Under fire for incorrect history lesson

St Paul’s Anglican Church, still standing on Rangiaowhia Road. Image: Google Maps.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy has come under criticism for repeating an old wives' tale about women and children being burnt to death in a church during the New Zealand Wars.

She made the comments in an opinion piece published earlier this month.

In the article, she referred to students from Otorohanga College asking about events during the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s, particularly in the Waikato village of Rangiaowhia.

She goes on to say the students ‘were shocked to find out civilians were killed by Crown soldiers'.

“They were horrified to hear that women and children who sought shelter in a local church were locked inside and the church burnt to the ground.”

Tauranga resident Chris Lee, who happens to have an interest in the wars and is familiar with the historiography, took issue with the remark.

He made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission, arguing Dame Susan's repetition of false information about the wars might, ironically, cause racial disharmony.

He included evidence from the April 6, 1864 edition of the New Zealand Herald, which describes both churches at Rangiaowhia still standing mere weeks after the attack on the village.

He hoped Dame Susan, in light of this written evidence, would retract her statement and set the record straight.

However, the HRC, in their official reply, informed Chris the commissioner would not be retracting her statement.

“History is often contentious and debatable. There are many historical sources, including accounts from Waikato-Tainui and the NZ History website, which give different accounts from your sources as to what happened in Rangiaowhia in 1864.”

Chris has been given the opportunity to lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Review Tribunal, but since they can award costs, he doesn't think it's worth the risk.

Mostly, he's frustrated one version of history, with virtually no substantial supporting evidence, is being favoured by a government body over sources such as newspaper reports and diary entries.

“Certainly I think Dame Susan has an agenda which almost seems like she's become a protagonist for the Maori side,” says Chris.

Stuart Strang also contacted SunLive about Dame Susan's comments. Like Chris, he has read extensively on the history of the New Zealand Wars, and knows the written evidence contradicts the sensational story of the church burning.

“A race relations commissioner should have a look at all the facts before she goes to print,” says Stuart.

SunLive contacted Dame Susan for a comment, pointing out that while a whare containing about seven armed Maori was certainly burnt down with the occupants inside, such an incident is far removed from the story of a church full of women and children being set alight.

She says she has recently been told the women and children were not burned to death in a church at Rangiaowhia, but in another kind of building.

“I was told by several people that they were burned to death in a place of worship and this is what I have reflected upon recently in my opinion piece. If this was wrong then I will acknowledge and amend my opinion piece in due course: happy to do so. Admitting when we get things wrong isn't a bad thing.

“But it doesn't change the fact that women and children were burned to death, murdered by Crown soldiers in an atrocity that in 2017 would be investigated as a war crime. We owe those young people who launched the petition a debt for helping to highlight our history."

“I applaud SunLive's debate about our country's history – it's good to talk more about our past. I don't agree that my korero worsens race relations, far from it. The more we talk about and reflect about what happened in the past the better we are for it.”

"The more New Zealanders know about what went on at places like Rangiaowhia and Gate Pa, the better.”

The Invasion of Rangiaowhia: A Brief Summary

During the Waikato War of 1863-64, Kingite (Maori) forces were steadily driven south by Crown troops under the command of Lieutenant-General Duncan Cameron. In November 1863 Kingite forces suffered a defeat at Rangiriri which resulted in around 220 of their troops being captured or killed. The loss severely affected their ability to wage war, and they lost large swathes of land in the subsequent two months, including the Maori King's capital at Ngaruawahia.

By late January of the following year, the Kingites had regrouped and constructed a line of fortified pa near Te Awamutu, dubbed the Paterangi Line. The fortifications defended the prosperous community of Rangiaowhia, which supplied food to the Kingite army and was an essential asset to the economy of the King Movement.

Cameron, however, did not attack the Paterangi Line; rather, he outflanked it, and on the morning of February 21 the village of Rangiaowhia was attacked.

