Sunday, July 11, 2021

Bruce Moon: "Indigeneity?"

Alert observers will surely be noting today the increasing references by Government spokesmen and others to “the rights of indigenous peoples” with Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson saying that “New Zealand’s efforts [are] already well down the path.”[i]  So perhaps now is the time to have a good look at what all this is about!

It all seems to have started when former Prime Minister Helen Clark visited United Nations headquarters in 2007. In September that year the General Assembly of the United Nations passed its “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People”, UNDRIP.  Of the four nations which refused to sign it at the time, Clark explained that she had not done so “because of legal concerns”. 

Rosemary Banks, New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in her address to the United Nations on 13 September 2007 went a little further, outlining why New Zealand could not sign the Declaration:

“Madam President, the place of Maori in society, their grievances and the disparities affecting them, are central and enduring features of domestic debate and of government action. Furthermore, New Zealand has an unparalleled system for redress accepted by both indigenous and non-indigenous citizens alike.”

When John Key became Prime Minister he had no such reservations.  To assure himself in 2010 of a parliamentary majority by gaining the support of the Maori Party which had two seats, he secretly send Pita Sharples to the United Nations.  Sharples, it is understood, recited his “whakapapa”, and signed the Declaration.  At no stage did Parliament have an opportunity to debate the issues.

Well, we do have a certain section of New Zealand’s population known as “Maoris”, where Maori is defined by Parliament as “a person of the Maori race or a descendant of such a person.”  In short this says: “A Maori is defined as a Maori.”

Clark, like Banks, had no hesitation in accepting that such people are “indigenous”, saying at an online seminar in Chile in on 17 March 2020: “The Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 between indigenous tribes and the representative of the British Queen, is regarded as our country’s founding document, and government at all levels is expected to act within its ethos of partnership”, referring the following day to a “significant indigenous population”... “16.5% of our population who are indigenous.”  She was of course referring to our part-Maoris, so there can be no doubt of where she stands!

And Peeni Henare, MP,  chips in, saying he’s “keen to hear an urban Māori view of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” and “what is the role of tangata whenua”.[ii]

So all this is rather curious, is it not?   What Article third of the Treaty of Waitangi actually did was give all the ordinary, or maori people – “tangata maori katoa”–- the same rights as the people of England – unprecedented and extraordinarily generous in its day – but not more!  Moreover, nowhere, simply nowhere, does the treaty refer to “tangata whenua” or “partnership”.  It does refer to “wenua” but nowhere to “whenua”.  One might have thought that with the interminable and exhausting attention given it today, the proponents of Maori rights and privileges would at least get their basic facts right!

And the other thing that all these people accept without question or so it appears, is that part-Maoris are “indigenous”.  In view of the looseness of so many their assumptions, it is time to take a careful look!

Populating the Pacific

The spread of human population to almost every inhabitable island[iii] of the vast Pacific is surely one of the most remarkable achievements of our kind.  The major moves were of course of Melanesians to the western Pacific followed by Polynesians to the east but people from other stock surely participated and there are accounts from early recent European explorers of fair-skinned people amongst others in some of the islands.  The ocean travels of Thor Heyerdahl[iv] have certainly shown that voyagers from the Americas could also have discovered and settled Pacific islands.  In the course of their ocean travels, at least some explorers will have made landfall in New Zealand though no reliable accounts have survived[v] – after all, very much smaller islands were discovered and settled.  The Polynesians were certainly capable ocean navigators[vi], though most navigators have an intended destination![vii]

Be that as it may, in the depths of antiquity, some people who were not Polynesians found their way here and settled.  There is incontrovertible evidence of this occurrence, artificially placed monoliths being convincing evidence to those who have eyes to see.[viii][ix][x]

But it is human remains which establish the presence of such people here beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Reconstruction of the face of a woman whose skull was found by one Jim Eyles at the Wairau Bar in 1939 establishes conclusively that she was not a Polynesian and other evidence from the site confirms this.[xi]  There is similar evidence from other parts of the country.

