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My civics – the New Zealand civil war

Written By: - Date published: 5:19 pm, November 18th, 2018 - 67 comments
Categories: democratic participation, education, history, military, political education, schools, war - Tags: ,

I was looking at Feeds on the right hand side of the site, and saw an interesting post from Briefing Papers titled ““Follow the Money” Archives new Zealand, the National Library and the Department of Internal Af..”. However it appears to have been taken down (more on that later 1).

But there was a series of posts on the New Zealand Civil War from Otago and Wellington University that were interesting.

Rachel Rafferty’s post in particular resonated with me.

History is not just an account of past events, but an interpretation. Which historical events are taught in schools, and how they are presented, communicates an important message to pupils about national identity.

Currently, in New Zealand, these important decisions are left in the hands of individual educators. The 2010 curriculum requires pupils to develop skills of historical enquiry, but does not specify any compulsory topics. The curriculum does nothing to prevent educators ignoring events or perspectives that they do not personally consider important. This means that teachers can be influenced by their own biases when selecting which time periods, and whose perspectives, they share with their pupils.

Despite growing diversity among pupils in New Zealand’s state schools, 74% of primary and secondary teachers are of Anglo-European ancestry. While this does not mean they will all have biases that impact their teaching, research suggests New Zealand’s history teachers often avoid any topic they deem controversial. In fact, there is evidence that a core group of around 20% of history teachers resist engaging with New Zealand’s colonial history, including the New Zealand wars. As a result, many schools continue to teach European history while ignoring key events that have shaped the development of New Zealand society into the present.

New Zealand is a place that really doesn’t go much for rah-rah patriotism or even basic civics. Sure there are some crazies 2 who seem to pour their patriotic instincts into sporting events and wave their favorite flags for region or country of origin. But I guess it keeps such obsessives carefully involved in inconsequential things that don’t impact the rest of us too much.

But it is extremely important that we don’t leave our young (and old) to ignore our history and its effects. I’d say that there is simply nothing as important in New Zealand as understanding where our society formed and what the enduring effects of it are. And I can’t think of anything else that was quite as important the our civil wars of the 1845-1872 (and onward).

My ancestral families settled here from the 1820s and right the way through this period. So like many of the descendants of that period, I’ve always been aware of it, and it forms a large part of my thinking on our society. Moderation and a clear understanding is what is required to deal with the fools, bigots, and demagogues who, for their own selfish purposes, are willing to let this society fall into civil conflicts.

If you look at the partisan and ill-informed debacle that is the state of United States politics over the last couple of decades (or even our Australian cousins) you can probably see why that is a good thing.  While we tend to muddle on with our largely understated and often unstated constitutional matters. It generally seems to work out with a lot of hiccups and bumps on the way – but with a clarity of dialogue. Both internally and externally..

Since the second world war, we have largely tended get involved in other countries militarily when it is required internationally. Like supporting the process of independence in East Timor, the civil conflict in the Solomon Islands, trying to deal with the chaos spilling into other societies arising out of the anarchy of Afghanistan, the disintegration of Yugoslavia,  etc.

Of course that list isn’t complete, as it seems to skip a few like Vietnam, Borneo, Malaysia, and others that were done not as part of international multilateral efforts. Generally multilateral internationalist efforts to diminish conflicts tend to work way better than the other almost imperialistic interventions.

But our lack of any sense of a patriotic divine mission tends to mean that we don’t often get too involved in daft unwinnable wars with dubious objectives. For me there is nothing worse than the “Coalition of the Willing” in the illegal, unwarranted, and outright stupid 2003  invasion of Iraq. History has shown that we’ve good reason to stay out of such strange disasters.

In a large part, I think that this attitude reflects our colonial history and the makeup of our armed forces. From teara you can see the ethnicity of our armed forces in 2012.

Note: most responses in the ‘other’ ethnicity category were ‘New Zealander’ or ‘Kiwi’.

That over represented percentage of Māori (approx 15% of the population identify as Māori) in our army represents a population who are still directly dealing with the after effects of an ill-advised and rather stupid military conflict that started here about 150 years ago. As any soldier involved in the post-WW2  army is aware, the vast majority of soldiers and especially the professionals are either Māori  or from families that have been long settled here. They also tend to be the most skeptical about reasons for deploying the military and demand clear rationales.

The reason for this is some bloody stupid political deployments of the military in the past. Our civil war and the Gallipoli campaign in particular. Or the proposed deployment of the SAS by David Lange to Fiji in 1987.

