by Bruce Moon
Truth distortion reminiscent of the Nazis
It is reported in ‘Newsroom’ for 11/11/20 that the leaders of the Maori Party have said:
“From seeking to rebuild their communities – South Taranaki and eastern Bay of Plenty – from the ravages of land alienation. From lived memories of the brutal seizures in Taranaki, that the Waitangi Tribunal and former Māori Party co-leader Dame Tariana Turia called a holocaust, memories that still cut very deep.”
This statement is such a distortion of the truth that it is all too reminiscent of the words of Nazi propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels – those Nazis actually responsible for the real holocaust. “Tell a big enough lie often enough,” said Hitler, “and people will believe it.”
The real situation in Taranaki in the 1840s and 1850s
Of the true situation in Taranaki, missionary Samuel Ironside wrote in 1862:
“I have lived twenty years in New Zealand in the capacity of a Wesleyan Methodist Missionary, am tolerably conversant with the language and habits of the natives, was in and out among the poor people during many of their wars, and yield to none in a sincere desire for their welfare. … Not an acre of land has ever been purchased from the natives except at their own repeated request, and by the free consent, as far as could be ascertained, of every individual owner…. They have now millions of acres of land unappropriated, not one tithe of which they can ever cultivate. This land has been a fruitful source of quarrel, bloodshed and violence, among themselves.”
And only a year or two earlier, rebels had destroyed 177 settler farms and homesteads acquired in legitimate land transactions.
The Taranaki Maoris had more to fear from the Waikato tribes, about 1200 of them dying in the ovens of the Waikato for a cannibal feast when Pukerangiora fell in 1831. Now that was something like a “holocaust”!
And then in 1834 the Harriet was wrecked on the South Taranaki shore, fourteen of the crew being cooked and eaten with Mrs Guard, a survivor, offered the cooked flesh of her own brother. Even after 1840 cannibalism did not cease, with Titokowaru in his rebellion eating Maori and white victims alike.
And in the Eastern Bay of Plenty – the Opotiki area to be precise – missionary Volkner was murdered by Hau Hau rebels in 1865, his eyes being swallowed by Kereopa Te Rau who also drank Volkner’s blood from his skull in his own pulpit. Lovely people! Yet that man has now been pardoned by one of your predecessors. Every other murderer in New Zealand’s history ought to be pardoned by that standard!
Selling land willingly
And “land seizures”? Most of the land, mostly wilderness and of very little value to them, was sold eagerly by tribe after tribe in order to obtain European trading goods. There are registered records in Sydney of 179 pre-treaty land sales in the South Island alone, much of that being returned to former Maori owners in Hobson’s review after 1840. The story was much the same in the North. As you yourself have said: “roughly 80% of Maori freehold land was underutilised or underproductive”. And that is today! Imagine it in the 1860s!
Barbaric behaviour during the Musket wars
It was of course in the so-called Musket Wars of 1807-1837 that slaughter, cannibalism and slavery of Maori by Maori reached unprecedented heights by any standards. Among “ravages” in the Eastern Bay of Plenty were the raid in 1818 by Ngapuhi and Ngarti Maru of Thames, reaching as far as Hicks Bay. Hongi returned to the Bay of Islands in January 1819 with a very large number of prisoners, as many as 2,000 by one estimate, including many chiefs and many preserved heads of the slain. The prisoners were shared out as slaves to the families of the Ngapuhi victors.
“Brutal seizures?” “Holocaust?” Come on, now. How dare anybody compare colonial behaviour in Taranaki with that? Why not ask Rawiiri Waititi to tell you about all this, Jacinda – or has he somehow forgotten? And while he is at it, he could tell you about another Ngapuhi raid in 1823 led by Pomare when many Ngati Pukeko and Whakatohea were slaughtered – or has he forgotten that too?.
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Extravagant, untrue claims
Since in general in major land purchases, Maoris villages, gardens and graveyards were reserved to them, the land which was sold was undeveloped, virtually unproductive. and much of it virtually worthless.
Yet we have Sacha McMeeking of Ngai Tahu: saying, “the value of [its] dispossessed lands lay between $12 and $15 billion.”
We have Margaret Mutu saying, “thanks to a subsequent barrage of questionable land purchases and wholesale confiscations of vast tracts of New Zealand … the Maori lost approximately 95% of their territories.”
We have Marama Fox saying, “Over the past 160 years … 95% of our land was lost either by force or stealth.”
We have Nuk Korako writing of the “wrong” which was “the Crown’s massive theft of Maori land”.
We have Mark Solomon saying, “Ngai Tahu lost $12 billion worth of assets.”
We have Joshua Hitchcock claiming that, “the total value of the loss suffered by Ngai Tahu amounted to $16 billion.”
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Robbing the taxpayer on the basis of false claims
Prime Minister, I am sick and tired of the perpetual lies being told by such people, many of whom have substantially more European than Maori ancestry. Many of them note their tribal affiliations, but do not mention their British forebears — in some notable cases a father or grandparents! I wonder why?
I am sick and tired of fraudulent claims being accepted at face value by the corrupt Waitangi Tribunal.
I am sick and tired of government after government paying up on such a basis in transactions which amount to the robbery of other citizens of New Zealand.
I am sick and tired of the racial hatred stirred up by false claims about our colonial past and the destruction it causes in our once happy little country of New Zealand.
I thought it proper to inform you.
On a related theme, we recommend reading this article by veteran journalist Karl du Fresne who, as usual, is spot on in his observations. —Eds