Sunday, December 24, 2023

Bruce Moon: Anne Salmond at it again!

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive” - Sir Walter Scott, “Marmion”, 1808

“The confounding of all right and wrong, in wild fury, has averted from us the gracious favour of the gods” - Catullus

Now, I am amongst the first to assert that dear Anne does not “practice to deceive”, but as the same time it is fair to say that some of what she writes has a very similar effect.

She writes in “Newsroom” for 15 December 2023 that “Maori and Pakeha think differently.”

Well skipping that bit of a quite long tale in which she wanders into a mention of “Cartesian dualism” from which “springs Linnaean taxonomy”, she goes on to say considerably more.  This appears to me to be largely a critical, not to say negative, view of modern science, one of the great intellectual achievements of the “Western World”, not to mention the enormous material developments from it in which we, nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani,[i] all benefit.

Well, anyway ...

My first interaction with the redoubtable Dame Anne was in August 2010 when, in response to an assertion by her that the chiefs did not cede sovereignty at Waitangi, I quoted the motion passed unanimously on 10th August 1860, at the conclusion of the Kohimarama Conference, the greatest assembly of Maori Chiefs ever held in New Zealand:

“That this conference takes cognizance of the fact that the several Chiefs, members thereof, are pledged to each other to do nothing inconsistent with their declared recognition of the Queen’s sovereignty, and of the union of the two races, also to discountenance all proceedings tending to a breach of the covenant here solemnly entered into.” 

She responded, believe it or not: “No professional historian would take that as definitive evidence of Maori understandings in 1840.”  What??   Would details of an event so significant as the signing of the Treaty a mere twenty years earlier be forgotten by senior chiefs, Waka Nene being one who had taken such a prominent part??  Is she actively discrediting these senior chiefs both in 1860 and 1840?

The Waitangi Tribunal, she says, “has done its best to remedy past breaches of trust”. As veteran journalist, Brian Priestley observed: “it would be hard to imagine any public body less well organised to get at the truth.” We have noted other events indicating the extent to which the Waitangi Tribunal corrupts the truth.[ii] This is the body which, may I remind readers, accepts uncorroborated verbal accounts from elderly Maori of alleged events up to more than a hundred and fifty years ago. By the same token, as one born 90 years and one day after Hobson’s arrival, my accounts are rated with scorn by some![iii][iv]

We can skip any more of what Anne says – about “relational logic”  and “Cartesian dualism” and look at what she says about the Treaty of Waitangi.

In her words: “In the first Ture (article) of Te Tiriti, the rangatira give (tuku) to the Queen of England  absolutely and forever all the governance (Kawanatanga) of their lands”.  Rather than this muddled confection of words from both languages, we quote directly from Hobson’s final draft in English and the actual treaty in the Ngapuhi dialect: 

“The chiefs ... cede to the Queen of England for ever the entire Sovreignty (sic) of their country.”

“Ko nga Rangatira ... ka tuku rewa atu ki te Kuini o Ingarani ake tonu atu-te Kawanatanga katoa o ratou wenua”

Leave aside the well-known error in spelling “sovereignty” by Hobson’s scribe, Busby, note importantly that in default of a word in classic Maori speech for “sovereignty”, the Williams chose “kawanatanga”.  This is very obviously derived from a maorification of “governor” plus an ending denoting “-ship” but its meaning is “sovereignty”.  We have pointed out elsewhere[v] that derivation is not the same as translation.  This is a critical point which the treaty-twisters fail to grasp.   Dear Anne, notwithstanding her learned discourse, is fundamentally wrong, like many another, in referring to “governance (Kawanatanga)”.  She has disagreed elsewhere with the Williams, stating that “kawanatanga ... was not a plausible stand-in for sovereignty”.  Well, the Williams were there participating in the intense debate and discussion at Waitangi – she wasn’t! 

Both the English and Maori texts were read out there on 5th February and nobody is recorded as saying that their meanings were different.  Senior Ngapuhi Chief, Graham Rankin, confirmed that they said the same thing when shown both in 2000.

So, the good Anne in the same intractable mode, goes on to address Article second, saying in a great mixture of English and Maori words: “In the second article, the Queen of England ratifies and agrees with the rangatira, the hapu and all the inhabitants of New Zealand to the tino rangatiratanga (absolute chieftainship) of their lands, dwelling places and all their taonga or ancestral treasures.”  Well, actually, Anne, not quite.

What the English text says is: “The Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the chiefs & tribes and to all the people of New Zealand the possession of their lands, dwellings and all their property.”

