Europhobia Implicit in the School History Curriculum
K R Bolton
‘Presentism: an attitude toward the past dominated by present-day attitudes and experiences’.Meriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/presentism
The Maori has been moulded into a vital tool in the social engineering of New Zealand. From the 19th century liberal ideal of a Brown-complexioned ‘Englishman’, to the present-day liberal ideal of a white-complexioned ‘Maori’, the result is the same, driven by the levelling tendencies of Late Western capitalism. The pseudo-conservative ideal of ‘one nation, one people, one law’, is essentially a reanimation of the 19th century English Whig ideal. While the Maori culture provides a veneer for an identity of the modern ‘Aotearoan’, or ‘Kiwi’ as it is increasingly called (for the days of ‘New Zealand’ are surely numbered), that is a selling point for tourism and world trade, which our Ministry of Trade & Foreign affairs crassly calls ‘New Zealand Inc.’, the quaint remnants of Maori culture within Late Western capitalism provide the illusion that ‘Aotearoa Inc.’ has an identity beyond the superficial.
As pointed out in Part I (K. R. Bolton, Aotearoa Histories: New ‘Histories’ Curriculum, The European New Zealander, https://theeuropeannewzealander.net/2021/01/03/aotearoa-new-zealand-histories/) the new ‘histories curriculum’ for implementing in schools in 2022, is designed as a social engineering device to remould youngsters into the liberal image of what it is to be a ‘Kiwi’. That image only includes a European factor in the material, technological sense, but is designed to purge any vestige of European consciousness of heritage and identity in the spiritual sense.
It is claimed that the new ‘histories’ curriculum is necessary to fill a void where a consistent teaching of New Zealand ‘histories’ has been lacking. As shown in Part I, this curriculum would be premised around firstly Maori concepts, secondly other identities that include sundry ethnic communities and even a transgender narrative, but the European heritage will only be relevant insofar as it relates negatively and apologetically.
The European heritage can only be disparaged through a pseudo-scholarly method called presentism – the application of current attitudes onto former eras. Presentism is the premise on which Europhobia rests.
‘The infusion of taha Maori in all aspects of the curriculum and of school life should be encouraged’. Review of the Core Curriculum for Schools, 1984.
Despite the claim that no NZ history has been cogently taught there has been an ongoing programme to permeate Maori into the education system for decades. In 1984 the Education Department in its Review of the Core Curriculum for Schools outlined a programme for introducing the ‘Maori dimension’ (Taha Maori) in primary and secondary schools. Intended for implementation in 1985, the recommendations of the review have a familiar sound when compared to the aims of the current ‘histories’ curriculum. ‘Young people need to gain an understanding and recognition of New Zealand’s multi-cultural character’. (Review, 1984, ibid., p. 17). ‘Schooling aims to help develop a greater knowledge and understanding of bi-culturalism and multi-culturalism in New Zealand society’. (Ibid., p. 20). Social studies would be used to ‘make a major contribution to multi-cultural education’. (Ibid., p. 45). Children would be ‘made aware of and sensitive to cultural differences’. (Ibid., p. 59). In particular: ‘a further group of studies and activities to be included in the core curriculum consists of taha Maori… It is a requirement that these studies and activities be included in the core curriculum’. (Ibid., p. 48). This taha Maori would enable Maori identity to be established as the ‘national identity’; the means by which students would develop ‘an understanding of themselves as New Zealanders’. (Ibid., p. 31).
The 1984 report laid the basis for the 2022 curriculum. It is incorrect to claim that Maori has been neglected. The 1984 report established the premise:
‘Where possible taha Maori should be included in existing studies and activities of the curriculum. The infusion of taha Maori in all aspects of the curriculum and of school life should be encouraged. This may be done in various ways. Examples are the formal powhiri (welcome) to visitors to the school, a Maori contribution to school assemblies,… the use of Maori greetings when appropriate, and the use of Maori designs and art forms in the school environment. Direct experience of Maori life should be encouraged… Of particular importance in this context is the involvement with the local Maori community which could also involve time on a marae. (Ibid., pp. 31-32).
‘The learning of Maori language is the key to the understanding of Maori culture. Learning the Maori language promotes several of the aims of education, particularly the development of students of an understanding of themselves as New Zealanders’. (Ibid., p. 32).
Anyone acquainted with primary and secondary education, whether as a student, parent or teacher, will recognise that the taha Maori programme was fully implemented. The new histories curriculum for 2022 is the next phase of a process.
Denigration of the Settler Heritage – & the Myth of Kororareka
‘The case of the original settlers of New Zealand has never been fairly represented or properly understood…’Dr. S. M. D. Martin, 1842.
What is objectionable is that it seems Maori studies cannot be undertaken without the denigration of our settler forebears and the inculcation of a collective guilt complex among Euro-New Zealanders. The type of ‘history’ that is accorded the European is indicated by the prominent role given to Kororareka (Russell), in the Bay of Islands, described as the ‘hell hole of the Pacific’. It is here that the alleged character of the settler is showcased. As the first seaport in New Zealand, it was the focus of whalers, traders, deserting seamen, and escaped convicts.
For example a ‘graphic novel’ on the Treaty of Waitangi, for Curriculum Level 4, shows among the first of the illustrations a Maori family of father, mother and son, looking in dismay at drunken Pakeha at Kororareka. The Maori family are depicted as impeccably bourgeois (unconscious racism?). (Ross Calman, Mark Derby, Toby Morris, Te Tiriti o Waitangi: The Comic Book, School Journal Story Library, Lift Education, 2018).
As one should expect, historical context is lacking in the eagerness to belittle the European. This is not new. The missionaries were teaching the Maori that European society was composed of four classes: missionaries, soldiers, devils (all Europeans who were not missionaries, soldiers or slaves) and slaves (artisans, employees generally). The designations were self-serving, the missionaries presenting themselves as the best option for Maori to deal with. Pakeha slaves were eagerly sought by Maori as a status symbol. (Trevor Bentley, Pakeha Slaves: Maori Masters, New Holland Publishers, Auckland, 2019, p. 53). Sir Apirana Ngata mentions an estimate of 500 escaped convicts at the Bay of Islands during the late 1830s. (A. Ngata, The Treaty of Waitangi: An Explanation, Maori Purposes Fund Board, 1922). Many became ‘Pakeha-Maori’, concentrated mainly at Otuihu Pa, Russell, ‘where they drank, whored and brawled’, and were subject to chiefly law. ‘Their major crimes, plundering the shipping and burning Kororareka in 1827, were committed with the connivance or active support of their rangatira and hapu’. (Bentley, ibid., p. 53). The sacking of the Kororareka settlement in 1827 included six ‘Pakeha-Maori’ fugitive convicts under Maori authority. (Ibid., p. 87). It seems then that this infamous situation was not so much a European problem as a problem inflicted onto Europeans by renegade whites who were part of the Maori, not the Settler communities. Given that there were only officially around 2000 European permanent residents in 1839, (Ibid., p. 55) fugitive Europeans were here in large numbers, and hardly representative of the Settlers.
One of the primary reasons the Crown eventually relented and assumed sovereignty through the Treaty of Waitangi was to place both Maori and European under the protection of British law, something sought just as eagerly by the Maori as by the beleaguered Settlers, despite missionary efforts to thwart any such rival. As Sir Apirana Ngata explained to his people in 1922, there was no Maori Government, no unitary conception of the ‘Maori’, and no single law to invoke for the protection of Maori or Settler.
