Economist Brian Easton sees widespread distorted views of history, and the new drive to correct those distortions will lead to a lot of disappointed people because their ideas of history have only a tenuous connection with reality

Economist Brian Easton sees widespread distorted views of history, and the new drive to correct those distortions will lead to a lot of disappointed people because their ideas of history have only a tenuous connection with reality
"Wellington" ?

This is a re-post of an article originally published on It is here with permission.

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

The quotation illustrates one of the struggles writing history. Just as you want to be sensitive to differences when you are travelling – unless you are an ugly imperialist – you need to recognise that, say, a history of New Zealand is also a story of a foreign country.

Allow me an example from my recently published Not in Narrow Seas: The Economic History of Aotearoa New Zealand. One paragraph reads

‘The treaty signed at Waitangi is formally about the governance of New Zealand; but land was at the heart of it. English common law on ownership of land is based on William the Conqueror’s feudal doctrine that the sovereign was the absolute owner of all land and all others held interests directly or indirectly from her or him. The Saxon regime had been allodial (absolute) ownership; those who owned the soil had no obligations to any higher authority; Maori ownership may have been allodial. The feudal doctrine, still applicable in today’s New Zealand, is that the Crown is the owner of all land with tenure being granted to subjects who, in turn, can transfer it.’

The chapter goes on to relate the early land transactions between Maori and European had completely different understandings about what was happening. (I follow the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal.) Not only is this a foreign country to us but the transactors came literally and figuratively from foreign countries.

Notice that I am careful to avoid saying the Maori notion was ‘allodial’. It is a better parallel than the English notion of ‘feudal’ which underpins New Zealand law today. Some years ago before the Muriwhenua hearings of the Waitangi Tribunal, Joe Williams – who currently sits on the Supreme Court – argued that the traditional Maori land tenure involved a kind of eternal trust and the iwi of the time were the trustees. That is a kind of allodialism but not the Saxon one,

Today land law is dominated by feudal underpinnings. However, there are exceptions: for instance, the ‘ownership’ of the Whanganui River is a special trust. What strikes me, however, is that Maori claimants in land ownership disputes invariably talk in terms of the current (i.e., feudal) framework. So historical claims are being made but the historical framework is not how it was.

In fact, much of our historical discussion is loose with history. Like the ugly imperialist tourist, we impose our views and ignore the natives. In this case they cannot protest – they are dead, but the documentary evidence speaks for them.

From a historical perspective the kerfuffle over the statute of John Hamilton is slightly weird. Hamilton’s significance is such that he did not even make the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. He was in New Zealand for less than a year commanding troops and died in the battle at Gate Pa. He never visited the region which includes Hamilton; I imagine the person who gave the township that name never expected it to become a metropolis.

Most New Zealand cities with non-Maori names hardly deserve their names and I shant be surprised if over time each of them adopts a Maori name which gradually replaces the European one, as has already has happened with Taranaki (a.k,a. Mt Egmont). There are many more such examples; some are shown on Plate 33 of the New Zealand Historical Atlas.

Sometimes the exercise gets bizarre. One university wants to replace its name of ‘Victoria’ with ‘Wellington’. They explained that a nineteenth century monarch was unsuitable. Had they consulted their history department, they would have learned that the proposed name of an earlier British military commander was even more unsuitable. (Apparently, the rebranding has been so expensive that the university has asked staff to forgo some salary to pay for it.)

(There is a lesson from its Maori name, Te Herenga Waka. If it is too long people wont use it. Some Maori have suggested that Hamilton should be renamed ‘Kirikiriroa’ which was the name of a local Maori kainga. My guess is the city may settle on the shorter ‘Waikato’, which resonates more with its status and region.)

The attack on statues of Cook have involved accounts with only tenuous connections with the James Cook of  history. They seemed to being treating him as if he was Christopher Columbus. Very often, trying to understand some pseudo-history you have to go to a misunderstood overseas event.

For much of our public thinking is so colonial. A bizarre case was a young Maori radical movement in the 1970s which started adopting the analysis of American black radicals. Excuse me, Maori are indigenous peoples; American blacks are not. (Later they took interest in Native Americans.)

Of course we should listen carefully to what is going on overseas but adapt their insights, not imitate them. (My history tries to do this, but it is hard when the rewards go to the imitators.)

The government is proposing that New Zealand history be a core part of the curriculum. No bad thing but I hope we do it properly. If so, there are going to be a lot of disappointed people because their ideas of history has only a tenuous connection with reality.

Keynes said, ‘I do not know which makes a person more conservative — to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past.’ Worse still is to have a distorted account of both the past and the present.

Brian Easton, an independent scholar, is an economist, social statistician, public policy analyst and historian. He was the Listener economic columnist from 1978 to 2014. This is a re-post of an article originally published on It is here with permission.

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Even though the article only scratches the surface of the topic, it is a thoughtful and well written piece.

Colonial era statues need to be removed and place names need to change. I don't agree with mob rule but when the requests over long periods of time go unheeded, it happens. Put them in museums where those who want to see them and learn about the history can do so, they do not deserve pride of place in civic squares.

Agree. Māori place names are wonderful - beautifully reflective of history of place - te reo/the language is our history. When our children were young we had a book that explained the meaning and origin of Māori place names. It went everywhere with us on holidays in the car. Was a wonderful way for the children to keep themselves busy while learning as well.


Only problem is te reo does not reflect my history nor heritage. Being of mixed Scots / English heritage ( some of it via Australia or the US), what I identify with is that heritage. All heritages are as valid as each other.

Sure all heritages are valid - I'm not saying they aren't. My point is we should not revere tyrants, no matter when or where they came from.

Why is this so hard to understand?

So, te reo may not be your native language but if you are living here it is a part of your history no matter how much you wish it not to be. And wishing it not to be is the point of Brian's article, but a part of you it is as you walk on the whenua amongst the tupuna every day.


Who decides who was the tyrant? Was Churchill a tyrant? The BLM movement want him gone.

Really? Name whoever is the BLM leader that makes this claim? BLM is not a club/group that one signs up for, like a political party with a hierarchy of leaders. I see it (the movement) more as a zeitgeist. The last big one in human history being the Enlightenment. And the folks like you that claim it wants a Winston Churchill statue torn down are more likely to be defenders of the status quo who simply aim to discredit the values/ethics of the zeitgeist.

But you are boxing into thin air - in other words, you can't 'fight' a zeitgeist. As in the Enlightenment, you can simply cling to the notion of the Middle Ages.

Yes, that's my point - she's a single individual who decided to self-appoint herself as a 'figurehead'. But she is just speaking for herself. A click-bait distraction.

