Understanding Colonisation


SO, HOW DOES IT WORK? At every level, on every subject, the same explanation is offered for Māori disadvantage – colonisation. What’s more, the word itself has acquired such a talismanic quality that its mere utterance is sufficient to close down any further discussion. After all, the only people likely to challenge the colonisation explanation for Māori disadvantage would be the colonisers’ descendants themselves. And they would say that – wouldn’t they?

The colonisers’ descendants might also raise the question as to whether Māori were, in fact, colonised at all. Not a question that anyone would have thought to raise fifty years ago. In the 1970s the argument that Māori had not been colonised would have been laughed out of court. Back then it was generally assumed that, under the terms of the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori had ceded sovereignty to the British Crown. What’s more, the British, very soon after the signing of the Treaty, exercised their sovereignty by annexing New Zealand, declaring it a British colony, and appointing a Governor to rule it. Oh yes, the Māori had been colonised alright – they’d been colonised good and proper.

But, fifty years later, the story has changed. Today we are enjoined to believe that the Māori chiefs gathered at Waitangi on 6 February 1840 did not cede sovereignty to Queen Victoria. Indeed, no less a body than the Waitangi Tribunal has declared that the sovereignty of Māori iwi and hapu remains intact to this day.

It is a curious sort of coloniser who, 180 years after the event, proclaims the untrammelled sovereignty of the indigenous inhabitants of the islands his ancestors claimed as their own. If the indigenous people of New Zealand were not subjugated by military force, relieved of their lands, forests and fisheries, and pushed to the margins of colonial society, then what was going on between the 1850s and the 1970s?

In the most brutal and unvarnished terms, what was going on between the signing of the Treaty and the military suppression of all Māori resistance in the 1860s and 70s, was a deliberate policy of overwhelming the indigenous people by settling tens-of-thousands of immigrants across the country, to the point where their numerical superiority rendered the construction of a second Britain in the South Pacific a feasible proposition. What made “New Zealand” possible was the reduction of the Māori to a militarily and politically powerless minority in their own land.

A particular kind of colonisation, then? Not at all the same as the colonisation visited upon India and Africa. Not even the same as the colonisation visited upon England and Ireland by the Normans. That sort of colonisation features a relatively small number of conquerors and a very much larger number of conquered. Hundreds-of-millions of Indians were ruled over by around 100,000 British soldiers and administrators. The sort of colonisation which colonised peoples can dismantle – which is pretty much what they spent the second half of the twentieth century doing.

But, the Anglo-Saxon colonies of North America and Australasia were a very different proposition. In a relatively short period of time the indigenous peoples of those lands were reduced to insignificant minorities by an unceasing flood of settlers from Europe.

This huge discrepancy in numbers rendered military resistance futile. Always there were more, and more, and more Europeans to replace the settlers and soldiers killed by the indigenous tribes. North America and Australasia thus became “Neo-Europes”, ruled over and overwhelmingly populated by Europeans. Indigenous cultures: their languages, customs, modes of political and economic organisation; even where they escaped becoming the victims of outright genocide, found themselves smothered by the sheer pressure of European numbers.

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This is the process which Māori, along with the many other indigenous peoples forcibly assimilated into the Neo-Europes created by Americans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, call “colonisation”. The cultural suffocation that inevitably attended the submerging of indigenous peoples beneath a relentlessly rising tide of nineteenth century immigrants. Settlers who came to stay – and who, more than a century later, are still there.

Within the institutions of the state, and even in a number of private organisations, the answer to colonisation is being presented as “decolonisation” and “indigenisation”. As if the cultural and demographic facts of New Zealand life can be re-configured to the point of somehow undoing the facts of New Zealand history. Regrettably, this strategy carries within it a distressing element of coercion. The threat is there, all the more daunting for being unstated, that those who refuse to decolonise and indigenise will pay a price.

Given the degree of coercion involved in colonisation itself, this hard-line approach is entirely understandable. Unfortunately, it is also likely to provoke the colonisers’ descendants into adopting an angry oppositional stance, which, given the balance of demographic forces, is almost certain to be counterproductive. Attempting to undercut “the tyranny of the majority” by unilaterally redefining the meaning of democracy will only make things worse.

The decolonising concept of “co-governance” cannot succeed if it is understood by Pākehā to mean that Māori will be empowered to exercise a right of veto over the delivery of essential state services mostly paid for by Pākehā taxes. European cultural traditions and political norms are simply too deeply embedded in the Neo-Europe called New Zealand for this crude approach to righting the wrongs of the past and overcoming the inequities of the present to succeed.