In 1842 Dr. S. M. D. Martin M.D., president of the NZ Aborigines’ Protection Association, wrote to Rt. Hon. Lord Stanley, Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, stating that ‘the case of the original settlers of New Zealand has never been fairly represented or properly understood at home’ [Britain]. The sacrifices of the original Settlers have been – even then – ‘overlooked and under-rated’ or concealed by those with self-interest. This included ‘the most exaggerated and false statements of the immorality and misconduct of a few among them’. Dr. Martin, a Magistrate, commented that the records of the courts show that not a single one of the original Settlers had ever appeared before a criminal court and very few before a civil court. Of Kororareka, ‘so notorious for wickedness (in report at least), there were only two cases civil or criminal, and even these two were dismissed’.
Dr. Martin then stated that even more a travesty than the manner by which the first settlers had been defamed, was the way ‘their properties have been still more grievously attacked and destroyed by the officers of the Government, who have been treacherous from the commencement, and faithless throughout to every promise they made to the settlers, without whose co-operation and assistance they could never have succeeded in establishing any form of Government…’ He was referring to the Crown revocation of the land titles of the first settlers. The first policy of Captain Hobson, on finding a happy and industrious settlement, was to ‘suspend the titles’ then ‘destroy them altogether’. (New Zealand in 1842, letter from Dr. Martin to Lord Stanley, NZ Gazette and Wellington Spectator, 19 November 1842).
During an epoch where ‘racism’ and ‘white supremacy’ supposedly reigned high and low, even in 1842 the European settlers were being smeared by vested interests, behind the guise of defending the Maori. Today’s sanctimonious prelates continue the malignant work of their forebears. The travesty one and a half centuries later, is entrenched into the education curriculum to perpetuate the Europhobia in perpetuity.
Return of the ‘Noble Savage’
‘The philosophers can rant in vain against this image’.The Comte de La Perouse, 1785.
On the other hand, so far from the Maori being denigrated as a ‘savage’, there was a romantic notion that dominated ‘educated thinking’ that he was a ‘Noble Savage’ who lived in a South Seas idyll running free and happy, unencumbered by the repression of civilisation. While reference to ‘savage’ even when well-intended, is no longer in vogue among liberals, the doctrine of the Noble Savage remains the premise of current liberal notions.
The Noble Savage dates from 17th century philosophising about the nature of Western civilisation. John Dryden in his drama, The Conquest of Granada, encapsulated the thinking of the Enlightenment philosophers, whose speculations were the beginning of Liberalism;
In 1688 Aphra Behn had portrayed the Noble Savage daydream in her novel Oroonoko, about an African prince and his beloved Imoinda. Jean Jacques Rousseau, father of Liberalism, took up the idea and in 1755 wrote his Discourses on the Origin of Inequality Among Men , ‘that man in his natural state is essentially good and free of all prejudices’, but becomes corrupted by religion, morals, monarchy, marriage and property. From here it was a short distance to the Encyclopaedists who laid the philosophical groundwork for the French Revolution of 1789, where the guillotine was the most effective way to achieve equality, and later Marxism.
These were the fanciful doctrinal assumptions by which explorers and colonialists looked upon the natives of the newfound lands, until quickly disabused by the reality of savage life. However, the reader should notice that the Noble Savage doctrine – re-named, rebranded and re-presented as some type of ‘progressive’ and ‘modern’ thought – is the same premise on which the Maori, and other races, are again held in awe by White liberals. It was only in 1984 that Australian anthropologist Derek Freeman definitively overturned (Freeman, Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth, Penguin, 1984) Margaret Mead’s treatise, Coming of Age in Samoa, but itnonetheless remains a part of the liberal codex of wisdom. Here, Mead, in 1928, along with the coterie of ‘cultural anthologists’ who took over the social sciences, was teaching what has become a common, persistent theme: that the West must learn from primitive society.(M. Mead, Coming of Age in Samoa, W. Morrow & Co.,1928); albeit not from its own past.
Therefore, when French and British explorers encountered the South Seas islanders they waxed lyrical: they thought they had found the Noble Savage, like the Spanish thought they had found El Dorado. As the French explorer Louis-Antonin Bougainville put it when landing at Tahiti, ‘everywhere we went we found hospitality, peace, innocence and joy and every appearance of happiness’. When James Cook brought Omai to Britain in 1777 the Tahitian was a celebrity among High Society; the subject of books, plays, paintings, and poems, while the attitude of the liberal upper-crust towards the paupers and Irish colonials of its own race was not so edifying.
The explorer The Comte de La Perouse had an altogether different outlook from that of the doctrinaire romantics:
‘The philosophers can rant in vain against this image. They write books by their firesides while I have been voyaging for thirty years. I have witnessed the knavery and injustice of people whom they depict as good because they are so near to the state of nature: but nature is sublime only in the larger view, in detail it is less so. It is impossible to go into the woods where the hand of civilised man has not stretched to meet with the man of nature because he is savage, deceitful and malicious’. (John Dunmore and Maurice de Brossard,
Le Voyage de Laperouse: Recit et Documents Originanx,
Imprinerie National, Paris, 1785, Tome I, p. 38)
The Myth of the South Seas Idyll
‘A wave of extinction followed the arrival of Polynesians’B. Gill, P. Martinson, New Zealand’s Extinct Birds.
An essential part of the Noble Savage myth is that the islands were an idyllic, pristine paradise prior to being despoiled by rapacious Europeans. We continue to be told that it is the Maori as a conservationist from whom we can learn. The outlook is described by Stevens, McGhone and McCulloch in quite heretical terms:
‘Today there is a tendency to be highly critical of European exploitation of the land, while praising the pre-European Maoris as conservationists who treated New Zealand with care and respect. While there is no doubt that Maoris did have a great affinity and love of the land, there is equally no doubt that they did substantially and irreversibly alter the pre-European landscape’. G. Stevens, M. McGhone. B. McCulloch,
Prehistoric New Zealand, Heinmann Reed, Auckland, 1988
The Maori impact on the flora and fauna of pre-colonial New Zealand was extensive, however, it was not unique, but reflected across Polynesia. Naturalist Andrew Mitchell writes:
‘For years it was believed that the greatest era of change to the Pacific Island environment began with the arrivals of the Europeans … but in the last few years it has become apparent that the process began much earlier. When the first Polynesians arrived they quickly imposed their cultural heritage on a yielding landscape. Forests in coastal area were felled so that crops could be planted; soon the destruction crept into the valleys and, as populations expanded, even on the steepest mountain slopes’. (Andrew Mitchell, A Fragile Paradise: Nature & Man in the Pacific, Collins, London, 1989)
Forests were burnt, imported weeds flourished, erosion caused the thin volcanic soil to slip from the slopes over river valleys and onto the reefs. Mitchell continues:
‘The Polynesians had unintentionally embarked upon a gigantic ecological experiment, and its consequences were to be disastrous for the natural life-support systems of the islands, endangering the precious resources upon which the immigrants themselves depended’. (Mitchell, ibid.).
