The Herald interviews author Peter Wells:
2. In your blog you accuse Creative New Zealand of interfering with your latest book, Journey to a Hanging, through political correctness.
What do you mean by that?
I feel that I wasn’t allowed to tell the story I wanted to tell, which was a work of creative non-fiction about Kereopa Te Rau when he was in Napier prison for the murder of the Rev Carl Volkner. Creative NZ made it clear I would have to consult his iwi if I was to win the $100,000 Michael King Fellowship. I felt I had to write a much less imaginative book because I was paranoid about getting the facts right and not offending tribal sensibilities.
3. What do you think this says about New Zealand?
I feel like New Zealanders have turned their back on their colonial history. Political correctness has made the whole area taboo because we don’t want to offend anyone. Instead we’ve consigned this fraught territory to the Waitangi Tribunal to divvy up money, land and – importantly – guilt. I think this actually distances us from our past when it’s vital we have the intellectual freedom to explore it.
So a government agency effectively imposes a right of veto on the telling of NZ history. Sad.