I could send you links to thousands of BLM supporters who all say the same thing on Social media.

The problem is one mans Tyrant is another man's saviour. It's all relative, and rightly or wrongly it is our history now.

We can change place names, remove statues, etc... But we can't ignore the fact that at x point in time, y place, had an association to z person.

That's a very Western notion of what time and space are. I'm not arguing that they don't have some truth value - but only in a Newtonian/ Kantian informed cultural trajectory. The whole point of Bohranian quantum mechanics is precisely other than your argument. Values are not predeterminate based on absolute values, but co-constituted by their measuring apparatus. Te ao Māori and Te ao Pākehā have different cultural understandings of how time and space operate - and my reference to quantum is to demonstrate that in Western culture there is at 100 years of disagreement with the idea that time operates in a linear past-present-future structure - in other words, these ideas are not Universalist nor even particularly 'scientific'.

There is evidently a statue of Te Rauparaha somewhere in the Kapiti district. Its presence there is defended on the basis that "he was a man for his times " even though his actions would be considered unacceptable by today's standards. They were probably equally unacceptable to the people he killed and ate.

You cannot judge people in isolation of the full facts, customs and social norms of their day with your lens of today! Case in point, Maori owned slaves and practiced cannibalism 150 years ago... should we tear down artefacts, carvings, paintings of chiefs that practiced this..

Agree. There's a lot of misunderstandings about kai tangata. Yes cannabalism existed, in a minor, very ritualized way, certainly not as a major manner as often - mistakenly - suggested. See:

There is lots and lots and lots of reminders of Scottish heritage - in Scotland

There's even some in......
Waipu. ;)

And hallelujah to them hey rc, although the head brewer is 'merican, but good grief they make some fine liquids!

Scotland - that is where I went to school. 'Scot' being an Irish tribe who arrived in what you might call Pictland about 1000 years ago. So for true Scottish origins go to Ireland. And I ought to know because I an English named after a tribe from Saxony and my son is French named after another German tribe. I have a cousin married to a West Indian living in the Caribbean. Meanwhile my Papua New Guinean family on holiday in America are asked which part of Africa they are from.

All heritages are as valid as each other. However, our founding document is Te Tiriti o Waitangi - so te reo Māori is part of who 'we' are as a country - regardless of where we come from.


Why change the European city names? They are as much part of NZ's culture and heritage now as anything Maori. It's almost like the liberal left want to wipe the slate and pretend that we never happened, nullifying any contribution that European colonisation made to the modern world.

Meanwhile the statues themselves have got more attention now that people are trying to tear them down, that they ever had before (who had even noticed the Hamilton statue?). But the biggest point is that the individuals weren't evil anyway, they were products of their times. I'm sure if you looked at the biographies of the old Maori chiefs, you will find many an atrocity, perpetuated against others of their race. That's perhaps the most salient point - the lack of consistency.

They are as much part of NZ's culture and heritage now as anything Maori.

But in many instances not a part of our history that should be celebrated or exalted.

Take Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River. Sir William Hutt was chairman of the New Zealand Company - a disgraceful corporate entity in our history;

Whereas kairangi means esteemed, precious, of the finest variety; and indeed the awa was a very beautiful braided river, amongst a valley of wetlands teaming with life. If we understand this - its history - we will work harder to restore and preserve its preciousness.

Give me Te Awa Kairangi anyday - the awa does not deserve to be named after a tyrant.


" . . in many instances not a part of our history that should be celebrated or exalted".
The values of the past are not necessarily those we hold today. You make judgments on today's values.
Should you condemn those as "disgraceful" who were simply living by the values of their time.

You may want to check on some of those persons "living by the values of their time". A fair number were ex cons, often booted to the colonies in disgrace. For instance Wakefield was convicted of abduction, 3 years in prison.

No. Values/ethics are static. Good has always been good and bad has always been bad. Hutt was a capitalist scoundrel - an equivalent to a corporate raider of today. We should see him for what he was and what he was should be scorned, not exalted.

You are the problem Brian Easton talks about - someone who thinks that historic truths should be resisted.


I largely agree with you Kate, but I think values and ethics do change over time. I have struggled to understand why we produce memorials to some of the colonial leaders, but Maori need to know that the lens they run over those must also be run over the Maori ones too.

But we are still products of our time. Cook's mission was virtually certain to bring him into contact with unknown peoples, and despite that he was woefully unprepared to meet Maori, with no ability or even opportunity to understand what he was facing. And so with that lack of understanding and a technological advantage some Maori tragically fell to his crew's muskets. Today there is no way we can fully understand what was in the minds of those Maori as they first spied the sails of his ship, and realised that it was crewed with people. Not even Maori can try to interpret that as they too will have no true reference to the time beyond the common stories passed down.


Values and ethics are not static. You also seem to have a very selective perception.
Some contemporaries of the New Zealand Company:
- Te Rauparaha and Nga Toa and their brutal conquest of much of the lower North and South Islands, and
- Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama who in 1935 in an act of near genocide decimated the numbers of Moriori on the Chatham Islands.
How do you judge Iwi who had a history since 1500 of conquest by force; should they be scorned, not exalted?
We need a history that looks critically at the past, but make judgments on facts and appreciate the values of the time . . . and yes, the Land Wars and invasion of the Waikato in particular were in breach of the Treaty, were not consistent with values of the time, and rightly reparations are in order.

What I mean is that there are three fundamental schools of moral philosophy - all of which attempt to give us a means, or a way of determining what is right and wrong. Although the means are different - the end is common, i.e., to distinguish between right and wrong / good and bad ways of being sentient/knowing.

That's what I mean by static. Norms change but ethics stand.

Values are definitely not static. Homosexuality was viewed, even 40 years ago let alone 2000 years ago, as evil, unnatural etc etc. Now, apart from.the occasional bigot here or there, the majority of people in the west are much more openminded and tolerant.

You are right, but based on the philosophy of ethics: Tolerance is the virtue (i.e., the value/ethic) - whereas sexuality is the norm. And yes, society has generally become more virtuous in that regard.

I'm not on any social media platforms. But what my wife talks about reading on facebook, even on very local stories, I'm not that sure that tolerance is on the improve.

Seems you both are speaking at different levels.

You’re mistaken, morals are dynamic and change over time since they are social constructs. You’re basically applying your values to the past and justify this by making the false claim that values are static and that those you hold are the true and correct one. You’re basically accusing others of being retrograde when you’re just as guilty.

