Saturday, November 13, 2021
Roger Childs: We Need the Truth on the World StageLabels: Climate change, Fake Maori history, India Logan-Riley, Roger Childs
“Māori climate activist India Logan-Riley gave a rousing speech at the opening of the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow earlier today - and had a stark warning for world leaders listening to them.” New Zealand Herald, 1st November 2021
Who is representing us in Glasgow?
The US president has been there, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, the French president, the prime minister of India and a host of other world leaders as well, but no Jacinda Ardern. New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister James Shaw and his entourage of nine are there for this week’s discussion phase, so did anyone speak for our country on the opening day?
Part-Maori India Logan-Riley did – heard of her? – apparently she spoke for the world’s indigenous groups, but no doubt the distinguished listeners – some of the most powerful people on the planet - would have assumed she represented the views of our country. But what did she say?
The messages on behalf of NZ from Logan-Riley
· World leaders need to listen to young indigenous people and support their fight for a better future.
· Climate change issues are rooted in colonialism and we must move away from modern-day forms of it.
· New Zealand indigenous activists come from a place where land “was stolen by the British crown.”
· “Two-hundred-fifty-two years ago invading forces sent by the ancestors of this presidency (referring to Boris Johnson) arrived at my ancestors' territories, heralding an age of violence, murder and destruction …” (By this she meant from the time of James Cook’s first voyage to New Zealand.)
· The roots of the climate change crisis began with Western countries’ imperialist and colonialist policies.
· Land was stolen in New Zealand by the British “in order to extract oil and suck the land of all its nutrients while seeking to displace people.”
· And there was also “the theft of the foreshore and seabed.”
· “We're keeping fossil fuels in the ground and stopping fossil fuel expansion. We're halting infrastructure that would increase emissions and saying no to false solutions.”
Ms Logan-Riley, concluded on behalf of indigenous communities around the world, with this statement: “this is an invitation to you. This COP, learn our histories, listen to our stories, honour our knowledge and get in line, or get out of the way.”
Who is India Logan-Riley?
“India has the joy and privilege of being the tuakana for this year’s rōpū after engaging with the UN Climate Talks process since attending the negotiations in Paris in 2015.” Te Ara Whatu
The Te Ara Whatu website says much about her Maori background, whakapapa and activism, but nothing of her colonial ancestors who no doubt provided her with the unusual name.
In claiming to speak for indigenous people she doesn’t have a strong case, because her Polynesian forebears were immigrants to New Zealand about seven centuries ago. There is much evidence from Maori oral history and archaeological digs, notably in the Waipoua Forest and the Poukawa Valley, that there were people living here when the Polynesians first arrived.
Austrian Andreas Reischek who lived in New Zealand from 1877-1889 and travelled throughout the country reported in his book Yesterdays in Maoriland: “The chiefs told me the Maori are a mixed race; tradition has it that their forefathers originally came to NZ from Hawaiki in 13 double canoes. They landed at different spots in the North Island and found them inhabited by dark-coloured men with curly black hair and small of stature. These original inhabitants – they called them Ngatimaimai – were found to be good husbandmen and hunters, but poor warriors. So the Maori conquered them, killed the men and took possession of the women. This union would account for the three differentiated types I noticed.”
So for Ms Logan-Riley to claim to speak for the indigenous people of the world is ludicrous. So why was she there and who paid her expenses?
In line with He Puapua
Logan-Riley’s speech in Glasgow on behalf of indigenous peoples was staggering in its dishonesty and deception. As readers will be well aware, the government’s support for the He Puapua programme is based on carrying out the recommendations of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. (UNDRIP)
When the declaration came out, Prime Minister Helen Clark wouldn’t support it because many of its Articles were in conflict with our laws and system of government. However, her successor, John Key, had no such scruples.
Being dependent on the Maori Party to hold power, he instructed Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples to fly off secretly to New York to sign the country up to the UNDRIP. There was no consultation with the public and scant analysis in the media of what it would mean for New Zealand. Key subsequently assured the public that signing up to UNDRIP was just “symbolic”.
Now we have a little known part-Maori, claiming indigenous status, lecturing the world’s movers and shakers about what they should do about climate change and lacing it with, an orchestrated litany of lies about New Zealand’s history.
The lying needs to stop
“We should honour our history and tell the truth about it.” These are the words of our new Governor-General, part-Maori Dame Cindy Kiro. Sadly Ms Logan-Riley didn’t get the message, and her strident, arrogant speech at the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow followed a number of examples in recent years of serial lying about our past.
· The He Tohu exhibition at the National Library has been telling visitors for years that “…. rangatira (Maori leaders) told the world, back in 1835, that New Zealand was an independent Maori nation.” The reality was summed up in Lord Normanby’s instructions to Captain Hobson, prior to the Treaty of Waitangi, that the natives consisted of “… numerous dispersed and petty tribes who possess few political relations to each other..”
· Last year local kaumātua, Taitimu Maipi, insisted that the statue of Captain John Hamilton be removed from the city that bears his name because it represented a murderer. But Hamilton had only a few hours in New Zealand as he came off a ship and was killed the next day at the 1864 Battle of Gate Pa.
· Back in 2019 some Maori activists such as Arama Rata and Tina Ngata claimed that Cook was an imperialist, rapist and murderer. These views were reinforced in Robyn Kahukiwa's Cook art exhibition at Waikanae’s Mahara Gallery last year.
It is time for the lying to stop and for activists to tell the truth about our history and stop blaming colonialism for all the country’s problems, not to mention climate change. Is honesty too much to hope for?
Roger Childs is a retired teacher who taught History, Social Studies and Geography for 40 years.
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