Waatea News Column: National’s bewildering evaluation of the impact of Colonisation on Maori is embarrassing


It’s difficult to appreciate just how confused National seem to be when it comes to the impact of colonisation on Māori.

Paul Goldsmith’s claim that on balance, western technology and democratic infrastructure outweighed the almost total population collapse and disenfranchisement of 95% of Māori land in less than a century, seems bewilderingly simplistic.

Judith Collins waded into the debate by claiming she as an Anglo-Saxon was a victim of colonization, so she could sympathize with the negative backlash Goldsmith’s comments attracted.

Both responses manage to prove why teaching our own history is so incredibly important.

If the National Party Education Spokesperson thinks access to technology and voting once every 3 years balances out the near annihilation and vast loss of land caused by colonization while the Leader of the Opposition thinks she can relate because of the Norman conquest of Britain, we have a very long journey ahead to acknowledge the truth of our own past.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com


First published on Waatea News.


  1. Yeah! What have the Romans ever done for us?



    Well, there is written language, literacy, numeracy, global food crops, rule of law, end of slavery and tribal warfare, and oh roughly doubling the life expectancy of Maori. But apart from that, nothing.

    It was going to happen sometime and Maori can thank their lucky stars it wasn’t the French or the Germans that got here before the Brits.

    I recommend you all read an excellent book: Gun Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond

    • I don’t see any reason to believe Maori would have been worse off if the French had colonized. 19th C French colonization was a pretty civilized affair. In fact Maori would probably eat better and be healther if the frogs had moved in here 🙂

      19th C German and Belgian colonization was another matter though … I’d rather not go into details.

      • Will if the French colonised NZ this land would still be ruled from Paris just like New Caledonia and Tahiti.
        As for eating better, do the French taste better than the British, I’ve heard the Spanish were considered tough and grisly.

  2. Colonisation appears the new “catch all” to justify poor statistics regarding Maori.

    One wonders in 10 years time when all the “anti-colonisation” special groups, policies, frameworks, focus groups, huis and importantly government funding doesn’t change the dial on poor health, crime, pover(d)y stats etc. what are the left going to blame this on?

    • Way to make sure you make yourself irrelevant to any sensible discussion… Make half arsed partisan statements that do nothing but highlight your willful ignorance.. It’s reading the comment sections of these blogs that have me wishing I hadn’t gotten trapped here during lockdown… You people proud of your ignorance and inflexible mindsets? ’cause it seems that way… It actually makes the Aussies look good, and that is utterly shameful…

  3. As one of Norman descent I can prove the Anglo-Saxons were vastly improved by colonisation.
    Improvements to language, cusine, architecture along with a more sophisticated ruling class surely more than compensate for serfdom and massive land transfers. Why these churls did not even know how to make an omelette until we showed them how( to make one for us that is. Not as though we left chickens and eggs for those low lifes).

    • No you can’t.. The reality for the peasantry in Britain after the Normans arrived didn’t change an iota… I can speak on this because my family were Normans, and added their own army to that of William the Conquerors.. They were also integral members of the British royal court for several centuries, and administered the Normandy region after William went back and overran it… They simply replaced any, and all of the aristocracy, and clergy that wouldn’t bend the knee to the new owners..
      The lives of the peasantry went on as usual, as it did in every European country no matter who was top dog at the time.. Britain had already been colonised by nearly everyone who had a boat.. In fact, the only reason the Normans won so easily, is because the British had only just fought off yet another Viking army, so were exhausted and depleted in numbers…

  4. Yes Andrew agree.
    It’s important to recognise there are advantages as a result of colonisation without turning our backs on the negatives and where possible those negatives corrected.
    But it is at the moment a hot topic with prejudice dominating the discussion.
    I must say though of late I detect a softening from both sides of the debate.
    Nevertheless a long way to go before we reach balance I fear.

  5. My wife’s grandmothers ancestors arrived in Taranaki from the slums of Preston via Sydney in the 1860’s. My wife’s grandfathers people arrived in Auckland from the slums of Blackburn about the same time. He received a crown grant of Maori land declared as Wastelands under the Maori Land Act of the 1860’s. That land was taken from my tribe because no one was living on it and it wasn’t being used. My inlaws arrived in Aotearoa were poor and low class but suddenly elevated himself to became a governor over his estate. This is an example of colonisation which was repeated thousands of times around NZ. I saw no benefits to Maori from the estate but i did observe the greed of the lawyers, accountants, farm managers and others taking their cut from the elderly grandmothers estate.

    Fortunately those ancestral wastelands of my tribe have now through marriage rightly reverted back to one of the original customary Maori owners.

