Colonial terror and violence since 1642 debunked


Dear Associate Professor Leonie Pihama and Associate Professor Tom Roa,

You have both seized the opportunity you perceive in the recent appalling tragedy in Christchurch to present what one of you calls “colonial terror and violence since 1642”[1] with the other saying “Maori had been victims to acts of terrorism in Aotearoa in the past”.[2] And Police Deputy Commissioner of Maori and Ethnic Services Wally Haumaha chimes in, about “historical killings of Maori at different times and across the country during early colonisation”.[3]

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Office of Treaty Negotiations: "Maori women didn't receive the vote until about 1922"

In a letter on Treaty Settlements Office Ministerial letterhead dated 9 September 2019, Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little, in regards to a pamphlet arguing that everyone ought to be treated equally before the law, stated: “The pamphlet….. curiously ignores the fact that Maori were not treated equally before the law between 1840 and about 1922 when Maori women were finally granted the franchise”.

The fact is that Maori women, who received full rights of British subjects under Article 3 of the Treaty, received the vote in 1893 alongside their European women equals. Such misinformation is insidious in that it creates a grievance mentality in the minds of supposed victims and can be used to justify legal privileges awarded to those with Maori ancestors. And in this case the misinformation promoted by the Office of Treaty Negotiations could clearly have the ability to affect the judgment of Minister Little in the execution of his duties as Minister for Treaty Negotiations (four yearly budget of $1.4 billion) as well as his conduct of Marine and Coastal Area Act negotiations.

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The burnt church lie that won't die

When two high school students were told, in 2014, that colonial troops herded women and children into a church at Rangiaowhia on that day and then set the church on fire, killing 144, they were deeply shocked and petitioned Parliament to set up “a national day to commemorate those who lost their lives in the land wars, both Maori and colonial”. [1]

However, you don’t have to look far to see that the story is at best incorrect or at worst, a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive, otherwise known as a lie. Why?

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Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson told Parliament two years ago that the Crown apologised to the people of Parihaka for the rape of women and children. However, questions under the Official Information Act revealed that the only evidence held by the Government was testimony from two men to the Sim Commission in 1927 that “the women folk were gathering food for the people in the pa, for us, and the soldiers were assaulting the women folk. Some of those women got children through the soldiers”, as well as a lengthy opinion piece in the Otago Daily Times on March 18, 1882, which had a brief mention of “soldiers plying Parihaka women with rum”, an unreferenced assertion in a 1975 book titled Ask That Mountain, and handed down stories and a traditional poi dance.[13]