The white tangata whenua

Last week the Northern Advocate published some revised history claiming that white people from Europe settled Aotearoa before Maori came here.

Northern Advocate (NZ Herald): Pre-Maori faces created from skulls, says Northland historian

A Northland historian has released what he says are forensic reconstructions of pre-Maori Northlanders that support his theory that Chinese and European seafarers came to New Zealand centuries before Polynesians.

Kaipara based historian Noel Hilliam says a forensic expert from Edinburgh University has reconstructed features using skulls retrieved from heaps of ancient human bones that were once piled in caves at several sites around the Kaipara.

The faces depict a blond woman with Celtic characteristics common in Wales and a man of Mediterranean appearance.

Kaipara skeletons were found with strands of red hair and a London pathologist who examined them in 1997 did not consider them Polynesian.

In a message to Mr Hilliam, the Edinburgh pathologist said his examination of skulls and skeletal remains from four sites showed they were from two races.

“People known in your country as Turehu originated from Wales over 3000 years ago and those known as Waitaha originated from the Mediterranean,” the pathologist said.

“The two skulls you randomly uplifted from one site – the female, which I named Henrietta, is Turehu of 23 years of age and 1.3m tall going on the average height of skeletons I examined. She originates from Wales.

“The Waitaha male is 34 years old 1.65m tall, average among the skeletal remains examined, and originates from the Mediterranean.”

The historian has not disclosed the names of the pathologist and forensic expert because he expected controversy over their findings.

These sorts of claims are not new. From Dargaville and Districts News (Stuff) in 2012: `Greeks got here first’

New Zealand history is going to be turned on its head when the book To the Ends of the Earth is launched next month, co-author Noel Hilliam says.

The controversial book, written by researcher Maxwell C Hill with additional information from Dargaville shipwreck explorer Noel Hilliam, Gary Cook and John Aldworth, looks at what they say is evidence that Greeks, Spanish and Egyptians travelled to New Zealand before Maori.

The 378-page book explores a variety of evidence from ancient maps to ancient rock formations, giant human skeletons, cave drawings, oral history and a multitude of other physical evidence.

“Our contention is that ancient Greek navigators were the first to sail down under, landing in New Zealand before the Christian era began, to become the first inhabitants of the islands,” Mr Hilliam says.

Now Hilliam claims it was the Welsh who got here first.

Newshub details other claimed discoveries: From a non-Māori Maui to Spanish shipwrecks: Who is Noel Hilliam?

And reports: Amateur historian admits grave-robbing Maori burials

Noel Hilliam told the Northern Advocate he had found skulls that pre-date Māori.

However Mr Hilliam’s research, which has no academic basis, has been widely criticised.

“The statement that the young adult woman is from Wales is ludicrous. There is no way to find that information out from the skull size and shape, nor is it possible to tell that a person has blue eyes and blonde hair from skeletal features,” University of Otago bio-archaeologist Dr Siân Halcrow told Vice.

Worse, his actions have been condemned as racist and illegal.

“It is the violation of a sacred site. Them raiding urupā and acquiring ancestral heads – they haven’t said where from – makes me really concerned,” Auckland University senior lecturer Dr Ngarino Gabriel Ellis told Vice.

“Taking from urupā, just like from anyone’s [grave], is a violation of our funeral practices. These are our ancestors. They were not intended to be removed and distributed.

“It’s also illegal to go and tamper with anyone’s grave – so why aren’t there criminal charges being pressed?”

Mr Hilliam has refused to name the ‘experts’ he talked to, and told Vice that while he knew he was breaking the law, he did it because the law was unjust.

The Northern Advocate has since removed the article.

I couldn’t find the article yesterday but it is back on the Herald’s beta site.

The Spinoff: The white tangata whenua, and other bullshit from the ‘One New Zealand’ crew

Over the past 30 years a growing a minority of New Zealanders has decided that the first inhabitants of their country had white rather than brown skin. They believe that one or more European peoples emigrated to these islands thousands of years ago, and established a populous and technologically sophisticated civilisation here. This pigmentopia was invaded and conquered by the ancestors of Māori. The warlike Polynesians slew the white men they found, took the women as wives, and appropriated the indigenes’ greenstone carvings.

Mike Barrington’s article may have talked nonsense about New Zealand history, but it did provide a reasonably accurate narrative of the careers of the country’s pseudo-historians.

Hilliam has made other remarkable claims over the years. In 1982 he said he had found the remains of an old Spanish ship on a beach near Dargaville, but the wreck vanished before he could show it to anybody. In 2008 he told Radio New Zealand that he had found a Nazi submarine off the Northland coast. The submarine had supposedly left Germany in the last days of the Third Reich, loaded with gold. Hilliam never made good on his promise to reveal the location of the submarine wreck.

The notion of a white tangata whenua promised to relieve Pakeha of their status as latecomers to New Zealand, and to counter Māori talk of historical injustice. But the theory had, and still has, a problem: a complete lack of evidence.