Ethics and values are not static - you are wrong Kate. That's moral bigotry right there; the belief that your values and ethics are correct, and everyone should have follow them through eternity. The whole point of democracy is the morality is defined by the majority vote at the time that it is voted. I'm sure that those engaged in Jihad consider themselves on the correct side of morality while many others see them as not. Apparently tolerance is the key? But then if I were to start a protest about the fact that three times more white people are killed by black people in the US than black people killed by white people, I would chance upon a wave of resistance despite having a very good reason to start such a protest. There would be no tolerance of such a view. Aspects of morality are, for want of a better word, fashionable. The COVID-19 situation has never been a better illustration; do we lock down to essentially preserve the lives of old people or do we try to keep moving to reduce the risk of collateral damage such as undetected cancers? Is it OK to hold mass protests for BLM when such protests will increase the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately result in a higher death rate in older people? #oldlivesmatter. Recently a missionary tried to reach out to the people on North Sentinel Island to spread his moral perception of love as underpinned by Christianity, and he was slaughtered by the locals who saw his presence as a threat. Who was right and who was wrong? To suggest ethics and values are static is a form of bigotry and ignorance.

I'm talking about the discipline of ethics, like the discipline of mathematics. There are frameworks that are largely static and can be taught and learned. Morality is a first-order set of beliefs and practices about how to live a good life. Ethics is a second-order, or conscious reflection on the adequacy of our moral beliefs. So the discipline of ethics contains any number of frameworks that can be studied as a means to reflect on the adequacy of our moral beliefs. There are no right or wrong frameworks, as they all have the same aim; that being to aid us in the conscious reflection between right/wrong, good/bad. Understanding the various frameworks opens our conscious mind to differences - and that's a good thing to my mind.

The ethical framework you pose when asking the question: should I attend BLM protests given in doing so, I might spread COVID? Is a teleological (consequentialism) ethical framework. You are making a decision based on the consequences of the action - and that is a very valid framework to apply.

There are other ways (frameworks) you could apply to answer this moral question. If you took a deontological approach, you would consider whether you have a moral duty to oppose injustice (regardless the consequences) and if you took a virtue approach, you would consider the goodness/rightness of your intent behind attending such a protest action.

There isn't one right or wrong way to approach the moral dilemma - the important thing is to consciously reflect on the question and to understand that other people will apply different frameworks to their decision-making - and hence why different people might make different decisions.

Religion is a separate area of study but I think it aligns to deontological ethics (i.e., what is my moral duty, based on a set of rules).

I think the bigotry/ignorance arises when we fail (i.e., do not understand how) to consciously reflect on our moral beliefs. So, to my mind, one has to be taught the different ways of thinking about moral questions (i.e., the different frameworks of moral philosophy) in order to understand there are other perspectives.

Kate: what about Washington?

A bit like Te Rauparaha, Washington changed his views on the rightness/wrongness of slavery later in life. I recall being taught that he freed all the slaves he owned in his will.

I just checked Google: "" As a young adult, Washington purchased at least eight more slaves, including a carpenter named Kitt. Washington purchased more enslaved people in 1755, including four men, two women, and a child."" They were released in his will but note it also says "Washington found slavery economically inefficient. In the last decades of his life, the profits from his farmland did not cover the cost of feeding and clothing the estate’s enslaved people"" so his conversion was late and possibly not that virtuous. If you are looking for new names for Washington DC and Washington State how about "Paine" after Tom Paine.

But Kate, did he change those views purely out of a genuine remorse or was he just adapting to the new norm??


Good and Bad both are part of our past and history. Agree with not celebrating the Bad. But if you erase all the evidence of Bad completely, how can we learn from History as our teachers used to exhort us and still do ?
Better to learn about the place names, statues and their history and take the lessons for us and leave them for future generations as well.

Agree. But put them in a museum where they belong.

By this logic we should continue to call Volgograd, Stalingrad. Most people today can agree that Stalin shouldn't be celebrated. Similarly with Cameron and Von Tempsky - both murdered unarmed women and children as part of the invasion of the Waikato in 1863

That's my grandparent's grandparents day. Not long ago at all. And when you stop to think about how the Waikato supplied the growing city of Auckland with flour, fruit, and all manner of other goods, it's very hard to see the invasion as anything other than economic greed. To celebrate of different heritages is one thing, but to celebrate mass murderers is something else altogether.

I start to sense the beginning of 西方文化大革命 (Western Cultural Revolution).


Western Culture is in a suicidal death spiral and Presidents Xi and Putin will be the biggest winners. Well done liberals!!!

Although chanting freedom all the time, the Western culture actually put too many chains around it.

All sorts of groups have been created based on self-interests -- starting from liberals vs. conservative to women rights, homosexual rights, black-life-matter rights, indigenous rights and so on. The more of these groups are the higher the moral ground a country will be regarded at.

The ruling elites are more than happy to see the society is further divided apart from two Classes (capitalist vs workers) to numerous self-labelled interests groups for the ease of ruling.

Politicians' job is now becoming a show to compete on who sounds and looks more appealing to a bigger number of these interests groups.

NZ is yet to reach this ridiculous stage but on a slippery slope to it so be careful.


I am absolutely no fan of Xi or Putin and never thought I would say this, but I would prefer to be led by them than the far left liberals who are poisoning the planet at the moment. They are dividing us all and it is getting very dangerous. Anarchy is no good for anyone. Look at the Seattle CHAZ, where the democratic mayor is allowing a police free zone in the middle of the City. People are literally being murdered and businesses destroyed.

I am sure that you will be a fan of leadership that guard and provide a peaceful and harmony society, improve your standard of living significantly every year, and make you very proud of it.

Sounds like some very successful indoctrination has been going on if you'd submit to dictators just to own the libs.


Crikey, Xing. Literally nothing in the history of the world compares with the Chinese Cultural Revolution. For so many reasons. The butchery. The ignorant stupidity of the leaders. The cruelty and misguidedness of anyone with any authority . And so on.

The feeling of regret over the destruction of cultural history was one of the great lessons learned in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution.

Wish they'd demonstrate that with some hesitancy in destroying of Uighur cultural history, then.

Is this the same Western Culture that shoved millions of people into ovens? Or how about that Western Culture that destroyed civilisations in the Americas in the name of Christ and their divinely-ordained mission civilisatrise? Yes, blame the liberals.

You don't know what you have got 'til its gone. Just ask the Hong Kong youth what they think about the woke liberal western millennial self flagellating naive left winger youth who so hate the freedoms that Western culture has provided them.

Wow. I read this and can't help but think how seriously out of touch with today's youth you are. It appears that anyone you disagree with you call a radical left winger. That term isn't even relevant today - it's a remnant of when First Past the Post had parliaments with two distinct political halves. In the Aotearoa-New Zealand I know, it's far more complicated than a simple binary between even the good of the individual vs the good of the collective. Perhaps your comments fit into that category that millenials ( & younger) often say about boomers - paternalistic and selfish. You're essentially saying you know better than them, your experiences are more valid than theirs. What a shame - you undoubtedly do have a lot of knowledge and wisdom, but your words alienate you from those you might otherwise want to be talking to?

