Land Wars Day – what should we hold on to?

I spoke with the Maori Affairs Select Committee recently about the proposed Land Wars Day. Some of those thoughts were published in Stuff today.

Will commemorating the New Zealand Land wars build national unity?

Ewen McQueen
September 2016

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5 Responses to Land Wars Day – what should we hold on to?

  1. Helen says:

    No they won’t, and they weren’t ‘Land Wars’ – they were tribal rebellions – Maori against Maori with the settlers caught up in the middle. They were told land would be taken if they didn’t desist. They didn’t and land was taken but most of it was given back shortly after. It’s amazing how much our true history is being distorted and reinvented.

    Any ‘celebration’ will be along the lines of the disgusting displays of Waitangi Day. It will divide us even more than the increasing divisions which are currently occurring.

    • Ewen McQueen says:

      Hi Helen

      The land wars were certainly a challenge to Crown sovereignty – but the question was why? The answer is primarily land. Any honest reading of history shows that.

      Sir John Eldon Gorst was on the ground at the time as Governor Grey’s agent in the Waikato. He wrote in 1864 an excellent account of it all in “The Maori King: the story of our quarrel with the Natives of New Zealand”. It is an excellent read – and available as a Google e-book for free.

      Cheers
      Ewen

  2. Ripeka Ririkopata says:

    Whether its acknowledged or not, past histories are recorded and celebrated because it matters. When you speak of a ‘healthy relationship’ you speak of that in terms of your own experiences as non Maori. You speak as a privilaged Westerner who has never had to hide in shame in your own country supported by laws you knew were not in your favor to create a land that recognised you as not meeting the standards set by those whose domainant cultural pedagogy was to see Maori ‘assimilate’ or be destroyed.
    A healthy relationship by whose standard?
    Kotahitangi is used by many pakeha as a flagship token. As a way of being seen to be upholding our tikanga, knowing full well that the Governmental mandate is still about maintaining strategies and policies which minimise Maori achieving what we know is best for us. On one hand you are offering what looks like a question, and views that seem as if it offers some kind of resolve. But at the end of the day, partnering as equals in every sphere of life is not a reality, for my people. Kotahitangi does not mean what you think it might mean. We are never going to be one people, one nation until the ethos of a Western framework is reworked with the tikanga of a Maori ethos in every sector of society. When a dualistic worldview is transformed into a wholistic worldview. Thankfully its started, but of course its reality isn’t appreciated or quite understood. That may take another 100yrs. And that e Hoa, is going to be very uncomfortable for many european New Zealanders. Perhaps they feel like my ancestors did, like aliens in their own country. The ‘hard conversations ‘ indeed.

  3. Helen says:

    Ripeka, all ‘Maori’ in this country now have mixed ancestry today with most having more ‘other’ than ‘Maori’. There are many such people, including relatives of mine as well as friends and acquaintances, who are very happy decent citizens getting by happily on their own efforts and are indistinguishable from anyone else. We have all mingled and intermarried with each other for nearly 200 years.

    However, I’m intrigued to know, given that we all have mixed ancestry, exactly what people of Maori descent would like that they don’t already have. Actually they have far far more than if the colonists had never come. It would be nice if those who don’t like the way things are done these days could actually think back as to how things used to be. Colonists brought many things that have benefited everyone enormously. A thank you would be appreciated instead of accusations.

    You should hold your head up proudly and make a resolution to do well. Everyone in this country has this chance and to get a good education which is the start, followed by motivation. I wish you well and hope you will change your outlook.

    • Ewen McQueen says:

      Hi Helen

      I have edited your comment a little – both for the sake of conciseness and because Ripeka is actually a good friend of mine. I don’t want this blog to be about her or me (or anyone actually) – but rather about the issues under discussion.

      Kind regards
      Ewen

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