Bruce McFadgen tries to repudiate Price’s findings

By Ian Bradford

The Poukawa excavations were meticulously carried out by Russell Price over a number of years. In the early years of the excavations, scientists were open and honest about their work. That all began to change in the 1970’s. 

The crucifixion of Russell Price began seriously in 1978. A little known individual Bruce McFadgen released an article. He released the report under the auspices of the Victoria University Geology Department. McFadgen is supposed to have visited the Poukawa site in 1973 but Russell Prices neighbours cannot recall the visit having taken place. 

This was supposed to have been a formal archaeological dig on David Buddos farm but no permission was ever asked or given. David Buddo was Russell Price’s neighbour. The Geology Department of Victoria University had no involvement with the alleged McFadgen dig. 

 Scientific support for Russell Price 

In fact, by 1970 three individuals from the Geology Department had visited the site and were all in agreement that Russell Price was correct in his findings. These three were H Wellman, B.Kohn and C Vucetich who were supported by pedologist A. Pullar.  

As mentioned previously, a group of scientists (probably including the above), aligned with Russell Price prepared a written statement of support. This was generally not for publication. However, here is one part of that statement, but the writer remains anonymous.  

Occupation of the site has continued over a long period. The older occupation appears to have commenced prior to the start of the peat formation and hence also before the water level of ancient Lake Poukawa had reached its highest level. If the rate of peat formation has been substantially uniform then peat started forming at about post glacial sea level minimum say 4500 years ago. The stratigraphically lowest discoveries lie beneath the peat and may conceivably pre-date 4500 years ago. The site demonstrates human occupation of this area of much greater antiquity than anything previously anticipated.”

The dishonest, devious Bruce McFadgen

 McFadgen’s report was released after the retirement of Dr Rafter from his position of head of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences. Before retirement, Rafter had written to Price about some readings which gave dates more recent than expected. Russell Price gave a very logical explanation. He had started a dig in some low ground near a fence line. Previously, all his digs have been on higher ground which was never covered in water. His new dig was in peat soil which had been previously sodden. By then it had 42 years to dry out. It was extensively cracked.  It also, over the years, had shrunk so that the Taupo ash was very close to the surface. The ash band was wavy not flat. Shallow ploughing had cut through some of the high points of the ash and the charcoal of the Maori occupation had fallen down through the breaks in the ash band.  Charcoal and ash also fell down the shrinkage cracks. Russell Price considered this location unsuitable for any valid results. 

Now Price’s letter of explanation of the unsuitability of the site had been within Government department records for 4 years and could have been read by McFadgen. In his 1978 report McFadgen mentions all of the things Price had mentioned in his letter to Rafter. He gave these things as reasons why the dating of Price from his high, dry land digs were incorrect.

So whereas Russell Price saw no merit in carrying on with such a low site, McFadgen deliberately chose it for his archaeological probe so that is gave these negative attributes. Price and his colleagues only dug in locations where all the layers lay undisturbed. They always inspected the Taupo ash band to make sure no cracks were visible before digging down further. The position of moa bones and artifacts were recorded at every level.

 If the integrity of Price’s work was to be tested then why dig in a place that he had regarded as unsuitable.  It seemed like a deliberate act on the part of McFadgen.  

McFadgen’s dig sites would have been under water till 1931.They therefore produced predictably poor results. Samples taken under the Taupo ash showed a young age. From McFadgen’s point of view this seems to have been the whole purpose of what can be construed as a very underhand exercise to destroy Price by false association and innuendo. 

The integrity of Russell Price

Farmer neighbours David and Bill Buddo, leading scientists, friends and close associates saw how crestfallen Price was in the last five years of his life, following McFadgen’s clumsy, unwarranted defamation of his careful work. School teacher Ivan Cash worked with Russell Price on weekends for a year. 

He was taken by the sincerity and honesty of the man. Russell just found things and let the experts tell him what he had found. He described Russell as being astute, knowledgeable, observant and careful.  

Price had shown Cash a moa bone with three toes that bore deep cuts in its surface. Price said he had excavated it from the blue pug clay below the intact Waimihia ash and that the DSIR had dated it at 5280 years ago. 

Those who worked with Price came to realise just how entrenched, determined and vicious the academic adversaries, opposing Price’s findings actually were.   

The indigenous Maori movement

Just when it looked like we were going to have full disclosure of our long term history the clobbering machine went into full swing. We were not permitted to have this forbidden knowledge. Thereafter, New Zealand archaeological research in this sphere was locked down and has now been the case for over fifty years. The United Nations foisted the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on New Zealand. This had the effect of dividing the country with the central theme that Maori are the only people to have ever occupied pre-colonial New Zealand. Thus one group is empowered while the other is disenfranchised. 

How did this all come about?  In 1971 the New Zealand born Polynesians formed the Polynesian Black Panther Party, influenced by the USA equivalent. Maori initially had little interest, but later alliances were formed.  The unions at the time were heavily Marxist. They seized on the opportunity to sow discontent and discord to further their cause. They funded activists to be sent to Russia, China or Cuba for indoctrination in destabilising tactics.  

Among the dissidents at the time was Donna Awatere who seemed to adore mass murderer Ché Guevara. Awatere went to Cuba in 1979. She had an ally in Syd Jackson a core member of the pre-eminent Maori pressure group of the time. 

The purposely manufactured inaccurate portrayal of our history rose to a crescendo through the 1970’s.  It began to infiltrate universities and government departments. 

Former studies about pre-colonial human habitation derived from Maori oral traditions and archaeological evidence began to disappear from the library shelves, to be replaced by suitably sterilised Maori-supremacy based history. 

In the mid 1970’s the use of the incorrect version of the Treaty of Waitangi a marvellous opportunity for exploitation of the differences in the formal Royal Style Treaty could occur. So over the following years the argument was that Maori had NOT ceded sovereignty in 1840, that they were pre-eminent and supreme as the indigenous people and that non-Maori were second class citizens with only the right to be in the country. 

Maori supremacists had turned a benign and friendly treaty document of unification, which had stood for 140 years, into a new document of apartheid.  Our older true account books were replaced by cultural Marxists versions of socially engineered history that promoted Maori as victims of imperialism.  

It was also the era of manufactured guilt where European New Zealanders were pressured to  feel guilt for sins that had never been committed by their ancestors – sins that required heavy financial compensation for aggrieved Maori in order to make amends. Increasingly there was to be no mention of any people occupying NZ before the arrival of Polynesians in the 13th century AD and any evidence to the contrary has been censored and buried. 

The evidence of Russell Price and others proves pre-Polynesian settlement

Dynamic evidence of long term pre-Maori occupation of New Zealand found by Russell Price and others, and proven beyond reasonable doubt was simply ignored. New Zealand archaeology was quickly reduced to a farce with unwanted results subject to an embargo by Maori intervention, so that sites were locked down, shrouded in secrecy and unwanted discoveries simply destroyed.  

Russell, your work is appreciated by many of us. We shall continue to push for what is right and we assure you, your patient excavations was not in vain.  

The fact that Maori are NOT indigenous is important on two counts.

  • Firstly, Maori have used the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to gain millions of dollars of ordinary New Zealanders money through the Waitangi Tribunal, and from the government. 
  • Secondly, the proposed New Zealand History syllabus for Year 1-10 students, which some call Maori Studies, says our history starts in the thirteenth century.  It is perfectly clear that our history began long before that. How can a history syllabus be written that leaves out hundreds of years of our history? 

(Acknowledgement: I would like to acknowledge Martin Doutré, whose excellent recording of Russell Price’s excavations has been the basis of my last two parts to this article.)