Is this the same Western Culture that shoved millions of people into ovens?

That's Western culture, is it?

A central state-capitalist dictatorship with a heavy dose of race-based nationalist fervour and racial superiority conflict, with a penchant for people in concentration camps. Wonder if there are similar powers we need to worry about like that these days?

Western cultural revolution has been going on for a while.
"At multiculturalism’s heart, therefore, lies a contradiction: White majorities are compelled to be cosmopolitan, urged to supersede their ascribed identity. Minorities are enjoined to do the reverse."

Culture and identity is quite limiting. I would consider being cosmopolitan to be the superior position. Am I allowed to write that?

Interesting article. In my experience, a lot of people in NZ tried to jump straight into multiculturalism before thinking about biculturalism first. When Pākehā do that they often miss the critical first step - thinking about themselves as coming from a culture per se. Instead they typically consider themselves as being 'normal' and everyone else as 'different' (& various shades of exotic etc). Dress this up as 'majority' or 'minority' if you like. But that's precisely what happened after the Treaty - at time of signing there were approx 2000 non-Maori here. 20 years later Māori were outnumbered in their own lands.

And unlike the US or Europe (large land borders/ successive waves of immigrants), where your article is based, NZ has histories that are based on its on localised situation. We are quite different to the US / Europe - Māori (the word means 'ordinary') and Pākehā (non-Māori, traditionally of European descent) or Tauiwi (literally 'visitors') are in a relationship with one another in a way that is quite different to the way that multiculturalism is typically understood.

You write very well JP, Academia?

Guilty as charged.

Have posted before but will do so again, as it is one of my favourites;

That is one heck of an article. Friere, Employments Contract and Immigration all in the first half.. Wow.. lots to take in there. Ngaa mihi nui.

Written in 1993. An amazing man. RIP.


The problem is not changing the names, it's the fact that when you give an inch a mile is taken. For example, in the UK they pulled down the slaver statue in Bristol of Edward Colston. I do not agree with how it was done but accepted the fact that it should have been removed. The next day, the Winston Churchill statue was defaced and social media became full of angry people saying how Churchill had said racist things and how he should be pulled down. Once it starts, it will not stop, every aspect of European history will be removed from NZ.

History can't be changed and no sane person is advocating that, it should just be moved to more appropriate locations such as museums. There had been a campaign underway for 20+ years to move the statue in Bristol without success and it finally fell to the mob. Dubious historical events don't warrant recognition in prime central locations.

I didn't see any statues of rats in recognition of their contribution to the Bubonic plague while in the UK.

Should all statues of Captain Cook be taken down?

The statues aren't being taken down, or destroyed, they are being moved. Should Cook's statues be in a museum? I think we are heading that way.


That's fair enough. If people get offended by something it should be removed. We should have no more statues of anybody or anything. We should have no religious or spiritual statues or monuments as it will offend somebody somewhere. Maybe the Taliban and ISIS were actually forward thinkers and were right all along. What a wonderful world we are going to be living in in the near future.

We both know that the Taliban dynamited the Buddha statues and murdered kafir, neither of which have been proposed here.



And as the curtains of the Dark Ages came down it was the the Christian equivalent tearing down the pagan statues in the same way...

Like burning and banning of books, I'm against tearing down of statues in principle. There's always going to be someone in future decades offended at some unimaginable level of wrongness of what we or our leaders do today, even those thought of as most progressive. Witness the vilifying of Germaine Greer for her belief there is something particular and not easily adopted at will about being a woman.

Heck, if anti-vaxxers get their eventual way Bill Gates' likeness will be burned for his conspiracies to force vaccinations on populations, and if Hoskings is eventually deified as a prophet there will be statues of Comrade Taxinda being hauled down, smashed and trampled in future by rabid right-whingers.

You paint a rather attractive picture of the future. And Rick you obviously didn't get the memo, we no longer refer to it as the "Dark Ages".
I've been thinking about it a bit and while my initial reaction was similar I don't think we can compare a few tawdry and barely noticed statues with the magnificent temples and statues the early Christians destroyed. People actually did worship and revere those. I suppose something similar today would be the destruction of Auckland's War Memorial Museum and Cenotaph. Early Christians truly burned books then too and in the New World much later, irreplaceable things, now lost forever. In comparison the later infamous book burning was more like just erasing stuff from your computer or throwing the TV out of the window.

Fun discussion :) Unfortunately, I burned the memo in outrage.

Of course they're at different levels...but things start small and grow, as did Christianity's influence over Greco-Roman civilisation. Hence the principles. It doesn't help to set precedents that tearing down statues or burning books is a good, valid course of action.

No, not everything is a slippery slope and it does not automatically flow that we'll lose our entire history because we allow statues to be taken down or desecrated, but I see no need to encourage such responses.

I think you're all missing a rather obvious point here. In NZ, almost all the statues are of Pākehā victors and a very low percentage are Māori. Similarly in Bristol or with Cecil Rhodes.. pulling down statues is a sign of popular discontent with inequity and injustice. If you don't want your statues pulled down, think about whose interests are on display and whose are not.

That suggests a shortage of Maori statues, not a need to desecrate existing statues. Put some more up, rather than teaching people that destruction of history you're discontent with is the best approach. The other obvious point is that statues and the history they represent can be moved and rearranged rather than destroyed. It's not a blanket injunction that a statue can never be retired, but a suggestion that teaching folk that rage-driven destruction of history is not in general a great approach to matters.

Like it's been that easy Rick, why don't we just rotate yours out for 100 years and bring ours in? Maori have had to fight tooth and nail for everything they have today, my grandmother was caned for speaking her language at school, I don't want your reminders of that if it's ok? The story of Lake Hayes by another poster here turned my stomach.

Sure, but that means we should teach everyone that desecration of monuments is a good approach to things they don't like?

Good point TK. But you do need to drop that illustration. As a "Eurpean" kid I too was thrashed for speaking English in school, especially when I tried a snide comment out the corner of my mouth to my mate, while my teacher was talking to the class.

But European languages were not legislated against in the same way te reo was. And I doubt very much that you were enrolled in one of those schools that despite being located in Māori language strongholds, insisted on all lessons being taught in English (like the so-called Native Schools were). I suspect your experience - no doubt unpleasant - was more isolated than systemic.

It's the age old problem of humans believing that if others can't be with them then they must be against them.