Even more compelling is the presence today in New Zealand of people of the Ngati Hotu tribe with fair or red hair, pale skin and green-blue eyes who assert that they are not Maori but survivors of more ancient people who were almost driven to extinction by the Maori invaders. Moreover, their distinctive DNA confirms this![xii]

If the word “indigenous” has any meaning, then it is these people who were and are the truly indigenous people of New Zealand.

The Polynesian Arrival

Adverse weather conditions in the thirteenth century, for which there is evidence in the coral reefs[xiii] led to severe food shortages on some eastern Pacific islands.[xiv]  One island might be severely affected whereas another a few days’ sailing away was not.  This could lead to attacks from one island on another by those on the brink of starvation and a severe warrior culture with associated cannibalism developed.  Thus emboldened, it would appear, the more adventurous set out in their ocean-going canoes and found their way to the shores of New Zealand.  While the once fashionable notion of a “Great Fleet” appears now to be highly improbable, it is well established that eight canoes[xv] did arrive in New Zealand from the eastern Pacific, the best of modern scholarship indicating that they arrived in the interval 1325-1400.[xvi]  It is from these arrivals that part-Maoris today assert that they are descended and there is no serious reason for doubt.

So what about the Maoris?

1.  We know when they came: ca 1350

2.  We know whence they came: Eastern Polynesia – confirmed by language comparisons, inter alia

3.  We know how they came: in the aforesaid canoes

Indigeneity implies that none of these key facts are known or at best only deduced indirectly![xvii]

It is a blatant falsehood to asset that Maoris are the indigenous people of New Zealand.

One may assert here that it would be justice for Ngati Hotu to receive their due from the Maori tribes which have oppressed them – and not indeed from the long-suffering taxpayer. That aside:

Talk of any Maori being indigenous should be removed now from all discourse and action.  It is no more than a plausible politicians’ trick to mislead the people of New Zealand.


[i]W.Jackson, “Waatea News”,2 July 2021

[ii]    P. Henare, ibid.

[iii]Indeed, attempts sometimes went beyond the feasible. The failed attempt to populate Henderson Island in the Pitcairn Group is an example.

[iv]E.Hesselberg, “Kontiki and I”, Allen and Unwin, 1950

[v]The tales of Kupe and others are almost certainly quite modern fictions.

[vi]D.Lewis, “The Voyaging Stars”, ISBN 0 00216404 3,1978

[vii]I have myself navigated by the stars in polar waters when bound for McMurdo Sound.

[viii]M.Doutré, “Ancient Celtic New Zealand”, ISBN 978-0473053673, 1999. While the structures Doutré describes were undoubtedly man-made, it is not necessary to subscribe to his hypothesis that the builders were Celts.  Who they were remains a fascinating question.

[ix]And the sinister intent of influential people who do not want us to see is revealed in the prohibition of entry to certain Northland forests where such monoliths undoubtedly occur!

[x]    M.Doutré, op.cit.,  25h June 2021

[xi]“New Zealand Voice”, 4 December 2017, pp 6-11

[xii]“DNA To Rock The Nation”, elocal Mini Book Series, ISBN 978-0-473-38851-5, 2016

[xiii]As I was informed personally by noted author and researcher, Barry Brailsford, ca 2015

[xiv]As noted by myself personally on Ambrym, Vanuatu in 2005

[xv]   Aotea, Arawa, Tainui, Kurahaupo, Takitimu, Horouata, Tokomaru, Mataatua

[xvi]This curiously reflects almost exactly a much earlier estimate of the “great fleet” arrival in 1350.

[xvii]As modern DNA analysis indicates, the original people of the whole of the Americas, numbering probably not more that a few dozen, will have migrated from western Asia by a land or ice bridge across Bering Strait some time around the last major ice age.  Their descendants today may fairly be called “indigenous”.

Bruce Moon is a retired computer pioneer who wrote "Real Treaty; False Treaty - The True Waitangi Story".


Ray S said...

