Bruce Moon, Kelvin Day, Nelson Provincial Museum, New Plymouth, Peter Millward, Puke Ariki Museum, Taranaki Wars Exhibition, Treatygate

Museums refuse to correct historical errors

Nelson Provincial Museum CEO Peter Millward.

One of my dedicated Treaty informants is retired Canterbury University Professorial Board member Bruce Moon.

Bruce is a stickler for getting to the heart of a matter — any matter.

A life of enquiry

In his successful life he has been:

  • a rocket scientist in the UK and Australia
  • a Fellow of the UK Institute of Physics
  • Director of the Canterbury University Computer Centre
  • the first person to install a computer in a New Zealand university
  • National President of the NZ Computer Society
  • an Honorary Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Information Technology Professionals.
  • an officer in the Naval Reserve.

What Bruce is not is tolerant of the falsification of New Zealand history — in which he has engaged in deep study since retiring.

So when he saw the vast number of historical errors in the Taranaki Wars Exhibition at the Nelson Provincial Museum, he wrote to the instigators to put them straight.

Curators dismissive
of facts

As you’ll see — and as we now expect of arrogant, ignorant New Zealand academics — they didn’t want to know.

I suggest you read the whole exchange.

It ranges across many subjects, including:

  • the origins of the fraudulent ‘Official Treaty of Waitangi in English’.
  • Hobson’s final English draft, discovered in 1989, and covered up by the state
  • the massive exaggerations of Parihaka
  • what the chiefs really meant by taonga
  • Ngapuhi’s false claim that they didn’t cede sovereignty

…and much more.

You will observe how painstakingly Bruce puts his case, and how dismissively he is treated by New Plymouth’s Puke Ariki Museum curator Kelvin Day and Nelson Provincial Museum CEO Peter Millward.

(And later brushed off by the Mayor of Tasman, Richard Kempthorne and the Mayor of Nelson, Aldo Miccio.)

I’ve done my usual trick of spacing out the text and adding subheads to help you along.

_______________________________

BRUE MOON TO KELVIN DAY 1
(also MOON TO PETER MILLWARD 1)

EMAIL
From:
Bruce Moon

To: Kelvin Day [Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth]
Cc: Peter Millward [Nelson Museum]

Sent: Thursday 1 November 2012, 5:20 pm
Subject:
Taranaki exhibition

Dear Kelvin,

Peter Millward of the Nelson Museum has given me your name as the constructor of the exhibition on the Taranaki tribal rebellions, which is currently on display in Nelson.

It is about this that I write.

Exhibition contains
many errors

The exhibition is well-presented and impressive.

Nevertheless it contains a considerable number of errors of omission and commission.

Treaty for signatures
5 Maori copies and 0 English
(not 7 Maori and 1 English)

First, and perhaps most seriously, it claims that seven Maori language copies [of the Treaty of Waitangi] and one English copy were circulated for signing.

This is not true.

As well as the original treaty, written on dogskin and signed at Waitangi, five copies of it (in Maori, of course) were prepared and circulated for signature.

These documents had adequate space for signatures, as the facsimile copy of one on display in your exhibition demonstrates.

Not for signatures
200 printed copies
of Maori Tiriti

On 17th February [1840 — JA], mission printer, Colenso, fulfilled a paid government order for 200 printed copies of it.

(Again in Maori.)

Each was printed on a single sheet of paper with normal margins, as these documents were simply intended to be distributed for information, and not to be signed.

Freeman’s false Treaties
7 ‘Royal Style’
English versions

At about the same time, Hobson was away at Hokianga and elsewhere getting more signatures.

While he was away, his pompous secretary, Freeman, decided that the simple wording of Hobson’s final draft in English was inappropriate for the eyes of officialdom overseas.

Accordingly, unauthorised, he composed seven documents in a flowery style of English, with variant wording, some of it substantial, for his purpose.

Hobson paralysed
by stroke

Hobson’s plans were thrown into disarray on 6th March when he had a severe stroke at Thames.

This paralysed his right side, and he returned to the Bay of Islands in this condition.

Freeman induced Hobson
to sign left-handed

Freeman induced Hobson to initial two of his versions, and sign one.

This Hobson did extremely shakily, with his left hand.

His signature was so shaky that the signed copy was quite unsuitable for sending overseas.

Capt. Symonds delayed
getting to Waikato Heads
with genuine Tiriti

Meanwhile, Captain Symonds [Deputy Surveyor-General — JA] set off for Waikato Heads with a genuine copy of the Treaty.

He intended this copy for signature at the mission there and elsewhere.

But he was delayed at Manukau.

Maunsell wanted
to use big meeting
to get signatures

At the mission, a great body of Maoris was assembling.