In recent years a series of scholars have run DNA tests on Māori, in an effort to trace their ancestry. These tests confirm that Māori are a Polynesian people, and that Polynesians have their origins in coastal Asia thousands of years ago. There is no genetic evidence for ancient contact between Polynesians and Europeans.

The believers in an ancient white civilisation are undeterred by the lack of evidence for their claims. They insist that a conspiracy of Māori leaders, politically correct academics, cowardly Pākehā politicians and sinister international organisations is working to conceal and destroy the physical legacy of New Zealand’s first inhabitants. They claim that the stone city in Waipoua forest has been closed to visitors by Department of Conservation staff and local Māori. Elsewhere teams of explosives experts are blowing up the stone houses of the first New Zealanders and sealing burial caves. Ancient European bones and artefacts are being quietly removed from museums, and roads are being built through the sites of Celtic observatories.

I guess the Herald will remove the article from their beta site as well.

 

33 Comments

  1. Ray

     /  May 23, 2017

    That’s all very well but how did the Welsh get here, just about as far from their homeland as they possibly get and why stop here.
    Crazy.
    Everybody knows it was the Portugese, they had the means and the ability and just coincidentaly my Portugese Great grandfather did jump ship here. We just tease our Māori cousins about this.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 23, 2017

      Yes, a lot of very early Portugese ancestry is here in the north. No evidence any of it pre-dates Maori though. Hilliam is being ridiculous making claims and not producing proper evidence. It wouldn’t surprise me to find Portugese or Spanish pre-dated Cook.

  2. PDB

     /  May 23, 2017

    Regardless if you believe in pre-Maori Europeans or not I’d like to think that we can all have an adult discussion about it. Personally I see no real evidence that Maori were not here first.

    Even if compelling evidence was raised we would no doubt have a rush of academics, Maori leaders & social media trolls and the like who would dismiss it out of hand. Similar discussion on Maori cannibalism, the treaty and the Moriori attracts the same response.

    Hence we must all agree that pre-European Maori were a highly spiritual, peaceful, compassionate, conservation-minded, pro-equality group of people – hence the mythical ‘Maori way’ which will magically cure all manner of present-day social, environmental & economic problems.

  3. Ray

     /  May 23, 2017

    Yes, if you want a shit storm to fall on your head, mention what Māori did to their cousins on the Chatham Islands.
    Cannibalism, just don’t go there.

    • Gezza

       /  May 23, 2017

      The issue isn’t what Maori tribes did to other Maori tribes. Most iwi know & accept their histories of disputes, invasions, conquests, etc. The issue is when Europeans with their own histories of the same behaviour try to use that to justify their own conquests & betrayals & some clearly reprehensible behaviours here on the basis they were justified because the natives were so barbarous.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  May 23, 2017

        It is usually invoked to point out that pakeha culture brought a lot of benefits. You would think that was hardly necessary in view of the level of support many Maori gave colonisation but a lot of romanticism is employed in the pursuit of new benefits.

        • Gezza

           /  May 23, 2017

          And a lot of pakeha denial is employed in pursuit of resisting redressing genuine Maori grievances. The truth often lies in the middle. The solution lies in both sides accepting the errors & wrongs of the past & discussing how to resolve the genuine grievances the long-term results for Maori as fairly & realistically as possible.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  May 23, 2017

            Really? What pakeha denial? I don’t recall any.

            • Paul Solomon

               /  June 2, 2017

              Don’t you remember Don Brash’s 27 Jan 2004 Orewa speech: It addressed race relations in New Zealand, particularly the special status of Māori. Some regard the speech as a watershed moment in NZ politics. Brash claimed we’re all New Zealanders, everyone is equal, Māori don’t merit special; treatment – hordes of white chauvinists agreed.

          • PDB

             /  May 23, 2017

            The country has made great strides in recent times of addressing genuine Maori grievances – your ‘pakeha denial’ claim, aside from the fact that it includes many Maori as well, is more to do with non-genuine or frivolous claims that have increased in more recent decades.

          • Gezza

             /  May 23, 2017

            @ PDB. Yes, I think we have made great strides in addressing genuine Maori grievances & that some claims are non-genuine or frivolous. But the objection to the Kermadec Sanctuary is one where an apology at least is due because it was a clear breach of an agreement that proper consultation was required for & not given.

      • PDB

         /  May 23, 2017

        Gezza: “The issue isn’t what Maori tribes did to other Maori tribes.”

        I disagree – I think there is ample evidence of present-day academics rewriting history in terms of cannibalism, treatment & attitudes of Maori towards women and children, and a playing down of tribal tensions at the time the treaty was signed.

        • Gezza

           /  May 23, 2017

          But so what? Pakeha supremacists do the same thing in not acknowleging the reprehensible behaviours of their own ancestors here, invading & stealing land, hanging & imprisoning resistors, starving women & children? Those behaviours about attitudes towards women & children you allude to were not ALL to do with Maori culture, or even all iwi or pa. The real issues are not what our peoples used to do – they are how we behave now.

          • PDB

             /  May 23, 2017

            The point I was making is that the majority of Maori makers & shakers of today blame colonialism for modern day problems such as high Maori imprisonment or child killing rates. I don’t see many European NZ’s blaming their high child fiddling rates on how their Irish & Scottish ancestors were treated.