Much more likely to secure Pākehā support is the argument that, in the making of New Zealand far too little concern was shown for the impact the colonists’ nation-building was having on the lives and treasures of Māori iwi and hapu. In their eagerness to create a second Britain in the South Pacific, the colonisers simply crowded-out the indigenous people whose rights they were pledged to respect. Presenting co-governance as a way of encouraging Māori to reclaim their lost space has a high chance of success. That the colonial state smothered and suffocated Māori culture and Māori rights is historically undeniable, and morally indefensible.

Ceding Māori the space they need to both rediscover and redefine their tino rangatiratanga is unquestionably the right thing for Pākehā to do. Encouraging Pākehā  to join them in that expanded space is unquestionably the best way for Māori to make Aotearoa less European and more indigenous.

Decolonisation is not a programme to be imposed, it is a skill that Māori and Pākehā can only acquire together.


  1. I’ve done a fair bit if reading, but I have yet to understand what exactly the maori people want? It hasn’t specifically been stated or listed. What is it exactly?

      • Given that everyone wants and deserves prosperity then yup can see why Maori also want (and deserve) prosperity as well.
        The Maori tribal elites wanting power is a little more problematic however – power over Maori and non-Maori simply because they are Maori and in their own estimation elite?
        We talking the Labour Māori Caucus here yes and similar?

        • racial supremacy is racial supremacy is racial supremacy….whether it’s a fat gun toting yank or a maori leader…same fabricated nonsense

          • gagarin ‘racial supremacy is racial supremacy is racial supremacy….whether it’s a fat gun toting yank or a maori leader…same fabricated nonsense’

            utter garbage and misleading

      • Nice one Matt.
        The other “small” problem is that not all tribes are equal or equally represented at the table.
        And bearing in mind there was no nation of New Zealand pre European arrival, what of the tribal conquests of one another’s lands and who gets to claim ownership?
        And yes also the Maori colonization/genocide of Chatham island Moriori after European arrival?
        Te Rauparaha genocide against South Island Maori?
        Whose conquest gets rolled back and who gets to hold power?
        The large tribes who themselves conquered and enslaved.

        • Keepcalmcarryon ‘And yes also the Maori colonization/genocide of Chatham island Moriori after European arrival?’

          This is a false dichotomy when equating colonialism and genocide to the people of Rekohu. The ethnicity of these groups are Polynesian so conflating this to european colonization and genocide is wrong and misleading.

        • The Maori did not colonise the Moriori. That was effectively no different than tribe on tribe. You make it sound like the Moriori are a different race when in fact genetic research suggests this not correct. Always a convenient argument though

      • I got abused for suggesting that trickle down is purely a human construct and is not exclusive to capitalists. As an aside to this, supposedly more equal socialist societies see the same inequality as capitalist systems.

        I could point to the deserved millions awarded for treaty settlements, that I have no issue with, have not lifted Maori from still ranking in the lower quartiles of poor outcomes.

        I don’t know what the answer is, but evidence suggests that giving money to the Maori elite, just benefit the Maori elite.

  2. @SK…..they want everything, want a finger in every pie so to speak.
    Anything to do with how a Govt/Council run they want to be involved in all aspects….now that I’m and of itself is agreeable and accepted, BUT not to the extent that they can veto almost all plans/policy /laws that they disagree with. At 17% of the population, they should have approx 20% of the say and not as it is currently heading, over 50% of the say.
    Just look at the Aotearoa Childhood Centres results, 92% accepted the proposals and then 2 out of the 6 maori groups (why they need 6 seperate maori groups I don’t know) vote against and the proposal agreement of 92% becomes null and void and the agreement has failed.
    ……read it and weep, coming to a council and the Govt soon!

  3. Few “Pākehā” are decendants of crown authority figures. My decendants were lied to, raped, and locked up. I have no intergenerational wealth, no stealing of land and resources in my ancestral history.

    Colonisation also fucked over settlers. And decendants have no claim to citizenship other than New Zealand.

    Until as a nation we all decide that we all deserve to be here I’m going to be very oppositional, even to the less radical and heavy handed changes you propose. There’s generations of Māori superiority and othering to overcome before any Māori olive branch can be taken seriously.

  4. All Central and Latin Americas were colonised/conquered before the North. So was Europe, Middle East…most of the World through the history. Repeatedly.
    Darwin explained the basic principle.
    Nature does not care that neither you nor I like that.

  5. The late Ranginui Walker summed it up for me twenty years or more ago. He said the racial issues of Aotearoa would be solved between the bedsheets. His family I believe were testament to this.

    I prefer to look forward to a new Aotearoa where we are all descended from every culture, Maori, European, Pasifika, Asia et al. Given that this will happen over time the imperative might be to let this evolve without rancor or prejudice, preserve what is good, beneficial and necessary, introduce the same. We can be better by respecting our individual pasts and creating a joint future.