The head of mission, Rev. Robert Maunsell, saw this as a good opportunity to get signatures.

But he had a problem, as Symonds had not arrived in time.

Maunsell had a printed
copy of Te Tiriti, and

Freeman’s false Treaty

However, he had recently received a consignment of printed documents from Colenso for use at the mission.

Colenso had included one copy of the treaty, which he had printed.

Also — and probably at the same time, though this is not certain, as Maunsell’s diaries of the time were destroyed in two subsequent fires at the mission — he received the rejected copy of Freeman’s false treaty in English.

Maunsell used printed
Tiriti for first 5 signatures,
then false Treaty for the rest

Maunsell decided to improvise and use the printed copy at hand for signatures.

But many chiefs wanted to sign, and there was only room on the sheet for five to do so, as this document, which remains in existence, shows clearly.

(This was the seventh copy of the Treaty — in Maori — by your count.)

He had to improvise further, so decided to use Freeman’s false document for the purpose, as at least it showed some appearance of being official.

And several dozen chiefs signed it.

Symonds arrived too late,
so valid Tiriti sent to Kawhia

When Symonds did finally arrive, it was clearly impractical to stage the signing process again.

So the valid treaty was sent south to Rev. John Whiteley at Kawhia, where he obtained nine more signatures.

(Nearly 20 years later [later corrected to 30 years later — JA] Whiteley was murdered by a Ngati Maniopoto gang, of which more later.)

Symonds saw no need
to mention
mixup in report

In due course, Symonds returned to base with all the signed documents, but did not bother to mention in his report the exceptional, indeed unique, use of one in English.

Had there been any significance in this beyond a practical exigency, he would surely have said so.

False document now elevated
to ‘official English Treaty’

It is this false document of Freeman’s which has now been elevated by statute to be ‘The Treaty of Waitangi in English’.

And for a time it was given precedence over the valid Treaty in Maori.

Well, one may legislate that black is white. But that does not make it so.

Of course, with substantial differences between the wording of the real Treaty and Freeman’s bogus one, there has been a fruitful ground for false arguments by those who stand to profit by them.

Children indoctrinated
with false Treaty —
with fake signature!

Moreover, in the Treaty-2-U caravan which toured New Zealand at considerable expense to taxpayers — and was used to indoctrinate children with a highly misleading story — what is purported to be a facsimile of the ‘signed treaty in English’ (that is, Freeman’s paper signed at Waikato Heads) is actually a fake — with Hobson’s very weak signature replaced by one in a firm hand, such as he used at Waitangi.

It is to lengths such as this that officialdom is willing to go to deceive the people of New Zealand.

It is no wonder that you have been misled!

False reasoning used
to claim Maori did not cede
sovereignty

So, considering the wording of the Treaty, you say the ‘English’ version stated that the chiefs would cede sovereignty, but the Maori one does not.

And you assert, as many do, that kawanatanga, used in the Maori, means ‘merely’ ‘governorship’.

In this, you are using false methodology, which is all too common — and a trap into which Anne Salmond, for another, has also fallen — confusing derivation with translation.

I cannot develop this point at length here, merely noting as an example that English ‘demand’ is derived from French demand, but the latter translates as ‘ask’.

Hobson’s mission was
to obtain sovereignty

Now, in the first place, it is inconceivable that Hobson would have used any word in the Treaty to express ‘sovereignty’ had he, or anybody, had any doubts about it — since the whole point of his mission was to get the free and willing consent of the chiefs to its cession.

Had he not got this, he would have sailed away, and what would have been the ultimate fate of this country, nobody knows.

Chiefs understood they
would submit to Queen
and Governor

Moreover, the chiefs knew that, with the treaty signed, they would become subordinate to the Queen and Governor.

One has only got to look at the statements on 5th February of chiefs who expressed opposition, Te Kemara, Rewa and Kawiti, to learn that they had no doubts about this.

Chiefs’ submission
confirmed in 1860

This is reinforced in the declaration of loyalty to the Queen by many chiefs in 1860, on display in your exhibition, in which, as one example, Wi Katene says:

“All my people are resolved … to submit to the Queen and to Governor Browne”.

Ngata echoed this
in 1922

Again, as outstanding Maori scholar Sir Apirana Ngata said in the 1920s:

“the chiefs placed in the hands of the Queen of England, the sovereignty and authority to make laws”.

Ngapuhi who deny
cession lack integrity

People who deny this, such as Pita Tipene, Ngapuhi facilitator before the Waitangi Tribunal, whose views have received ‘Dompost’ headlines, are simply expressing a falsehood.