Quite right Bruce, the original Maori settlers and any offspring born PRIOR to intermarriage with later settlers are the only Maori entitled to be called indigenous. It would then be argued that Maori who have mixed blood can not be indigenous and hence have no claim to be included in any outcome from He Puapua should (when) its recommendations be implemented.
For Maori of mixed blood to be considered indigenous is an insult to those of them who are indigenous.

DeeM said...

"If you tell a big lie often enough people will come to believe it..."
Our government likes this principle so much they have applied it many times. But are the wheels starting to come off?

Fred H said...

I completely disagree with Ray S. Maori are not indigenous because they did not originate in New Zealand. They came to NZ from elsewhere. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) published by the Oxford University Press is the authority on the English Language, not the part Maori who exist in NZ today, not the Labour Party, and not the United Nations.

The OED defines "indigenous" as "belonging to a particular place rather than coming to it from somewhere else"

Doug Longmire said...

Well said Bruce,
I have also seen some of those references you quote.
The history and origin of the Maori people trace their DNA back to a Taiwanese tribe, with Melanesian female links as well.
The history of these people is that they were well skilled in navigating the oceans, and in fact travelled, settled in and colonised a number of Pacific islands over the generations. Their most recent colonisation was to settle in New Zealand about 700 years ago.
Maori are not indigenous to this country. The Moa, the Kiwi are indigenous, but not Maori. Like all other people in New Zealand, they are simply late arrivals.

Alexandra Corbett Dekanová said...

By the way, it is interesting that several people who have Maori blood, my 1/16 Maori husband included, and who had sent their saliva samples for establishing their DNA were quite surprised as the results showed the traces of Asian connection but nothing like special Maori DNA.

Pete Benson said...

i quite agree with Bruce .Unfortunately we have a group of half breeds elected to our parliament , who claim to be maori and of the indigenous brand. If we leave Ardern and her cronies in power , we will ensure that what they want in he ouapua will occur . This Fridays rebellios tractor parade by home owneres and farmers , is an opportunity to display everybody's opposition to SNA's , 3Waters , Taumata Arowai ( regulatory and registration body for drinking water)maori wards , A maori health authority and displeasure with the current govt and even the silly National Party . I really believe the revival of Winston and the NZ First party will be our salvation . If only newspapers would remember Ronald Reagan was 75b when he got reelected President of the United States .

Dave Ando said...

Re Pete Benson's comment, if it wasn't for Winston Peters we wouldn't be in this mess we are now. He put this rabbill in charge. Over the years I have agreed with many of his ideas, but he simply cannot be trusted anymore. He turned on his staunch supporters, traitorous. His day is well and truly done.

Unknown said...

This fantasy must be brought to an end. This government & it's disgraceful commitment to a minority of a population "languishing" in myths & falsehoods...the overall cost to a country that once derived itself from unity, has been saturated in division, cultural hate speech, segregation, destructive campaigning from a government prior to election preached transparency for ALL New Zealanders? We have been lied to, we have been abandoned by a government scrabbling for a power so "remiss" from it's stealth identity! As we pause, a passionate country, refusing to be reidentified by gross injustice and illegal colussion, we request ALL bets are off!!! We New Zealand disestablish itself from a socialist regime, for the people of New Zealand are going to be heard.

Hone said...

The whole concept of indigenous people is a fallacy, except for the people who originally developed in Africa. The modern idea of indigenous has a time line, so whether your ancestors were indigenous or not depends on when they settled. No definite date is available. Therefore everyone can claim to be indigenous. Or no one is, except those early humans in Africa. Every one else is a migrant.

Hone said...

My family have ancestry that includes Ngati Kahungunu(East Coast) In the Web site for the tribe it was stated that there were people already here when their canoe arrived. I can't find that reference any more, maybe they realise that admitting this nullifies the claim of being indigenous, and removed it.?

Ken Andersen said...

Peter Benson seems to suggest that Winston (Turncoat) peters could be our saviour. For goodness sake, he was the one who put Jacinda (Mugabe) Ardern and her native cronies in to government.

Lesley Stephenson said...

Totally agree with Hone...what is the time line for 'indigenous'? Becomes a meaningless word otherwise.