Occupied chiefly by non-combatants, there were still armed Kingites in the vicinity, several of which took shelter in a whare. Several Crown soldiers were shot outside the entrance to whare, including the mortally-wounded Colonel Nixon. In response, the whare was likely set alight deliberately to snuff the occupants out (although reports at the time claim this was caused accidentally by shots fired into the whare by soldiers).

Some of the occupants tried to surrender, and were shot as they tried to leave. The rest died in the fire. A total of seven Maori bodies were found amongst the ruins of that particular whare.

Some Maori did take shelter in one of the churches; but Crown troops were ordered to leave them alone. It is easy to see, however, how these two separate aspects of the Rangiaowhia attack – the burning of the whare and the non-combatants sheltering the church – could have been conflated over the years, and transformed into the sensational, but false, story of the church burning.



53 Comments

Roger over and out

Posted on 03-03-2017 12:56 | By Papamoaner

Thanks for your responses guys. All points noted. We have to agree to disagree. Time to move on to more interesting debates

Susan Devoyn has 58% support in NZ Herald Poll

Posted on 03-03-2017 10:53 | By Peter Dey

A recent NZ Herald Poll has 58% support for Susan Devoy's performance and 16% who think she is doing badly. This is probably confirmed by the fact that the people writing comments here cannot come up with credible reasons to support their criticism of her.

Robin Bell re cherry picking

Posted on 03-03-2017 10:04 | By Chris Lee

Seriously? Weighing all the other evidence from both sides of the conflict against Rusden's comments published almost 20 years after the event without footnotes or other sources is cherry picking?

Papamoaner you are out of your depth

Posted on 03-03-2017 09:12 | By Peter Dey

Papamoaner belittles Susan Devoy's intelligence and business skills as well as the fact that she had a career meeting with people of all races. She was made a dame because of her contribution to New Zealand. Her final comments about Rangiaowhia were well balanced and she challenged anybody to show she was wrong. NOBODY writing her has come up with any fact that shows that Susan Devoy's final comments were wrong. The evidence from Robin Bell totally confirms this. What we have here is about ten writers criticising Susan Devoy but producing no credible evidence to support their comments. What Papamoa is writing is just meaningless waffle.

Poor old Peter

Posted on 02-03-2017 20:51 | By Papamoaner

Our friend Peter now says hitting a ball accurately is linked to high intelligence. How can we possibly take seriously anything else he says? My dog can catch airborne balls. NZer is correct, there are definitions of a business. So please tell us Peter, Was Devoy's "business" a SOLE TRADER, or a registered LIMITED COMPANY?Do you even understand the difference? What was the name of the entity? You are side stepping left right and centre. Hmm, that's a squash skill. Is there a link?

Nzer,

Posted on 02-03-2017 18:29 | By R. Bell

it's just as clear that you do not understand the business implications of Corporate sponsorship, Motivational Speaking for profit not to mention the hundreds of thousands Dame Susan has raised in charity.She sells her talents, that makes her as much a business as any other. Can you match her achievements? Absolutely not I'll be bound. Robin Bell.

Don't sidetrack us NZer

Posted on 02-03-2017 18:20 | By Peter Dey

IRD definition of a business: any profession or undertaking carried on for a profit. Professional squash player is a business. I'm sure Susan Devoy paid taxes on her earnings.

Peter

Posted on 02-03-2017 17:14 | By NZer

Clearly you do not understand what a business is. Playing squash is not a business as per IRD guidelines of what constitues a business....

Back to Rangiaowhia

Posted on 02-03-2017 16:48 | By R. Bell

Chris, we can all cherry pick. When you choose one piece of heresay over another it solves nothing. Not for the first time I agree with Peter Dey. For me the most telling account of Rangiaowhia is the recent article by Dr Vincent O;Malley Honours degree and PhD in N.Z. history. Researched over many years, using all of the sources available. He quotes amongst many other things, a note by Chris Pugsley Military historian, ~"The Massacre at Rangiaowhia was the inevitable consequence of soldiers attacking an unarmed settlement and finding nothing to fight but families. Google Inglorious Dastards, Dr V. O'Malley I think you'll find it interesting. Robin Bell.