And it is difficult to believe that their motives are anything but gain for what Elizabeth Rata calls the “Maori retribalisation elite” at the expense of taxpayers.

You fall into the trap of using false methodology yet again, as did Hugh Kawharu in his “official translation of the treaty”, when you claim that the asserted modern meaning of taonga is the same as what it was in 1840.

Here again, one must have serious doubts about the integrity of his motives.

Dishonest to use modern
meaning of taonga

Today, maybe, taonga may mean ‘all Maori treasures, material and non-material’.

But this was not so in 1840.

And it is false, not to say dishonest, to assert that this meaning was applicable in 1840.

‘Property procured by spear’
— Chief Hongi Hika

When, in 1822, Hongi Hika visited Cambridge, England, where researchers were compiling a Maori dictionary, he said that taonga meant ‘property procured by the spear’. 

In other words, property was what was obtained by force.

(And thus one could be deprived of it by force, in turn, by a stronger adversary.)

Ngapuhi petition
admitted they had hardly
any possessions

When 13 Ngapuhi chiefs appealed to King William in November 1831 for his protection, they said:

“We are people without possessions. We have nothing but timber, flax, pork and potatoes. … we see property of the Europeans.”

Both ‘possessions’ and ‘property’ are rendered as taonga in the Maori version — and, be it noted, for pork and potatoes they had to thank the British.

In William Williams’ 1844 dictionary, taonga’ is rendered simply as ‘property’ and only in later editions was ‘treasure’ added.

Exhibition supports
exaggerated claims

Latter-day claims to an enormous range of things — from the electromagnetic spectrum, undiscovered in 1840, to the current claim for natural water — are therefore entirely spurious.

And one suspects strongly that they are made yet again for material gain at the expense of ordinary New Zealanders.

Sadly, your exhibition only serves to reinforce such false claims.

Busby, not Ngapuhi,
drew up Declaration
of Independence

With respect to the ‘Declaration of Independence’, you say that 5 years before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, 34 rangitiras from Ngapuhi “had a document drawn up”.

This is untrue.

In fact, this document was a brainchild of the well-intentioned but rather foolish Busby, who induced most of these chiefs to sign, as Michael King said (on page 154 of his ‘Penguin History’) “in exchange for a … cauldron of porridge”.

As he says, too:

“This [was a] document into which Maori had had no input”.

In fact, this ‘declaration’ soon collapsed, Paul Moon describing it in 2006 as:

“little more that a pebble”.

Ngapuhi exaggerate
Declaration’s importance

Your statement therefore invests this document with a quite spurious importance.

(One which latter-day Ngapuhi have been keen to exploit for their material benefit, which a more accurate description would have endeavoured to dispel.)

Taranaki Maori killed
Harriet’s crew

With respect to the wreck of the Harriet on the Taranaki coast, you are right that the captain’s wife and children were taken as hostages by the local tribe.

(And subsequently and rather miraculously, rescued from them.)

But you fail to mention that most of the crew had been killed.

(And, I suspect, eaten.)

Such partial truth is often more misleading than an outright lie.

British punished tribe
for crew’s murder

This was in pre-Treaty days, when Maori practice applied, and plunder of the stricken ship was in accordance with this.

But it can hardly be expected that the British would accept this, and punitive measures were undertaken.

It was a rather sorry affair all round.

Maori world view
was brutally violent

You present a panel giving what you say is the “Maori World View”.

And this may, to a degree, be true.

But you fail to mention that this “world view” was accompanied by widespread cannibalism, infanticide — especially of female infants — slavery, and summary death at the hands of a chief of anybody whom he perceived to have broken a tapu or infringed his mana in some way.

Sick left outside
all night

Also, you give some account of Maori “medicine” as practised by tohungas, but fail to mention that the treatment of the sick and women in childbirth was to place them out of doors at the mercy of the elements by night — which often accelerated death, or increased its likelihood.

The Suppression of Tohungas Bill, which was strongly supported by educated Maoris, notably Sir Peter Buck, gets very lukewarm support in your hands.

Dr Giselle Burns
told to change findings
to be paid

In a display of notable persons, presumably with some Maori blood, you include Dr Giselle Burns.

But you fail to say that when she presented the result of her work to the authorities, she was told that unless she changed this to conform with what was the official view of what our history was to be, she would not be paid for it.

So was Dr John Robinson

The same thing happened to Dr John Robinson, as he has revealed quite recently.

These examples demonstrate with great clarity the extent to which officialdom is prepared to go to conceal the truth of our history, and replace it with a perverted view to accord with its apparent policy.

One can only speculate about what the motives are for this behaviour.

But it is abundantly clear that it is a treacherous betrayal of the interests of ordinary citizens.