Mitchell states that on pre-colonial Hawaii the Polynesians ‘extinguished perhaps forty species of bird’. ‘These discoveries have not gone down well with native Hawaiians anxious to maintain the myth of the Polynesians as guardians of Paradise’. (Ibid.).Gill and Martinson write that ‘a wave of extinction followed the arrival of Polynesians’. Fijians and Tongans used the feathers of the red musk parrot as precious decoration, relegating the once widespread birds to a single island. On Mangaia in the Cook Islands, nine species’ of bird became extinct. Remote Henderson Island near Pitcairn was abandoned due to the hunting of the larger birds to extinction. (B. Gill, P. Martinson, New Zealand’s Extinct Birds, Random Century, 1991).
Of New Zealand, archaeologist Bruce McFadgen writes:
‘The major environmental consequences of Polynesian settlement were that: almost half of the forest was burnt off; all twelve species of moa became extinct; at least twenty other bird species became extinct; tuatara and other birds; and animals became extinct in certain areas; seals and other sea mammals, which had previously bred all round the coastline, were reduced to breeding in only a few locations’. (B. McFadgen, Impact on the Landscape, in From the Beginning: The Archaeology of the Maori, J. Wilson (ed.) Penguin Books, 1987)
McFadgen states that 800 to 450 years ago major deforestation took place inland and on the coast where forests were burned to encourage the growth of fern bracken for food, and to assist in the hunting of birds. Shortly prior to the colonial era, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries ‘Maori cleared more forest at a rate almost the same as the maximum rate of forest clearance by Europeans since that time’. (McFadge, ibid.). Stevens, McGhone and McCulloch (op. cit.) write that ‘most early researchers were reluctant to ascribe the burning of such huge areas (almost half the original forest) to the activities of Polynesians’.
Today we have again reverted to the premise that ‘facts’, ‘truth’ and ‘history’ are subjective and tools of dogma.
The Maori were ‘voracious and wasteful predators of the moas’, whose extinction caused a food crisis. The Haast eagle became extinct. The populations of seals, sea lions, elephant seals were devastated. Few kakapo existed by the time of the European arrival. Of 57 known extinct species of bird, 32 were hunted to oblivion prior to the colonial era. (McFadgen, op. cit.). ‘The point to stress is that the Polynesian settlers did seriously damage the bird fauna of New Zealand’, write Gill and Martinson (op. cit.).
Today ‘cultural harvesting’ of wood pigeon and seafood is claimed under Maori lore and Treaty rights. When in 1999 the government offered money to Maori to interrupt the felling of Silna forests for the export of woodchips, the High Court ruled that ‘Maori who owned Silna land could not be stopped from exporting chips and clear-felling their forests’. (Evening Post, 14 July 1999).
In 2008 Dr. Bob Brockie, a biologist well-known for his long-running science column, ‘World of Science’, aptly asked:
‘What are we to do when received wisdom and myth clash with science? Pussyfoot around? Look the other way, or speak up? Some see myth busters as insensitive, blasphemous and insulting, others as liberating and enlightening.
An Otago academic argues that, apart from the glitch of killing the moa, Maori were good conservationists and possibly New Zealand’s first environmentalists. This opinion is widely touted and taught in wananga and schools throughout the country.
‘The claim gets little support from scientists, for Maori not only made a glitch in exterminating nine kinds of moa, the fossil record shows that they also killed and probably ate New Zealand’s last adzebill, goshawk, native goose and swan, dove, merganser, two species of coot, and five duck species’… Altogether Maori burned off about a quarter of New Zealand’s forests’. (Brockie, There goes another myth, Evening Post, Wellington, 23 June 2008.)
Brockie refers to the large hunting parties that continued into colonial times, and by 1897 there were only 2000 gannets confined to Cape Kindappers. The endangered gannet continued to be hunted, until the Government passed a conservation law in 1915, enabling the population to revive. Brockie concludes: ‘I suspect that Maori damage to nature was limited not by any conservation ethic but by the limitations of their Stone Age technology. …’
The Maori as ‘Noble Savage’
‘Such views were, to some extent, undoubtedly influenced, or more accurately, clouded, by the idea of the Noble Savage’.Dr. Paul Moon.
When the church missionaries encountered the Maori, they enthused about their potential as new converts, while attempting to thwart the settlement of their kin from Britain, agitated Maori against settlers, and advised against land sales, while making their own lucrative deals. The Missionary Society circulated pamphlets in Britain attempting to thwart the settlement of New Zealand, stating that this would impede the missionary’s advance of ‘religion and civilisation’ among the natives. The Missionary Society was competing with the NZ Association (predecessor of the NZ Company) for the purchase of Maori land; members of the Society were buying thousands of acres, while warning the Maori against the ‘white devils’ who aimed to drive the Maori into the hills. Several decades later The NZ Herald commented on the rapaciousness of the missionaries as land-sharks, as well as their being the source of malicious assumptions about settlers that have now become part of the mainstream liberal narrative:
From the N. Z. Herald. We have heard much of the land greed of the colonists, and we know that the source whence our enemies at home have received their unjust impressions against the colonists is a certain section of the missionaries in New Zealand, but we never expected that those very men would have allowed the cloven hoof so unequivocally to protrude from the cassock, as on the present occasion. Truly if this is not land sharking, and on a gigantic scale, then we are at a loss to know what land sharking consists of. The heifer and other merchandise (not enumerated) probably an old musket or two and some fishhooks, were well laid out and with an eye to business in 1839, when they can bring in a good round sum of £20,000 in 1865. The whole thing is monstrous.
Had the Church Mission Society asked the Government a sum of £2, or even £3 per acre, it might have been paid and would have been a piece of land-sharking even then over which the society might have chuckled — but to ask a sum of £20,000 is virtually to stand in the way of colonisation, and this is perhaps as much the object of the society as money greed, or conversion of the Natives to Christianity. The missionary party when accused of obstructing colonisation have always indignantly denied the charge. Can they do so now, with this extortionate demand on record against them?
The Missionary vs. Colonisation, Hawke’s Bay Times, 5 June 1865
Today new are supposed to accept that we are the inheritors of some ‘white privilege’ established by settler forebears, who seem more the victim of loan- and land-sharks than the Maori.
The NZ Association and subsequent NZ Company had great difficulty in convincing the British Government to extend it imperial protection to New Zealand. The Colonial Office was a primary element in this reluctance. The NZ Association appealed to the Government and Colonial Office that there were an increasing number of British subjects trading here, that certain undesirables including escaped convicts were causing problems, and that ‘wars, murders and every possible’ were rife. This was the appeal made by Francis Baring in his appeal to the British Parliament for the establishment of a provisional government in NZ. (Colonization of NZ, NZ Gazette and Wellington Spectator, 21 August 1839). It should not be supposed that British imperialists were eager to annexe New Zealand and subjugate its tribes. Much pressure on both humane grounds was exerted for Britain to intervene and establish an orderly emigration to New Zealand, and the orderly and just purchase of land.
Dr. Paul Moon, Faculty of Maori Development, Auckland University of Technology, comments that ‘the British Government was not always the avaricious colonial predator that it was sometimes [?] later painted to be’. Beneath the appearances of imperial expansion, ‘the Colonial office – the engineer room of the Empire – took a more cautious and calculated approach to administering its colonial realm’… there was nothing like a Grand Design for New Zealand’. (Moon, p. 87).