There is however no better example in our history of the root causes of our own colonial politicians deployment of British Imperal and settler troops in 1860. they were triggered by simple greed and scams over land and a monumental set of misunderstandings. As Wikipedia summarizes:-

Though the wars were initially localised conflicts triggered by tensions over disputed land purchases, they escalated dramatically from 1860 as the government became convinced it was facing united Māori resistance to further land sales and a refusal to acknowledge Crown sovereignty. The colonial government summoned thousands of British troops to mount major campaigns to overpower the Kīngitanga (Māori King) movement and also acquire farming and residential land for British settlers.[4][5] Later campaigns were aimed at quashing the so-called Hauhau movement, an extremist part of the Pai Mārire religion, which was strongly opposed to the alienation of Māori land and eager to strengthen Māori identity.[6]

At the peak of hostilities in the 1860s, 18,000 British troops, supported by artillery, cavalry and local militia, battled about 4,000 Māori warriors[7] in what became a gross imbalance of manpower and weaponry.[8] Although outnumbered, the Māori were able to withstand their enemy with techniques that included anti-artillery bunkers and the use of carefully placed , or fortified villages, that allowed them to block their enemy’s advance and often inflict heavy losses, yet quickly abandon their positions without significant loss. Guerilla-style tactics were used by both sides in later campaigns, often fought in dense bush. Over the course of the Taranaki and Waikato campaigns, the lives of about 1,800 Māori and 800 Europeans were lost,[4] and total Māori losses over the course of all the wars may have exceeded 2,100.

It is a conflict that caused widespread dislocation and dispossession of the Maori population with some pretty severe medical effects (to the point of nearly wiping out the Maori population through introduced diseases), and bigot driven distortions in the subsequent society that last through to today.

Large areas of land were confiscated from the Māori by the government under the New Zealand Settlements Act in 1863, purportedly as punishment for rebellion.[63] In reality, land was confiscated from both “loyal” and “rebel” tribes alike. More than 16,000 km2 (6,200 sq mi) of land was confiscated. Although about half of this was subsequently paid for or returned to Māori control, it was often not returned to its original owners.[64] The confiscations had a lasting impact on the social and economic development of the affected tribes.

The legacy of the New Zealand Wars continues, but these days the battles are mostly fought in courtrooms and around the negotiation table. Numerous reports by the Waitangi Tribunal have criticised Crown actions during the wars, and also found that the Māori, too, had breached the treaty.[65] As part of the negotiated out-of-court settlements of tribes’ historical claims (Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements), as of 2011 the Crown is making formal apologies to tribes.[66]

The social effects and costs show directly within our society. No more so than the appalling and persistent ethnic makeup of our prison population. From the Stats department (my highlights) :-

Table 2 shows that at 30 June 2012, Māori made up 51 percent (4,391) of the total prison population. European prisoners made up 33 percent (2,835), and Pacific peoples accounted for 12 percent (1,006) of the total.

The ethnic proportions differ between the sexes. In 2012, 58 percent of female prisoners were Māori, while 51 percent of males identified as Māori. In contrast, 12 percent of all male prisoners were Pacific peoples, while just 5 percent of women in prison were this ethnicity. The percentages for prisoners of identifying as European were very similar (31 percent of females and 33 percent of males).

Table 2

Ethnicity of prisoners
By sex
Ethnicity Female Male Total
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Māori 304 58 4,087 51 4,391 51
European 163 31 2,672 33 2,835 33
Pacific peoples 24 5 982 12 1,006 12
Asian 17 3 218 3 235 3
Other/unknown 19 4 132 2 151 2
Total 527 100 8,091 100 8,618 100

That appalling statistic is a direct consequence of a poorly conceived and badly run war by self-interested settler politicians in the 1860s and the subsequent deliberate political disintegration of Māori society through various policies.

So when you hear your next ill-informed romantic or bigot on radio, family or in the pub who clearly hasn’t had their civics and history lessons, ask them when they served and if they understand our own history. And pressure those educators to grow a spine to explain this episode with all its gory detail to our kids.

You’ll be doing them and us all a favor. Remember


 

  1. I’m always interested in things to do with our national archive. This site has a special dispensation for trawling by the NatLib  (and here) after I got irritated with a harvesting bot. If anyone has an archive of http://briefingpapers.co.nz/follow-the-money/ or knows Don Gilling and what he was writing about, I’d be interested in reading it. 
  2. As an aside, I personally find it ridiculous and pointless for adults to vicariously get involved in obsessing on other people’s sporting activities. While I played a great deal of sport when I was a kid in the process of learning to run my growing body. That lapsed after I went into the territorials 3 and work, and started to use my mind and body towards some serious purposes.
  3. As anyone who has ever seen me moderating on this site will be aware, I am neither a pacifist nor a person who tolerates ideological stupidity from any side much.  In the quite obvious real-world position of having fools running political systems and a lack of world or civil peace,  having a military is exactly the insurance policy that our society and most others need. I spend considerable amounts of time trying to improve military training. So I give fair warning. If I see anyone trying to drag this post off into strange off-topic areas, I’m quite prepared to show how just how irritated I get with arguments that I looked at and and probably discarded before I left my teens. I’d suggest that OpenMike would be a better place to launch into such discussions. Stay on topic. 