Teira had right
to sell Waitara land

Where land disputes in Taranaki are concerned, as you indicate, a serious one was that between between Teira and Kingi about the sale of land at Waitara, which belonged to Teira, over which you assert that Kingi “had a customary right to say ‘no'”.

This cannot be so, as by custom, the chief who possessed the land had the right to sell it.

So any claimed right of Kingi was invalid.

There was a little more to it than that.

Teira was punishing Kingi
for seduction of Teira’s elder’s
wife by Kingi’s friend

As John Robinson says in his recent book ‘When Two Cultures Meet’,

“[i]n the simplest of terms, Teira was insisting on a sale in order to punish Kingi for the seduction of the wife of Ihaia by Rimene.

A Maori feud over a woman had set the scene for war.”

I recommend this book to you, as it is most informative.

British tried
to deal fairly with dodgy
Taranaki tribes

Just who were the legitimate tribal owners of land in Taranaki had become very confused, owing to the major movements of tribes consequent upon warfare between them.

Try as they might, it was very difficult for the British to know with whom to negotiate to buy land.

And in some instances, payment was made up to four times over to various Maori claimants.

You do not mention this.

It is erroneous to say, as you do, that “dodgy land deals” by the British caused the rebellion.

Exhibition ignores
Maori massacres
of women and children

You refer to “Government burning, killing and looting”.

But why don’t your refer to burning, killing and looting by tribal rebels, often of defenceless women and children?

This was most extensive, and many settlers had to retreat to New Plymouth to save their own lives.

Rebels fought to seize land,
government to regain it

There was not “land dispossession by force of arms” by government forces as you say.

This was just what the rebels did — though in due course government troops and loyal Maoris were obliged to use force to regain such lands.

Rebels were warned
rebellion would cost
them land

Moreover, subsequent confiscation of rebel land was legitimate, and the rebels had been warned that it would occur.

It was, in any case, in accordance with Maori custom.

Government returned
much of the land,
Maori did not claw it back

A substantial portion of this confiscated land was returned to the tribes soon afterwards; rather than that “Maori clawed back some of the land seized” in 1868-9 as you claim.

I suggest that you read Charles Heaphy’s first-hand account reported in his ‘Further Papers Relative to the Native Insurrection — Statistical Notes Relating to the Maoris and Their Territory’, attached to the Journals of the House of Representatives — 1861 session.

Earlier papers which it would be worth your time to read are the reports in the Taranaki Herald for January 16, 1858, page 2 and January 30, 1858, page 2.

Ngati Maniopoto murdered
church man devoted to Maori,
and Gascoygne family

As mentioned above, a Ngati Maniopoto gang murdered the Rev. John Whiteley, who had devoted thirty years to the welfare of Maoris.

This was at Whitecliffs in northern Taranaki in January 1860 [later corrected to February 13, 1869 — JA], when they also murdered Bamber Gascoygne and his wife and children, and two unarmed men who had been walking on the beach.

These murderers were never brought to justice.

That you fail to mention this is a significant omission.

Parihaka built illegally
on Crown land

With respect to Parihaka, this was built on land which the government had confiscated, and Te W’iti and his cohorts had no right to be there.

(I use the approved Taranaki spelling of his name.)

Te W’iti’s white feather symbol
stolen from pacifist Moriori
massacred by Taranaki Maori

Somewhat surprisingly, I did not see any mention by you of Te W’iti’s use of the white feather as a symbol of the pacifism which he avowed.

In fact, the white feather was a symbol stolen from the Chatham Island Morioris, who were genuine pacifists and suffered in consequence when Taranaki tribes Ngati Tama and Ngati Mutunga invaded their peaceful islands.

Few Morioris survived their brutal enslavement, and most were killed and eaten.

Even in Te W’iti’s day, armed Maori gangs were roaming around Taranaki.

Parihaka occupied
only after Te W’iti
evaded premier

You do not mention that Sir John Hall, Premier at the time, made repeated attempts to negotiate with Te W’iti, but found him to be totally evasive, and it was as a last resort that Parihaka was occupied.

(See Jean Garner’s book, ‘By His Own Merits’, a biography of Sir John.)

Parihaka death toll:
zero!

It is true that cannon were placed on heights near Parihaka to intimidate the residents.

But none were fired. The occupation took place without a single casualty.

Does your account stress this?

Only injury
to child’s foot

It is said that children came out with white feathers to meet the approaching troops.

But they were not harmed, and the only injury occurred when a trooper’s horse trod accidentally on a child’s foot.

Do you mention this?

Blame parents and
elders who put children
in harm’s way

If the children were indeed traumatised by the turn of events, surely the blame for this should be placed squarely on their parents and elders who placed them in this position.