Thank you Chris for your response

Posted on 02-03-2017 16:12 | By Peter Dey

It seems clear that the story of women and children perishing at the hands of soldiers in one of the main churches in Rangiaowhia is not historically correct. However it is pleasing that October 28 has now been set aside as a commemoration day for the land wars. Atrocities did occur but I accept what Chris says that the more accurately our history is known the better for race relations. Susan Devoy does get criticised here for seeming to be pro-Maori but the problem for her is that with 85% of the population being non-Maori there is a lot more anti-Maori comment that she has to deal with than the other way round.

Papamoaner, being world squash champion was a business

Posted on 02-03-2017 15:52 | By Peter Dey

Susan Devoy mixed with people of all nationalities all around the world. She is obviously a highly intelligent woman. She would not have been world squash champion otherwise. A career as an international squash player required considerable business ability. Think about it. People who disparage her ability to be race relations commissioner are being totally blinkered to Susan Devoy's obvious suitability.

@Peter Day

Posted on 02-03-2017 15:06 | By Papamoaner

You have not answered the question. You seem to infer that Devoy owned a business related to race relations, but you conveniently avoided saying what it was. If she had a haberdashery or sold squash balls door to door, I guess that qualifies as a business of sorts, but it does not qualify her for the position, the minimum of which should have been a university degree related to race relations. Yes, we need a race relations commissioner because there are wrongs to be put right across a range of races and cultures, including for example, the early Otago gold field Chinese abuses if you want to go back that far. This present situation will not endure because our community are not silly and public opinion will win in the end.

To Peter Dey re James Cowan's

Posted on 02-03-2017 14:37 | By Chris Lee

People can read James Cowan's account here http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Cow01NewZ-c37.html and see that he does not mention any women or children perishing in any burning building at Rangiaowhia.However, other sources suggest two women (possibly Kereopa's daughters?) were in the whare where McHale was shot at the doorway and dragged inside.I'm not saying women (or children) did not die that day. Neither am I discounting the possibility that individual atrocities occurred (read my other comments). However, this is quite different from the claim by Dame Susan of deliberate mass murder of women and children - firstly with her demonstrably false story of the burning church and then with her unverifiable revision.

To Robin Bell re Rusden and sober historical context

Posted on 02-03-2017 10:38 | By Chris Lee

Unfortunately, as far as I can see, Rusden does not include footnotes for his claims re Rangiaowhia and his comments published almost 20 years after the event have to be weighed against letters etc written by Trooper Drake and Rahana Te Huata (Mrs Power) (who were present on the day), Wiremu Tamihana (the kingmaker) who wrote about the events soon after they occurred, various newspaper articles at the time (to be found in Papers Past), the Maori language newspaper Te Waka Maori o Ahuriri, the official reports of General Cameron et al, and the memoirs and books written by various others. Weighing all this evidence in a sober historical context is what historians should be doing. History is what it is and rational people should be able to accept that. Demonstrably false and/or unsubstantiated claims and pejorative assertions will inevitably create racial disharmony.

Papamoaner,

Posted on 02-03-2017 10:35 | By R. Bell

I suggest you read Dame Susans article in todays Sun on line. That is why she is race RELATIONS commissioner. Glad to be of help. Robin Bell.

Historian James Cowan seems to record an atrocity

Posted on 02-03-2017 10:33 | By Peter Dey

Historian James Cowan, I believe, recorded women and children perishing in a burning building at Rangiaowhia, trapped inside by gunfire from soldiers outside. It seems that this would now be described as an atrocity, which is what Susan Devoy said. Does Chris Lee disagree?

Papamoaner, Susan Devoy was a successfull business woman

Posted on 02-03-2017 10:28 | By Peter Dey

Susan Devoy was world squash champion for a number of years. She travelled the world mixing with all nationalities and successfully managing what was for her a business. Her wide experience in many countries in the world makes her well suited to be race relations commissioner.