An inability to hold more than one conflicting view whilst assessing each for its merits. In other words the scientific methodology, sorely lacking in our current society and school system.

Taking perspective, psychologists call it. Divergent thinking according to educational theorists. Or,a massive and dangerous leap backwards for humans and society I call it.

Can someone be genuinely offended by events that occurred before they were born? If that were the case some people should never get out of bed! And let's face it, there are a few who make a career out of being offended, using their righteous anger as a political platform for a few seconds of fame.

In truth i am offended by their attempts to remove mementos of the past to a closet where they are out of sight, and therefore the deeds for which these are so "offensive" are soon to be forgotten, no longer discussed, debated, and learned from. Besides, people should understand that when they choose to cast a lens across someone else's history, and point the ju-ju bone at them in offense, having the same done to them might have an equally or worse result.

I come from a long line of colonials. It's often been said that we can't judge yesterday by the standards of today. But that assumes that there wasn't opposing views at the time. Yes, my ancestors benefited from confiscation. I too, have benefited from their stolen wealth. Am I offended? To an extent, yes - for we are all still living with the consequences. When the economic base of a culture is not just destroyed but stolen, it doesn't just vanish as time goes by. The disparity, inequity, hurt and injustice continues. As a Pākehā I live with that as much as my Māori whanau. He waka eke noa - we are all in this together.

Why just in a museum though? Many parks are memorials.

Maybe the parks should also be in museums...LOL

Give humanity a chance to ruin the natural environment and they will be soon enough.


The Te Rauparaha arena in Porirua is named after a slaver, murderer, and cannibal.
Presumably the locals have no problem with that and why should they? it's history. Some want to selectively rewrite history so as to pretend that NZ was an idyllic, safe, pacific paradise.


Cannibalism..... Cook may have done some bad things, but nothing that bad.

There are many many things worse than cannibalism. The main historical point about cannibalism is it happened but is not recorded by those who did it. Leningrad had two words for it to distinguish between meat from those who had died and meat from those who had been killed - the latter being more expensive because fresher.

Every time Ka Mate is recited, Te Rauparaha is celebrated.

And such is life.
You are either strong enough to repel the challenges to your lifestyle or you fall by the wayside.

Interesting subject. I assume you're writing will include a fair bit on the strength of the Maori side of the economy in the mid 1800s. I've always been fascinated by the dominance I understand they had in agricultural production, particularly market gardening.
In the Empire of the dairyman it was stated one of the reasons for small holders getting into dairying was due to it being the only option due to this dominance.
Another interesting fact was that when the crown invaded Whakatohea after the Volkener incident they burnt to the waterline something like 7 ships used to move produce.
Where I grew up, Te Puna in Tauranga, the crown destroyed literally hundreds of acres of gardens in persiute of so called rebels. So much area that they eventually gave up.
I was lucky I at least had the chance to learn from a number of Maori teachers so picked up a small bit of history.

I'm an immigrant and have read little NZ history. Your comment is fascinating - I had read about the market gardening.
It has long been my opinion (OK rather ill-informed) that the most significant issue in history of Empire and western colonialism was disease and that in the main disease was not one of Kate's moral issues; it just happened and in some places the Europeans died like fllies and in other places the indigenous population was decimated (my Papuan wife's own language group lost over 90% of their population in an epidemic 130 years ago - she knows nothing about it).
For an analogy if Covid-19 continues to a few years and almost all over 60s die will a century later they declare it a genocide of boomers by millennials? See Jared Diamond's guns germs and steel theory.


The Ngai Tahu will protest about and tear down any monuments of Te Rauparaha, due to the inappropriateness of celebrating the life of a foreign invader and butcher. In fact all tribes will do the same for dead leaders of neighbouring tribes. Probably demand changes of name of places named after these people as well.

The tribes who lived on the South Island before Ngai Tahu invaded from the north would find that rather ironic.

Of course all this was illustrated by NZ historian Prof Paul Moon who lamented the fact that much of the oral history of pre European NZ was 'recorded' by the victorious iwi. The vanquished, had they survived, might have had an entirely different slant on events!
This seems to me to be the stupidity of Easton attempting to pin down a single "valid" history, and especially trying to use this amateur historian's version to make serious judgements of just how his tale impacts on today's society.

Yes, cultures are pluralistic. They are different to one another and wash through one another too. Michelle Fine talks about the intercultural hyphen, which Alison Jones describes as "the line that joins as well as separates". Not simple then ☺

Yes, cultures are pluralistic. They are different to one another and wash through one another too. Michelle Fine talks about the intercultural hyphen, which Alison Jones describes as "the line that joins as well as separates". Not simple then ☺

William the Conqueror also introduced the Hebrew Law that meant that land could be forfeited to bankers to repay debts. Previously, only chattels could be taken, not the land title. Our modern banking problems have deep roots.


At the risk of being abused by those who would wish to present an alternative truth, is it not true that all humans now resident on these islands (NZ or Aotearoa) have come from other lands or descended from those who did so? Did not all that came here claim lands by force as and when they saw fit? Is it not possible that at some future time a conquering force could arrive and assume ownership by the same methods as all previous and go ahead and name all the places as they see fit? So, feel free to move the deck chairs to where ever you wish.

I won't abuse you, but I will offer another perspective - the idea that everyone who arrived here conquered someone else is a myth. The story of Māori conquering Moriori - whist true - is limited to one island, at one time. The story itself however became a colonial tool to justify European acquisition on a vast scale - a convenient propaganda.

Also, the idea that 'true' indigeneity is based on continual land occupation is based on Eurocentric norms that validate land-based power structures. Polynesian cultural norms are ocean-island based. Indigeneity is therefore not based on continual occupation - but it remains true that Māori and Moriori as seperate migratory waves, settled these lands first.

The argument that 'we are all visitors' seeks to validate the claim that 'we' are all 'the same' and therefore should be subject to the same ideas and 'equal rights'. But such thinking arises out of European ideas of liberal humanism - the celebration of the rights of the individual, intellectual freedom, equal access to knowledge - this is not the same as equity between cultural perspectives. Making claims about 'our' sameness assumes the normality of Eurocentric norms - which simply cannot be taken for granted in a Polynesian context.


I too have always been bemused by the vitriol targeted at Cook who was essentially a map maker. Somehow his role has been erroneously conflated with every woe that has subsequently befallen Aotearoa Maori despite the fact he died half a century before the treaty was even conceived.


From what I have read Capt. Cook was just about the best man to ever leave Britain. From poverty to the greatest navigator and best leader the British Navy produced and he was certainly one of the greatest explorers the world has ever seen.