  6. You get an “A” for effort Trotter.
    Sad fact is Maori are racists
    . End of story.
    And as a 6th generation Pakeha I am over it ,no longer interested. as this government has regrettably shown us what is really going on.
    There is no trust anymore.
    I have lost most of the respect I once had for Maori.

  7. Everyone has been colonized to some degree throughout history. I reject the premise that colonisation causes poverty in Maori. I believe this to be true based on the number of successful Maori I work with and have known throughout my life, many middle class Maori. My Maori neighbour is an officer in the Army. The general manager of my employer is Maori. The sparky that rewired my garage is Maori. Why are some Maori successful and others aren’t? I don’t think it has anything to do with race or colonisation. Poor and lowly educated people of all races face similar problems in life. Instead of asking “how do we improve outcomes for Maori” we should ask “how do we improve outcomes for everyone who is disadvantaged”. The answer I believe is education.

    • For those Maori who bemoan colonialism we should consider creating a free Maori state in the Urewera’s, they can have total autonomy to create the own South Pacific version of Zimbabwe with their very own Mugabe (I am sure a member of the ‘Maori Elite’ will be willing to consider taking up that mantle).

      Who needs access to hospitals / electricity / roads / reliable food sources anyway?

      Those Maori who don’t want in are more than welcome to live with the rest of us as equals . .

      • James+Brown actually the whole of NZ should be a free-zone for Maori because we are the indigenous people of this country!!

        Secondly Why should a pakeha called (James+Brown )that has bigoted views towards the indigenous peoples of NZ be taken seriously?

        Thirdly Equality and equity are not apart of your vocabulary which effectively rules your racist comment as null and void.

          • Robs Mob Jeez the historic illiteracy from you pakeha is friengthenly shocking but not surprising!!

            In January 1840, settlers arrived from the British Isles to take up residency at the first NZ company settlement in Wellington. The following year company agents selected Whakatu (Wakatu) subsequently renamed Nelson, as the site for their second settlement. Allotments in the 221,000-acre settlement had already been sold in London. The first boatloads of immigrants began arriving in February 1842. There was just one problem. the company soon decided it did not have enough good quality agricultural land to meet its commitments. Settlers crammed into Nelson township and absentee owners back in England, began to demand their full allocation of rural lands. The fertile Wairau plains to the south-east of Nelson appeared to provide the perfect answer.

            Te Rauparaha a signatory to the Kapiti deed and his nephew Te Rangihaeata,rejected the company’s claim on Wairau, insisting that the land had not been sold. The pair travelled to Nelson in March 1843 to plead with the company and crown officials. No one listened. Instead, in april the company ordered surveyors to begin work in the Wairau valley. In early june Te Rauparaha and others set fire to the surveyors huts and politely but firmly asked pakeha to leave. Back in Nelson, arrest warrants were issued for the Ngati Toa rangatira and nearly 50 special mounted constables were hurriedly sworn.

            On 17 June 1843 the party, described as’ the first and last commando ever mounted in NZ, set out to seize the chiefs. They encountered the Maori group at Taurima. Te Rauparaha refuse to submit to the arrest, and insisted on the commission of Spain to investigate the dispute. Te Rangihaeata was more forceful, asking pakeha why they assumed the right to interfere with Maori occupying their own land.

            Police magistrate Henry Thompson behaved erratically, refusing to shake the chiefs hands, interrupting them when they were speaking and finally threatening to shoot them if they would not come with him voluntarily.

            Although what happen next is disputed in some accounts, a musket was fired -either accidentally or deliberate-by one of the europeans. matters quickly escalated. In the gun fire that followed, Ngati Toa soon gained the upper hand, killing 10 pakeha and losing 4 of their own. Many of the surviving pakeha managed to flee. Others surrendered. Te Rauparaha was heard calling for them to be spared. But Rongo, wife of Te Rangihaeata, had been killed in the affray. He killed each of the prisoners on the spot clubbing them with his mere. Besides his wife’s death. The new governor Robert Fitzroy arrived in the colony in December 1843 concluded after comprehensive investigation that the settlers had provoked the incident by taking possession of lands to which their claim had not been established.

            Ngāi Tahu made its first claim against the Crown for breach of contract in 1849.

          • Robs Mob, The NZ company had been formed in London in May 1839 to promote ‘systemic colonization’ of NZ, based on the ideas of Edward Gibson Wakefield a convicted kidnapper and child molester. Land deeds signed at Kapiti and elsewhere later that same year with a small number of rangatira appeared to give the company ownership of an area estimated at 20 million acres, stretching all the way from Mokau in Northern Taranaki to the Hurunui river North Canterbury. Most Maori resident in the area were unaware of these precarious land deals. Almost unintelligible Maori translation of the deeds meant that those few chiefs that did sign them had little understanding of their content. Following crowns assertion of sovereignty over NZ, all private land purchases before 1840 were subject to a process of retrospective investigation and ratification by specially appointed commissioners. Maori witnesses, including Te Rauparaha, who later appeared before land claims commission inquiry conducted by William Spain into the dealing of the cook strait region rejected the NZ company’s claims.