(The situation of the Tuhoe children allegedly traumatised by police actions in the Ureweras is strangely reminiscent of all this. And again the blame should be properly placed on those Tuhoe who were wandering around with illegally possessed firearms.)

Were Parihaka women
raped, or did they go with
the troopers voluntarily?

Whether Parihaka women were actually raped will never be established for certain.

But that many were rejected by their husbands when they returned from captivity suggests, to me at least, that they were only too ready to accept troopers’ advances.

Biased Parihaka film
being used to brainwash
children

I hope to see the film ‘Tatarakihi’ here on Monday next, but fear that it will present a totally one-sided account of an action in which the brutal British were entirely in the wrong, and the Maoris pure and innocent.

I hope that I will find that I am wrong in this presumption.

But if not, it is a scandal of treacherous proportions that modern children are being induced to accept a biased account of this event as if it were yesterday, and not more than 130 years ago.

UPDATE: Bruce found the film to be blatant propaganda, as he had feared. His review forms the next post (above) — JA.

Government had to grapple
with conflicting Maori
claims and brutality

Nobody should claim that all government actions were entirely well-judged.

But they were faced with a multitude of conflicting Maori claims, and the readiness of some Maoris to resort to arms with what was frequently brutal killing of their own people and white settlers.

Waitangi Tribunal
massively distorts Parihaka
history for Maori gain

That the Waitangi Tribunal has made the wild allegation that “the invasion and sacking of Parihaka must rank with the most heinous action of any government in any country in the last century”, linking it with an alleged “holocaust of Taranaki history” shows just how far privileged groups will lie in order to advance their own interests.

Death toll in all rebel
wars less than 3000

In fact the total casualties in all armed rebellions from 1845 to 1880 amounted to no more that 800 government forces, loyal Maoris and civilians, and about 2000 rebels (James Cowan’s figures).

The higher rebel losses may be accounted for by the better training and drill in the use of firearms by the government troops.

Death toll in inter-tribal
musket wars over 30,000

This may be contrasted with John Robinson’s recent careful estimate that 32,000 Maoris were slaughtered by other Maoris in 1807-1838.

As an example, in 1822, when Hongi Hika assaulted two large pas in what are now Auckland suburbs:

“[n]early all were slaughtered or taken, and Hongi left naught in their villages but bones, with such flesh on them ‘as even his dogs had not required'”.

The slaughter was even greater at the Mataki-taki pa of Waikato.

(Refer to The Long White Cloud by William Pember Reeves, page 113.)

So, e hoa, I do hope you will do a little more research and endeavour to amend your presentation to make it more accurate and well-balanced than the current version.

With my compliments,

Bruce Moon

_______________________________

DAY TO MOON 1
(also DAY TO MILLWARD 1)

From: Kelvin Day
To: Bruce Moon
Cc: Peter Millward
Sent: Thursday 2 November 2012, 5:12 pm
Subject: RE: Taranaki Wars Exhibition

Hi Bruce

Thank you for your very thorough email.

One of the goals of the exhibition was to provoke debate, and your email does that.

A number of people contributed content to the exhibition, as it was important that many views were presented.

We are unable to review the actual display panels while they are on display at Nelson Museum, and at this stage the exhibition is not touring to any other venue.

Again thanks for your email.

Regards

Kelvin

_______________________________

MOON TO DAY 2
(also MOON TO MILLWARD 2)

From: Bruce Moon
To: Kelvin Day
Cc: Peter Millward
Sent: Saturday 3 November 2012, 12:15 pm
Subject: Taranaki exhibition

Dear Kelvin,

I truly appreciate your courteous reply to my email on Thursday.

Goal of exhibition
should not be
to provoke debate

You say that one goal of the exhibition was to provoke debate.

However, I do question whether this is appropriate.

Politicians may debate for ever and never agree.

Duty of historians
to tell truth

There is only one true history, albeit we may debate the significance of some of it, and we are indeed subjected to many versions of what it is asserted to be.

While the historical record is usually incomplete to some degree, it is surely a primary duty of  historians to put together the known pieces in an endeavour to get a coherent account.

True historians use
scientific method

They may discuss what is known, identify what is not and possible ways to find it, and ways to achieve consensus.

But ‘debate’ is seldom the right word for this process, suggesting as it does an inherent antagonism.

It is more akin to scientific method, of which I have some knowledge.

Scientific method used
to reconstruct Waikato
Heads signing

This is what colleagues and I have done to reconstruct the chain of events in the treaty signing process at Waikato Heads.

