On the opinion piece by Dr Hylton Grice — see this post — we received an aggressive comment by someone using the above name.

Historian Bruce Moon has written a response to it below which we’ve decided to make a separate post as the subject is the centrepiece of the Jacinda regime based, it would seem, on the late 1980s reinvention of the Treaty of Waitangi which includes claims that were clearly not intended in the original from 1840 — see this article by Roger Childs. Usually we don’t allow troll comments which are intended at provoking contributors and other commentators, but as Mr ‘Descartes’ attitudes are at the the heart of the Jacinda government and its key backers, they need to be tackled head on.

First the comment from Mr ‘Descartes’ again:

This is racism, pure and simple. You poor saps – denying the reality of the changing face of Aotearoa to one of multi-culturalism and co-Governance is just living in the past – a past that has seen Māori suffer in a post-colonisation world.

Firstly, we have a Treaty that guarantees Māori certain rights and ownerships. Despite the fact that the Crown (represented by the Government of the day) ignored this for decades, illegally stealing Māori land, Māori worked through the courts rather than take up arms – something that would be justified in my opinion.

Reparation for land stolen (yes, stolen, and if you dispute this, you’re either a fool or lying) is barely enough to compensate for that which was taken.

It does filter down through the Iwi and Hapu system to those at the bottom, but they need to show their tribal affiliation. Obviously only those in a particular Iwi will share the returns given to that Iwi.

As for co-governance, opposition to this is grounded in the belief that Māori are incapable of governing well – a belief that a patriarchal, white governance is the only valid one is racist and backward.

Trigger words like “pure blood” – a white supremacist dog-whistle if ever there was one – and “One People” ignore the reality that the British came here and colonised Aotearoa (there’s ample evidence Māori called this land that so take your objections to the name and go back to England) and then systematically robbed Māori of their lands and their rights.

Get used to the future because it’s happening whether you like it or not.


response by Bruce Moon

The foregoing response to Dr Le Grice ignores the plain facts of history and is nothing but racist propaganda.  Warfare was endemic among pre-European Maori with cannibalism, slavery, land confiscation and degradation of the women of a defeated tribe in accordance with “tikanga” or the Maori way of doing things.

With the arrival of Europeans, tribal land was eagerly exchanged for the wide variety of goods the incomers brought with them. By my count, before 1840, 179 sales in the South Island alone were registered in Sydney by chiefs eager to sell.  Aware of this chaotic situation, Hobson, on the day after his arrival, issued a proclamation stating that in all lands in which British sovereignty was accepted, all such sales would be reviewed and only those confirmed would be recognised.  A commission was set up to do so, Frederick Maning, the “Pakeha Maori” who had arrived in 1833 being a member.  Many claims were dismissed or scaled down sharply.

Then, article second of the Treaty of Waitangi itself provided that all future sales would be to the Crown alone.  It is difficult to imagine any arrangement more fair to tribal sellers but in the event, the pressure of selling became so great that this provision was abandoned.  To deal with the fact that Maori land was in multiple ownership, a Maori Land Court was set up to deal with this situation and ensure that all title-holders were treated fairly.

Then in the North Island in the early decades of the colonial period, there was a number of tribal rebellions, falsely labelled “Land Wars” today and more or less localised.  Indeed Ngapuhi and Arawa offered warriors to the Government to assist in quelling the rebellion in Taranaki.  Land confiscation did indeed follow the suppression of these rebellions, fully in accordance with tikanga,  largely to compensate a cash-strapped Government for the costs it had incurred.  In fact some mistakes occurred in this process and a significant amount of confiscated land was returned to former Maori owners.

As things stand today, about 5.2% of the land of New Zealand remains under traditional Maori multiple ownership, about 4.5% was confiscated and that with rather more than 90% remaining is held under Torrens title by a variety of interested parties, many of whom are law-abiding citizens of part-maori descent.  We have done well in such matters as a nation and racist propaganda which denies this should be rejected outright.