67 comments on “My civics – the New Zealand civil war”

  1. R.P Mcmurphy 1

    there are some people in the middle east who are still going on about Alexander the Great.
    I hate war.
    when I was young I loved it.
    violence.
    mayhem.
    bloodshed.
    death.
    hatred.
    resentment.
    I dont like that anymore.

  2. Ad 2

    “…a core group of around 20% of history teachers resist engaging with New Zealand’s colonial history, including the New Zealand wars.”

    Meaning 80% of history teachers are fine with it. That’s pretty good.

    And 74% of teachers are European ancestry apparently means that they have some implied bias again teaching about local wars?

    Lyn it ain’t the locals who are ignorant. It’s the foreign teachers.

    Other than the just-completed state funded full four-year programme of national commemoration together with multiple teaching units, televised national ceremonies, massive extensions to the national war memorial in Wellington, and absolutely zero support from the left for even talking about war when they would rather talk about a breakdown in the National Party (over 900 comments here alone), maybe there’s simply a limit to young people giving a damn.

    As for worrying about who serves in the military or not having an opinion, our military is insignificant, and that is a good thing across all levels of our society.

    • locus 2.1

      … there are many problems identified in this excellent post by LPRENT: one is the failure of NZ school history curriculum to require the land wars to be taught to all school children, a second is that research by two academics has shown that a “hard core of history teachers refuse to teach the country’s colonial history” Both of these issues need to be thoroughly investigated and challenged.

      From my point of view teaching colonial history should not be an option in New Zealand schools and should be considered a core element in the curriculum.

      I haven’t read the academic research, but it seems unlikely that the findings identified NZ Europeans or “foreign teachers” as “ignorant”. But if you can point me in the direction of the basis for your comment, perhaps that would be an important aspect to address. However, my reading is that ‘refusal’ to teach the subject does not imply ignorance.

      Your point about the Left not supporting “talking about war” is somewhat of a non-sequitur. TS is not the Left, as you undoubtedly know…. Just because people are fascinated by the complete disaster that is unfolding in the opposition party and don’t talk about war on TS doesn’t mean that they don’t have a view or don’t talk about war in other forums.

      Regarding your comment on military experience, have you been a professional solder Ad? If so, perhaps you can give some context to your assertion that “our military is insignificant” and that this is “a good thing across all levels of our society”.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        We have one of the smallest armed forces in the world.
        We provide a very small part of our national budget to our armed forces.
        On both counts not significant.

        It plays a very small part in our society because we are a peaceful and settled country with very few threats anywhere near our horizon.
        That means in terms of security we don’t need much of a military.
        Which is a very good thing across all levels of our society.

        They do a great job in the stuff they do.

    • lprent 2.2

      As for worrying about who serves in the military or not having an opinion, our military is insignificant, and that is a good thing across all levels of our society.

      At some point figure out the numbers of people who rotate through the various services – military, police, emergency services, front line medical, social welfare, trade unionists and other hard line systems that our society relies upon and where they wind up after they have done their service. Then consider exactly what kind of people volunteer to do those duties for even the short time that they can do them.

      You’d be surprised how it adds up over the decades, and how they never forget the hard lessons learnt. There are more things around that you learn by doing than you can see from the policy wonk levels.

      It often makes talking to civilians about the real fragility of societies to be so tedious – as you have just demonstrated.

      The military was just used in this case as an example relevant to the discussion.

      You have this platform here precisely because I never did forget.

      • Ad 2.2.1

        We don’t have a fragile society. We are not another country. We are New Zealand.

        We are a successful country with very little need for a military other than to fulfill our international obligations and to protect economic interests.

        I have full respect for those who served, and I go to all remembrances.

        The armed forces are simply not as important as they used to be.
        They’ve never got over that, and they should.

        • lprent 2.2.1.1

          Compared to what? Your statement is essentially meaningless and pretty ill-informed without a comparison. And I note that you didn’t address the points raised.

          The RF Army is about the same size, and the territorials about half (due to recruitment) of what it was when I joined in 1978. The RF deployments were diminishing then post-vietnam.

          I think that the airforce and navy have reduced personnel as the force composition has changed. But I have less background info on them.