And though one or two pieces of the record are missing, as I pointed out, we assert that there can be no serious doubt that our account is the only tenable one.

Littlewood document is
Hobson’s final English draft
beyond reasonable doubt

We see a stark contrast in the treatment of Hobson’s final draft of the Treaty in English, composed on 4th February 1840 and rediscovered by Beryl Needham in March 1989.

The analysis of a colleague of mine establishes that the document found by her is, beyond reasonable doubt, this vital link in the genesis of the treaty.

Discovery of final draft
means ‘official’ English
Treaty is bogus

Its discovery meant that official policy at the time was based on a profoundly erroneous version of events, and demonstrated that the establishment by legislation of Freeman’s bogus treaty (that is, one of them) as ‘The Treaty of Waitangi in English’ was fundamentally wrong.

Government
in denial

Rather than accept this development and correct official policy in its light, the response of officialdom (particularly in the person of the then Minister of Internal Affairs, Graham Lee) was, and continues to be, to deny violently the identity of this document, obscure it from public view and discredit those who assert its true worth.

No apology for
Loveridge’s flawed
report

Indeed, a professional historian, Donald Loveridge, was hired by the government at the time as part of this process.

His report was so blatantly flawed that it was later withdrawn, but there was no apology.

Orange cannot back up
claim that Littlewood
document a back translation

Claudia Orange, well-rewarded by officialdom for her efforts, speculated — with no substantiation — that the final draft was probably a very early back-translation of the Treaty itself.

She says the writer
must have got
the date wrong!

And it was asserted that, though its date was precisely what it should have been (that is, 4th February), this must have been a mistake by the supposed back-translator of what should have been the 6th.

Historical falsification
consistent with refusal to pay
honest researchers

It seems incredible, does it not, that officialdom, with all its powers should do all it can to falsify the history of this momentous period in the foundation of New Zealand?

Yet it is entirely consistent with the official demand that Giselle Byrnes and John Robinson falsify the results of their work if they wanted to be paid for it.

How can we trust
those who profit from
official line?

Debate between those who adhere to the official view (many of whom stand to gain materially by it) and those few private citizens who believe that the truth must be paramount, is not, I suggest, the most appropriate way to seek remedial action.

*        *        *        *

Again, you say that it was important to present a variety of views.

Accuracy, not variety,
is what counts!

I do not think that this is so, particularly if they were those partisan views of members of groups with vested interests, who stand to benefit materially by the acceptance of what they say.

Deep specialist study
should be acknowledged

It would be better to acknowledge the value of contributions from those who had studied specialist topics in greater depth than most.

An example would be in your panel which discussed pronunciation of the Maori language in Taranaki, from which I certainly learned more than I had known previously.

Perhaps that is what you meant?

*        *        *        *

Admission of error

Finally, since I am human, I am not immune from making mistakes!

I point out now one which I have discovered since Thursday, when I should have checked my sources instead of relying on memory.

The massacre of Rev. Whiteley and others at Whitecliffs took place on 13th February 1869, and not in 1860 as I said.

So when I said this was nearly 20 years after Waitangi, it should say 30.

*        *       *        *

If I can assist you further in any way, please let me know.

Yours sincerely,

Bruce Moon

_______________________________

MOON TO MILLWARD 3

From: Bruce Moon
To: Peter Millward
Sent: Monday 19 November 2012, 11:14 a.m.
Subject: Taranaki exhibition

Dear Peter Millward,

It is now a fortnight since I sent you, in some detail, a description of the flaws in the current Taranaki exhibition.

I should be pleased to receive your response.

I do hope that you will agree with me that some remedial action is needed urgently, particularly as the exhibition has more than three months to run.

I am happy to assist you in doing this and I should be pleased if you would contact me so that it can be arranged.

With my compliments,

Bruce Moon

_______________________________

MILLWARD TO MOON 1

From: Peter Millward
To: Bruce Moon
Sent: Monday 19 November 2012, 12:09 pm
Subject: RE: Taranaki exhibition

Your detailed analysis is very interesting, but as I indicated early on the exhibition is not ours to amend in any way at all.

If you had discovered erroneous material in what we had researched from our own archives with regard to the Nelson stories, that would be a different story.

I gave you Kelvin Day’s address, and I am aware you have been in contact with him, which is the appropriate thing to do.

Many thanks,

Peter Millward

_______________________________

MOON TO DAY 2

From: Bruce Moon
To: Kelvin Day
Sent:
Monday 19 November 2012, 12:19 pm

Subject: Taranaki exhibition

Dear Kelvin,

It is now a fortnight since I sent you, in some detail, a description of the flaws in the current Taranaki exhibition.

While you did reply to me earlier, you did not say what remedial action you were planning to take.