Reading the comments here is quite enlightening. Both the advocates for "removal" and those for "retention" of the current status quo regarding historical monuments have valid arguments. Just be careful who is given the "right" to rewrite or correct/rebalance history. Defining actions made 200 years ago by today's values is inherently frought. Yes we should have the conversation, and yes we should strive to educate BUT through whose lens??

For me, the answer is quite clear. If a historical figure created death and destruction against at least some people in a nation, or implemented policy of a highly discriminatory nature, there should be no statue, no place name.
If a person did not, but perhaps held some bigoted and racist views common for the time, which did not lead to consequential discriminatory actions, then the statue/ name stays.
Mountain names have been no brainers. Maori have strong connection with maunga and always had names for them, full of rich meaning.
Cities? They are a modern, western construct and usually encapsulate areas much wider than a Maori settlement. So keep the English name, unless the man after whom the city was named did lots of bad things...

I admit, I was surprised to learn that Hamilton was named after a soldier from the NZ Wars, one who died at Gate Pa.
I just assumed it was a commemorative naming after either the Scottish town, or a Scottish lord of the same name, one who maybe even never visited NZ such as the patronage namings like Egmont or Foveaux.

I don't think naming after a relatively junior soldier from the NZ Wars, one dieing fulfilling the values of the time, "gallantry", "duty" etc, is that inappropriate. Unless there's scandalous or cruel behaviour I'm not aware of?

I agree the NZ wars were illegal, and there probably are places named after people active in forming the policy and triggering the actions, that aren't appropriate. But is Hamilton one of them? I'm willing to be educated/informed.

I'm not 100% instinctively getting my back up at re-naming. Heretaunga for Hutt, I don't care. But, at this stage re: Hamilton. I think I'm now more in favour of the naming than I was before the statue controversy.

From my tiny little bit of research .....

"led by Captain Hamilton, of the ' Esk,' advanced with a ringing cheer to the support of the forlorn hope. They arrived at a critical moment; the storming party exposed to a murderous fire on all sides, and from hidden assailants beneath, and without an officer left to lead them, were wavering; part were outside the pa. Captain Hamilton sprung upon the parapet, and shouting 'follow me, men!' dashed into the fight. That moment was his last. He fell dead, pierced through the brain by a bullet, and many of his officers shared the same fate."

If Hamilton was renamed,'The Tron' wouldn't have quite the same ring to it.

Apart from copyright issues perhaps a statue of Tron is the very thing the City of the Futcha needs.

I can't substantiate it, but I have colleagues who insist that Hamilton fought at Rangiaowhia, under Cameron and von Tempsky. He would therefore be complicit in the murder of unarmed women and children.

Some place names cry out for change. Stewart is an absurd name for the island, given he was just an obscure first mate of a sealing ship that happed to be the first european vessel to crudely chart the island. Where the connection is as tenuously light touch as this and other peoples or events have overwhelmingly stronger historic investment in or significance to a place, the name should reflect this. Rakiura it should be. But compromise is required where there is history of more powerful significance to multiple people groups. Aoraki Mt Cook captures this sentiment and is now widely accepted, partly because of the incremental way it was introduced. Many cities and towns these days informally use such combinations and over time a landing place evolves. Academics argue about how we should address the symbolically important issue of place names, with advocates of unilaterally imposed change increasingly vocal. But often this polarising discussion occurs without sensitivity to the growing public disquiet over increasing separatist influences in NZ politics. We need to proceed with care.

With care - no hurry - we will get a sensible name and a new flag eventually but no need for a panic. And it is one thing to change a name and another to get outsiders to use it - ref Munich and Munchen.

Agree, and they are really good examples of a sensible, thoughtful approach. Proceed with care but do not fail to proceed. As we are doing so. The discussions are educational and beneficial in their own right.

Agree. I propose calling it the Third Island or the Bottom Island.

Am I the only commentor to have read Erewhon? Published by Samuel Butler in 1872 it is a satire on Victorian society clearly linked to his years living in New Zealand (1860-64). I read it a long time ago but can remember the chapter about statues and public memorials - the idea being all such were voted on by the public after 50? years and removed if unpopular.

The article by Mr Easton is interesting but does he fall into the mistake of projecting the word Maori back into history - am I right in thinking the treaty was signed by tribal leaders not Maori leaders. Just as the otherside was Britons not Europeans. Not my expertise so happy to be corrected.

Dr Easton's new book is an excellent read, btw.

I was so shocked when I realized that modern day Mongolians revere Genghis Khan to a god like degree. To me, someone from a country that the Mongols destroyed often beyond recovery, Genghis is one of the most evil persons throughout history. Tamerlane is similarly revered in Uzbekistan, a man famous for building skull pyramids. What they did to many people is surely at least equal to colonial evil. Yet, as they are not powerful today, no one cares. No one demands Mongols to openly denounce Genghis. As they are not powerful today, no one really cares, including the decedents of their victims (who in all likelihood have some Mongolian DNAs too) who are now better off and more powerful (economically and politically) than the modem day Mongolians. Similarly no one really cares for the true history of slavery, as many nations and people who had committed slavery were no match for the European military might in 19th and 20th century.
The problem is that the decedents of the European conquerors are still having an upper hand in everything. They continue to prosper and stay ahead. You can remove all the status of any white person in the world, rename all the places to their true native names. forcing everyone one to speak the language of the conquered people without actually alleviating any pains. Only attaining similar power status as whites can heal these wounds. And the greater the disparity of powers in the past, the greater and deeper the wounds today.

When you say 'white person' does that include Jews, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Finns and all the caucasian nations that had no involvement in Empire? Does it include a Maori with 31 out of 32 White ancestors? Attaining similar power to NZ is easy - just check any reputable list of countries by wealth or GDP per capita - NZ is behind Turkey, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, .... well we are about 40th with places like Poland about to overtake us. So similar power status has been achieved already and done so fairly rapidly. I just do not see this 'upper hand' although I'll admit it existed when I was a child. A simple test of who has the upper hand - ask which govt's and political parties are willing to meet the Dalai Lama yet they will fall over to get state visits by the pope. Admittedly there are relics of Anglo-power such as air-traffic control being in English world wide. But isn't that the equivalent of Europe using an Indian counting system and 'standard guage' being the width of Roman chariot's wheels.
Your "disparity in the past" is fairly recent; Europeans did nothing much until 500 years ago; go back just a couple of centuries and India, China, Persia ruled and they reckon the wealthiest man of all time was an African from Mali. So you are judging 'past' by since the printing press (discovered first in China).

I don't think NZ is behind Turkey in GDP per capita.

Apologies - you are correct and correct by a considerable margin. Not sure where I got that false fact into my head - it may have related to recent figure productivity increase per capita.

Lets change this one..........