Chris Lee,I genuinely wish you well,

Posted on 01-03-2017 13:50 | By R. Bell

in your quest for the truth. I suggest you read Rusden. He did not conform to the "Settler ideology". His penchant for accurate information was lauded by by all who knew him, including those who found his his evidence damaging to their own world view. By the way Chris you did not provide me with the link to te ara Iv'e used it many times. Google Rusden, Opinions of the press. Robin Bell.

Please explain

Posted on 01-03-2017 11:31 | By Papamoaner

Can anyone explain why being good at hitting a squash ball with a raquet qualifies anyone in another expert field where they often end up making fools of themselves? Even Ritchy can fly a chopper and sell garages on telly.We seem to have followed America down the pathetic celebrity path. Watch out folks - it's election year and things could get trumpy.

Robin Bell re Rusden

Posted on 01-03-2017 10:02 | By Chris Lee

I'm very pleased we can agree on the importance of sticking to verifiable facts. I've not researched Rusden to the depth you appear to have done (that's now on my ever-growing list), however, it's a bit rich to quote from a link I provided and then accuse me of not getting my facts right.

Reply to Robin Bell (Part 1)

Posted on 01-03-2017 09:04 | By Chris Lee

If you're referring to "Bruce Moon: Rangiaowhia Incident on the Breaking Views blog, I'm indeed the C. Lee referenced by Bruce. However, the article has two references with the same reference number. One has my name beside it and an earlier one is the reference to Rusdens book. At some point the reference to me has been included by mistake.I did email Bruce on 28/7/15 to tell him about a conversation I had when I visited the Te Awamutu Museum and discussed various controversial issues related to Rangiaowhia. Alternative versions of alleged mass murder of women and children were not mentioned.I'm disappointed that in seeking to undermine me you stoop to denigrating Bruce. I'm sure he would be happy to debate you directly if you post your comments on his blog.

Cherry picking from Rangiaowhia to Taranaki,

Posted on 01-03-2017 08:50 | By R. Bell

with Chris Lee. Yes Bryce won his libel case against Rusden. Yes damages were awarded of 5,000, Rusden appealed and it was reduced to 2,500 odd. What you don't say is during the trial the source of the "libel" was N.Z Governor Sir Arthur Gordon and Bishop Hadfield. Rusden simply failed to get it in writing. However it was't libel at all. If you dig deeper you will find that the group of "Hauhau" attacked near Handleys woolshed was in FACT a group of boys 10 -12 yrs old, chasing pigs. Two were killed the rest badly injured. The commanding officer reported QUOTE - Bryce was prominent and " set the men a gallant example " UNQUOTE. Source Bryce biography Te Ara page 1. Chris, when you seek to discredit you need to get YOUR facts correct. Robin Bell.

END OF STORY

Posted on 01-03-2017 06:05 | By Orite

Supporters of the Maori king subsequently developed two plans of attack on Auckland, one involving a night attack when the town would be set on fire in a number of places by Maori living there for that purpose. Before any such uprising could occur, the government issued an order, on July 9, 1863, requiring all Maori living north of the Mangatawhiri River, to take an oath of allegiance to the Queen and give up their weapons. Those refusing to do so were required to retire to the Waikato. A further proclamation dated July 11, 1863, warned that those who wage war against the government would have their lands confiscated. > https://sites.google.com/site/treaty4dummies/home/new-zealand-wars

Reply to Robin Bell (Part 2)

Posted on 28-02-2017 17:09 | By Chris Lee

In relation to Rusden, it seems he had "form" when it came to claims about atrocities involving women and children. At http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/2b44/bryce-john it's recorded that Bryce sued Rusden for libel, and the case was heard in the High Court in London. QUOTE The Handley's woolshed affair had a sequel years later when G. W. Rusden published his History of New Zealand (1883), in which he stated that Bryce and Sergeant G. Maxwell had dashed upon women and children 'and cut them down gleefully and with ease'. It was soon proved that there were no women present at Handley's woolshed, and Bryce claimed that far from being prominent in the affair he had really taken no part in it. The verdict in the case went against Rusden and resulted in the suppression of his book and the award to Bryce of damages of 5,000. UNQUOTE

