It is a rather curious feature of New Zealand universities today that they swarm with quite a lot of part-Maoris who share a set of common practices somewhat at variance with the free and open exchange of accurately established knowledge. Whatever the reason, many of these practitioners are women.
“If I lose mine honour, I lose myself:” Shakespeare, “Antony and Cleopatra": Act 3 Scene 4
So consider the words being spouted by those in New Zealand who should, as a matter of academic integrity, know better.
1. Curiously they
describe our country by the fake name of “Aotearoa”: We note:
It is essentially
a confection of two colonials of English descent. (WP Reeves and SP Smith)
It does not
appear anywhere in the Treaty of Waitangi – where the Williams would certainly
have used it in their translation had it been Maori usage but simply, it was
not! “Few Maori opted for Aotearoa”[i]
c. It is a mark of disrespect to the Maori chiefs and representatives who signed the Treaty of Waitangi wherein the country was called Niu Tirani.
2. They give a list, long or short as it may be, of those tribes from which they say they are descended, but only in rare cases do they deign to mention their European descent, even though it is quite evident that it is predominant for many of them.
3. British names in many cases confirm this situation. (A simple DNA test would surely identify their full genetic makeup.)
We wonder why there is such an unbalanced monofocus and have questioned it recently – thus for a woman but equally for a man:[ii] We ask:
-would it be consistent with
the alleged significance of a mono-focussed person’s Maori family background to
be clearly impolite and misleading?
- is such a mono-focussed
person embarrassed by having non-Maori heritage?
- has the non-Maori heritage
of such a mono-focussed person made no contributions to New Zealand?
- does the mono-focussed
person choose to rewrite the nature of those relationships in order to justify
focusing on the Maori components only?
What contributions have those Maori components uniquely made to New
- or is it because in some way such a mono-focussed person fancies that the Maori aspect is an entitlement to distort NZ history? We discuss such a possible sense of entitlement further below?
Most recently there has come to our attention the curious case of Margaret Court of my old, and once respected alma mater,[iii] the University of Otago.
Well, for a start, she acknowledges the conferral on her there of a degree with the name of “Master of Indigenous Studies”. The University of Otago states the ‘degree is founded in the proposition that Maori, Pacific Island and other indigenous peoples have unique bodies of knowledge about customary, environmental and cultural practices.’ A degree based on a proposition? Now that is curious to say the least. Are we expected to believe an assumption that Maoris are indigenous to New Zealand? We do hear that claim pretty often these days. But it is false. Maoris are not indigenous New Zealanders. They are immigrants, colonials who killed off most of the locals.[iv] Their own folklore (as well as science) tells us that. Do we need to say, yet again, that we know pretty accurately when they came here; we know accurately where they came from; we know very accurately how they got here – even to the extent of knowing the very names of their vessels – Kurahaupo, etc. Thus they are disqualified on all counts from being “indigenous” however much and however often part-Maori radicals of any genetic or intellectual persuasion may say so.
So what is my old alma mater doing in conferring such a degree, founded on a false proposition? That is a question needing a straight answer!
Like so many others, Ms Court (an English name from French, from Latin) refers tiresomely to our country as “Aotearoa New Zealand”. Yes, we are New Zealand but as for that other word??? It is rather like a recipe for toffee – a highly cooked sugary confection which sounds good but which sticks to the teeth.
The said Margaret (English again, from French from Latin and Ancient Greek appropriated from Persian) has spent a lot of time investigating the activities of the Maori Land Court. It is worth spending a moment enquiring why it was set up in the first place.
were primarily hunter-gatherers. For this, two conditions were essential.:
(1) access rights to a fairly substantial area of
land, since, unlike most other countries, New Zealand lacked large species of
mammals as food sources, and after the extinction of the moa, of birds.
(2) the need to hold such lands in common – tribes, sub-tribes, families – since hunting needed co-operation of a group for success.
