His­tory ex­pert queried

Waikato Times - - Opinion -

His­tory pro­fes­sor Alexan­der Gille­spie of Waikato Univer­sity is very se­lec­tive with re­portage of the Land Wars. Some facts he chose not to men­tion. Fa­tal­i­ties in the en­tire pe­riod, 4000, were less than 10 per cent of those killed in the Mus­ket Wars, Maori by Maori and con­sid­er­ably fewer than Hongi’s and Te Rau­paraha’s vi­o­lent raids.

Were he aware of colo­nial his­tory he would re­alise how in­ap­pro­pri­ate were his com­ments on the suit­abil­ity of the date the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence for an­nual remembrance.

The re­quest of the North­ern Tribes, Ngapuhi, for aid from Bri­tain was be­cause of their fear that other tribes, hav­ing ob­tained mus­kets, might seek ‘utu’ for the thou­sands that Hongi Hika, had slaugh­tered in his south­ern ram­pages.

The Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence,apart from ap­pro­pri­at­ing a Bri­tish mer­can­tile flag as their em­blem, came to naught.

The sub­se­quent con­fed­er­a­tion with other tribes never oc­curred. There were no fur­ther meet­ings. Michael King in his Pen­guin His­tory called it a ‘con­trived cer­e­mony’ with no con­sti­tu­tional sig­nif­i­cance.

The Treaty set­tle­ments he claimed as ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the in­jus­tices of the colo­nial govern­ment were sim­ply po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated largesse by Christo­pher Finlayson for the Na­tional Party to grat­ify their Maori par­lia­men­tary part­ners and the rub­ber stamp ap­proval given by the Wai­tangi Tri­bunal to all Maori claims.

Bryan John­son, Omoko­roa.

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