This is needed urgently, as the exhibition has more than three months to run in Nelson.

Peter Millward has told me that he is unable to take any action without your authority, as the exhibition comes from New Plymouth.

I am happy to assist you in doing this, and I should be pleased if you would contact me so that it can be arranged.

With my compliments,

Bruce Moon

_______________________________

DAY TO MOON 3
(also DAY TO MILLWARD 2)

From: Kelvin Day
To: Bruce Moon
Cc: Peter Millward
Sent: Monday 19 November 2012, 2:26 pm
Subject: RE: Taranaki exhibition

Hi Bruce

Thanks for your email.

As I indicated in a previous email to you, we are unable to review/replace the actual display panels while they are on display at Nelson Museum, and at this stage the exhibition is not touring to any other venue.

As an aside I would just like to point that we stand by the exhibition and its interpretation of events.

I also acknowledge that history can be interpreted in many ways.

I thank you for your interest in the exhibition.

Best wishes

Kelvin

_______________________________

MOON TO DAY 4

From: Bruce Moon
To: Kelvin Day
Sent: Monday 19 November 2012, 5:10 pm
Subject: RE: Taranaki exhibition

Kelvin,

So, Nelson can’t do anything and neither can you!

I shall explore other avenues.

It may be that history can be interpreted in many ways.

But gross distortions of the facts, of which there have been far too many recently, are not “interpretations”.

There are too many in your exhibition.

I do not claim that they are deliberate on your part.

Nevertheless, I should have thought that your professional integrity would have required you to take appropriate remedial action.

My compliments,

Bruce M

_____________________________

MOON TO DAY 5
(also MOON TO MILLWARD 4)

From: Bruce Moon
To: Kelvin Day
Cc: Peter Millward
Sent: Thursday 22 November 2012, 2:36 pm
Subject: Exhibition at Nelson

Dear Peter Millward and Kelvin Day,

We seemed to have reached some sort of impasse, with Kelvin Day saying he stands by the exhibition and its “interpretation” of events.

However, an exhibition such as this is not an appropriate place for “interpretations”, and most people viewing it will assume that it is factually correct.

Now, this is not the present case.

I have been at some pains to explain several places where the exhibition is factually incorrect, or omits significant facts, thus giving a misleading impression.

You have chosen to ignore this.

It is not good enough.

Please read again what I have said, question me about it if you wish, and, as I expect your professional integrity to require, arrange for the requisite changes to what is presented.

I look forward to your positive response.

My compliments,

Bruce Moon

_____________________________

MOON TO MPS, EDITORS, MAYORS,
COUNCILLORS, AND OTHERS

LETTER
From: Bruce Moon

To: MPs Nick Smith, Maryan Street, Damien O’Connor and Jonathan Young; Editors of The Nelson Mail, Nelson Weekly, and Taranaki Daily News; Mayor and Councillors of Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council and New Plymouth District Council; Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth; Tasman Bays Heritage Trust (controlling board of Nelson Museum); Ken Meredith, Nelson Residents Association; Mr David Round; Dr Elizabeth Rata; Dr Muriel Newman; and others.
Sent: 11 December 2012

You will be aware, I expect, that currently there is on display in the Nelson Museum, an exhibition constructed in the New Plymouth Museum by Kelvin Day, Manager of the Heritage Collections there.

Notwithstanding that Mr Day has written a book, Contested Ground — The Taranaki Wars 1860-1881 and so should be expected to be well-informed on this subject, the exhibition contains a number of serious errors of commission and omission, giving in all a most misleading impression of this period of Taranaki history.

It should not continue to be on display in Nelson in its present form, and I seek appropriate remedial action.

It may be that, in your case, direct action is not feasible.

But I do hope that, should this be so, you will take suitable steps to bring to the attention of those responsible the need for timely correction.

I attach an exchange of email messages between myself, Mr Day and Peter Millward, chief executive of the Nelson Museum.

You will see that Mr Millward declines to take any action on the grounds that it is not his to alter.

Mr Day, as well as inappropriate remarks about ‘debate’ and ‘interpretation’, likewise declines to take any action to correct his own work.

I should have thought that the professional integrity of both would not have allowed them to ignore the situation – Mr Millward might at least have approached Mr Day to explore avenues for correction.

Thus, others must intervene now to achieve the corrections necessary.

I have offered to help in any way I can to correct the erroneous material, and I will co-operate with those persons and organizations which seek remedial action.

I do hope that you are able to take positive steps towards this end.