            Your call Robs Mob have you evidence to the contrary? If so please provide with full explanation and evidential links?

            • Steve….I will not be supplying a full explanation and evidential links as I do not know how to do “ Links” , My computer skills are the same as my writing skills , hopeless , but I do enjoy reading some of the well written articles with interesting links that with the press of a button can explain things in detail…..My previous comment was about Ngai Tahu selling a huge amount of the South Island from 1844 on and possibly regretting the sale before the ink was dry….10% of the land was to be set aside for local Māori and this was not done and has been a jolly beggar ever since….Several full and final payments have been made to Ngai Tahu and the last full payment can be topped up if other tribes get a better deal , just to show how us tax payers share the love….The land you comment about at the top of the South Island was not Ngai Tahu land as it was under the control of the Good Samaritan Te Rauparaha as he munched his way south so this land can be included in the North Island land loss. It seems the bill of sale for the South Island land sale survives somewhere , so as I say….where does the legitimate sale of land by Ngai Tahu fit in with your opinion that all land should be a free zone for Māori…

                • Bob the last well they were the people doing all the stealing and more fool them for writing it down jeez Bob the last you’re such a dummy

              • Robs Mob The land sales were bogus and in many ways forced upon Ngai Tahu as well as Ngati Toa Maori who interpreted these exchanges differently to that of europeans. The previous link ‘ENZB’ provides full details of these exchanges but there is a lot of reading like finding a needle in a haystack but its there. The NZ company and the crown had been the facilitators of these bogus transactions between these tribes they also shared inter-marriage links so there can be no distinction when discussing land appropriation in the 19th century. The total paid out in treaty settlements since the process started in the 1980s is now just over $2 billion. It represents less than three percent of the value of land and assets stolen from Māori. And the ‘Free Zone’ for maori is in relation to the previous comment who used bigotry to prove his point so my comment was in defence to that. Hope you get my point?

      • James_+, I have a better idea, maybe you and Shona and all the other uneducated Karen/Kevin clowns making my Sunday reading so laughable could find yourselves somewhere else to colonise.

        I guess your DNA has plenty of experience in stealing, raping, pillaging and exterminating – should be a piece of cake for you guys.

        Maybe you can return to where your ancestors originated, no doubt you would be most welcome, you wouldn’t be returning with empty pockets.

        But if you decide to stay here in Aotearoa maybe you could come and join me and my whanau, share a meal and have a chat and listen to the opposite views that you are promoting.

        You might even leave with a better understanding of what has happened to my ancestors, you might even learn a bit of truth and understanding.

        But I guess not eh, you appear to be like the rest of the Pakeha whingers who have never sat at the dinner table of a Maori friend, never visited a Marae, think we should “Get over it”, and worse still think your ways are superior to ours.

        Thank goodness there are many young people of all races in this country who do not carry your racist bigotry, they are educated, they do not promote your untrue theories, and they are not afraid to admit that their ancestors did wrong.

        I see good changes taking place in our country, with the introduction of correct Maori pronunciation, the increased use of Te Reo Maori, and most important the joy that the children of all our races achieve when taking part in Te Ao Maori.

        What a pity you have missed out on this experience.

        • ‘You appear to be like the rest of the Pakeha whingers who have never sat at the dinner table of a Maori friend, never visited a Marae”.

          Yup I have sat at the dinner table with Maori (is there anyone who hasn’t)? and yup have been on a Marae as well (as with pretty much everyone) . .

          “I guess your DNA has plenty of experience in stealing, raping, pillaging and exterminating – should be a piece of cake for you guys.”

          And NZ Europeans are the racist ones yeah?

    • Spot on. Education is the key. But education encourages thinking. We do not want them to “thnk” do we? We want them to watch those “reality” shows.

  8. Largely true, but you have left out some pretty salient facts as far as I am concerned Chris. I don’t think this whole thing is largely about race – we are very interbred – but about the meeting of two groups of people one of which was drawing on 10.000 years of culture, and particularly the recent upsurge in technology, and the other which had lived in isolation from other human cultures for centuries in a land not overly blessed with much apart from space and birds and fish.

    Everybody, these days, leaves out how desperately Maori longed for European technology and most/many did anything and everything they could for a warm blanket! Boy was it cold in Aotearoa!
    And guns – swoon! To a people who had lived for 4 centuries killing one another wholesale, nothing was too much to give! We all know this is true but it’s not very nice to mention, is it. Do you think more Maori were killed by Maori than were killed by Europeans? They were.
    The present deep unpleasantness is based on hypocrisy, ignorance, patronage and deceit. We should know better, but under this administration ‘free speech’ is dangerous.