Samuel Marsden wrote of the Maori to the Church Missionary Society, in London, ‘The more I see these people, the more I am pleased with, and astonished at their moral Ideas, and Characters. They appear like a Superior Race of Men. Was Christianity once received amongst them, New Zealand would be one of the finest Parts of the Globe’. Maori were ‘like a rich soil that has never been cultivated’. By contrast Marsden had written of the Irish as ‘the most wild, ignorant and savage race that were ever favoured by the Light of Civilisation’. John Savage, author of the first book written specifically about New Zealand(J. Savage, Some Account of New Zealand, 1807), wrote of the Maori as ‘joyous, good natured… full of laughter and vivacity…. Of a very superior order…’ (Quoted by Paul Moon, Fatal Frontiers, Penguin, 2006, p. 13).Missionary Thomas Kendall gushed over the intelligence and industriousness of the Maori men and the artistic dexterity of the women: ‘In all probability many of them would gladly learn to spin and knit stockings’. (Ibid., p. 15). Rev. Kendall would be dismissed from the Missionary Society on account of his drunkenness, too excessive an admiration for Maori women, and musket trading. (Ibid., p. 16). Moon comments on this outlook,
‘Such views were, to some extent, undoubtedly influenced, or more accurately, clouded, by the idea of the Noble Savage. This stylised notion was popularised from the late eighteenth century through the works of the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Throwing aside all evidence that was ill-fitting to his ideas, he conjured up an impression of an idyllic life that the indigenous people of the South Pacific supposedly enjoyed – one that might well have been fiction as far as his readers knew’. … (Ibid., p. 14).
For those who actually witnessed Maori society, the ideal of the ‘Noble Savage’, as ‘a quixotic diversion for the secluded English middle classes’ was different.
There were accounts of women and children tied to stems of canoes and choked by the waves, after which their flesh was eaten; people buried alive; infant females killed because they would be no use to the tribe later on for war; war parties – boiling with an urge for revenge – killing “every soul that falls in their way”; vanquished women and children suffering “acts of brutality [too] horrible to relate”; people being eaten alive; and a country that generally appeared to be deluged in blood.”’ (Ibid. p. 20).
Joel S. Polack, an early trader in Russell, who gained much influence, referred to an episode of a fifteen year old girl who had displeased an ‘old crone’. Her head was abruptly cleaved by an axe, the entrails of the body and the limbs prepared for eating, and the head thrown to children, who kicked it about and thrust sticks into the nose, mouth and ears. (Moon, ibid., p. 21).
Charles Flinders Hursthouse, who had farmed in New Zealand for twenty years, since the earliest days of settlement, writing to The London Times in 1869, showed that from the start astute observers were aware of how the Noble Savage doctrine was being used to sabotage the settlers. Referring to the activities of ‘Exeter Hall and the Missionary Party’, (Exeter Hall hosted liberal social reformers in London 1831-1907), he wrote of NZ Colonists suffering hostility in Britain from the propaganda of,
‘… those Utopian believers in the “Noble Savage” of the Story Books, the extreme Missionary and Aborigines-protecting Party among you here, who have never forgiven Colonisation and Colonists for scattering their cherished design of locking up the noble Islands of New Zealand as a Preserve for Exeter Hall’.
So far from the Colonists enjoying the ‘privileged’ position of ‘white supremacy’ which we are now told was at the foundation of NZ settlement, from the start the settlers endured the same opprobrium as do we their descendants today. Referring to the Maori revolt in Taranaki, the Maori had their allies within the British parliament, press and pulpit, purveying anti-Settler propaganda. The list of salient points repudiated by Hursthouse has a familiar current refrain:
- That, mainly, it is the Colonist’s ‘greed’ of Land, his trampling on the Native’s ‘rights and titles’ to Land which has at last goaded the Native into heroic Revolt.
- That it is the Native’s actual ‘need’ and ‘scarcity’ of Land which has contributed to place him in Revolt.
- That the Colonists have incited the Native to Revolt not only in the hope that his punishment for Revolt, ‘confiscation,’ would give them his Lands—but in the further hope that the large imperial Commissariat expenditure caused by Revolt would ‘fill their tills’.
- That Colonisation has been injurious to the Native; and that the Colonists, in their daily intercourse with him, have treated him as the mere ‘Black Fellow’ – like the weeds of the Country, fit only for extirpation.
- That it is the Colonists who have had the government and the guidance of the Native; and that it is partly their legislative mismanagement and neglect of the Noble Savage which has now, again, metamorphosed him into the costly Rebel.
- That the Colonists, moved by sordid love of lucre, have suicidally sold to the Maori those Arms and munitions of war which, alone, enable him to withstand and slaughter both her Majesty’s gallant Troops, and their own Volunteer and Defense Corps…
(C. F. Hursthouse, New Zealand’s War, London Times, February 1865, http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Stout10-t14-body-d1-d1.html)
Hursthouse addressed each of the issues that were being alleged in Britain by those who sought the vilification of the Settlers and their kin,
‘Who flays the Colonist, but whose curious mind Glows with tenderness for “Black” mankind’ (C. F. Hursthouse, ibid.)
Hursthouse backgrounded the revolt that was being mispresented to the British public that would serve better today to teach ‘NZ histories’ than a reanimation of precisely the same anti-Settler propaganda that was being purveyed in Britain 150 years ago:
‘It has been thought by some that the ferocious internecine Wars which raged between the New Zealanders before the days of Colonisation were Wars occasioned mainly by their “need of Land” or their desire to extend tribal territory. But a weasel-like appetite for blood, hereditary feuds, adultery, Murder, violations of Tapu, were far more pregnant causes of War than Land. In 1822, when Hongi and his Ngapuhi devastated the Thames and Waikato country it was a raid only to slaughter and enslave. In 1830, when Te Whero Whero and his Waikato, devastated the Taranaki country it was a raid in revenge of murder; and though by Native custom the utter defeat and dispersion of Ngatiawa by Waikato gave the conquerors the whole of the magnificent territory of the conquered they returned to their own district without making a single Settlement in their new acquisition, or ever occupying or using a single acre of it’. (Ibid.)
To the smear made by the anti-Settler propagandists at parliament, pulpit and press that the Settler in some manner profited from war Hursthouse countered:
‘Then, glance at the large proportion of our scanty band of able-bodied men drawn from plough and axe to take up the rifle—at the utter check to the progress and extension of civilized industries, carried on in mine and field and forest, where you have a savage enemy ever on the prowl — at the spectacle of our murdered boys, and of our clusters of beautiful Homesteads, hewn from the Wilderness by the toil of years, made blackened ruins in a day!
‘In truth, I but declare the sentiments of nine-tenths of my late fellow Colonists, when I say that I would gladly have counted down the value of one-third of any amount of property which as a Colonist I might have possessed in the North Island to have insured Peace there for twenty years, and prevented our petted pampered lacquered Savage from again indulging in what is half sport to him, but in what is half death to us, this, his third, costly, causeless, criminal, Revolt’. (Ibid.).
‘These missionaries seem to have no other object in view than to make as much money as they possibly could’.
Alexander Marjoribanks, 1840.