@ Robin Bell

Posted on 28-02-2017 14:16 | By morepork

Your mistake is in assuming that ALL Maori are good. They are not. Just like the rest of us. The "unsubstatiated" comment you referred to, is a matter of record; when certain Iwi accept what was supposed to be a final settlement with the comment that they will be back in 20 years, how do you think people are going to react? And NOT ALL Maori were "stripped of their land". I honestly believe that the ones who were, SHOULD be fairly compensated. I try always to be fair in all the subjects I post on here, and this one is no exception. I'm not looking to extol or denigrate any of the parties involved, just get a solution that enables all of us to move forward. Doing that requires balance. Perhaps you could think on this?

Sober Historical Context,

Posted on 28-02-2017 08:33 | By R. Bell

an open letter to Chris Lee. I recently read an article written by a Mr Bruce Moon, well known anti Maori, Treatygate exponent. The article starts with an opinion that all Maori are dishonest, opined by a Mr J. Nicholas 1815. A strange way to begin an attempt to re-write the incident at Rangiaowhia, don't you think? It is full of contradiction as is usual with Moon. What is more interesting is a contribution by a C. Lee in an e.mail 28-7-2015. I presume it far to coincidental to be anyone but yourself, if I'm wrong I apologise in advance. In the contribution C. Lee. viciously attacks Historian G.W.Rusden writing in 1883 saying Rusdens account is "outrageously false". His conclusion being that the fight at Ihahias house was "the official method of concealing, that women and children were burned to death" Robin Bell.

Dame Susan

Posted on 27-02-2017 21:44 | By Fonzie

Was appointed by Judith Collins There was a huge outcry from maoridom at the time as to her suitabilityNothing but praise from maoridom these days. Strange that She is out of her depth so just does as she is told from the commission Go with the flow. Much like the appointed new Governor general

If it were all so simple morepork,

Posted on 27-02-2017 10:37 | By R. Bell

Maori wouldn't have been stripped of their land, and we wouldn't arguing the rights and wrongs of it all. Your form of "abstract" idealism is fine BUT you always qualify it with unsubstantiated comment like "continually regurgitated, to milk the process" that simply feeds the unbalanced comment Peter refers to so correctly, and yet again portrays Maori unfavourably. Maori play little or no part in this "debate" for good reason, they know from long experience that prejudice cannot be overcome by reason. Robin Bell.

Like Dame Susan, Peter Dey should stick to facts

Posted on 27-02-2017 10:32 | By Chris Lee

Peter Dey should not presume to say what I may or may not recognise with respect to the alleged atrocity at Rangiaowhia unless he has evidence. *This* is the point about Dame Susan's initial and subsequent comments. Her "fact" is only supported by comments from "several people". Armed conflict inevitably results in individual atrocities. However, Dame Susan's comments, devoid of sober historical context or verifiable evidence are *not* facts and by making such comments she simply becomes yet another player in revising NZ history. This is not a role for the Race Relations Commissioner. The 1860s and 70s conflicts in New Zealand are relatively recent, often quite personal, and very complex. These comments are not anti-Maori, they are anti-revisionist, anti-separatist, and anti "post truth".

Golly Gosh,

Posted on 25-02-2017 08:44 | By R. Bell

seems like the old trucker's been picking up hitch-hikers again, last seen helping an old retired bear into his cab. Robin Bell.

Agree with CC8

Posted on 24-02-2017 15:17 | By old trucker

It is a rort,another waste of our money,fancy telling elderly people to call her dame,for goodness sake all that power,they could do her job, and better,my thoughts only,Thankyou Sunlive,10-4 out,

@Peter Dey

Posted on 24-02-2017 14:59 | By morepork

You call others "unbalanced" but there is no evidence of any balance in your own post. The fact is that NOBODY wins in war and there will be "atrocities" on both sides. That doesn't make it OK or "tit-for-tat". Actual injustices (like improper confiscation of land) need to be recompensed, in a spirit of fairness and reconciliation, so we can all move forward. But it cannot be a never-ending story, with grievances and incidents continually regurgitated to milk the process. The facts, insofar as they can be established, should be presented to young people, but the context should be respect for the sacrifices made by both sides and the obvious conclusion that War is no way to settle differences. We can reasonably expect a Race Relations Commissioner (assuming we actually need one) to understand the bigger picture and be clearly unbiased either way. Diversity, not division.

