Maori history in school far from reality

Contra Celsum has an excellent post on Maori history, cannibalism and the like that I would encourage you to read. It should be the start of a series which may be interesting to follow.

Through school, the Maori culture is portrayed as being in harmony with nature. You are taught about (nice) Maori customs, the Maori pantheistic religion (which is state-funded religious teaching by the way), various Maori legends, Kupe and his voyage to New Zealand, Maori songs and language, and happy-clappy stuff like that. You are then taught about how the horrible Europeans came with muskets, stole the land, started the musket wars, and how Maori were oppressed. You generally only hear good things about Maori and bad things about the Europeans (as I recall from school, some years ago now).

But this is extremely biased, and that should be obvious to anyone. Every culture has good things and bad things in their history, if any culture is portrayed as wholly good or wholly bad you should know immediately that something is being hidden.

What you won’t learn in school is that the Maori burnt down more forest area than the Europeans ever did – the tussock grasslands of the South Island were forest before the Maori came along. You won’t learn how many species the Maori drove to extinction. You won’t learn about the widespread cannibalism among Maori.

You certainly won’t hear about how many Maori embraced Christianity as freeing them from their former culture of death. You certainly won’t hear how Maori tribes were commonly at war with one another (I understand the Maori had no concept of NZ as one country, it was ruled by many warring chiefs), and you won’t hear how despite the initial musket wars NZ has had internal peace since the coming of the British. But in order to have a balanced view of history you need to hear both sides.

If anyone speaks up and tries to tell the other side of NZ history, such as Maori cannibalism, they are hounded as being racist. This is a crazy situation, where it is not PC to tell the truth about history.

I’ll just finish with some insightful words from The Lads

If you are starving on an air-plane
‘cos you’re in economy
And if you have crashed down in the ocean
and you’re allergic to sea food
By eating me you could stay strong
And I could learn to hop along
Apart from this
Cannibalism’s wrong

Cannibalism’s wrong
Even if they deserve it, you can’t eat them ‘cos it’s wrong