From the start of settlement the colonists discussed the problems of land ownership due to the practice of Maori securing lands by conquest. Taranaki natives, freed from their enslavement under Waikato Maori, were returning to Taranaki lands which had been sold to the New Zealand Company. The complaint by the returning natives was that they had received nothing from the sale of the lands. Native Reserves were put aside by the NZ Company as a feature of land purchase. These were capable of sustaining twenty times the number of those returning, although none of those returning could establish any land claim. Aggrieved, Taranaki natives attacked several farmers, although matters were settled amicably. (NZ Gazette & Wellington Spectator, 13 August 1842). Today we are told that colonial settlement was one of theft and invasion. The theft and invasion was that of contending Maori tribes against both other Maori and Europeans. The liberal ‘histories’ in schools and media are obliged to put the onus of guilt onto the European by a studious evasion of the actual. Waitangi Tribunal ‘full and final settlements’ (sic) feature an ‘apology’ from the Crown; hence there is an a priori premise: the Maori can do no wrong; the White can do no right.
The attitude of Maori to land ownership and settlement was just as perplexing for the settlers as it is today, and prone to fraudulent claims. As Dr. Moon states, the British Government and Colonial Office were not motivated by avarice, and it took a lot of lobbying for Britain to place settlers and natives under the protection of the British Sovereign. That chiefs and ‘petty chiefs’, conquering tribes and dispossessed tribes, and freed and returning tribes, made a shambles of land purchases remains at issue, and the conundrum continues as it has for 180 years, with the European accepting blame.
The British Government, as we have seen, did not recognise NZ Company land purchases, despite the Company appealing to the Government and Colonial Office that it thwarted ‘land sharks’, in which category we must place sundry missionaries. Alexander Marjoribanks, arriving in Wellington in 1840 from the Bengal Merchant, noted that ‘these missionaries seem to have no other object in view than to make as much money… as they possibly could. … they contrived in short time to monopolise almost all the land in that part of New Zealand [Northland] that was worth having; so that their earthly mission was a most successful one’. (John McLean, Voyages, p. 36). These missionaries vilified the settlers, called them ‘devils’ and warned the Maori not to deal with them. One might find here the origins of the enduring myth about the miscreant, drunken settler; where rather there were husbands and fathers, and artisans, carefully selected by the NZ Company before the latter invested in providing them with free passage. However, in liberal discourse, it is the Noble Savage, not the Noble Settler, who has endured. What remains of the latter is the image of the drunk, whoremonger, and fugitive.
While Edward G. Wakefield, founder of the NZ Company, has been praised as a visionary and damned as a speculator, it seems that the company’s dealings with the Maori were scrupulous. Company agents were at pains to make clear precisely what the sale of lands meant, and moreover 10% of the purchased land remained reserved for Maori use. In 1839 the NZ Company purchase a tract of land 50 x 40 miles, from the Te Atiawa who had only held the land for four years. They were pleased to have the presence of Settlers as a protection again their enemies. The deed was read in English and Māori, the chiefs had brought their sons to ensure they understood that the transaction would be enduring. Māori received in exchange 100 red blankets, 100 muskets, tobacco, 48 iron pots, two cases of soap, 15 fowling pieces (hunting rifles), 21 kegs of gunpowder, 100 tomahawks, 24 spades, 50 steel axes, 1,200 fish-hooks, 12 dozen shirts, 10 dozen mirrors and other items to the value of £6000. (McLean, Voyages, p. 204). To now say that such transaction were a swindle, gaining land for ‘trinkets’ is a travesty. What other method of payment can be assumed? The Maori economy was one of reciprocal gifts. Tradesmen’s coins were not issued here until 1861. The attempts to create a national currency by Governors Fitz Roy and Grey were abortive. It was only in 1934 that sundry trading banks were obliged to stop issuing their own currencies, of limited local worth, and sole currency issue was assumed by the Reserve Bank. (Deirdre Kent, Healthy Money: Healthy Planet, Craig Potton Publishing, Nelson, 2005, p. 99).
The Truth about New Zealand
‘One great central power in NZ oppresses it from end to end’.Sir George Grey, 1883.
When the NZ Company gave over its charter to the Crown in 1850, the settlers did not actually own anything. In order to purchase the land they had worked it was necessary to resort to money-lenders charging 10 to 12% interest on loans; double that of the rate from lenders in England. (Arthur N. Field, The Truth About NZ  Veritas Publishing, W. Australia, 1987, pp. 2-3). The manner by which speculators with Government connections, and via the Bank of NZ, were able to profit from the Land Wars, was described in 1939 by best-selling author, journalist and banking expert Arthur N. Field in his aptly titled book The Truth About NZ. In our times, no such ‘truth about NZ’ is going to come from education bureaucrats, academics, or journalists.
Sir Frederick Whitaker, solicitor to the BNZ, perennial government minister, including that of Premier and Minister of Colonial Defence; as Attorney General urged the Government to confiscate Taranaki land from Maori in revolt. Field cites Hon. Sir John Fortescue writing in volume 13 of his History of the British Army (1930) that many imperial officers considered that the military was being used for ‘effecting decidedly sordid land-grabbing operations’. In 1863 Whitaker’s Auckland law partner (whose primary business was money-lending) Thomas Russell became Minister of Defence, while Whitaker was Premier. They floated a war loan with The City of London through the BNZ, which had been established at the instigation of Russell after the Bank of New South Wales had declined to deal with Russell. This was a time when the banks could print their own ‘scrip’ and use it to buy gold. (Field, ibid., p. 7). The Premier replacing Whitaker, Weld, commented that a million and a half pounds had been paid out under the Whitaker administration without any record of its expenditure (Ibid., p. 9). One item that is known is the payment for hay for the army to Russell’s brother-in-law. Weld attempted to cancel the contract because of the excessive price, but Russell’s kin had cornered the market, with ample financial credit, and the Weld Government was obliged to buy from this contractor at double the original price.
Following this windfall (war profiteering) Russell became a partner with his bother-in-law in the ownership of 30,000 acres in the South Island. This was the start of Russell’s huge land speculations, which were ultimately liquidated circa 1899 by the Government as a liability, courtesy of the tax payer. (Ibid., p. 9).
Governor Sir George Grey was an opponent of the financial speculators. The Whitaker administration fell when Grey refused the request to confiscate 80,000 acres of Maori lands, regardless of whether the owners were in rebellion. A greatly diminished amount was confiscated from Maori insurgents by the Weld Ministry. The Weld Ministry was replaced by Stafford, Weld being replaced, according to the 1875 parliamentary testimony of National Bank manager John Bridges, when five Members of Parliament, who were BNZ directors, refused to advance a loan to pay interest on the public debt. At the time of this bankers’ coup, Bridges had been Wellington manager of the BNZ, and had personally conveyed the decision to Weld. (Ibid., p. 11).
Although lands confiscated from the Maori insurgents were under law to be publically offered at 5s. per acre, in 1876 the Vogel Government allowed Russell and his colleagues to purchase the 80,000 acre Piako block for 2s. 6d. per acre, privately and without competition. Julius Vogel, whose public works were unwritten by The City of London, placing a huge national debt on the NZ public, held his account with the BNZ, and an overdraft that was wiped clean ‘much more than five or six time a year’, according to the testimony of John Bridges. (Ibid., p. 12). The Piako block was then resold. Similarly, Whitaker and Russell acquired the 250,000 acre Patatere block, on which they speculated in 1882. A South Island editor opined that this was ‘another swindle’. An attempt at litigation by Whitaker resulted in a jury decision in favour of the editor. (Ibid., p. 13). Another block of 150,000 acres east of Piako was sold by Russell. (Ibid.).