          The budget as a percentage of GDP is about the same as in 1978. It is ~1.5% now compared to 1.7% then – but the GDP has grown considerably.

          We have never had a large standing armed forces post WW2. We didn’t have between the wars or before WW1. Our large armed forces arose from volunteers and conscription in large conflicts, or as in the civil war – from Imperial forces being deployed.

          The armed forces have always been cadre for training and for unexpected events.

          We have a country that is geologically active (think Taupo or ChCh earthquakes). Any country with that kind of potential threat will always maintain a minimum reaction force.

          We are always engaged in active deployments offshore.

          Basically I think you are indulging in simple minded wishful thinking.

          • Ad 2.2.1.1.1

            We are one of the most stable and threat-free societies, according to our 2016 Defence White Paper. We’ve been that way for a while.

            Even a decade ago, when our region had a few flare-ups, the Prime Minister Helen Clark could comment:

            “Our high level of social cohesion and inclusion, and our international good citizenship was recognised in May this year with the release of the Global Peace Index, compiled with the support of the Economist Intelligence Unit.”

            https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/social-democracy-under-southern-cross-new-zealand-21st-century

            It may well be a great idea to teach “civics”, but your post stems from completely the wrong premise.

            Telling us that we should all on average know more about what James Belich calls the “New Zealand Wars” is fine, except that the number of countries who sustain public consciousness as well as we do about these wars and their impact already, can be counted on one hand. Few others have such an extensive set of institutions to redressing such wrongs and publicising them and educating us about them – the Waitangi settlement process and its Tribunal, together with all the other institutions devoted to raising public consciousness about the role and importance of Maori and its people to New Zealand. So using that as an example is not useful.

            Same for World Wars 1 and 2. For a non-militant country we have pretty significant remembrance programmes and education programmes. They are so effective that ANZAC Days grow more and more popular with young people every year.

            It would be more useful to try and education people about civics not by making more comparisons to the supposed nation-building capacities of military action, but by looking at the different approaches to nationbuilding from the Depression and through the 1990s structural adjustment policies.

            You could have a more convincing and relevant civics education programme about the growth and role of electricity, health, education, local government, transport, and social welfare.

            Looking at “civics” through the eyes of military engagement has no bearing on how we are living today, in New Zealand.

            We should study war no more.

  3. JanM 3

    Until a few years ago I was lecturing in Early Childhood Education, and the provider I worked for was very passionate about teachers having a bi-cultural perspective, including a reasonable grasp of the history of this country and the implications it had, particularly for Maori communities and the impact on teaching and learning for their children. I was horrified to discover, especially in one-on-one conversations with training teachers in their centres to discover how little they often knew about their own country as the result of a failure of the education system.
    I really think there is some reform needed here. It is wilful ignorance to ignore the reality that if you don’t know where you’ve come from you don’t know where you’re going to. It is not good enough to permit the continuation of the out-dated way of history teaching written by the winners. In fact, I think that continuing to teach in this way actually does more harm than good,

    • greywarshark 3.1

      Leaving so much for individual schools to decide for themselves what to teach, and Boards full of self-important accountants and middle class men and women who seem to be fairly conservative, style-conscious and money-oriented, was a backward step,.
      Wasn’t that one of David Lange’s.

      I thought we had broken through that know-nothing settler thinking but it is there all the time. Anti-Maori Brash and old white guys popping up with their founts of vinegar at the Constitution Conversation some years back. I was horrified and walked out.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        There is no indication that knowing about NZ history will make you more inclined towards a particular Maori based narrative.

        • DJ Ward 3.1.1.1

          Don’t expect lessons on the Chatham’s or other murdous, slave taking raiding parties. Or the prostitution of females to sailors.

          The problem with history like any form of propaganda is that you can lie by omission creating a distorted understanding of history. School kids are easy prey.

          It’s the “knowing about NZ history”, by indoctrination.

    • Aaron 3.2

      It wasn’t until my 40s that I learned that Gandhi got his ideas of non violent resistance from Parihaka – and only because I was interviewing someone who had just been to visit.

      The entire western world is aware of Gandhi – and Martin Luther King who followed on with the spirit of non-violence. Apparently people in India are very aware of Te Whiti and what he did but here in New Zealand we don’t have a clue. The only reason most of us have even heard of Parihaka is because Tim Finn wrote a song about it.

      I still don’t know many Pakeha who are aware of these basic facts so yes – we badly need a change in the way history is taught in this country.

      Oddly, I feel proud to come from the land that originated this concept even though my forebears were on the side of the oppressors.

  4. Tamati Tautuhi 4

    Problem is most History Teachers in New Zealand know very little about New Zealand History and if they do they teach their version of New Zealand History.

