History

Stories about us

“I’m a person who always wanted to write a novel about Te Ātiawa history, but still let herself be convinced to write about 1940 London instead.” — Lauren Keenan.
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Rātana’s London mission

“Ratana had publicly committed himself to a political programme for the first time in a speech at Ratana Pā during the Christmas hui of 1923. He would go to London and take with him the Bible and the Treaty of Waitangi, symbolic of the spiritual and social sides of his mission.” — Keith Newman in ‘Ratana: The Prophet’.

Parihaka and Te Waipounamu

"It’s often assumed that the 19th-century New Zealand Wars fought between the Crown and various groups of Māori were exclusively a Te Ika-a-Māui (North Island) story. But there is a largely unknown history of southern engagement with these conflicts. " — Historian Vincent O'Malley.

Vikings of the Sunrise

“I shall never forget the first odour of tropical plants... the strangeness of outrigger canoes and of houses thatched with pandanus, and, above all, the kindly salutations and spontaneous hospitality of the handsome brown-skinned inhabitants who were kin to my own people.” — Te Rangi Hīroa, from the newly republished 'Vikings of the Sunrise'.

The supreme navigators of history

“It’s fair to say that those responsible for this remarkable expansion of territory had been global leaders in the arts of landfinding and navigation for most of the last 5,000 years.” — Andrew Crowe, on the voyaging achievements of Pacific navigators.

Ngātokimatawhaorua: The story of a waka

Te Puea “instinctively understood that anyone, Māori or Pākehā, who saw waka taua on the water were enthralled by them. And that is what she wanted to create: a symbol to make Māori feel proud, and for Pākehā to admire.” — Jeff Evans, in Ngātokimatawhaorua: The biography of a waka.

‘We are not going away’

“The Crown can make the case as complex as they want. But at its heart, it’s simple. And we are not going away.” — Professor Sandy Morrison on the Nelson Tenths Reserves.

Colonisation by capital

“Imprisonment and forced labour, here and for Indigenous people in the Pacific Islands, were a deliberate means of breaking property and traditional work practice into the mould of capital.” — Rob Campbell reviews 'Blood and Dirt'.

Empire on the cheap — prison labour in the Pacific

“Imprisoned workers were essential to creating the basic infrastructure of New Zealand’s Pacific empire. Government agents needed government buildings, so offenders who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) pay their fines built residencies, courthouses and other imperial premises.” — Jared Davidson.

Our land died so others could live

“New Zealand’s history of colonialism with Banaba should be part of the current education curriculum. Students should understand how Banaba had to die for New Zealand’s grazing agriculture to live.” — Hele Christopher-Ikimotu.

Remembering Bastion Point

“My heart was full to the brim with love. It became my armour for that day that was to become te rā pouri o Aotearoa, the day New Zealand cried.” — Sharon Hawke.

The future of history is Māori

“Whether we see Māori histories or not, whether we elbow them aside because we think they take up too much room, whether we acknowledge them or not — even when we repeatedly, boringly, make them invisible — they are always here.” — Dr Aroha Harris.

Saving Kauri

“It all happened within one hundred years, ‘with an axe’. Within that time, 96 per cent of the forest, most of which was north of Auckland, was destroyed.” — Rebecca Priestley on the destruction of the kauri forests.

Claudia Orange: The role of the Treaty today

“A change in mindsets and attitudes is needed if people in Aotearoa New Zealand are to grasp the revolutionary shifts that have occurred and continue to evolve.” — Claudia Orange, in 'The Story of a Treaty/He Kōrero Tiriti'.

Why did Māori leaders sign Te Tiriti?

“Māori expected Te Tiriti to be the start of a new relationship with Britain — one in which they would have an equal role. They expected that the kāwanatanga of the first article would enable officials in New Zealand to control troublesome Europeans.” — Claudia Orange.

Rangiaowhia: Voices from the embers

“The handing down of this knowledge to the whānau is a taonga for our hapū and iwi. It helps shelter us from the chill of losing every inch of our land.” — Hazel Coromandel-Wander, on the kōrero passed down from her great-grandmother, a survivor of the Rangiaowhia massacre in 1864.

Slice by slice, the fish will be returned

“It’s my personal belief that you mustn’t be a spectator of stupidity or unfairness. The grave will supply plenty of time for silence.” — John McIntosh on helping Northland hapū Ngāti Manu some of their land back.

What if the Treaty had been honoured?

“’You will honourably and scrupulously fulfil the conditions of the Treaty of Waitangi . . .’” — Lord Stanley, the Colonial Secretary in London, to Governor George Grey in New Zealand, after Grey asked him how far he had to abide by the Treaty.

