean much in the distant past. What words evoke in us is memory, understanding or at least a particular response, to the received meaning. They are magic all right, kiwidave 17/2 6.37, you have hit on something we have allowed to become commonplace though it shouldn't be.

John Hurley said...

Scott Hamilton has managed to get a "pseudo history" removed from the Maritime Museum Bookshop. I think he should mind his own business and let the community take care of it. After all, while I don't agree that Maori gave up sovereignty in the Treaty (but must now due to demographics), I also doubt very much that Greeks (or whoever) came to NZ. Having said that there appears to be a map (or something)?

What about:

Foreword Kaitiaki
For a thousand years prior to the first wave of immigration, Maori lived in harmony with the environment. As tangata tiaki, we appreciated the need to protect the mauri or the physical life force of everything in the natural environment. The responsibility to live respectfully with the environment was observed as kaitiakitanga — a value promoted by our tipuna to maintain the delicate balance between tangata whenua and the natural environment.

Kaitiakitanga in Ngati Kahungunu terms seeks balance in sustaining our natural resources as the basis for our wellbeing — rather than as limitless commodities to use at our will. Each iwi, each hapu, each whanau will have their own unique kawa which guides them in the vital role of guardians of our natural resources, protectors of the flora and fauna for the benefit of future generations.

And yet in 19th and 20th century New Zealand, during a period of colonial settlement, the land, sea and forest suffered from exploitation in the mistaken belief that the land and sea were indestructible and would provide for our wellbeing mai ra ano.

The great forests of Tane were felled and little thought given to the centuries they had taken to grow to maturity. The prevailing ideology was that of the economic benefits accrued to the traders who shipped the timber overseas or sold it locally. The economic development of New Zealand was inextricably linked with the destruction of the forests.

Maori and The Environment
Edited by Rachael Selby
Pataka Moore
and Malcolm Mulholland

John Hurley said...

I'm making a video about Treaty Debate 2010 (Paul Spoonley /Ranginui Walker)

"The TOW has stood for 133 Years the focus and dignity of that
years the focus and dignity of that agreement should and will be recognized by

parliament in the form that signifies and symbolizes the importance of that

treaty to every new zealander
and a year later on the same occasion he said and i quote as britain joined her

destiny with europe's we must now draw upon the spiritual and cultural strength of the people who make our nation
i know we have not reached the end of the road we have scarcely started the journey the maori people are in the midst of a great migration as significant and meaningful
as the migration that brought them to the shores of new zealand as they move from country to town as the lifestyle changes as the old traditions of history and culture are drawn upon so new methods new traditions are in the making all of us together are in our own way

making new zealand they were prophetic words and indicate something of norm kirk's sympathy for what was emerging

but the action was to be curtailed as that sympathy was not shared by the subsequent

national government led by muldoon

did the government and its senior public service managers know what they were doing
i tend to agree with claudia orange who has argued that the far-reaching implications of the cabinet directive on the treaty were not at first apparent nor was there a clear ministerial strategy

Listen to Norms Speech

and compare that to calls for a day to commemorate the NZ Wars. Things have gone down hill.