Dame Susan is admiarably balanced, only unbalanced whingers think differently

Posted on 24-02-2017 11:07 | By Peter Dey

Jed, read Dame Susan's further comments. She accepts that the main churches at Rangiaowhia were not burnt down. Chris Lee and all other informed people recognise that an atrocity was committed. That is the point that Dame Susan made. Arguing about whether she was wrong about the correct building just detracts from the main point. Dame Susan's comments are always well balanced. She has performed an outstanding job as Race Relations Commissioner. The only people who do not think so are people who seem to have a completely unbalanced anti-Maori point of view. Unfortunately because non-Maori make up 85% of the population there are a lot of unbalanced anti-Maori people out there.

A blatant attack on Susan Devoy,

Posted on 24-02-2017 10:35 | By R. Bell

No one commenting here can state with certainty what occurred. One certainty is the place was a place of sanctuary, as is a church. The main agenda here seems to be to discredit Dame Susan. Why? she has a duty (as we all do ) to encourage children to seek the truth, and to condemn all acts of brutality. No one living today is responsible, but some are guilty of perpetuating division, no doubt politically motivated. The price for such indulgence is far to high. Robin Bell.

Susan Devon, ops Dame

Posted on 24-02-2017 09:15 | By waiknot

A fish out of water. I've heard that at a retirement village event she attended all the resident many years her senior were informed they should address her as Dame Susan. Just the sort of humble sensitivity a conciliator needs

its a rort

Posted on 24-02-2017 09:04 | By CC8

the race relations commissioner's position is a rort pure and simple..a toothless waste of taxpayer dollars. designed to appease the whngers, hand wringers and self serving pc protagonists in Wellington. It is simply another paid perk , a "job for the boys" who are otherwise unemployable. Hooray Henrys are known for their gaffs and blunders so why does anyone expect anything different now?

@Peter Dey

Posted on 24-02-2017 08:53 | By jed

Comments are always balanced and fair when they fit your world view. Dame Susan should never have taken this role, she is quite unfit for it. In fact, the role should not even exist. I'll go with the evidence thank you. Devoy said the church was burned to the ground with people inside, and it is a fact that the church was not burned down. If it were a different building then Devoy should have stated the true facts up front, which could then could be argued on their merits.

Leave the..

Posted on 24-02-2017 07:42 | By Me again

past in the past. There are more concerning issues today to worry about for a commissioner I would have thought. Or the commissioner a Historian now or as well.

morepork....

Posted on 23-02-2017 21:58 | By groutby

....perfect thank you....Otto was indeed an interesting character by the looks....Robin thank you also.The position held by Ms Devoy is designated as "conciliator"..as in "mediator" and perhaps "spokeserson".(for both "sides") Failure to do so on this and previous occasion should be accountable, sooner rather than later.

Two sides

Posted on 23-02-2017 21:44 | By maildrop

To every story....but if you are relying on newspapers to be independent bearers of the facts you are deceiving yourself. Newspapers are the biggest pedlars of lies to support their own agenda. Wake up.

susan devoy

Posted on 23-02-2017 21:37 | By surfsup

Unfortunately this is not the first time that our Race Relations Commissioner has come out with these one sided and one eyed comments, and I'm sure it won't be the last. The role is a difficult one but the person in that job needs to have no bias either way, sadly this is not the case with Ms Devoy.

Dame Susan has been very balanced and fair in her comments.

Posted on 23-02-2017 20:27 | By Peter Dey

Read Dame Susan's comments again. She points out that Maori civilians were killed by soldiers in a burnt building in an atrocity that would have been considered a war crime in 2017. Those who are quibbling about whether the building was a church are avoiding the historical evidence that an atrocity occurred. Dame Susan is doing an outstanding job as Race Relations Commissioner. Her comments in this case are balanced and fair.

