Saturday, June 18, 2022

Denis Hall: Europeans didn't colonise Maori - the stuff did. Colonisation!

This happened inside my head this morning. It's a bit like brain weather I suppose - and I have seen some of it before - but this morning it moved in like a weather front - and I was in a receptive mood. I don’t expect some of those wooly headed politically correct folk to understand any of this - but the grown-ups in the population will already know it - but they just might not have voiced it.

It will however be recognizable as plain old common sense.

Remember - read it for the read of it - not the speed of it.

I think - Maori were NOT colonised by the British people - or the French people - or the Dutch people.

They were colonised first of all by the Blanket - an amazing thing that they could carry with them - that was able to keep them warm and comfortable - and they quickly took to wearing them as a way to keep warm - and to keep it safe - and also to display a valued acquisition.

Around the same time they were also being colonised by the Axe - that could also contribute to keeping them warm and dry - and be a weapon to defend the Blanket.

 Then of course there was the saw - and the pick and shovel - and warm clothing - and the cooking utensils - and a whole slew of better ideas that quickly replaced a very inadequate set of ideas they had been living by for centuries. Europeans didn’t take anything much away from them - because they didn’t have much in the way of possessions or tools to take. But they did introduce them to all this other stuff - stuff that Maori culture very quickly adopted - because back then it was ready to evolve into the visible future.

Could the churlish among us call that cultural appropriation perhaps?

So, it is my contention - that Maori were not colonised by the Europeans - they were colonised by all the European’s stuff.

If the Europeans had arrived hungry and shivering cold in canoes without all that stuff - they would have just been other primitive people without the brown skin - but with sunburn - all over.

Easy meat.

Like it or not - Maori were a primitive people - because the spark of technology had not struck in Polynesia - and without metals or ceramics or fabric - it was unlikely to ever strike without some input from other cultures - and which cultures might they be?

Chinese perhaps?

But the Chinese were not exploring the world back then.

Japanese perhaps - same deal - and they could be quite warlike - and that would have come from living for eons almost within hailing distance of a very huge, well developed and potentially dangerous but not particularly warlike culture.

Those Oriental races were clever buggers - and still are.

I have digressed again - and that’s one of the problems that comes with an active imagination.

So as we know - the white man had all this stuff - that was the product of their civilization - and they used it all to make life better - and it was obvious to Maori that they needed all that stuff too – immediately!

They allowed themselves to be colonised by not just the Blanket and the Axe - but all the other stuff as well - proper houses and metal tools - and a written Language - and laws that treated everyone more or less the same.

And they married each other. Maori women allowed themselves to be colonised by the white man’s house and bed - and the comforts of what was back then a modern lifestyle unlike anything they had ever experienced. Women might well be obsessed by a man in their lives - but good women always put their children first - and the survival rates for children would be far far greater in a warm and dry European living environment.

(Yeah I know - not all European living arrangements back then were all that dry and warm - but I am speaking generally.)

(Gimmie a break mate - it is just a blog after all.)

But - wouldn’t it have been a crime against humanity to have isolated Maori from the civilized world - and deprived them of their chance at this modern and civilized future?

I mean that seriously! Wouldn’t that have been an incredibly arrogant thing to do? To NOT colonise them.

Imagine deciding to leave them behind in the social evolution of the time?

So we get it - it wasn’t perfect - but people back then had to work with what they had. They couldn’t see the future any more than we can. And so they married with them - and had families with them - and lived in a more weather proof house that had a place to keep the firewood dry - and a place to light a fire inside the house. And that intermarriage is very obvious today in the facial structures of so many people who claim to be Maori.

Is it okay to say that? Well yeah - it's true - so it should be okay.

They were also colonised by the sheep and cattle and pigs - to eat - and horses to carry them around - and beasts to pull a plough - which was a European thing anyway.

They were colonised by a better future.

Maori shouldn’t blame today’s White people for colonisation - they should blame the common sense and enterprise of their own ancestors. They didn’t want to continue to live in grass huts with dirt floors - any more than you would today.

Gawd - I do go on - but what do we think the politically correct would be saying about all this today - if we had decided back then that the Maori Culture was too special and too unique to be contaminated by the trappings of our culture and civilization - with its inventive technology and forward thinking ideas?

What if we had decided to step back - refuse to allow missionaries or settlers to land - and paved the way for the Maori people and the culture to continue to exist in its own time and space - with its own resources and value system? That would of course involve continuing inter-tribal wars and cannibalism and an average life span in the early thirties.

What would activists be saying about that today - in the twenty-first century?

Imagine that! - all we would know about Maori would be what we could see from drones - and the only contact they would have with European civilisation and technology - would be the broken bits of plastic and metal from the occasional crashed drone - and stuff that washed up on the shore.

Bottles - broken wooden stuff - plastic bags - the odd body.

They would think that the Gods had spinny things that help them stay up in the sky - and when they died - they didn’t spin any more. An example of the rigor mortise of plastic propellers.

But they could find uses for some of the broken bits - and would most likely wear them around their necks.

Go on - smile - I know you got a picture of all that.

It can be so weird in the morning sometimes - when I wake up.

Denis Hall describes himself as an old man and an artist - a thinker - a writer - and a commentator. He does what he does - for the love of it.


RAYMONDO said...

My goodness you are going to be in trouble when the revolution comes! Whitey will have no rights under the new regime.

Ellen said...

Absolutely right Dennis. You got it. And what is the law of nature that 100,000 or so people can "occupy" a piece of the planet, when other people happen along as they did themselves? We are crazy!