    • JanM 4.1

      My take on that is that they should not be able to get away with such ignorance and sloppiness – they are meant to be professionals!

      • WeTheBleeple 4.1.1

        Professor Margaret Mutu’s ‘Te Ao Maori’ paper should be compulsory for our teachers (and pupils but let’s start with teachers). Especially history teachers.

        Part of disenfranchisement is blatantly ignorant teachers.

        • JanM 4.1.1.1

          Utterly agree, WeTheBleeple!

        • Siobhan 4.1.1.2

          I agree with the need for change, change that should have happened ‘yesterday’, but to be fair to history teachers, they went through the same limited education system as the rest of us, and went on to Universities with the same biased, eurocentric understanding of the world.

          They are a product of a fundamentally racist, classist system.

          When I was doing 7th form Art at school in the 80’s we had a section called “Maori Art’, or something.
          I wouldn’t actually know, because my teachers presented it as something ‘we have to do’, but its a ‘waste of time ‘ and ‘ridiculous’.
          These were Art teachers, people I thought of as half smart liberals, educated broad minded decent people, not (I thought) racist bumpkins.

          So, we all just absorbed their crap, dismissive attitude.

          Presumably History followed in a similar if somewhat more nuanced vein.

          What is needed is demand for change from below, and a directive for change from above.
          And it starts with Te Reo as a core subject at school.
          (Which has a better chance of gaining traction when people dump the loaded term ‘Compulsory’).

          • Gosman 4.1.1.2.1

            There is this idea that if only people were better educated about NZ History they would understand the structural racism inherent in NZ society and support more progressive policies. That is a load of nonsense. The history of Maori and NZ European interaction in NZ is incredibly complex. As such it does not lead to any definitive conclusions along the lines I suggest.

  5. Antoine 5

    Well spoken lprent.

    A.

    P.S. But we shouldn’t expect teachers to teach any subject accurately – be it the NZ Wars or anything else
    P.P.S. Also note that badly taught history can in fact be very educational about human prejudice and bias, _assuming the student knows they are being badly taught_. Some parental input can be very valuable here

  6. JanM 6

    “Also note that badly taught history can in fact be very educational about human prejudice and bias, _assuming the student knows they are being badly taught_. Some parental input can be very valuable here”. That’s asking rather a lot of a 12 year old isn’t it? And does that strange notion extend to all subjects?

    • Antoine 6.1

      Even a bright 9 year old can recognise biased BS with a bit of practice and guidance

      A.

      • WeTheBleeple 6.1.1

        I didn’t learn critical thinking till my 40’s. Religion and Asperger’s will do that to a person. Plenty of children would be in the same or similar boats, fed utter nonsense by their caregivers who use fear, bribery and all manner of coercion to try and ‘save us’.

        When your world is broken you hang onto any thread, no matter how tenuous.

        And I was a VERY BRIGHT 9 year old, whipping all adult butt in studies, that unfortunately were bible studies.

      • DJ Ward 6.1.2

        Yes children see it plain as day when the family court removes fathers from their lives. They unlike the court are first hand witness to actions and haven’t prejudged the parents due to gender.

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    This topic is essential to our future. I agree with the gist of the essay and Rachel Rafferty’s quote is indeed crucial: “History is not just an account of past events, but an interpretation. Which historical events are taught in schools, and how they are presented, communicates an important message to pupils about national identity.”

    What I got from the education system in the fifties & sixties is that our history is so boring that everyone ought to ignore it. Took me more than twenty years to overcome that bias. Tony Simpson’s Road to Erewhon was a revelation! I remember David Lange proudly announcing Tomorrow’s Schools, thinking `gee, dunno if Labour can live up to that hype, since when have they ever made genuine progress?’ Thirty years later, we can see it was all total crap. Nothing changed.

    Also from Rafferty: “When discussing how emotions could cloud students’ objectivities, with negative results for social cohesion, the problem cited was that of nationalistic emotions which caused students to ignore not only the historical experience of other groups but even to dispute clear historical evidence which did not agree with their communal narratives. Conversely, caring, when understood as the skill of empathizing with other points of view, was widely viewed by interviewees as beneficial.”

    Emotional intelligence has yet to be factored into education, but we see in this quote how crucial it is when dealing with group relations. The origin of identity politics can be seen clearly in the classroom, as soon as the history is discussed in terms of affected groups. Kids either belong to such groups, realise they are on one side of an historical divide, or are dispassionate observers (immigrants). A skilful teacher may have the finesse to mediate between kids who have already had pro & anti biases brainwashed into them, but you can see why most teachers would bail out.

