Sunday, August 21, 2016
Mike Butler: Day to honour tribal rebels
1. To raise awareness of the Land Wars and how they relate to local history for schools and communities.
2. To introduce these local histories into the New Zealand Curriculum as a course of study for all New Zealanders.
3. To memorialise those who gave their lives on New Zealand soil with a statutory day of recognition.
Fairfax breathlessly reported on Saturday, August 20, that a date would be set for public holiday to commemorate New Zealand Land Wars. (1)
But Deputy Prime Minister Bill English quickly hosed down such heightened expectations on the following Monday when he said there would be no national holiday, only a day of commemoration that was up to tribes to agree to. (2)
Perhaps English had just worked out that with 2,460,000 employees in New Zealand, a Land Wars Day holiday would cost employers around $394-million (calculated at $20 an hour per worker).
I opposed establishing such a day, I sent in a submission, and said I wished to speak to the submission. I got no reply other than the electronic response that the submission had been received.
You and I know that New Zealand’s history has been rewritten through the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process and much of that rewritten history includes half-truths and misinformation.
For instance, Waikato claimants say that colonial troops murdered 144 women and children cowering in a church at Rangiaowhia on February 21, 1864, and set the church on fire.
Unfortunately for that untrue alleged atrocity tale, the church that was supposed to have been burned is still standing and eyewitness accounts record the deaths of five troops and 10 anti-government Maori as the result of a gun battle around a raupo hut. See Bruce Moon: Rangiaowhia Incident
The reasons for my opposition to such a commemoration day were because:
1. Such a day would most likely focus on those who fought against the government when Maori fought both for and against the government in New Zealand during the 19th century. Besides, the 19th century armed conflicts in New Zealand are more accurately described as tribal rebellions than land wars.
2. A further day like Waitangi Day to enable political grandstanding on tribal grievances is neither wanted nor needed. We don’t want a second Waitangi Day every year.
3. Those who grandstand often repeat stories of old grievances and ignore compensation paid in the 1940s, and the $3.2-billion paid over the past 25 years.
4. ANZAC Day is our national war memorial day. That is when we can remember the 2899 killed in 19th century armed conflict in New Zealand, the 71 killed in the Boer Wars, the more than 18,000 killed in World War 1, over 12,000 killed in World War 2, and 36 in Vietnam.
1. Date to be set for public holiday to commemorate New Zealand Land Wars, Stuff, August 20, 2016. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/83329239/Government-announces-Land-Wars-Day-at-Turangawaewae
2. No public holiday for NZ land wars, Stuff, August 23, 2016. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/83459046/no-public-holiday-for-new-zealand-land-wars
at 8:54 AM