  9. Well said Chris, and thanks, for having the ‘cojones’ to shine a light on an issue that mainly just produces heat. I find that time and time again, this debate about colonisation brings me back to the book “Being Pakeha Now” by the late great historian Micheal King. King notes that “…such historical baggage ought not to be used as a weapon by which one culture abuses and beats another. That kind of posturing, climbing on the shoulders of the past to sneer and abuse others in the present, is productive and counterproductive only of negativity and conflict.” Fine words, from one of our greatest-ever historians, more so in that they are timeless and apply today and into the future.

  10. Sort of correct Chris, but there are a few salient details that you missed:

    > European immigration into North America didn’t overwhelm the locals. Instead, over 90% of native Americans were wiped out by the inadvertent introduction of European pathogens. And before someone claims this was a deliberate policy, remember that germ theory was only developed in the mid 19th century and the first virus was only visible under a microscope in the 1920’s. The reason that numerical superiority was never achieved in the Africa colonies was because Africans were as immune to European diseases as Europeans were. In fact, they were more resistant to local diseases such as malaria.

    > Similarly, large numbers of Maori in New Zealand were wiped out by introduced disease, to the extent that the imperial government wouldn’t let them fight in WW1, partly for fear of rendering them extinct.

    > Unlike the Norman conquest of Britain, there was never a policy to exterminate and dominate Maori in NZ. (Read about the ‘harrying of the north’ if you wish to know about the bloody events after 1066). However, tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of Maori were slaughtered and many more displaced or enslaved by other Maori, in the Musket Wars. (Read Crosby’s ‘The Musket Wars’ for the oh-so-gory details) This slaughter was so significant that Europeans became the dominant population by default in the Auckland region after Hongi Hika had done his thing.

    > All ethnicities, tribes and cultures are colonizers. The Beaker People colonized Britain, then the Romans, then the Saxons, then the Vikings, then the Normans. Just as today’s Canterbury was colonized by Ngāi Tahu in the musket wars. Similarly native Americans slaughtered each other prior to the arrival of Europeans and took each other’s lands. India has experienced invasion and colonization by Arians and the Moguls before the Brits set foot there. So, Maori who consider themselves victims need to get over themselves and move on.

    • Andrew ‘However, tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of Maori were slaughtered and many more displaced or enslaved by other Maori, in the Musket Wars. (Read Crosby’s ‘The Musket Wars’ for the oh-so-gory details)’

      That not proof?

      ‘Just as today’s Canterbury was colonized by Ngāi Tahu in the musket wars.’

      That not colonization

      ‘ So, Maori who consider themselves victims need to get over themselves and move on.’

      More pakeha anti-Maori sentiment

    • You conveniently leave out the bit where the Crown signed an agreement with Māori affording them the same rights as European….then took their land. People wank on about crime and being soft on it but then seemingly have no issue with those that write the laws breaking them when it suits. So if someone comes and kicks you out of your house Andrew will you expect some legal recourse or some bullshit about native Americans and “them’s the breaks” ?

  11. The comments on this do surprise me.

    I feel that (and this may come across controversial) Maori were lucky that they were colonised by perhaps the most benign colonisers in the history of mankind.

    Were the British perfect, of course not, especially when judged by today’s standards. But compared to the Romans, the Mongols, the Zulus, Alexander the Great, the Huns en tal Maori got the lesser of so many evils.

    Note that the British abolished slavery of local Maori, and didn’t subject Maori to slavery themselves, something that I am sure a few tribes would have certainly been keen on and is something they never get thanked for.

    • Don’t have to just look at overseas / historical comparisons – just look at the Musket Wars to realise how destructive and brutal one iwi displacing another could be.

    • The Neo-kindness of the Brits who facilitated the transatlantic slave trade of millions of africans to the new world and only abolished their genocidal practice when one of their colonies rebelled namely the southern of the America’s how benevolent of them.

      And conflating European slavery with Maori serfdom is another double-peak past-time meted out by historically illiterate white folks (Pakeha)

      • Stephen – note that the British ended the global practice of slavery, and the Royal Navy’s West Africa Squadron saved the lives of scores of thousands of Africans enslaved by Arabs and other Africans.

        Please provide evidence that Maori engaged in serfdom and not enslavement. Such a contention appears ahistorical.

        • Aaah the benevolent Briton abolished slavery because of their neo-kindness?? WAFJ and serfdom might of been a misleading term but it differed from european slavery and explaining ‘Maori servitude’ to europeans (pakeha) who take very little interest in NZ history is like explaining to a child how to drive a car. Maori in most cases incorporated their taurekareka (slaves) into their whanau if they didn’t meet an untimely death. Some became concubines and fathered children and their child could become rangatira (leader) of their hapu (Maori clan), males were valuable because of their strength and participation in food gathering and protecting their hapu and battles. The european experiment of enslaving and human trafficking differs significantly in this regard and far exceeds and was far more brutal as evidence reveals don’t you think?