‘The Crown was at great fault’

“The Crown profoundly regrets its horrific and needless acts of war and raupatu, which have caused you and your hapū inter-generational suffering.” — Crown apology to Ngāti Maniapoto.

Still waiting for the new dawn

“There is no property in children. Māori children know many homes, but still one whānau.” — From the landmark Pūao Te Ata Tū report, written in 1986.

George Ortiz and the Motunui epa

“To a Westerner, the art of  the Pacific, particularly that of  Polynesia, is like an escape, a search for purity and truth, a renewal,” George Ortiz, the Bolivian magnate who bought the illegally-acquired Motunui epa in 1973 and held on to them for four decades.

The long road to #LandBack

“Getting Māori land back is not going to happen by magic. It's not going to happen by other people's generosity. It's only going to happen by our own straight-out determination and persistence.” — Robyn Bargh on the return of hapū land.

Lies with our breakfast

“It's easy to laugh at these cereal lies, but the truth is that these stereotypes and racist assumptions still exist — in my classes, in debates on social media, and in the community where I live.” — Catherine Delahunty.

What the Bishop said to the Queen

“As I remember the songs of our land, as I remember the history of our land, I weep here on the shores of the Bay of Islands.” — Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe in 1990.

Memories of a master

“No one knows exactly when it happened, but once these migration voyages ended, the practical application of celestial navigation was quietly lost to the people who would become known as Māori.” — Jeff Evans, in ‘Reawakened’.

Assaulting the ears of government

“Whina and the other League women are remembered for ‘assaulting the ears of Government Departments’, particularly on issues related to housing and mortgages.” — Dr Aroha Harris.

Hongi Hika: No other Ngāpuhi leader outshone him

"Although his name and reputation have become blurred over time, for those of us who know the history of the north — and the history of our leaders who stood and defended our lands from the triple-threat of Europeans, muskets and religion — there is no one quite like Hongi Hika." — Shane Jones.

Weaving a tribal story

“The bylines of some entries are so unique, so remarkable, as to make you marvel that such a person could exist — and then to wonder why it has taken until now for their stories to become known to the wider public.” — Kennedy Warne on 'Tāngata Ngāi Tahu'.

Monuments that uphold the status quo

“As we begin to teach our difficult histories in schools, these memorials and monuments will appear increasingly out of place and one-sided to many more of us, and there will be more and more questions about what we do with them.” — Dr Liana MacDonald.

This is going to hurt

"The New Zealand Wars have left a huge legacy. Once you know these histories, you’ve opened the box of memories and you can’t ever unknow them." — Professor Joanna Kidman.

Entangled with the land

“These places are not passive backdrops to human action — they are agents, participants, characters in the dramas that unfold across their volcanic surfaces.” — Kennedy Warne reviews 'Shifting Grounds' by Lucy Mackintosh.

‘Like he’s sitting here and talking’

“The connections with our tūpuna are very close; they’re direct and they help me recall what our old people used to tell us." — Whanganui kaumātua John Niko Maihi, writing in a new book: Hei Taonga mā ngā Uri Whakatipu / Treasures for the Rising Generation.

Being present to the past

“Once arrogantly dismissed as journeys of luck — the aimless drifting of incompetent mariners — these voyages are now rightly adulated as ‘among the greatest acts of voyage and discovery in world history.’” — Kennedy Warne on 'Polynesia:900–1600' by Madi Williams.

Hākarimata and the sleeping baby

“The same system which processed the land theft has adapted to prevent its return. Apologies and cash compensation keep the issue of land safely dormant — like a sleeping baby strapped to the back of a new parent.” — Connie Buchanan.

Mark Solomon: On leadership and life

"The Crown reckoned full redress was worth around $12 to $15 billion. Our advisers thought it was closer to $20 billion. We settled for $170 million — a lot less, but it allowed Ngāi Tahu to move forward, to rebuild." — Mark Solomon.

‘I never got to go home’

“My parents' dream of a better life collided with the cultural ignorance of mainstream New Zealand in the 1950s onwards.” — Fa'amoana Luafutu, who told his story of institutional abuse to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

The Dawn Raids apology

“In the multiple chapters of Pacific peoples’ story in New Zealand, the chapter of the Dawn Raids stands out as one that continues to cast a long shadow.” — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's speech in full.

Restoring a lifeline

“If knowledge is power, then the draft curriculum is signalling a significant shift in society’s power base.” — Kennedy Warne.

Te Tāpihana

“He was a born adventurer. Neil Armstrong-astronaut class. He was also a Bear Grylls-type survivalist — though his dramas were for real, and not invented for TV.” — Lloyd Ashton on Phillip Tapsell.