          • Gezza

             /  May 23, 2017

            I would generally agree there. Economic restructuring & destruction of jobs in the regions that Maori used to do has caused most of that.

            • MaureenW

               /  May 23, 2017

              Try poor parenting and drugs.

            • MaureenW

               /  May 23, 2017

              … in whichever order.

            • Gezza

               /  May 23, 2017

              I have no intention of trying poor parenting. What drugs are you recommending ?😳 I’ve often enjoyed the odd spliff.

            • Pickled Possum

               /  May 23, 2017

              Jez Maureen who must be pissed you got slung off wo and have to go spread your cherry picked racial shit all over the place.

              That woman has been been schooled and acculturated by pakeha, also.
              You know when you say whitey gave you Maori lots of good things don’t forget stds, common cold, numerous other diseases prostitution cultural and racial DISRESPECT also. DH

              oh and I wish/hope that woman goes to jail with her daughter and SIL for many many years

            • PDB

               /  May 23, 2017

              “After the sentencing, Crown Prosecutor Lance Rowe said the court had to balance the premium that the law placed on the vulnerability of children versus the “exceptional circumstances” in this case.”

              We would have to know what these “exceptional circumstances” were to be able to compare the two cases.

            • Gezza

               /  May 23, 2017

              Exactly.

            • MaureenW

               /  May 23, 2017

              @ Gezza .. Spot the difference? Not really. From what I know, one case didn’t involve drugs.

            • Gezza

               /  May 23, 2017

              See my reply to PDB.

            • MaureenW

               /  May 23, 2017

              Hi PP,
              I didn’t get slung off WO, I stopped commenting there by my own choice.
              It’s not cherry-picked racial shit, it’d be better if it was. We were talking about why the high rate of imprisonment and child death/killing rates among maori. I mentioned poor parenting and drugs – what do you think it is?

  4. NOEL

     /  May 23, 2017

    The issue of Maori been predated by someone else has been going the rounds in Northland for years. About 4 years ago a local paper in South Auckland was pushing the same line.
    I wrote to the editor and said it offered nothing more than what was previously published.
    I asked him who did the peer review. Silence.

  5. Pickled Possum

     /  May 23, 2017

    A great many people want NZ to be a one New Zealand, some Maori included.
    Butt with all as One (possibility?) not just one predominant culture,
    which is what IMO is going on behind all of this ‘Greek Wales Portuguese Aliens
    were all here before the Maori’. propagated by some delusional so called historians,
    for proving their theory that Maori has no indigenous rights.

    Mike Barrington is trying to save a ‘going down the drain’ newspaper,
    and any controversy that brings the newspaper into the lime light is better
    than the darkness that most newspapers are experiencing;
    due to the internet social media news gathers and feeders.

    Really it doesn’t matter who came first and
    I acknowledge there were many before Maori
    but what these ONZ people fail to understand
    is the Queen made a treaty with Maori
    not the first peoples.

    Brailsford and his fantasy book about waitaha is written like this Hilliam writes,
    with all the “Facts” as they are told by who? and when was it written.
    Of course these stories of fiction? (who knows or even do I care to research this)
    are written by non-Maori after they came to this land.
    Maori history and genealogy is spoken in whakapapa and sung in waiata.
    This I trust in and I do not expect/demand/ non- Maori to accept this.
    This is just my thoughts and opinions, no more important than pdb
    well written comment.

    • PDB

       /  May 23, 2017

      PP: “what these ONZ people fail to understand is the Queen made a treaty with Maori”

      I agree – and the treaty is a whole different argument. I can only presume the question of ‘who was here first’ would only be for historic reasons and perhaps Maori may feel their Mana is affected in some way if they were found not to be the original settlers?

  6. This is a profitless argument that is deeply immersed in emotion and modern history interpretations to support one point of view or another. Until oral history can be supported by factual scientific evidence the conclusions can only be supported by hearsay and circumstantial evidence leading to decisions on the balance of probability. I personally am of the view that the “effects of colonialism” claims have worn thin and I have lost patience with the attempts to blame racist comments on “modern colonialism” and call bullshit on that thesis because it is reverse rascism.

  7. Corky

     /  May 23, 2017

    Maori themselves say they weren’t the first people in New Zealand. One of Wisharts books has a photocopy of a paper article relating how giant 8ft plus skeletons found in Northland were regularly ground down for fertilizer. I think the book was called ” The Way We Were”

    • Brown

       /  May 23, 2017

      Nowadays its all about the money and facts will be created to support more of it.

  8. Yes Brown it is about individual wealth and “mana” accrual and not really about providing an uplift to the most needy Maori. Fraudulent misappropriation of wealth happens too often amongst those who are placed in a position of trust. Not all are Maori too, but too many overall. I would like to see an objective non-political reassessment of the total cost of the various programmes initiated since 1930 to”uplift” and “compensate” Maori and the actual result of that taxpayer investment. By “uplift” I mean actual improvement in the total well-being of the person, in all aspects of living.