  8. Gosman 8

    Your use of prison statistics and link to the outcome of the conflict between Maori and the Crown in the mid to late 19th century is unscientific. It would have more credence if the areas where Maori suffered the most from the conflicts (Taranaki, Waikato, King Country) had the worst outcomes. However I strongly suspect it is not the case and in fact it is likely areas least affected by the conflicts that have the higher social issues.

    • lprent 8.1

      Have you ever looked at the urban migration stats for Maori over the 20th?

      Perhaps you should rather than just making shit up.

      • Gosman 8.1.1

        But urban migration was always going to be difficult for Maori regardless of whether they lost a war with the Settler government or not. The Urban environment was always going to be a different cultural environment given they were set up and developed by the Settlers. Even if we had the best race relations record on the planet and managed to live in harmony with each other groups of Maori learning to live in an alien environment will have caused social upheaval and had negative social consequences.

        • solkta 8.1.1.1

          If they still had their land and other resources why would they be moving outside their rohe or choosing to live in nuclear family style housing?

          • Gosman 8.1.1.1.1

            Do you know which Iwi in the country that had the most land alienated (either from confiscation or land sales)?

            Do you know which Iwi were able to keep control of their land the most compared to other Iwi?

            Do you know which Iwi are the most urbanised?

            Of these which ones are suffering from the greatest amount of negative social statistics?

  9. Gosman 9

    The post does raise an interesting point about teaching history. I think there is an idea from some that teaching about the conflict between the settler society and some Maori in the 19th Century will allow people to understand the negative social outcomes for many Maori today. This view is not necessarily correct. in fact learning about the conflict might highlight some counter-intuitive facts about Maori that calls in to question the whole victim of colonialism paradigm.

  10. Gosman 10

    Take a look at the largest Iwi in NZ and the one with a high proportion of people that have negative social indicators such as unemployment, drug use, lack of education, high crime and incarceration rates. This would be Ngapuhi in Northland. The impact of Setller society on this tribe post the 1840’s were minimal. The Tribe itself managed to keep more land than most other Iwi in the country and instead of the Crown starting the War against them it was the other way around and they did not have much (if any land confiscated) as a result of the conflict. The question then becomes why are Ngapuhi at the bottom of social statistics if they were impacted less than other Iwi that lost more land or subject to greater sanction from the Crown in conflict.

    • JanM 10.1

      Your comments show a woeful ignorance of the effects of colonisation on a culture. It would seem that you are a victim of ignorant history teaching 🙁

      • DJ Ward 10.1.1

        You therefore make the assumption that Moari were socially, and technologically equal to the Invaders. What is the starting point? He points out that the direct effects of colonisation were small on that group but the long term effects are the greatest. Therefore the negative developement effects of colonisation increases as British influence decreases.

        Culture is a specific thing. It may influence imprisonment rates but so does the socio economic policy of government.

        The reality is the isolationist Northland lacked investment in critical stages of NZ’s developement. Economically our major port should be in Northland with a top grade rail network into the rest of NZ. This didn’t happen as investers due to isolationism didn’t have confidence or the ability to invest in Northland.

        The end result is Gosman makes a good point.

        You just made a baseless Personal attack.

      • Professor Longhair 10.1.2

        Teaching has nothing to do with such ignorance. Blame his parents, and his own lack of curiosity.

        • Roflcopter 10.1.2.1

          Fucktard comments like this are why Teachers are unwilling to engage in teaching this stuff properly.
          They’ll always get told they’re wrong by someone, so it’s just easier to bypass it.

          • Professor Longhair 10.1.2.1.1

            The reason you enjoyed so little respect at school probably had a great deal to do with your use of such unimaginative and boorish language as “fucktard”.

            • Gosman 10.1.2.1.1.1

              Ironic much? Your reply to me insults both my parent and myself without any evidence. That suggests a very unimaginative and boorish approach to debate.

        • Gosman 10.1.2.2

          What part of my comment is ignorant and are you going to argue the counter point or just engage in pointless personal attacks?

          • DJ Ward 10.1.2.2.1

            Looks like Personel attacks only day.

            They can’t argue the point so plead that ‘you’ are ignorant.
            They even passed blame to your parents like they imply sympathy for your state of mind. This is an implication that it’s ‘you’ that’s racially inferior due to parentage.
            Different opinion divergent from the idealist view is not permitted. Facts result in the Personel attacks as the story or ideology no longer works.

