The decisions of tomorrow are influenced by today’s slipshod history of yesterday. –Economist Richard Sidney Sayers

Thanks to our July speaker John Robinson

Well know local historian John Robinson attracted 30 attentive listeners on a cold wintery evening. They were not disappointed. The 1860 Kohimarama meeting is one of the forgotten peaceful event of the mid 19 century – another is Waitara in 1878 — but sadly the Auckland conference was overshadowed by the rebellions in Taranaki and Waikato in the early 1860s.  

The Conference showed that the majority of Maori leaders acknowledged the Queen’s sovereignty; respected the governor’s leadership and were grateful for the introduction of Christianity.

John explained that the two decades following Waitangi were generally positive for most Maori, but unfortunately a minority of aggressive chiefs opted to oppose the government in the 1860s. 

In the last section of his talk John linked these times to the present day and the growth of separatism, favouritism and special rights for Maori.

The Speaker for September 13: Larry Keim on “Working for the UN in the Western Sahara”

Presentation and discussion on the country, the local population, the geopolitical influences, and ongoing United Nations conflict Resolution in the region.

(Check out the Western Sahara on the Internet before you come.)

  • Tuesday 13 September, starting at 7.30pm sharp.
  • Kapiti Uniting Church, 10 Weka Road, Raumati Beach
  • In the hall beyond the main door and up a small set of steps.
  • A koha would be appreciated.

The October 11 session: the new Schools History Curriculum

Roger Childs on Enlightenment or Indoctrination?

What will Year 1–10 school kids be learning about NZ History in 2023 and beyond? The concept of having New Zealand History taught to all students aged 5-15 was greeted with enthusiasm in late 2019. However when a very selective list of possible topics was released, concerns were expressed. AUT Professor Paul Moon summed up the feelings of many: Of course there are risks that, if done poorly, compulsory history in our schools could veer into the realm of indoctrination.  

The Ministry have chopped and changed the detail in 2022, having said that there would be little change from the 2021 draft. Hopefully what I’ve uncovered is the final version!

The speakers and topics for the last two months

November 8 — Mark Dickson – The changing Kapiti Coastline 

December 13 — David Hadfield – Barry Hadfield – first mayor of the Kapiti District 

If you have any suggestions for speakers let one of us know. We are following up a suggestion for next year made by Josette.

Two events of interest coming up

Kapiti Horticultural Society Meeting

  • 7pm Friday 2 September. 
  • Venue Kapiti Uniting Church 10 Weka Road Raumati Beach — lower level meeting room
  • Speaker: Maria Brocklebank on New Zealand native oils.

Bring your best flower or best vegetable or fruit to display and compete with other gardeners. Raffles, Sales Table, Supper. Free entry.

Controversial historian – Vincent O’Malley at the Friends of the Library

  • 2 p.m. on Sunday 4 September.
  • Ocean Road Community Centre
  • Vincent O’Malley speaking to the Friends of the Library (FOTL)

This is the advertising from the FOTL

Vincent O’Malley is a New Zealand historian who, over the last 20 years, has been focusing on how Māori and Pākehā have been getting along. His research has led not just to a PhD from Victoria University but also to articles in scholarly journals, blogs, and a series of influential books. 

Essentially, the New Zealand Wars stretched across nearly 30 years, from 1845 to 1872, ranging from the Bay of Islands in the north to Wairau, near Blenheim, in the south, with a lot of action in Waikato and Taranaki. Some individual stories are better known than others: the messianic defiance of Te Kooti and Titokowaru​, Hone Heke and his repeated sabotage of British flagstaffs, the Parihaka tragedy of 1881 that was a post-script of sorts. 

Yet Vincent has found that New Zealand has tried to forget these major events. “We’re embarrassed about them and don’t quite know what to do with them. These are sites of incredible historical significance. If they were in America, they would be protected and recognised. There might even be museums or heritage centres.”

New Zealand is slowly emerging from its amnesia about the 19th-century New Zealand Wars and O’Malley is at least partially responsible for that. His monumental 2016 book about the 1863-64 war in Waikato, The Great War for New Zealand has been followed by Voices from the New Zealand Wars, a collection of first-person accounts by those who fought in the wars.

O’Malley writes that there is a lasting legacy of the New Zealand Wars. The relative depression of Northland since the wars, the sudden dominance of Auckland, the lasting economic and cultural pain of land confiscations, the end of a Māori-Pākehā partnership – all these can be traced to the wars. As O’Malley says in the book, “any discussion of contemporary Māori poverty that fails to acknowledge the long history of invasion, dispossession and confiscation is missing a vital part of the story”. 

However O’Malley can be selective and subjective. See

All are welcome, and entry is by koha.  Refreshments will be served.

Hope to see you on Tuesday 13 September. It would be great to get a good attendance.

Best wishes

Roger Childs, Gordon Dickson and Larry Keim