Europeans changed all that. The northern
Maoris of course had cultivated the kumara and a few other crops, but the
availability of the great range of superior European foodstuffs and their
production by intensive farming on a much larger scale was quickly appreciated
by the tribes – certainly clever enough to seize this self-serving
opportunity. Large areas of land quickly
became redundant, so its sale or exchange by eager Maori sellers proceeded
apace. We have recorded elsewhere[v]
that in the South Island alone, 179 pre-treaty sales were registered in the
Sydney land office. Hobson gave this
matter his immediate attention on his arrival and duly set up a commission
which reviewed all such sales which were disallowed in some cases. The spirit and effect of such measures to
ensure fairness to sellers should not be doubted, whatever the naysayers claim
today. Of all this, Ms Court says:
“The protector role represented legislative
protection and could be manipulated to enable alienation. The function did not
protect cultural connection to the whenua, but rather ensured that there were
‘The Native Land Court’s role was seen as paternalistic.’”
“Alienation”? Well, that’s a provocative word! There was one form of “alienation”, strictly in accordance with “tikanga”: the confiscation of some of the land of tribes which rebelled, to meet the costs in part of suppressing their rebellions. This is often overplayed by radicals today, but a mere 4½% of Maori land was confiscated and some returned to ensure there was sufficient for the support of the tribes concerned. As for “cultural connection to the whenua” (or “wenua” as in the Treaty), fair dealing is fair dealing and those selling certainly had the option of including in their asking price compensation for any loss they felt in that direction. Maoris are not the only people who have felt some emotional loss when the time came to sell the old family home!
Ms Court continues: “Since the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, the meaning ... has shifted to be somewhat in the interest of Māori.” Of one aspect she says, “The promoter role was found to promote the retention of whenua, whakapapa links and the connection that Māori intrinsically have with their whenua and natural environment.” Well, clarifying this by reading simply “land” for “whenua”, (twice), just what evidence does she have that Maoris “intrinsically have” any greater connection with the land and natural environment than anybody else? Such unsupported assumptions gravely detract from the merit of an investigation which in some other respects may be judged to be thorough and accurate!
Ms Court again: “For Māori, going through mediation and the Court process is often a long, enduring task that usually systematically pits families, who are linked together by whakapapa (for which read ‘ancestry’), against one another.” Does she really think that Maoris are alone in such experiences?
And again: “In contemporary time, the facilitator role is there to facilitate and assist Māori to develop, utilise, and occupy their land as well as facilitating discussion between whānau (for which read ‘families’) so they can come to resolutions by themselves.” If so, then this is a case where a service is available to Maori landowners which does not exist for other New Zealanders – that is, an advantage based on nominal race however minute the Maori component.[vi]
And yet again: “The individualisation of land is a real colonial concept to do with ownership. The Court system was imposed on us and now we are dealing with the ramifications of it. Whānau now endure, in some cases, rigorous proceedings.”
Well, no. “Individualisation of land” is not “a real colonial concept”. The so-called “tragedy of the commons” - collective farms in the former Soviet Union an example” - is well enough known worldwide and there is no reason to think that it is different for Maoris if anecdotal evidence is to be believed. “Individualisation” is the realistic answer. If “whanau” (for which read “families”) “now endure, in some cases, rigorous proceedings”, then that is because it is the very proper way of the modern world to ensure fair and reasonable outcomes.
As for ‘The Court system was imposed on us and now we are dealing with the ramifications of it’ – surely that is rather better than the brutality of tribal warfare and the equally brutal consequences, including land confiscation, slavery, cannibalism and other violent acts, especially towards the women of a defeated tribe?[vii]
Falsely posing as the victims of British colonisation and harking back to a non-existent Maori paradise of the past has brought rich, and far too often, illegitimate, material gains to some people of part-Maori descent and great damage to democracy in New Zealand. I say to Ms Court: “With your natural abilities and ‘that colonial tradition’, education, (including reading, writing, mathematics, research and the analytic and sophisticated assessment skills imparted within a legal training and development) you are in a position to dispel this evil mindset. That achieved, our country as a whole will be both wiser and better.
“The Penguin History of New Zealand”, 2003, p.42
Charters”, 11 December 2022
scholar, 1947, senior scholar, 1950
on record that they continued to do so into historic times. This topic is not addressed further here.
Moon, “New Zealand; the fair colony, 2nd ed, ISBN 978-0-473-53728-9, p.37, refer email@example.com
to be1/32 or even 1/64 when Maori ancestry has been claimed to advantage by
[vii]B. Moon, op.cit., pp. 16-17 gives a few examples
Bruce Moon is a retired computer pioneer who wrote "Real Treaty; False Treaty - The True Waitangi Story".