Russell, extending his money-lending enterprises, founded the NZ Loan & Mercantile Co. in 1864, charging interest of 8 to 10% on loans to farmers. The company was formed to take over foreclosed farms. The farmers existed in serfdom to the money-lenders, often for life. (Ibid., pp. 13-14).
Sir George Grey, speaking as an MP stated in 1883 during Whitaker’s second ministry, that two or three banking establishments, under one directorship, run the Legislature, that they control much of the press, choose Governors, and that by saying so he was aware of the enemies he was making. Continued Grey,
‘One great central power in NZ oppresses it from end to end. That central power is moved by the Premier, and the Premier is the solicitor of these great moneyed corporations… As long as this continues, I see no hope for ourselves and our country’. (Ibid., p. 16).
This is the ‘truth about NZ’, and one that is the most relevant in regard to what remains wrong socially, politically, morally, spiritually, economically… yet the Government, academia and media offer nothing but inanities as ‘histories’ and the State teaches crapulous liberal dogma to children with the claim that it will establish the foundations of a fair and just society. If children were going to be educated about the ‘histories’ of NZ, Arthur N. Field’s Truth About NZ would be a primary resource, not braindead nonsense about the Pakeha despoiling Maori. Yet when the Waitangi Tribunal commissioned a report on the role of Whitaker and Russell in land speculation, Dr. Russell Stone portrayed both in a laudatory manner:
‘I would reiterate, however, that the preoccupation of some historians with Russell’s shady dealings have led to an understatement of his abilities which were an important element in the great influence he exercised over his contemporaries. His was the initiative behind the provision of financial institutions such as the NZI, BNZ and NZL&MA. On such matters he was ahead of his time, appreciating that investors in Britain were ‘on the feed’ at a time when colonial New Zealand was in great need of developmental capital’. … (Russell Stone, Whitaker and Russell: a contextual study of their interests and influence, a report commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal, 2001, p. 30; https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/WT/wt_DOC_93497337/Wai%20215%2C%20L003.pdf ).
We should evaluate the performance of these two men as a whole not allowing their speculative activities unduly to colour our judgement; e.g. Whitaker is universally regarded as the outstanding Attorney General of the 19th century, and Russell the foremost commercial figure for the colony over the same period’. (Stone, p. 33).
It seems that those who are actually responsible for the flawed foundations of New Zealand are whitewashed as misunderstood entrepreneurs of exceeding ability, while their victims, the Settlers, some reduced to serfdom, and we their descendants, are smeared as the beneficiaries of ‘white privilege’.
Am I indulging here inmy own presentism, applying present-day moral judgements on Whitaker and Russell? I contend rather, it is Dr. Stone, lauded as an historian of NZ, who seems to be normalising loan-sharking and land-sharking as having been acceptable business practice in the 19th century, and beneficial to the Colony, whereas both were widely regarded as disreputable. The Piako speculation was long remembered as the ‘Piako Swamp scandal’.
However, making those who are genuinely accountable does not serve the broader agenda of maligning settlers and their descendants. The Piako Swamp scandal long dogged Whitaker’s political career. The Colonist reported several years later, indicating that the opinion on speculators at the time was far from one of praise and awe:
‘(From the Dunedin Echo.) The Piako Swamp scandal that was nearly fading out of memory has been revived. This block of about 87,325 acres was sold for about £13,132; the purchaser undertaking to expend in a road through it, about £9,300. The land was sold contrary to law, and at an insignificant price—sold secretly; also—to Mr Thomas Russell, or rather the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company. When the sale was concluded, its illegality was pointed out by the Liberals and Sir George Grey was sneered at and ridiculed for stating that the sale was a gift of £150,000 to the friends of the continuous ministry. Was Sir George Grey wrong? Some money has been spent on roads and ditches, and we believe we are putting a high estimate on this expenditure if we say £40,000 have been expended for these objects. Mr .Russell, in one of his memoranda, estimated that the expenditure would be only £20,000. To allow a large margin, we have doubled Mr Russell’s estimate. Well, the fortunate purchasers have sold it for £300,000.
Or allowing purchase cost… … £13,000
Roads and ditches… … 40,000
Interest on expenditure for four years at 10 per cent, say, in round numbers … 25,000
Total cost… … …£78,000
Say £80,000. This leaves a margin of £220,000 or £70,000 more than Sir George Grey was ridiculed for estimating. So that the loss to the Colony in money was about £220,000; the loss in settlement who can estimate it? And then we suppose the Waikato Association will also make a profit. This, then, is one of the jobs of the continuous ministry. And what shall we say to the Committee that voted, and the Press that upheld this job?
‘Day by day the ministerial organs repeated that the sale was, so far as price was concerned, a fair one. What has now been proved? Is it not manifest that Sir George Grey’s charge was true, and that the small band of nineteen who voted in 1876 against this job were right, and that the fifty-one who passed what was characterised as the “order of discharge” resolutions, upholding the sale, were wrong. It is not be first time that a minority has been right. We have, however, the “rump” of the continuous ministry that sanctioned this illegal and improper sale still in power; and we assert that there will be permitted large purchases of Native Lands, that will cast even this Piako Swamp Sale into the shade, if the Liberals be not watchful. However, the people can now see who were right in the matter of the Piako Swamp sale; and from this judge of the veracity of the journals that defended this illegal transaction’. (The Piako Swamp, Colonist, 27 May 1880).
The upshot then is that loan-sharks and land-sharks are accepted as credible and even praiseworthy entrepreneurs, while the Settlers, some driven to servitude, are portrayed as villains, from whose legacy Whites continue to prosper. The Left, ever the sell-outs to money, acquiesce to this travesty.
The Apology Fetish
‘And what so laudable as to be able to protect our hearths and homes?’
Evening Star, 1870.
The perpetuation of the myth of the Noble Savage requires cerebral acrobatics, denial and self-denial, hate, self-hate, and double-think. The abject character of this requires the White to treat the Maori not as an equal but with the deference of a master/slave relationship.
In 2020 Stuff, the media umbrella, ‘apologised’ for ‘Our coverage of Māori issues over the last 160 years [which] ranged from racist to blinkered. Seldom was it fair or balanced in terms of representing Māori’. This involved ‘about 20 Stuff journalists from throughout the country [who] have worked on the project, which has examined all digital and print publications — including verticals from business to sport and even letters to the editor — from its first editions to now’. The project ‘shines a light on the way the media organisation has been racist in its past and contributed to stigma, marginalisation and stereotypes against Māori’. (Stuff issues apology over racist portrayal of Maori from its first edition to now, One News, 30 November 2020, https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/stuff-issues-apology-over-racist-portrayal-m-ori-its-first-editions-now)
Considering that ‘unconscious racism’ is only ‘a thing’ in the modern epoch, and that the 20 journalists could find nothing but 160 years of ‘racism’ in the media suggests more about their (specifically the Pakeha) mentality than an actual denigration of the Maori by the press. Again, the method used is that of presentism.
The Stuff team’s project leader, Carmen Parahi, stated: ‘One of the reasons for doing this is so my kids don’t have to carry the pain we, as Māori, have carried for so long because of the way we’ve been portrayed in the media over three centuries [sic]’. So where is this meant to place Euro-NZ children other than as guilt-ridden, alienated, and rootless?