Lake Hayes is a small lake in the Wakatipu Basin in Central Otago, in New Zealand's South Island. It is located close to the towns of Arrowtown and Queenstown.

The local Māori iwi (tribe) of Kai Tahu originally named the lake Te Whaka-ata a Haki-te-kura after an ancestress called Haki-te-kura whose image was said to be reflected in the lake.

Its name gradually changed to Lake Hayes, as its discovery was credited erroneously to Captain "Bully" Hayes, an early local character of the district. was reported through several verified written accounts that Hayes took the girl ashore and violently raped her. After Hayes had finished with her, the girl was taken back to the ship in severe pain, crying with blood running down her legs. She was still not able to walk properly after three months when she was returned to Pingelap. An inquiry by Captain A.E. Dupuis of HMS Rosario in 1874 was able to procure evidence against Hayes for this crime but it was never pursued in court. Hayes was known to treat other girls in a similar manner....


Someone find me a tribe or nation in history that has not conquered or colonised something or someone.

What frustrates me is how history is twisted so that the narrative of conquest, colonisation and slavery is somehow a white European one. But there was not a continent on earth that did not have slaves, serfs and oppression by one culture/tribe nation on another. It happened between African nations, empires and tribes, it was happening in Africa in many places when the Europeans arrived there. Africans enslaved each other, just like Europeans enslaved each other. When Conquistadors landed in the Americas, the majority of people who lived on that continent were already oppressed by extractive institutions and/or enslaved by a ruling elite. Conquest and colonisation is the history of humanity, not the exclusive history of Europe inflicted on the rest of the world. African pirates used to kidnap people from the shores of Europe and sell them as slaves. The Persian Empire, Muslim Caliphates, Ottoman Empire, Mongol Empire, Mughal Empire, Egyptian Empire, Kushan Empire, Gupta Empire, Indian Sultanate, Carthage, Nubia, Sumerian, Arkkadian, multiple Chinese empires, I could go on and on. THEY ALL CONQUERED AND COLONISED and such conquest and colonisation was just what you did if you could. It was what elites of all cultures aspired to do. It is only very, very recent changes to social norms and I might add, social norms that grew out of European intellectual traditions, that began to change a cultural narrative to where conquest and colonisation was maybe not cool.

The history of humanity is also the history of changing social norms and sometimes iconoclasm. The Egyptians tried to wipe out the art and cultural memory of the Amarna era, Byzantines were at it, ISIS destroyed ancient pagan statues of Palmera, reformist Christians destroyed ancient paintings and relics of saints, Savonarola had great art of renaissance Florence burned in the streets. All because of changing ideas about belief, morality and ethics.

We're a horrid species who do endlessly dumb shit, whilst also being capable of tremendous ingenuity, art, and compassion. All of us. Every tribe, every nation, every skin colour. All we can do is try to be honest and realistic about the darker sides of human nature and try to create laws and structures that ameliorate or provide sufficient deterrent for us not to do these kind of horrific things to each other in the future. But even then, somewhere in the world it will be happening anyway.

I do not think people will disagree with you. The difference is that the decedents of those conquerors are now pretty much in the same basket as their once victims, but the decedents of Europeans by and large having the upper hand globally. It is the current status of white people that is truly inspiring all this anger, not their history perse.

And there should be anger. And there should be protest. The stats on racial issues in America are pretty clear. Police brutality has an incredibly racial bias, as indeed does the entire justice system. But i'm referring more to how we abuse hindsight in our cultural narratives. White privilege could just as easily have been another type or colour of privilege if the course of history had been slightly different. Privilege within a power structure is a product of a human brain and has always existed. It's not an exclusively white problem. It's a human problem. And yet we are expecting our species to change hard wired evolved neurological predispositions, without ever talking about that. There are parts of our brain that chemically respond to a preference to people who look or sound like we do. White people for white people. Black people for black people etc. It's not a choice. Evolutionary psychology is producing more and more insight into these predispositions and behaviours. And equally, we cannot find human history that does not show that we repeat these power structures over and over, in all times, in all places. Creating outsider groups, identifying enemies, "others", "barbarians".

I'm taking a step back and looking at a longer view of repeating cultural cycles and suggesting maybe we need to start thinking of ourselves as a whole species who all behave in the same way within a set of circumstances (usually fear, luck or necessity). White European decedents have indeed had the global/political upper hand in more recent history. Some of that has been harmful and exploitative for humanity (and the environment), some of it has seen humanity achieve better health, education comfort and wealth than has ever been achieved at any time in our previous 10,000 years. Other previous empires have been a mix of curses and blessings too. However, what we have never achieved ever, at any time we know of, is equality and the absence of privilege or power hierarchy. Whether it be meritocracy, oligopoly, monarchy, theocracy, despotism... we always recreate some form of power structure then eventually there is a war or revolution and the leadership changes or else there is decline and some new wannabe steps into the power vacuum. Potluck whether the next one will be better than the European cultural empire.

We have for decades been dismantling the power and privilege of European colonialism. Sometimes it has come faster and sometimes slower, sometimes more peacefully, sometimes less so, sometimes 2 steps forward and one back but it *has* continually progressed. However, what I take issue with is the fact that we don't look at our very human nature in all this and approach an understanding of ourselves as a social animal with a preference for power hierarchy and tribalism or to ask how best to go about dealing with those predispositions rather than looking at specific slices of history as if that explains why what happened, happened.

I do not disagree with you. but if your parents are very poor, and your mates parents are very rich, you may find it very difficult to accept that your places could have changed, or that your ancestors might have behaved the exact same way or much worse etc. Especially as there is some truth to the narration that some types of wealth have been accumulated by exploiting others. Your present position,and who you compare yourself to, determines your perspective to a large degree and how you would see the past. That is what I am saying. If you are from central Asia or the Middle East you do not compare your current status with the Mongols, at whose ancestor hands your people have suffered unimaginable atrocities, but you direct your anger to the Russians or the British or the French, who might have done you some wrongs but definitely not to the same extent as the Mongols (and who brought with them not only destruction and exploitation but knowledge and technology that have benefited everyone). Why? because they are still ahead of these countries. So it is unfair, unscientific and very subjective, but at the same time it is understandable. If Europeans and Maoris where equally poor today, I bet that there would have been a lot less strife and if in 200 years Maoris become wealthier, more powerful than whites, how we perceive history will become totally different. As I was trying to say: it is not really the history but where we are and where we want to be.

If the question is how best to deal with those predispositions, I'd suggest via teaching ethics/moral philosophy right alongside reading, writing and arithmetic.

Very interested in other suggestions.

