Guest Post: Let’s have a debate based on the facts

A guest post by Clive Bibby:

A recent announcement that Stuff journalists are investigating the background of some of this year’s local body candidates as purveyors of disinformation and as such, a threat to democracy, rings hollow against their refusal to scrutinise the government’s own revisionist campaign.

You don’t have to be an Oxford scholar to recognise the duplicity of their actions which lays them open for criticism as being an extension of the Labour Party propaganda machine.

It is somewhat surprising that this group of journalists is being led by one of Stuff’s senior scribes – none other than Andrea Vance who has an earned reputation for accuracy which ironically is a diminishing quality amongst members of the Parliament Press Gallery.

Things must be becoming desperate when the big guns allow their names to be associated with such dubious digging to find dirt on individuals of no consequence.

Meanwhile in the corridors of power where things are happening that will have lasting effects on the nations understanding of our true history, revisionist narratives are being peddled unchallenged as the gospel truth about the nation’s birthing pangs.

In reality, our history is going through a makeover that bears little resemblance to what actually happened all those years ago and nobody seems to care.

One would think that at least the opposition parties would see this development as the real threat to democracy and be promising to add the eradication of these false doctrines to the list of those “must do” jobs when it takes over the treasury benches.

Yet we see only a relatively small handful of priorities from those who must make it happen. Apparently, the insistence of truth telling isn’t amongst them.

And what of the disinformation that is being promoted as the truth?

You need go no further than the popular narrative promoted by academics and wannabe leaders that Maoridom continues to suffer as a result of colonialism and consequently requires compensation on a never ending scale in order to regain its original status as proud tangata whenua.

The truth is that during the musket wars, pre the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Maori race suffered more than anything else from self inflicted wounds. It is a sad fact that the Iwi population dropped by approximately 40,000 (mainly innocent bystanders) from an estimated high of 100,000 able bodied men and women.

The ravages of tribal conflicts in the years pre 1840, in an environment where the winner takes all, had the single most damaging effect on the population of our earliest settlers. The wilful slaughter was only brought to a halt with the arrival of the first colonial missionaries who promoted a message of peace that changed the lives of warrior chiefs like Tamati Waka Nene and Hone Heke for ever.

The negative effects of colonialism, the part that the academics selectively identify as the root cause of Maoridom’s struggles in modern society, were not a factor until much later when assurances given in the Treaty were either ignored or only partially honoured. It is fair to say and should not be forgotten, that the mistreatment of Maori by some of the colonial settlers did immeasurable harm to a race of people trying to adapt to the new authority, much of which was foreign to a lifestyle based on survival of the fittest.

However, the facts are that this nation has evolved in spite of those setbacks, building into a multi cultural society that is the envy of the world. We have achieved this status by learning from and acknowledging our true history. We now enjoy a system that accommodates retrospective claims of misdeeds by the Crown and allows for compensation that can help to re-establish tribal authority and future prosperity.

The real danger to our democracy is the deliberate distortion of these historical facts that would, if allowed to take root, set our development back for no good reason.

We must insist that the complete record (warts and all) is included in any state sanctioned revision of our history curriculum.

Failure to do so will result in a division from which we may never recover.

If it is not the full truth – it is a lie.

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