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Showing posts from July, 2013

"The Meeting Place" Shortlisted for NZ Post Book Awards

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It was a great thrill this week when my most recent book was announced as one of four finalists in the general non-fiction category for the 2013 NZ Post Book Awards.

The Meeting Place: Maori and Pakeha Encounters, 1642-1840 was published by Auckland University Press last year. It explores the early relationships between Maori and Pakeha across New Zealand and argues that, over time, both parties learned to rub along with one another because both had things of value that the other wanted. But that world of mutual self-interest changed dramatically in the decades after 1840 as a large influx of new settlers upset the previous rough-and-ready balance of power upon which mostly harmonious relations had been built.





The award winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held in August on 28 August. In the meanwhile members of the public are invited to play their part by selecting the winner of the People’s Choice Award. Voting ends on Sunday 18 August, with the winner also to be announced…

Ngati Haua Deed of Settlement Signing Ceremony

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I had the great privilege of travelling to Rukumoana Marae, near Morrinsville, on 18 July this year for the signing of the Ngati Haua deed of settlement and formal apology from the Crown.

The date for the occasion had been specially selected to mark the anniversary of one of several petitions filed by the great Ngati Haua rangatira Wiremu Tamihana on 18 July 1865. In his petition, Wiremu Tamihana referred to the anguish of being called ‘an evil man, a rebel’ and a murderer. He called on the government to establish an independent inquiry into the causes of the Waikato War and to restore the lands wrongly confiscated from Ngati Haua and other Waikato Maori.


Although the Crown rejected Wiremu Tamihana’s pleas, the apology read out to the large crowd assembled at Rukumoana Marae by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson finally acknowledged the great injustices inflicted on Ngati Haua, who had been reduced to virtual landlessness through confiscation and other Crown actions.

In a…

Cooperation and Empire Conference

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In June of this year I attended a conference on ‘Cooperation and Empire’ at the University of Bern, Switzerland. The conference, which was attended by scholars from around the world, was notable for a substantial New Zealand presence, led by James Belich, formerly at the Stout Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, now Beit Professor of Imperial and Commonwealth History at Oxford University.




My own paper explored the role of kupapa in the New Zealand Wars of the nineteenth century. I explored how a term which initially meant those who stooped or remained low (that is, people who remained neutral in a conflict) had today come to assume almost entirely negative connotations. I argued that the notion that kupapa were ‘Uncle Toms’ or traitors was fundamentally wrong.

Far from selling out their people, those Maori also referred to in English as ‘Queenites’, ‘friendlies’ or ‘loyalists’ were endeavouring to advance the interests of their communities through strategic alliance …

Book Review: Lynette Russell, "Roving Mariners: Australian Aboriginal Whalers and Sealers in the Southern Oceans, 1790-1870"

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Lynette Russell.Roving Mariners: Australian Aboriginal Whalers and Sealers in the Southern Oceans, 1790-1870. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2012. xiv + 221 pp. $80.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-4384-4423-9; $29.95 (paper), ISBN 978-1-4384-4424-6. Reviewed by Vincent O'Malley (HistoryWorks)
Published on H-Empire (July, 2013)
Commissioned by Charles V. Reed
The Hybrid World of Whaling and Sealing The whaling and sealing industries that emerged in the Pacific and Southern oceans from the late eighteenth century have attracted significant interest from historians over recent decades. A particular focus has often been on the relationship between the whalers/sealers and indigenous groups they encountered and interacted with on a frequent basis. But that represents something of a false binary. It has long been known that New Zealand Maori and other Polynesian and South Pacific communities took an active part in sealing and whaling work.
Now, thanks to Lynette Russell’s sho…

Wellington History Talks

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An interesting series of talks coming up soon at the Wellington City Library:



On Wednesdays from 12.30-1.30pm during the month of August, the Central Library will be hosting a series of history talks covering the social, urban and Māori history of Wellington.

Have a read of the programme below, and come along!

Wednesday 7 August: The Flight to South Karori: How Katherine Mansfield’s family coped with life and death in the time of cholera (1890-93) by Redmer Yska

Wednesday 14 August:Te Upoko o te Ika, 1840s: A Struggle over Power, Mana and Resources by Hēni Collins

Wednesday 21 August:Radical Wellington: Philip Josephs, the Freedom Group & the Great Strike of 1913 by Jared Davidson

Wednesday 28 August:He tohu aroha – the protective role of Māori cloaks by Awhina Tamarapa

The Sham Ultimatum to Waikato Maori

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Amidst the various references to the 150th anniversary of the invasion of Waikato on 12 July were many that referred to an ultimatum ‘issued’ to the Waikato tribes on 11 July 1863, that is, one day before British troops crossed the Mangatawhiri River. That ultimatum declared that:

Europeans quietly living on their own lands in Waikato have been driven away; their property has been plundered; their wives and children have been taken from them. By the instigation of some of you, officers and soldiers were murdered at Taranaki. Others of you have since expressed approval of these murders. Crimes have been committed in other parts of the island, and the criminals have been rescued, or sheltered under the color [sic] of your authority.
You are now assembling in armed bands; you are constantly threatening to come down the river to ravage the settlement of Auckland, and to murder peaceable settlers. Some of you offered a safe passage through your territories to armed parties contemplating su…