By– Reuben P. Chapple
“In the Kingdom of the Blind, the one-eyed man is King. And he that does not know his own history is at the mercy of every lying windbag.” – outgoing Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, in his 1922 farewell address.
New Zealand is increasingly being referred to in the public square as “Aotearoa” or “Aotearoa New Zealand.”
This fiction deserves to be mercilessly deconstructed.
The agenda of its promoters is to imply that a pre-existing Maori nation state was rudely subsumed by 19th Century white settler governments and must accordingly be reinstated as “co-equal” to our existing government that governs for all New Zealanders.
When the Treaty of Waitangi was entered into in 1840, New Zealand consisted of hundreds of dispersed and petty tribes, each in a constant state of war with one another, and lacking any concept of nationhood. Some 512 chiefs signed the Treaty, while a substantial minority refused to, meaning there were probably more than 600 of these individually insignificant groups.
Contrary to modern-day misrepresentation, the Treaty of Waitangi was not with a collective “Maori,” but with tribes. Under the legal doctrine of Privity of Contract, only the parties to an agreement are bound by it, or can claim its protection in the event of a breach. Accordingly, the Crown should never have entertained Treaty claims from tribes such at Tainui, Tuwharetoa, and Tuhoe, whose forefathers never signed it in the first place. Such claims can only be sustained by buying into the revisionist fiction that the Treaty had just two parties: Crown and Maori.
Assertions that a Maori nation state existed when the Treaty was signed rest upon formal recognition by England’s King William IV in 1836 of the 1835 Declaration of Independence of the so-called “Confederation of United Tribes” and associated flag.
Any “official recognition” of pre-Treaty collective Maori control of New Zealand must be placed in its proper historical context, which ethnic nationalists conveniently omit to do.
The so-called “Maori Flag” (not the tino rangatiratanga Maori sovereignty flag of the 1990s) was adopted by Northland chiefs in 1834 at the behest of British Resident James Busby, after a NZ-built ship owned by Europeans was impounded in Sydney for not flying the flag of a recognised nation state.
Busby presented the chiefs with a variety of designs. They eventually chose a flag modelled on that of the Church Missionary Society, with which they were well familiar. This was not a Maori initiative, but a Pakeha-brokered expedient to protect New Zealand’s pre-Treaty commerce.
Nor was the 1835 Declaration of Independence driven by the puny number of Maori chiefs who signed it. This “paper pellet to fire at the French” was fudged together by Busby to head off Colonial Office fears of an impending takeover by French adventurer, Baron De Thierry.
Initially carrying the signatures (or rather the thumbprints) of 35 Northland chiefs, the Declaration was ultimately signed by just 57 chiefs, all residing north of the Firth of Thames. Since these chiefs represented less than 10 percent of all the tribes of New Zealand, the Declaration can hardly be held up as evidence of a national consensus.
The arguments of Maori sovereignty activists are further undermined by the impotence of the handful of chiefs who signed the Declaration to act or even deliberate in concert.
Signatories had pledged “to meet in Congress at Waitangi in the autumn of each year, for the purpose of framing laws for the dispensation of justice, the preservation of peace and good order, and the regulation of trade.” Inter-tribal animosities meant this body never met nor passed a single law, despite their common undertaking to do so.
At the time of the signing of the Treaty, the North and South Islands had a variety of Maori names, the most popular being Te Ika-a-Māui and Te Waipounamu respectively. However, we must be clear that there was no pre-existing Maori name for what is now New Zealand, because as we have seen, there was no Maori nation state or national consensus to form one.
Had there been a Maori name for New Zealand, the missionaries who drafted both the Declaration and the Maori Treaty text (fluent Maori speakers all) would have known of and used it. Instead, they used the same transliteration of New Zealand (“Niu Tirani”) in both documents to get their point across.
Maori sovereignty activists, who regard the Treaty of Waitangi as written in concrete if it advances their agenda, have successfully smuggled Niu Tirani out of the public discourse, because its use in both the Declaration and the Maori Treaty text underscores the total bankruptcy of their claim to nationhood. “Aotearoa” has been smuggled in as a substitute.
Aotearoa was originally an alternative pre-European Maori name for the North Island. As Muriel Newman notes in her recent article on the New Zealand Geographic Board’s proposed name changes to the North and South Islands, “The Board ruled out Aotearoa for the North Island on the basis that it has been popularised as the name for New Zealand.”
“Fabricated” is a far better word.
The underlying agenda of the race-hustlers pushing alternative Maori place names is to insinuate into the public mind, through as many channels as possible, their “One country, two peoples” mantra.
Constant repetition then creates the false impression of widespread popular acceptance of what is really nothing more than a propaganda claim.
We see here deployed Adolf Hitler’s Big Lie technique as outlined in Mein Kampf:
“n the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.
“It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”
Hopefully this article will afford right-thinking New Zealanders the ammunition to rebut the grossly impudent lie foisted upon them by Maori sovereignty activists and their supine, guilt-tripping liberal enablers.