          • It’s about civilisation, something that didn’t exist here until the British and French arrived. Civilisation is a process of continuous refinement, of which abolition of slavery, cannibalism and tribalism is a part. Your books reference is useful – have you read any?

            I made a mistake in responding to your comment. Having read some of your other comments it seems you have unresolved anger and resentment issues causing the sophomoric reaction of a 20-year-old, rather than mature and reasoned debate. I apologise to other readers.

  12. Totally concur Chris and find this Govt so wrong headed on this (and actually some other issues). Nz’s only future is by respecttful debate and shared success so much of which we had made strides toward up until 2020.

    I have read all sorts of NZ histories and concede the following:

    The view of the treaty and what it meant for Maori was divided amongst Maori both before and not long after its signing. Maori then, like Maori today, were disparate and held multiple points of view – many were thrilled about English rule, some wouldnt sign up to it and others very reluctantly did so. From the British POV, the treaty was merely a vehicle for getting their hands on NZ (beating off the French and US for example) and bringing order and stability to the place. I do not believe that the Brits thought they were signing a forever deal in the sense that they saw the Treaty being superceded within 20? years anyway. Also I dont think they ever intended for Maori to have real sovereignty. This wasnt how the Crown operated.

    When you look more tangentially at the issue, like looking at land acquisition pre 1900 what is striking is that whilst there was clear corruption in some parts, one of the biggest problems was the buying of land by the settler authorities. Often Pakeha purchased land only to find it belonged to someone else or that there were multiple interests not only within but between tribes. Because this presented a real challenge for settlers who were trying to establish a network of towns in NZ, usually along railhubs for agricultural goods to be shipped, it became common practice to pay off the local tribal reps for land and accept that the council or whoever would then pay again when a claim was inevitably made some years later by its rightful owners.

    This caused a pattern of land purchases which was cynical on the Pakeha side and sometimes opportunistic on the Maori side. Pay the local tribe a knock down price then some years later pay the claimants a bit more. So the whole issue of land was fraught. Also in some tribes, Maori were semi nomadic. They would occupy an area such as say Pukekohe, then another tribe would muscle in and they would up sticks and cross the River and live over there for a number of years before returning. In actual fact the whole thing, was a CF of massive proportions and why we face exactly the same issues with Maori today as then.

    It was then and remains to some extent today, a clash of two fundamentally different cultures. Looking through a Maori lens or simply a Pakeha lens will not work, we must seek to understand and meet in the middle and above all to stop trying to live in the past. We need a new paradigm for a new future and one which must be founded on respect for all cultures and one that focuses on multiple cultures, not two cultures. (Asian’s number 10% and Pacifica?7%? for example).

      • Please enlighten. Many pakeha feel land that wasnt confiscated was purchased fair and square and a culture that lived by war raiding will now do that by legal raid.

      • Actually Stephen, having enjoyed reading NZ histories for many years, I cannot disagree with anything Fantail says above. In stark contrast, I find that your own sanctimonious and deliberately superficial commentary adds heat but not light to the issue. Grow up and join the debate.

        • Jason you would say that wouldn’t you because if you believe in the falsehood what Fantail had wrote and he’s actually redacted some of his misinformation than that makes you historically illiterate as well! More fool you.

            • Bob the last, Man you surely need some professional help with this stalking fetish. I know that I’m not your favorite commentator on TDB, but this stalking is becoming rather creepy don’t you think??

    • In the interests of being clearer for those that are concerned, I will amend my post.

      1. Many were thriled about English rule should read ‘Some were happy to join in a Treaty with the British State

      2. I do not think the British believed they were signing a forever deal. Clearly this is wrong. What I should have said is – IMO, they knew it signified a permanent arrangement, but they almost certainly did not understand what they signed up to if more modern Maori translations are correct. In a major sense, they did not view the Treaty as significantly as it was. I think they thought it established one rule and system of rights for all under the Queen with the intention that the new state would develop on from there. I believe they thought it was a stepping stone to the new state and later it was said to be a ‘nullity’. The settler state moved on quite quickly from there.

      3. When I said there was clear corruption with land acquisition in some parts, I did not mean to play down the travesty of the land confiscations and land wars. Similarly, I should not have said that one of the biggest problems were with settlers having difficult buying land. I have only read 3 different accounts of this happening so I cant say with accuracy that it was a big problem or not. I do now that it lead to a rather cynical approach to land acquisition in some areas.