  11. Kay 11

    I think I caught the very tail end of the “Empire” curriculum at school- which was still going into the 1980s. Third & Fourth Form Social Studies plus 7th Form History (didn’t do 5th/6th Form History so not sure what was taught there) left me with an extremely dodgy version of the Treaty and great expertiese in the English reformation, some European WW2 battles and the home front in Britain during WW2 (but not a peep about NZ during the same period). I recall being somewhat short changed for many years after that, and still do, although of course I’ve subsequently educated myself on NZ history.

    An ancestor of mine was high up in the British army in 1860s and involved in some of the atrocities that went on here in Taranaki/Whanganui, subsequently rewarded politically and with a knighthood, and memorialised with a street (and road sign) in central Wellington so I’m constantly reminded I’m related to him…ugh.

    I have to wonder if the family connection is the only reason I ever felt short changed by the school curriculum- would I have felt like anything more that a fleeting and yes- very Eurocentric reference to the “Maori Wars” (which none of us questioned, that’s what it was known as) was necessary, or that it really didn’t matter because English history was WAY more exciting anyway. And you could see it too- all those castles! /sarc

  12. SHG 12

    ask them when they served

    when did you serve lprent?

    • lprent 12.1

      1978-1983. By then I was running a factory in New Lynn so didn’t have the time. Plus I was rather pissed of at Muldoon getting the EMEs stringing barbed wire and barricades up at the top of my street in Kingsland in 1981.

      When did you?

  13. mary_a 13

    My school years were in the ’50s & early ’60s. When learning NZ history through social studies, we were taught about the “Maori wars.” Not the land wars, or the invasion of Aotearoa, or the theft of property by way of land from the indigenous people of Aotearoa, or the destructive colonisation of Maori. No it was “Maori wars!” Propagandized nonsense, that if any of what was taught was questioned or challenged was to be disobedient, more often than not resulting in punishment.

    Can’t remember much about the Treaty of Waitangi, just bits and pieces, much of which was based on Maori being protected by the British Crown and not much else. The impression was, how fortunate for Maori!

    Can even remember being taught how proud and grateful we pupils (of various ethnicities btw) should be for being British subjects as part of a great empire ffs!

    • Gosman 13.1

      Do you know why Hone Heke rebelled against the Crown in 1845/46 in Northland?

      • mary_a 13.1.1

        OK I’ll give it a go.

        As far as I can remember from what I was taught at school Gosman (13.1), Hone Heke challenged the authority of the British in Northland. As a result war erupted between Maori and the British, during 1845/46, which I think might have been the first war post the signing of the Treaty. His protest was to cut down the British flag pole. If my memory serves me correct, Hone Heke wanted to protect his people from becoming servants of the crown.

        • Gosman 13.1.1.1

          Partially correct. However the real reason was that Hone was concerned about the loss of Mana (not to forget and the loss of custom revenue he previously received) that he felt he had occurred as a result of the actions after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. His fears of being made a slave/servant of the British were stoked by external forces such as French Missionaries and more effectively the American Whaling community in the Bay of Island. The reason he started a War with the British was not as a result of bad behaviour from Settlers but because he regretted what had occurred as a result of agreeing to the terms of the Treaty. Noone had really broken the Treaty at this stage. This also explains why Ngapuhi was split between those supporting Hone and those supporting Waka Nene who fought on the side of the British during the Northern war.

          • McFlock 13.1.1.1.1

            Doesn’t your expounding forth support mary_a’s original description of her education about NZ history?

            • Gosman 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Possibly. Although her lack of education on the causes of the Northern War does not necessarily mean she is less disposed to Maori as is implied by some.

              • McFlock

                When it comes to human behaviour, nothing “necessarily” means anything 100%.

                But that doesn’t mean any particular thing wouldn’t be sufficient to cause particular reactions and conditions for many or even most people in a specific population.

                tldr: when it comes to individuals or societies, exceptions do not invalidate general observations.

          • mary_a 13.1.1.1.2

            Righto Gosman. I concede you are far more knowledgeable than me when it comes to NZ history. Let’s leave it at that shall we?

            • Gosman 13.1.1.1.2.1

              I’m not trying to you are ignorant. In fact your understanding on the causes of the Northern war were in the ballpark. What I’m more interested in is that you highlighted your education being shaped by a particular view of Maori and whether that make you more or less understanding of Maori issues.

          • mauī 13.1.1.1.3

            However the real reason was that Hone was concerned about the loss of Mana (not to forget and the loss of custom revenue he previously received) that he felt he had occurred as a result of the actions after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

            Can’t remember historian James Belich mentioning that in his documentary series…

            • Gosman 13.1.1.1.3.1

              Then you were obviously not paying attention.