If the settler newspapers had described the Maori on occasion as a ‘bloodthirsty and semi-barbarous race’ (New Zealand’s Stuff newsgroup apologises for anti-Maori bias, BBC News, 5 December 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55169004) this was not a common outlook, even at a time when wives and children were being tomahawked, and the land was bloodied by continual utu. Life was cheap, as Paul Moon shows in his book Fatal Frontiers, noted above. Apparently the settler press should have ignored the realities on their doorsteps until blissful ignorance was overtaken by ‘fatal frontiers’. That is indeed what is expected. One of the examples of ‘anti-Maori racism’ given by Stuff is from the Evening Star in 1870:
‘Another editorial in the same month said, “And what so laudable as to be able to protect our hearths and homes? particularly in a country like New Zealand, where a bloodthirsty and semi-barbarous race are ever on the watch to destroy the white settler.”’ (Carmen Parahi, Our Truth, Tā Mātou Pono: Newsrooms need to reflect the voices of society not the bias of their news bosses, Stuff, 4 December 2020, https://www.stuff.co.nz/pou-tiaki/our-truth/300174142/our-truth-t-mtou-pono-newsrooms-need-to-reflect-the-voices-of-society-not-the-bias-of-their-news-bosses)
The editorial apologia at Stuff reduces the legacy of New Zealand settler journalism to one of self-criticism, stating: ‘Stuff has inherited the history of the Taranaki Herald (1852) by default. The Taranaki News (1857) became the Taranaki Daily News (1885)’. The sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons. Hereditary white guilt. Of Parihaka, for example:
‘In 1882, the Herald published government propaganda and backed its campaign against the peaceful people of Parihaka, one of the darkest, bloodiest stains on New Zealand’s history. Other papers did side with Parihaka’. (Ibid.).
What do we find in the way of Taranaki Herald reporting on Parihaka?There was for example concern expressed at the filthy conditions that were causing fever. The Herald appealed to the Government to address hygiene problems, ‘for the benefit alike to the natives and the Europeans to have the settlement thoroughly purified… Sanitary law is in full force all over the Colony and we fail to see any good reason why it should be a dead letter at Parihaka’. (Editorial, The Taranaki Herald, 27 January 1882).Such lack of reverence towards the holy status now accorded Parihaka is an outrage to present-day liberals, but in 1882 settlers were obliged to deal with some brutal realities. Nearby settlers lived in constant threat of epidemic from Parihaka. In 1884 an outbreak of cellular erysipelas necessitated the intervention of a doctor, for which Te Whiti (whose claims to being able to raise the dead seem to have been lost) thanked the Native Minister. (Parihaka natives taking Dr. O’Carroll’s advice, Poverty Bay Herald, 18 November 1884).
New Zealand journalists have committed themselves to an agenda-driven narrative over accuracy. The allusion to Parihaka is an example of ‘Our Truth, Tā Mātou Pono’ as theguiding principle of Stuff journalism. What kind of ‘truth’ this is, is indicated by the allusion to Parihaka as ‘one of the darkest, bloodiest stains on New Zealand’s history’. This ‘dark and bloody stain’ consisted of a boy having had his toe trodden on by a horse, after the Government at last acted on a settlement that had not only harassed the long-suffering settlers, but that was causing the destitution and depopulation of surrounding Maori communities due to the incessant demands made on Maori by Te Whiti in a manner typical of a cult leader of the Jim Jones type. What the Government eventually did was return Maori to their traditional communities. The manner by which Parihaka has been mythologised has been thoroughly documented. (K. R. Bolton, The Parihaka Cult, Black House Publishing, London, 2012).
There seems something very subjective about a term such as ‘our truth’ for journalism, where ‘truth’ becomes relative.
The process here is that of self-criticism, a predicate of brainwashing and the subjugation of independent thinking in favour of group-think. The Communist states use the method, Rev. Jim Jones used it. From its development at the Tavistock Institute on Human Relations, (Eric Trist, The Social Engagement of Social Science: A Tavistock Anthology, Preface (1989, http://www.moderntimesworkplace.com/archives/ericsess/sessPreface/sesspreface.html) the technique has for decades been widely used in the West by business corporations and state bureaucracies, facilitated by the ‘human resources’ industry. (Neal Goodman, Unconscious Bias Training, Official Publication of Training Magazine Network, https://trainingmag.com/trgmag-article/unconscious-bias/) It requires the subject to admit to his own supposed failings, whether ‘conscious’ or ‘unconscious, whether actual or imaginary, and to subject oneself to criticism from the group and from oneself, until what has been deconstructed within the person can be reconstructed according to the requirements of the business or the state. It is designed to impose conformity, euphemistically known as ‘team-building’. The process is intrinsic to the type of curriculum being outlined for schools where the Pakeha child will be obliged to integrate a sense of guilt.
Colonial Press Did Not Denigrate Maori
‘To the Colony the Natives will be of most important services, provided they are treated with judgment and with honesty by the Settlers’.
NZ Herald, 1841.
The character of the ‘racism’ that the journalists found in the settler and subsequent newspapers is easy enough to discover. Again, presentism is the required method. For example the New Zealand Herald wrote in 1841 of the increasing relations between settlers and ‘natives’. The use of the word ‘native’ is undoubtedly seen as part of a ‘racist’ narrative by today’s liberal judgement: ‘To the Colony the Natives will be of most important services, provided they are treated with judgment and with honesty by the Settlers’. Additionally, the liberal journalist and his Maori moral-guide will regard the whole notion of ‘native service’ to the Settlers with outrage. But more so, the article goes on to state that while the Settler had duties, so does the Maori, and that under British law the Maori should be subject to the same punishments as any other subject. The Herald referred to the Maori as being undeniably ‘apt and intelligent enough’ not to require ‘Protectors’ at an individual level, but rather education in the civil duties of a British subject. The Herald stated that ‘dishonest and faithless practices of Pakehas’ as much as Maori required attention, with impartiality. What was needed was a thorough explanation of the British laws by a colonial authority, stated The Herald, and a bi-lingual pamphlet should be produced to assist with this. (The Natives, NZ Herald and Auckland Gazette, 11 September 1841). Given that sundry Maori chiefs had recently concluded a treaty placing themselves under both the responsibilities and protection of British law, is it so miscreant of the settlers of this era to have discussed such matters?
In 1842 the Wellington Spectator was lamenting the lack of law enforcement, and the involvement of Maori in lawlessness. The report referred to the lack of serious intent to capture and try lawbreakers, and to the behaviour of the ‘Natives’ being the same as that of ‘ignorant or knavish Europeans… under similar circumstances’. The newspaper was referring to an incident in Porirua where six English migrants had intended establishing a saw-mill near Kaiwarawara. They were ordered out by Rangaiheta. The Police Magistrate at Port Nicholson (Wellington) had ordered Rangaiheta to desist from this harassment. This was ignored and he assembled an armed party which demolished the settlers’ houses and carried off materials. The newspaper report points out that Rangiheta had been one of those who had sold the land to the six migrants. The report asked whether such lawlessness was going to go unpunished? The report comments on the manner by which Governor Hobson had left Port Nicholson unprotected. (Editorial, NZ Gazette and Wellington Spectator, 16 April 1842). To our 21st century progressive liberals such a situation is an example of injustice and racism; that there is any suggestion a Maori should be brought to trial for aggression against the rightful owners of land bought and paid for.
