Saturday, June 25, 2022

Ross Meurant: Māori myth is not science

Various academics of Māori lineage collectively seem to hold the view “Māori don’t need Western science to endorse or authenticate our knowledge systems.” (1)

The problem with this is perhaps exposed by the following claim:

“A new paper by the University of Otago combines literature and oral histories, and concludes that Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, were likely the first people to explore Antarctica’s surrounding waters, and possibly the continent in the distance. They write that Māori and Polynesian journeys to the deep south have been occurring for a long time, perhaps as far back as the seventh century, and are recorded in a variety of oral traditions. According to the oral histories of Māori tribal groups Ngāti Rārua and Te Āti Awa, the first human to travel to the Antarctic was the Polynesian explorer, Hui Te Rangiora.” (2)

For an ethic group that had no written language to record events, passage of time erodes accuracy. As a former detective I learned well that a week’s delay in recording evidence, let alone a year or 1200 years, makes a big difference. Oral transfer of past events gets distorted, exaggerated and invariably is a bare resemblance to what actually happened.

If one is to juxtapose these claims of re-writing history to suit the current global trend, against the following references to history which few would dispute as accurate in the context surviving the Antarctica, as a New Zealander, with a reasonable level of university education and perhaps a higher level of political awareness; of experience in travel/work/ residence in 69 countries during a total of seven years out of New Zealand, and to the chagrin of many – royal Maori pedigree (3), find some of the claims being made about Maori myth superseding Western science as insulting of my heritage at best and utter crap at worst.

Take as one example the late Sir Peter Blake. This highly skilled and experienced ocean-going mariner, talked about how hostile, treacherous and dangerous the Great Southern Ocean is to navigate on the way to Antarctica. How did the Maori manage that on their outriggers/canoes and what clothing and footwear did they wear to cope with the freezing conditions? No thermal underwear back then!! Did they have ice breakers?

Look at the many challenges faced by the renowned Antarctica explorers, Ernest Henry Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott, on the frozen continent and they had equipment, clothing and supplies suitable for that harsh and unforgiving environment.

I say to those who claim Māori went to Antarctica as far back as 700 AD and even if these alleged excursions were as recent as 1700 AD it should be clearly demonstrated that the claims they make were possible! Like, put up or shut up!

Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl (1914–2002) is one of history’s most famous adventurers and explorers. (4) (Note: I also have Norwegian pedigree – as well as Maori, French, Scottish and Irish – and I speak Russian.)

In 1947 Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific Ocean from South America on the balsawood raft Kon-Tiki. Heyerdahl was convinced that the first humans to reach Easter Island – and other islands in the eastern part of Polynesia – came from South America. Only later did people come to Polynesia from the west, and then via the northwest coast of Canada and Hawaii.

The peoples of South America did not have seaworthy rafts or boats that could take them as far as the Polynesian islands, according to scholars with whom Heyerdahl discussed the subject. So, in order to prove that it was possible, he decided to build a raft and make the journey himself. He put up!

So I say to those who make the claims I reference above: jump in a canoe with a paddle and a grass skirt, no thermal gear, no sextant and no harpoon or spear gun — and see what happens!

And to the academics who demonstrated personal integrity by not buying into some of the myths which now looms as the standard of education to replace Western science, I say: Apologies on behalf of our stalwart political leaders – for failing to come to your defence. After all, in our democracy, free speech is part of the menu.


Ross Meurant, graduate in politics both at university and as a Member of Parliament; formerly police inspector in charge of Auckland spies & V.I.P. security; currently Honorary Consul for an African state, Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in New Zealand and has international business interests. This article was first published HERE


DeeM said...

Considering that most Maori don't know much at all about their REAL recent history, just prior to European colonisation, you can see how quickly oral accounts are lost or altered far beyond what actually happened.

And, call me suspicious, but relying on modern-day Maori academics and activists who claim Maori discovered Antarctica back about 700AD, based on word of mouth stories passed down from generations, is akin to believing that the pyramids are abandoned alien spaceships. Next they'll be telling us Maori lived along the shores of Antarctica in summer. But they didn't hunt the cute penguins, they only ate fish.
Of course, this would mean acknowledging considerable global warming back in Medieval times, which did happen...and with much lower CO2 levels than today. Say what!!!!

Until academia and society in general rejects all this woke, fairytale crap then nonsense like this will continue to be published under the guise of research and learning.

RayS said...

I am waiting for a claim to surface that Maori had been to the mood way back when.
Trouble is, it cant be proved or disproved. likewise Antarctica.
Given the technology involved to get to and survive at those two places, merely supports the fact that Maori myths abound.

Brian Mullane said...

Like yourself Ross, I was a cop albeit for only 10 years. I got out when I realised that the edicts coming out of bullshit castle were made of nightmares dreamed up by dreamers whose only aspiration was that of the top job. However, one lesson I have never forgotten from my Police College days, from my lecturer Tom Nunan, was that hearsay was inadmissible in every court of the land because"...truth depreciates through the process of repetition".

Anonymous said...

Are we not forgetting something? Maori God bless them are not the actual indigenous people of NZ. Moriori are. They look different their customs are different their way of life is different. They were here thousands of years before Maori came and murdered them and ate them. Driving them to extinction to the Chathams. Maori always looked down on Moriori and wanted nothing to do with them untill there was a possibility of getting money from the government.
Moriori are the Indigionous people of the land.
Maori were the ones running the place after they had driven Moriori out to sea.
It's not liked by many and conveniently forgotten but my Maori great grandfather said it's important to know where you've come from and to know what's what. They came here first. Maori came here second.