What the Treaty text says is: “Ko te Kuini o Ingarani ka wakarite ka wakaae ki nga Rangatira ki nga hapu-ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani te tino rangatiratanga o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa.”

Here again, in default of a classic Maori word for “possession” in the ordinary sense, the Treaty uses “tino rangatiratanga”.  My dictionary says that “tino” means “very” - nothing about “absolute”.  While “rangatiratanga” might not be a perfect translation of “possession”, in Maori practice only chiefs could be said to possess anything and the usage was not challenged at Waitangi.  In any case, as Parkinson has pointed out, such usage was certainly not unqualified.  

Again, Salmond is blatantly wrong in using a modern meaning, “ancestral treasures”, for “taonga” which in 1840 meant simply “ordinary property”.  Indeed in assisting Lee and Kendall in compiling their Maori dictionary in 1820, Hongi Hika had defined it as “property acquired by the spear” and in William Williams’ 1844 dictionary it was still simply “property”.

In another mixture of English and Maori wording by Salmond,  “the Queen gives the indigenous persons of New Zealand all the tikanga absolutely equal with her subjects, the people of England.”  It is quite false for her to imply that Maoris are “indigenous” since we know when, how and whence they got here and in no sense do they qualify as such.  She should know that.

She continues further in this vein with: “It promised to uphold the mana of the rangatira and the hapu, and to forge relationships based on equality among the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand and their tikanga, and the incoming settlers – promises that are still to be honoured.”  What a flight of fancy that is!  The Treaty says nothing that I can find about “mana”, her reference to “indigenous inhabitants” is false and when one considers the extent of the legislation specifically addressing Maori interests, and the huge financial settlements they have received, her claim of “promises that are still to be honoured” is nothing but a cheap political shot.

Anne Salmond was created Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 31 December 1994 for services to historical research. We find little in her 15th December article in “Newsroom” to justify these high honours.   We shall have to look elsewhere!

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


[i]In the words of the Treaty of Waitangi
[ii]B.Moon, “New Zealand; The Fair Colony”, 2nd Ed.,  ISBN978-0-473-53728-9, August 2020, pp 68ff
[iii]“I reject the tone and your interpretation of facts and events in your letter ... . [It] forces upon the reader your purpose which is to further the lack of real scholastic rigour in the historicity of the events referred to.” Professor Tom Roa, University of Waikato, 8th May 2019
[iv]“{S]ome racist white dude called Bruce Moon  ... writes as ‘Open Letter’ to myself and another Maori colleague ranting about how wrong we are about our own iwi histories but in typical gutless manner only sends it to his racist right wing mates.” Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, University of Waikato, 2nd April 2019


Anonymous said...

Me thinks the 'Dames' understanding/bias would be dictated by pecuniary interest Bruce.
As for services to historical research, I would have to direct her to an excellent 'fact based' article published on the BFD on 23/12 at 9am, titled "Te Papa's duty is to give a balanced view of our history".

Thank you for yet another excellent article Bruce.

Anonymous said...

If Dame Anne’s history warrants a damehood then Bruce’s history ( and other) warrants a knighthood.

Anonymous said...

So many scholarly people have gone over and over the facts of those few days in 1840, and of subsequent meetings recorded. No-one alive today can bring a new interpretation. Maori society was tribal and hierarchical. Some chiefs signed and some did not - and although a few had an inkling of the world outside there was a huge gulf of understanding between the Europeans and the long-isolated Maori. Mana was crucial - but ultimately self-interest prevailed for most - as it does today.

Mr. Sandy Fontwit said...

Bruce, and excellent piece as usual. Salmond sets herself up as THE expert in anything Maori and is completely invested in preserving her own reputation, so its no wonder that anyone with a different point of view will get cancelled by either her or her "woke" followers. Your book detailing how the sacred "treaty" has gotten twisted beyond any rational understanding ought to be in every school library in N.Z.

Anonymous said...

No - higher. A peerage Baron Moon of New Zealand.

Peter said...

Dame Anne Salmond appears to be singing from the same misguided song sheet as Prof. Margaret Mutu (et al.), and it’s the very same kind of perverted logic that gave all the pounamu in the South Island over to Ngai Tahu, even that which had yet to be discovered/found.

All a patent fabrication from what Te Tiriti actually says. But hey, if there’s some potential virtue, not least a buck in it, it seems why not chance one’s arm in this woke world where commonsense no longer prevails? Surely it should be all shame on them?

And thank you Bruce, and a very Merry Xmas to you and yours.

Ken S said...

Could it be that the good Prof. has simply lost her marbles - assuming she had any in the first place.