              • mauī

                Hobson had the United Tribes flag removed from the flagstaff at Kororāreka (the New Zealand Company’s version of the flag was also hauled down at Port Nicholson). Heke saw this as denying Māori equal status with the government. He had gifted the flagstaff to Kororāreka so that the Māori flag could be flown there. Attacking the flag would emphasise that his grievance was with the government. He had no desire to hurt or alarm settlers.

                https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/northern-war/origins

                Nor do the Ministry of Culture and Heritage seem to make any mention of it…

                • Gosman

                  Yes, his Mana was diminished by having the Union flag flying over Kororāreka. This coupled with the fact his revenue from Ships calling in at the Bay of Islands had diminished significantly since 1840. There was not really any major events that lead to Heke starting the conflict (Although the trial of Maketū for murder may have been influential in moving him away from a pro British position). Instead Heke seems to have got the hump at how he felt he was being treated and the Flag flying over Kororāreka became the manifestation of this feeling. The truth of the matter was that the British were more interested in setting up settlements in other parts of the country .

  14. R.P Mcmurphy 14

    I am just as anxious as anyone else to read the full story of the NZ civil wars.
    Can you recommend a good reading list

  15. Tamati Tautuhi 15

    Well f%&k me Gosman has got a PhD in Maaori History as well ?

  16. Tamati Tautuhi 16

    The Musket Wars 1820-1835 written by a lawyer from Nelson, should be compulsory reading for every NZ citizen, they believe 80,000 Maoris were killed in that era with Internal Civil War, Hongi ika was destructive in the North and virtually cleaned out Ngati Whatua, he traveled as far South as the Hawkes Bay and attacked Ngati Kahangungu. Te Rauparaha after being removed from Kawhia by the Waikato tribes was equally as brutal as he cleaned up the Taranaki and the Horowhenua tribes, and went as far South as Akaroa with his fire and brimstone.

    Te Rauparaha had 2000 slaves tending his gardens in the Horowhenua, Kapiti Island was his base where he supplied the British Navy Pacific Fleet with spars, rope, fresh fruit & vegetables, water etc,

    This lead to the signing of the Treaty Of Waitangi as te maaori had virtually extinguished themselves, this should be compulsory reading for all New Zealand school children.

    • Dennis Frank 16.1

      Wikipedia: “The Musket Wars were a series of as many as 3,000 battles and raids fought throughout New Zealand as well as the Chatham Islands among Māori between 1807 and 1845, after Māori first obtained muskets and then engaged in an intertribal arms race in order to gain territory or seek revenge for past defeats. The battles resulted in the loss of between 20,000 and 40,000 lives and the enslavement of tens of thousands of Māori and significantly altered the rohe, or tribal territorial boundaries, before the imposition of colonial government in the 1840s.”
      https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/musket-wars/overview
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musket_Wars
      https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/new-zealands-19th-century-wars/the-musket-wars

      • Dennis Frank 16.1.1

        For interested readers, there’s also these:
        Ballara, Angela, Taua: Musket Wars, Land Wars or tikanga? Warfare in Maori society in the early nineteenth century, Penguin, Auckland, 2003
        Crosby, Ron, The Musket Wars – A History of Inter-Iwi Conflict 1806–45, Reed, Auckland, 1999
        Wright, Matthew, Guns & Utu: A short history of the Musket Wars (2012), Penguin

  17. Antoine 17

    > This lead to the signing of the Treaty Of Waitangi as te maaori had virtually extinguished themselves

    This sounds like BS to me.

    1. A people cannot ‘extinguish themselves’ through civil war. Wars kill some people and shift around the power balance but an entire people cannot wipe themselves out in this way (not using conventional weapons anyway). When the death toll gets high, people simply stop fighting and retrench. Lick their wounds, grieve for the dead, enjoy the spoils, whatever.

    2. The Maori population in 1840 was a healthy 100,000 or so – only a little lower than in the mid 18th century. ‘Virtually extinguished?’ Hardly.

    3. The main decline in Maori population was actually in the 20-30 years _after_ the signing of the ToW, due mainly to introduced germs (measles, flu, TB etc). Population dropped by more than half. Now infectious diseases really can ‘virtually extinguish’ a population as was seen in North America in the 16th/17th centuries.

    4. There is no single reason why the ToW was signed. Different signatories had different hopes/expectations.

    5. There is no such thing as ‘compulsory reading for all NZ school children’. Different children read different things, different schools hand out different books. That’s just how it is and how it’s going to be for the foreseeable future.

    6. Why would someone with a Maori handle make anti Maori comments? Puzzling.

    A.

    (Sources include: https://teara.govt.nz/en/population-change/page-6)

  18. Sam A 18

    The post about Archives NZ, National Library and DIA, is currently up:

    http://briefingpapers.co.nz/follow-the-money/

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  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
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  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
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