A newspaper report from Nelson described ‘another case of Maori annoyance’. To the liberal this is condescending and ‘racist’. Two Maori, ‘troublesome fellows’, had travelled far to demand that Mr. Fell make payment to allow several of his employees to proceed with work on his land. The police magistrate explained through an interpreter that they had their own land that had been appropriated for them, as agreed by the chiefs, and that neither their land nor that of Mr. Fell can be subjected to such interference. The newspaper remained sceptical however as to how determined the Colonial authorities were in upholding the law equitably. (Nelson News, NZ Gazette and Wellington Spectator, 5 November 1842).
In 1849 the Wellington Independent announced the forthcoming publication of a bilingual newspaper ‘for the benefit of the Maori race’. The article is critical of Government for not having undertaken this ‘civilization of the Natives’ more thoroughly. (Education, Wellington Independent, 11 July 1849). The quandary remains, and the liberal does not have the coherence to resolve it: to assimilate the Maori into White society, to assimilate the White into Maori society, yet somehow maintain the economic treadmill of late Western capitalism, to totally meld the two into an indistinguishable ‘one people’ whose identity is resolved by the trappings of Maori language (a pidgin Maori-English hybrid such as is developing) and symbolism? The only consistency one can discern in the liberal is a White self-loathing, including a compulsion to ‘apologise’ for existing.
So what is it that the present-day liberal would do if s/he could be transported back to that era? What would his or her attitude be as a settler, perhaps raising a family, clearing a wilderness for a farm, building a house, having sailed on a three to five months journey (John McLean, Voyages of the Pioneers to NZ 1839-85, Winter Productions, Wellington, 2015), while contending with Maori who were claiming ‘rent’ on land that had been sold multiple times over? Perhaps s/he being a good self-loathing liberal would see no other option than to prostrate before the ‘Noble Savage’ as slaves, and ultimately as food? (Trevor Bentley, Pakeha Slaves, Maori Master: The Forgotten Story of NZ’s White Slaves, New Holland Publishers, Auckland, 2019).
Even at the early stage of colonial settlement there were misgivings about exemptions Maori were granted. It was asked why Maori were exempted from helping to pay for the maintenance of roads that are used by Maori and European alike, including those on reserve land from which they were receiving rent? Interestingly, there is a reference to ‘Maori-mania’ duringthe governorship of Fitz Roy, indicating that the early days of British administration included a notable deference to Maori. (Editorial, Nelson Examiner, 21 July, 1849). This is indicated by an Examiner interview with Fitz Roy in 1844 on the Wairau Massacre, Fitz Roy stating that there would not be an inquiry into the massacre (now called an ‘affray’ on the monument at the site). The Nelson Examiner called thisa slur upon the memory of those who had died. There was fear among the settlers that they might bring down the wrath of the Colonial administration should they persist in demanding an inquiry. (Editorial, Nelson Examiner, 22 March, 1844).
Continuing Saga of the Noble Savage
‘The greatness of the Maori race will depend upon its capacity to work out its own salvation’.
King George V, 1932.
Jumping ahead to the next century, the myth of the Noble Savage continued at a time we assume to be ‘racist’. The designation ‘noble’ was the usual manner by which Maori as a race were addressed.
What appeared to be a ‘dying race’ was lamented. Today we are told that the near-death experience of Maoridom was the result of White attitudes and policies. However, the cheapness with which Maori held life, the internecine warfare, utu, the taste for human flesh, and the female infanticide that caused a major gender imbalance, set the Maori race on a course to oblivion prior to European settlement. Dr. John Robinson estimates that the Maori population declined from 137,500 to 71,600 between 1800 and 1840, then stabilised, and began to grow after 1890. He acknowledges the possibility of the higher estimate of 80, 000 deaths by the Maori scholar Professor Sir Peter Buck, et al. What can be said is that about a third of the Maori population was decimated by tribal warfare prior to the Treaty of Waitangi. (John Robinson, Unrestrained Slaughter: The Maori Musket Wars 1800-1840, Tross Publishing, Wellington 2020, pp. 112-113).
When Sir Apirana Ngata and Sir Maui Pomare of the Young Maori Party came to Wanganui, the press enthused that one of the chief aims of the party was ‘to emulate the noble spirit of the race…’ and while fostering knowledge of European techniques, to ‘maintain that dignity and pride of race of their forebears’. (Young Maori Party, King Country Chronicle, 16 June 1927). The memories of eating eyeballs and devouring rotting flesh had gone; the romantic fantasy of the ‘Noble Savage’ had persisted.
In 1932 when Lord Bledisloe received his commission as Governor General from the King, the words addressed to His Lordship by His Majesty were for the Maori: ‘Do all in your power to induce the Maori people to take a pride in their race, to keep up their beautiful language, and to continue to pursue so far as is possible their own peculiar accomplishments’; ‘the greatness of the Maori race will depend upon its capacity to work out its own salvation’. (The Maori Race: Maintaining Tradition, Hokitika Guardian, 10 December 1932. It would be superfluous to continue with such reports. They are readily searchable at Papers Past (https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/).
Such examples of praise and concern for the future of the ‘noble Maori race’ are the norm of press concern, and regardless of the language common for the time, it takes a self-loathing type of ‘truth’ to see such concern as denigration, or perhaps as ‘unconscious racism’, for which journalists must today atone.
But of course the Maori did not become as extinct as the Haast eagle. While we must indulge the myth that the Maori was declining to the point of oblivion due to Pakeha colonialism and influenza, rather than utu, cannibalism, female infanticide, and internecine wars that eliminated about 50% of the population by 1840, the decline was reversed by 1890. The press reported in 1901 that although Maori population numbers could not be given with exactitude, ‘It may, however, be regarded as certain that the decline of the race has been arrested’, with the comment so typical of the time, and far from mean-spirited, that ‘the news will be received throughout the Empire with satisfaction’. (Increase in the Maori population, Hawera and Normanby Star, 29 June 1901).
From the earliest days of colonial settlement, the settler was disparaged. To say that the Maori was universally the victim and the European universally the beneficiary of a perpetual ‘white privilege’ is devoid of reality created nearly two centuries ago by Salon liberals, and land-sharking missionaries. What the records show, beyond the accumulated excrescence of Europhobic agendas posing as scholarship, is that the Maori was a willing seller of land for which he received ample rewards, even when multiple claimants were expecting payment for the same tracts of land. Conversely, the Maori was generally referred to with respect, and if Maori and liberals today find the manner paternal and condescending ‘unconscious’ or ‘conscious racism’, then that is because the methodology of the modern Europhobe is to transpose today’s liberal moralism onto a former epoch. While this odd practice of judging the past by current outlooks – PRESENTISM, as it is called – serves an ideological agenda, it is hardly an acceptable method of scholarship.
What damage is being done especially to Euro-New Zealand children, in denying and denigrating the European and settler heritage has yet to be determined, but to assume that the result will be good and justice is naive or, more likely, malicious. While the Maori, even of marginal descent, is taught to celebrate his identity, and to have a sense of place, to know his river, mountain, and to know that he has a marae around which local identities can gravitate, even for a European to speak of an identity results not in encouragement but in opprobrium. The identity, as a ‘New Zealander’, as the taha Maori agenda of 1984 stated, is synonymous with being Maori, or adopting the trappings of Maori, with due regard given to the identities of every other ethnicity except the European.