Commissioner Devoy..

Posted on 23-02-2017 18:38 | By Me again

seem to pick her pieces of information out from no where with no research for the truth. Maybe she reads the Womens Weekly in her flash office and decide this will be the news of the day. No doesn't seem to research her stories.

Dame Susan,is only partly wrong

Posted on 23-02-2017 17:58 | By R. Bell

morepork. Dr Vincent O'Malley prominent historian quotes from the journals of J.C.Firth and Charles Davis 1869. Whitiora Te Kumete told them 'here are your foul murders - Cameron told us to send our women and children to Rangiaowhia where they should remain unmolested, but he went away from Paterangi with his soldiers after them, and the women and children were killed and some burned in their homes. I agree with your sentiments morepork, BUT it is Dame Susans job to strike a balance between adults who are in denial ( on both sides ) and children who at long last are being told the truth. Robin Bell.

Susan Devoy should read

Posted on 23-02-2017 16:30 | By Laurie

about Te Kooti's attack on the European settlers at Mohaka: the other division, under Te Kooti, went along the east side of the Mohaka and advanced against the two stockaded villages close to the mouth of the river. On the west or Napier side seven Europeans were slaughtered by the first division. The whites killed were Mr. and Mrs. Lavin and their children, a man named Cooper, and an old man named Wilkinson.

Posted on 23-02-2017 16:22 | By morepork

Unless we can learn from the past (and the evidence suggests we don't) there is little point in studying it. Bismarck said: "The victors write the history books." but in this day and age, with the availability of instant mass audiences, every possible vested interest has a chance to air their preferred view of it. As a nation, we need to redress the wrongs of the past so we can move on, but perpetuating horror stories from either side is not going to help (especially when the truth or otherwise of them cannot be established). It is very wrong for an official representative like Dame Susan DeVoy to take a position one way or the other. She should be perceived to be completely fair and neutral. And she isn't, so it's time she went...

History twisters

Posted on 23-02-2017 16:09 | By Orite

History twisters are despicable people, and moreso the ones in positions of influence Grrrrrr

I agree ...

Posted on 23-02-2017 16:09 | By morepork

... with Robin Bell on this occasion. The first casualty of War is always truth and we will probably never know exactly what happened or what the intentions of the soldiers involved were. There are far too many "good stories" about the NZ Wars, with spin from both sides. Did Te Rauparaha REALLY walk into a church (in Otaki?), gouge out the eyes of the pastor and eat them in front of the congregation, as a "message" to pakeha? I wasn't there and, after more than 150 years, it is hard to find out. A better question is: "Should we be concerned about it?". I don't feel responsible for the things my father did, never mind my ancestors. I wasn't born yet; hold me accountable for the things I have actually done, not the things I had no control over.

The Truth?

Posted on 23-02-2017 13:40 | By R. Bell

Dame Susan hasn't got it wrong, she simply repeats what she believes, as do the commentators here.No one knows the absolute truth. Right now Donald Trump is accusing the media of "media spin". How do you know the Herald of the day was not guilty of the same. You don't. Field commanders were and are guilty of it too. That's why we need competent historians, not spin merchants. Robin Bell.

Dame Susan Trump

Posted on 23-02-2017 13:15 | By Draginz

Time for her to go when she starts re-inventing the truth!

Thanks

Posted on 23-02-2017 12:38 | By nerak

Chris and Stuart, for bringing out the truth. Yet another in a long and growing list of errors of judgement the commissioner has made, showing she surely should never have been appointed. Perhaps NZ will have a more suitable selection next time around. Can't wait.

History

Posted on 23-02-2017 12:23 | By rastus

So what's new - History is constantly being re written to suit the political agendas of the time - the internet and social communications are helping to now reveal the extent of some of this mischief.

wrong

Posted on 23-02-2017 11:59 | By dumbkof2

how did she ever get the job of race comissioner

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