  6. Andrew and others do not seem to grasp that contact with other cultures and the adoption of new ideas is not the same as colonisation.
    Medevial Europe got silk, paper, printing and other inventions from China. Potatoes and maize from America.
    In the same way Polynesians got literacy, farm animals, new crops and metals from their contact with Europeans.
    If some of you looked at Pacific Islands History you would see that in the early 1800s Maori and Pacific Islanders had joined the world economy – selling sandalwood, trepang and sealskins in Guangdong. Pork, maize and potatoes in California. Kauri timber in Sydney. Sailing schooners built in New Zealand shipyards and crewed by Maori sailors. Polynesians and Melansians crewed the American whaling fleet and worked for the fur trading companies of the American West.
    NONE OF THIS IS COLONISATION. Maori raised the pork, maize and potatoes on their own land. Milled timber from the forests they owned. Negotiated their own wages and prices and if they sold land it was land that belonged to them and they parted with on acceptable terms.
    Some of you characters do not seem to realise 1840 and the Treaty of Waitangi changed all that. THAT IS COLONISATION. Maori can only sell land to the government. Maori are taxed by a government they cannot vote for. Military action is taken to destroy Maori political institutions like the Kingitanga and confiscate Maori land under the grounds that they are now British subjects and cannot legally resist. Masses of land hungry settlers are brought here without the consent of tangata whenua. Law courts administer justice without any imput from tangata whenua.
    English becomes the only recognised language.
    Listing advantages Maori received from contact with Europeans is not the same as saying they received advantages from colonisation.
    Oh and before some dumb c–t starts that old bleat ‘ what about the musket wars and how those nice missionaries saved those wiked savages from themselves? ‘
    I advise you look at the work of Professors Sorrenson, Howe, Ballara and other academics who can show that by the 1840s Maori had abandoned inter-tribal warfare. It was too costly and there was a lucrative new occupation of farming to provide exports – Maori started it before 1840.

  7. Goldsmith’s comments can be construed as an attempt to mitigate the effects of the current anti- colonialist mantra which is in fact racist white- bashing, and is hate-speech, and is dumbly and dangerously exemplified by a couple of Green female so-called politicians, and a few activists, and is very unfair on all the children.

    My French and Irish ancestry could me good cause to dump on persons perceived as Brits, but I don’t – and thoroughly enjoyed living and working in the history book of the UK. Paris is ok too – and an historically welcoming abode for some notable black Americans discriminated against in the good old US of A so beloved of by impressionable Kiwi politicians.

  8. Oops – my previous comment errs in saying ‘ hate speech’, when it may be more accurate to describe colonialist- bashing as ‘ inciting racial hatred ‘ – which may well be its purpose.

    • Where on earth are you getting these ideas from? And where did this “colonialist bashing” idiocy come from? Are you trying to say that the colonisation, that is still being represented by The National party in NZ wasn’t just an aggressive takeover of someone elses country? The Maori understood trade, and it’s advantages.. I’m sure they weren’t keen on the Brits coming in and taking by force what the locals weren’t prepared to give up.. If the British usurpers are getting “bashed” then that’s only fair, considering how many people died as a result of their “Benevolent christianity”. Getting tired of reading self serving tripe masquerading as informed comment…NZ seems to have lost too many of it’s “best and brightest” it seems..

    • At a 1.6% GDP turnaround The National Party gave The Labour Party a gift of a great reform that increases benefits above inflation and gets the distribution of wealth broadly correct. That’s not ideology or dogma. That’s 1+1=2 stuff.

  9. John
    benefits resulted to Europe from contact with Asia.
    Asia did not colonise Europe
    benefits resulted from Europe’s contact with America.
    America did not colonise Europe.
    The point is contact with another culture- with all its benefits and disadvantages- does not equate to colonisation.
    So to say Maori benefited from colonisation is barking up the wrong tree – but to be expected from National Party members and supporters.

    • While I largely agree with your comment, the chiefs that signed were signing because they thought it may slow down, or stop the forced acquisition of their land by British settlers.. Who had been arriving in numbers that was overwhelming the locals.. I found Ranginui Walker’s book “Struggle without end” really useful in filling in a few gaps regarding the history of colonisation.. In fact, it was a small minority of the Chiefs that actually signed, and that was the Te Reo version, which, as you are probably aware, was not the same document as the English version… Either way you look at it, the treaty was what was used to strip Maori of any self determination to any viable degree…. We only have to look at what Israel is doing now to understand the methods used in NZ…

      • Sorry Stefan. While slowing down of land acquisition may have formed part of the reason. The main reason they signed was to bring about rule of law. This was to stop stronger tribes raiding/killing/enslaving smaller tribe by Maori themselves. Inconvenient truth i know but true nonetheless.


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