The Dawn Raids of 1974

“No one was safe. The police just went to addresses where they knew Tongans lived, maybe tipped off by a disgruntled neighbour. And the checks were indiscriminate.” — Joris de Bres.

‘I follow the trail of blood’

“In these fields, the tūpuna lie where they fell in the swamps or in unmarked graves hastily dug by survivors, with the dead piled up around them. I swear I can sometimes hear their voices.” — Joanna Kidman.

WAKA Episode 1: The revival

"The knowledge of wayfinding and waka building was almost lost as a living practice, destined to survive only in historical journals and museums. Luckily for us, a small group took up the battle to keep them alive." — Simone Kaho.

Claudia Orange: Questions of sovereignty

"The early plans for a British colony envisaged a Māori New Zealand in which settlers would somehow be accommodated," writes Claudia Orange. But, by 1840, there'd been a shift in thinking, reflecting "reluctant official acknowledgement that the tide of British colonisation could not be held back forever".

Who should tell our history?

"We are still here, the descendants and beneficiaries, the marginalised and reviled — so how are we going to face the truth, and how can it be taught?" — Catherine Delahunty on the teaching of New Zealand history.

The Terror of the Dawn Raids

“The majority of overstayers were British or American. But, in 1974, under the Labour Government, 107 Tongans, 24 Sāmoans and 2 Americans were deported. Meanwhile, arrests of Pacific overstayers continued.” — Dr Melani Anae.

History demands a personal reckoning

“You can’t be Pākehā and believe that you’re not personally responsible for the colonial oppression of Indigenous peoples. No matter who your ancestors are.” — Leah Bell.

The Anniversaries of our Amnesia

“I’m starting to understand that amnesia may well be one of the main organising principles of colonisation. A selective forgetting is an important part of how power maintains its privileges.” — vivian Hutchinson.

Not one iota of evidence

“There is no credible evidence that any non-Māori — other than Tasman and his crew — visited New Zealand before Cook’s first arrival in 1769.”

Marching into history

“We didn’t know what we were getting into and how we would be received. We only knew that we had left, we were going to march, and nothing was going to put us off that.” — Tama Te Kapua Poata on the 1975 Māori Land March.

The iceberg below the surface

“The people who have marched before me, who have occupied spaces before me: their feet taking steps for change, their bodies on the line, their voices hoarse with conviction . . . they are the iceberg below the surface.”

Rua Kēnana and the teaching of history

The move to make the teaching of history compulsory, “will not produce lasting benefit unless history comes to be seen not as information to be learned and then set aside, but as a force that shapes identity and influences choices.”

Māori in the First World War

When the First World War broke out in 1914, the wars of the 1860s, the subsequent land confiscations, and the invasion of Parihaka in 1881 were still fresh in the memories of many Māori.

Decolonising the Pacific

"Colonialism had done little to develop or educate those people it ruled, so for many Pacific — especially Polynesian — people, leaving their homelands was often seen as one of the few routes to economic and social advancement.”

The history I wasn’t taught

The 150th anniversaries of several brutal events in our local and national history has prompted Ernie Barrington to dip into the history books — to remember “episodes that call out to be remembered and not to be airbrushed away”.

Forever Brave

"No infantry battalion had a more distinguished record, or saw more fighting, or, alas, had such heavy casualties as the Māori Battalion." — Extracts from the book: Ake Ake Kia Kaha E! Forever Brave!

With heads hung low

“We come with solemn sadness that the events of the past have cast such a long shadow on the generations that have followed, and left a legacy of injustice and controversy."

A betrayal of trust

Historian Alistair Reese backgrounds the history behind last weekend's apology from the Anglican Church to Tauranga tangata whenua for the betrayal that led to the loss of their land.

‘I’m still a mum, aren’t I?’

"We were the last mothers of that generation. The last to go through before the cradle-to-grave welfare state came crashing down around us. After that, single mothers were further stigmatised — and life got much harder."

Great South Road: The Road of Refugees

The Great South Road was built in 1862 to carry a British army into the Waikato kingdom. When the British invaded the Waikato in 1863, soldiers shared the road with Māori refugees from Auckland. Scott Hamilton revisits that history in this excerpt from his book 'Ghost South Road'.

One tough mother

Remembering the mother of the nation, Whina Cooper — a tough, uncompromising mother who understood the power of protest and the political fray.

‘He’s the one who came home’

“The same courage that saw us move back to Tauranga Moana after an absence of many generations is needed again to take this next step. To finally be invested completely in the whenua of our ancestors. Our branch of the Bidois whānau will have a foothold again.”

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