      4. RE: Maori moving out of specific areas and returning later was recorded in Pukekohe which was an area where various groups claimed rights to the land. They are recorded as ‘crossing the river’ and returning when it was safer. So I assume that maybe rightly or wrongly, this kind of thing occurred in other parts from time to time. Certainly, it would add to the settlers frustration with land acquisition.

    • Fantail, you sum it up saying we need a new paradigm. Reading the whole column there is a lot of misunderstanding and selective interpretation. I hesitate to use the term “racism”, it seems to elicit a response that takes the brain out of gear and goes straight to abuse. The easiest way to redress this is to move forward and make the old thinking redundant. I’m lucky, my grandchildren will walk in both worlds.

  13. While I couldn’t give less of a f**k about what the likes of Kelvin Davis might have to say about colonisation, there was a guy in California in the 60s who had a Family who said something I find very insightful- “All the way down the line people think it’s slick to get over on somebody else because they’re in a down position”.

    Noone likes it when visible racial foreigners hold the whip hand over them, and many Maori, because of their class position, disproportionately experience that every day. If we’re concerned about alleviating that issue, and we should be, fixing class issues is the place to start.

  14. Thank you Chris for your ongoing attempts to bring another perspective to the problems we face in Ao/NZ. To have your reasoned arguments swamped by a tide of right wing rhetoric must be discouraging. Is there, perhaps, a secret left leaning blog as yet undetected by this current crew of commentors.

    • Good luck with that!!

      Any centre left or centre right blog that accepts posters (an d doesnt moderate heavily) is full of Posters who genuinely want to discuss issues and maybe find a political home, they come from each side of the spectrum. There are also the rent a mouths on both sides that are either paid to cause dissent or see it as part of a strategy for their side to drown out other opinions (yes, after the last couple of years you can see it occurring if you look across the blogs). And on this particular blog, you will see genuine people shift their opinions over time in response to government behaviour.

      Some of the people you perceive as right wing arent actually, they are people who have fought against class politics for a long time. They have now shifted right because they abhor identity politics but if you scratch them you will find an old style leftie underneath.

      • Yes Fantail and even better when you scratch you might find opinions that are not frozen into the straight-jacket of rigid left and right pollitical silos – and they are all the more interesting because of it.
        CT being a good example.

    • Peter, what is left wing and right wing ‘rhetoric’ on this subject in your view? (If you have one!)
      Right wing = Not giving into every and all maori wish lists
      Left wing = Give them everything they wish for
      Where do you stand, in the middle?, If so, where is the line drawn for you?

        • Ahhh GUS, ok….end of discussion, you and Peter have decided what is correct and anything else contrary is ‘disi formation’? Lol….a true snowflake lefty, go find your safe space and dry each others tears.

  15. a good effort Chris.
    but most of the comments here are sickening!
    you all should search for any speech by Moana Jackson.
    like this one:
    and have a read of the Matiki Mai report.
    to settle your nerves.
    there is no threat except perhaps improved relationships between peoples who want to live in different ways.
    there was nothing “benign” about colonisation. it was violent, it was abusive, it was devastating.
    “Trauma is what is happening when white supremacist colonisers dispossess you of land, and culture, and lives, while pretending to help you, to civilise you. It is incomprehensible that this would happen to you and leaves you living in a world of unimaginable cruelty”

    • cp the commentary on the TDB are majority ‘Pakeha’ who bring their ill-informed values and beliefs especially on our country history. At least CT tries to bring some symmetry to the conversation, however I cringe when the majority use their vanilla lense to tell a story that is meaningless and wrong.

      • Here is a story through the vanilla lens (and my has that expression taken flight!!).

        I’m Tauiwi landed here on my fathers coat tails (he was asked to come here because of his marine engineering prowess) and I have been here 61 years. Years enough that we are now into the fifth generation of New Zealander’s “born of this land”.

        My daughter has two daughters by different fathers. One is “Pakeha” the other “Maori”.

        By your reckoning my “Maori” grand daughter will tell a story that is “meaningless and wrong” if based on her “Pakeha” linage. However on her “Maori” linage she is “tangata whenua” full of enlightenment and goodness but repressed by colonialism.

        How are the two sisters different? Both are bought up in loving family environment with equal support from Grandfather and Koru alike.

        Problem is people like yourself only want to look through a brown lens and see only the past. Try looking ahead through a clear lens just as both my grand daughters are doing. Neither of them feel or enact “colonial” repression or oppression.

        • Gerrit of course looking ahead is the way forward, and for me very easy to do as I come from both races Maori/Pakeha in all ancestors for 5 generations.

          But I have found it absolutely sickening reading the reports of the Land Wars in Papers Past and other historical records with shocking comments of “We’ll exterminate these Niggers”, “Burn the Savages”, as they murdered, pillaged and destroyed the homes and villages of my ancestors.