On a national level it would be so much easier to deal with if there had been some sort of agreement signed somewhere at the start of things.
Oh wait.
That's and advantage we have over many nation's mentioned above and subject to colonisation. I'm glad and happy to see it used.

You wrote what I would have written. Minor adjustment: when you say ""social norms that grew out of European intellectual traditions"" it might be read as meaning some higher level of morality arose in Europe. I think it was the industrial revolution that produced a replacement for human power with steam power. This led to the first Empire that actually tried stopping slavery and doing so to the extent of employing their navy to enforce it. With so much to be terribly embarassed of in British history it is satisfying to hang on to one good deed even if it was triggered by economics not virtue and took William Wilberforce's life's effort.

Good point. Especially in regards to the Industrial Revolution replacing human power. I am inclined to agree with those who suggest that the plagues also changed the dynamic of labour in Western Europe too, helping lay the ground work for later cultural changes. I certainly do not mean "social norms that grew out of European intellectual tradition" as to mean any higher morality but just to describe a change in thinking culture. Many prior cultures and empires had their own era's of intellectualism with progression in science and technology, often borrowing from each other or proceeding ones. There is no morality to that. It was usually product of luck or circumstance if anything.

It is worth mentioning the European Intellectual tradition - it did exist and for example when the USA was founded it produced many intellectual statements about the rights of man etc that still resonate and compare well with the intelletual and moral underpinnings of other countries. However fine words co-existed with slavery. We still have governments which combine fine words (kindness) with lack of compassion (NZ residents stranded overseas).

Excellent post gingerninga! Why the hell are so many people desperate to re-write history (good or bad) when all the same issues are still happening today. The hard cold truth is that you cannot change human nature! All the woke BS will not make an iota of difference!

"Most New Zealand cities with non-Maori names hardly deserve their names"

Totally agree, but why stop there, why do not we start and rename all the cities in the world ?
Let us all be busy with focusing on renaming our cities, and ignore the fact that we are all New Zealanders with equal rights in this country.
Let us focus on other issues and ignore what really matters now, Covid19 and the New Zealand economy, the jobs and the well being of our people.
Let us go back for several hundred years and ignore what happens here and now.

Get a grip !
New Zealand is a strong and cohesive country where our mutual strength comes from the fact that we are all different, with different background.
A melting pot of all races, all the good hardworking people from all over the world.

Or you could just leave them and let Maori call them what they want.

Similarly to how in English, Deutschland is Germany, Munchen is Munich. The French call the country Allemagne. All are acceptable.

The real reason you don't see that advocated is that it doesn't "stick it" to white people. This is mostly about spite.

We often get told NZ should set an example and lead the world. It is often the basis of many Climate Change activists. So once every placename in NZ is a Maori word then the USA inspired by us will do the same. Only trouble is the 90 extinct languages in the USA - how would the places these people used to live (about the time of the Treaty of Waitangi) be named? Just the languages from A -to- C : Abnaki, Adai, Ais, Alsea, Apalachee, Atakapa, Atsina, Atsugewi, Barbareño, Biloxi, Calusa, Cayuse, Chehalis, Chimariko, Chitimacha, Coquille, Costanoan, Cowlitz, Cruzeño.

I've always liked the name of the world's second highest mountain, K2. Perhaps we could adopt a similar naming convention?

We have SH1 etc.

Regardless of national history, the rise of left-modernism in the high culture prompted an attack on majority ethnicity. For settler societies, this meant a dual focus on aboriginals as dispossessed natives and non-white immigrants as a welcome source of diversity who experience discrimination. In Australia, it's common for progressives to preface their talks by thanking the local aboriginal tribe as the 'rightful owners of the land', and this was also a demand of the Evergreen State protesters. In 1998, Australia formalized white repentance in the form of a National “Sorry Day' [71] Genocide against aboriginals is important to expose but needs to be contextualised. As Jared Diamond outlines in Guns Germs and Steel,, agriculturalists have replaced hunter-gatherers — mainly due to differences in immunity to animal-borne diseases — throughout human history. This is as true of the Bantu cattle-herding ancestors of African Americans, largely wiped out the indigenous pygmy and San peoples of Central and Southern Africa, as it is of Europeans in the New World. We also know that the chance of being violently killed is ten times higher in hunter-gatherer societies than in agricultural civilizations [2] On the Great Plains, the Comanche were able to master the Western technology of horsemanship before white settlement and used this to brutally conquer other Amerindian groups, nearly wiping out the Apache. None of which means today's Comanche should feel ashamed of their identity and dwell on the foibles of their ancestors. A balanced perspective which acknowledges positives and negatives of Western settlement rather than a 'social-justice' lens narrowly focused on white original sin would be considerably truer to the facts. It may also be the case that, as McWhorter writes for African-Americans, the focus on white guilt removes a sense of agency from aboriginal groups, worsening their plight. Victim status may bring lower resilience and worse social outcomes. As Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt point out, the ideology of victimhood elevates precisely those habits of mind — such as viewing others' innocent statements as malign or relying on emotional reasoning (`I feel it, it must be true') —which produce depression and anxiety. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is explicitly designed to correct such neuroses through building resilience, yet left-modernist ideology seems intent on doing the opposite. It's certainly the case that the severe problems of suicide and substance abuse among Canadian and Australian aboriginal peoples haven't improved since the 1960's. Anti-Western tropes can also be used by developing-world politicians like Robert Mugabe who leaned on postcolonial leftist arguments to deflect attention from his misdeeds. - Eric Kaufmann Whiteshift.

Maori didn’t even have a written language until 1820 where they used the English alphabet and developed Te Reo in the UK at Cambridge University.

To start trying to change all the European named cities and places to Maori now when they weren’t even named Maori just to appease the PC minority is comical.

What about settlements that were deliberately built in areas where Maori did not live? Auckland North Shore bays were obviously Maori land before European arrival but they avoided building there probably because of memories of tsunamis. I read much the same about Christchurch. Of course what I read was probably written by non-Europeans so may be suspect.
My own residence is North Shore - quite clearly a collection of European villages that have grown until they merged and now BeachHaven, Birkdale, Northcote, Glenfield (previously Mayfield), Hillcrest are called Kaipatiki. So a new Te Reo name has obliterated the work of settlers.
NZ has three languages and two written languages so lets just use both.

I think you're missing the point of a 4000 year old Polynesian civilisation with an oral culture.

Very funny that while migrants to New Zealand, especially from Asia have been taking English/Kiwi names to make it easy to work and live here, Pakehas here are being put on the backfoot for the English names of cities/places.

Yes, how ironic is it that Pākehā often expect others to 'when in Rome do as the Romans do', except they don't apply it to themselves. All those places already had names.. not in English tho, and not written down..