          This is not just “the past”, they were my whanau. When I look at the photographs of the thousands of Imperial and Colonial forces and the Armed Constabulary with their rifles and long sabres I wonder “Who were the civilised ones?”

          The actions of the ruling class who came here to colonise had one thing in mind – money – BIG MONEY. But unfortunately my ancestors wouldn’t sell, so they paid the price with their lives, their futures and the futures of their descendants.

          In a way I have “Moved On”, but I still feel the horrors that my ancestors experienced. Your Pakeha grand daughter may have the same attitude if her ancestors had been treated in such an atrocious manner.

          My father, also Tauiwi, a Working Class Londoner who came here in 1937 and married my Maniapoto mother learned very quickly the Aroha and manaakitanga shared by his new Maori in-laws.

          He was proud to spend the full Bastion Point Protest with the Ngati Whatua whanau, he knew they were fighting for their rights and stood with them to the end, one of the initial few found “guilty of trespass”.

          Today many Maori throughout this country are still standing for protection of their whenua, and many Pakeha are standing with them. It is not a Race Issue, it is the difference between Right and Wrong.

          Gerrit, I don’t know your ancestry, but I wonder how would you react if your ancestors had received the same injustices? How would you react if you were faced with your Turangawaewae being taken by force?

          Would you just ‘MOVE ON?”

      • ‘Stephen’….is that your slave name?, why not change it as Sir Tipene (Stephen) O’Regan did?
        Seems you are a bit like a snowflake and melting at others expressing their views and quoting historic FACTS and quotes, damn…damn…damn the facts, they upset you? or that others are not allowed to comment as they don’t have a maori name upset you more?

        • Im right, Clearly a pakeha bigot doesn’t understand the meaning of racism and what a waste of space instead of debating the titled subject goes on a tantrum because of his white fragility

  16. Yes Maori should embrace Capitalism,get a job at Bunnings ,pay off a mortgage to the banksters and then die.
    That’s …’success’.

    • The problem is, that when Maori Iwi do embrace capitalism, they get labeled “elites”. Where as Pakeha will be lauded for their business acumen, Maori will be criticized for for not running a socialist utopia. When Maori Iwi do run capitalist ventures that are successful whilst running social programs for their people, they are ignored.

      • standalonecomplex couldn’t have said it better its shocking this characterizing Maori business people as elite but pakeha business people get labeled differently and they accuse Maori of being racist when these bigoted pakeha need to look into the mirror!!

  17. Well said Chris. I see working together as the only viable way forward. In the nursery arguing children claiming ownership of some important toy might hold onto its parts and end up tearing it apart. Reflection is needed; understanding what is hoped for, written down in simple language without high-flown flourishes; but in accessible report form, numbered with numbered pages in numerous copies that remain the ‘fount of all knowledge’, not small changes being made all the time. It must be printed off and the print copies used as reference; on the internet changes can be made too easily that and people can be bamboozled by others certainty that their version and ideas are the right one/s. Wrangling, uncertainty, disagreement after everything was supposed to be settled and agreed could break the co-operation. (I understand that is said to be behind the Russian assault!)

    Then practical methods to advance those ideas be started in a general way; and particular requirements be chosen to immediately work on with regular reports and discussions on unrealised barriers and how to overcome them. A journey of a thousand miles must start with a single step, but also with a map, and the way forward be shown in separate smaller maps but still consecutive, though with sometimes multiple parts, which are reported on and improvements celebrated with a toast and then start again on next. Impetus must be kept up to continue or integrate project into the general system; then another part started, continuous.

    I have been involved in a project that was set up with high principles, but when I wanted examples of how those principles would be applied in a real situation, I was silenced – that wasn’t important. ‘Sound and fury signifying nothing’ is something to guard against. Later there was underhand behaviour, and an attempt to replace board members and go off on a different line than that originally agreed.

    Lengthy rhetorical flourishes take up time, so idealistic and poetic talk must be time-contained for both Maori and pakeha. Implementation in a friendly, practical, effective and culturally accepting way is vital. Lots of thought, talk, small projects, reporting back. questions, improvements, troubleshooter and cultural-project audits done, maintenance of work achieved, advance.

    Ongoing work to keep going for ten years, starting next but better start till January 2024. With objective survey every three years, reported to the nation. People encouraged to be in touch and put ideas forward to help desk. Every communication to be given a reference number with time and date on it, so people don’t feel lost in the sea of activity – can request outcome of their ideas and be available for further information on it.

  18. Colonisation by way of mass immigration is continuing and has not ceased.
    It’s just not by the British but by anybody and everybody.
    The foreign purchase of land, extraction of resources, ownership of infrastructure and businesses means that Maori are further disenfranchised and subjugated.
    It will go through the roof under the Nactz.

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