I extend to you the compliments of the season, but hope it will not unduly delay your attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Bruce Moon

_____________________________

MAYOR OF TASMAN TO MOON

LETTER
From:
Richard Kempthorne

To: Bruce Moon
Sent: 14 December 2012

Dear Bruce

Thank you for your letter in regard to the Taranaki Wars exhibition currently on display at the Nelson Provincial Museum.

You clearly have a strong interest and are very knowledgeable in the history of this country.

I hesitate however to step in to discussion of the correctness, or not, of the content of the current exhibition at the Museum.

The Museum management, and its governing body, the Tasman Bays Heritage Trust, are responsible for any displays, and you will need to continue your conversation with them.

I wish you the best for the festive season also.

Yours sincerely

Richard Kempthorne
Mayor

_____________________________

MAYOR OF NELSON TO MOON

LETTER
From:
Aldo Miccio

To: Bruce Moon
Sent: 19 December 2012

Dear Bruce

NELSON PROVINCIAL MUSEUM EXHIBITION

Thank you for your letter of 11 December outlining your concerns about the current Taranaki Wars exhibition at the Nelson Provincial Museum.

Nelson City Council has no jurisdiction over the nature and detail of exhibitions that run at the Nelson Provincial Museum; any operational decisions the Museum makes are not subject to approval or interference by Nelson City Council.

In addition to this. Council does not have an informed view about matters of historical accuracy relating to the Taranaki Wars.

I do appreciate your obvious interest and research in this significant part of our history.

Yours sincerely

Aldo Miccio
Mayor of Nelson

_____________________________

DAY TO MOON 4

LETTER
From: Kelvin Day
To: Bruce Moon
Sent: 20 December 2012

Dear Bruce

TARANAKI WARS EXHIBITION

Thank you for your recent letter to the New Plymouth District Council and Puke Ariki regarding the exhibition Te Ahi Ka Roa, Te Ahi Katoro Taranaki War 1860-2012 Our Legacy – Our Challenge, which is currently on at Nelson Provincial Museum.

While I have been asked to respond to your letter on the Council’s behalf, I feel it necessary to point out that I am not the sole constructor of the Taranaki War exhibition as you suggest.

As with all our exhibitions, Taranaki War was the result of extensive collaboration between many people including university lecturers, historians, kaumatua and Puke Ariki staff — all experts in their fields.

This approach was particular important for this exhibition given the very complex nature of the subject matter and it allowed for a wide variety of views to be included.

Equally I was the editor as opposed to the author of the publication Contested Ground Te Whenua i Tohea The Taranaki Wars 1860-1881, which again sought to bring to the fore multiple voices on this important period in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

I did write the introduction.

This publication has gone on to win the Best Book in Higher Education category in CLL Educational Publishing Awards and the History category in the Massey University Nga Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards.

Why are we not surprised? 🙂

As indicated in my email of 19 November (which I note has been published on your blog) Puke Ariki stands by the exhibition.

We have given due consideration to your comments regarding the interpretation of particular historic events, but we do not feel it appropriate to make any amendments to the exhibition.

The content attempts to recognise that there is no such thing as one true history, and we believe it offers the best overall representation of the events of this period.

With an exhibition like Taranaki War our objectives are around increasing understanding, but also providing opportunities for informed community conversations.

For the six months that the exhibition was shown at Puke Ariki, it generated healthy debate on many issues.

The matters that you raise were never a concern.

As mentioned above, the final exhibition content was the result of years of research and analysis of both primary and secondary sources and considered input from a great many subject matter experts.

I acknowledge that you have already read broadly on the subject.

But one publication you do not mention which I would highly recommend is the Waitangi Tribunal Report The Taranaki Report: Kaupapa Tuatahi (1996).

We drew heavily on this report and the documents it references during our research and it offers some good insights into the Taranaki context.

Kelvin Day
MANAGER HERITAGE COLLECTIONS
Yours faithfully

_____________________________

MOON & LINCOLNE
TO MAYORS OF TASMAN AND NELSON

LETTER
From: Bruce Moon and Michael Lincolne

To: Richard Kempthorne (Mayor of Tasman)
Aldo Miccio (Mayor of Nelson)
Cc: Tasman Bays Heritage Trust; Nelson Residents’ Association; New Plymouth District Council; and others
Sent: 22 December 2012

Dear Mayor Richard and Mayor Aldo,

Thank you for your replies of 14th and 19th December respectively to Bruce’s letter of  11th.

It is understood that neither Council is directly responsible for any exhibition at the Provincial Museum.

But perhaps a word to those directly responsible that you have been reliably informed that there are severe inaccuracies in much of the material in the current Taranaki exhibition would be appropriate.

No cannibalism of Harriet
crew a flagrant lie

However, it has been drawn to our attention now that there is an even more flagrant example of false material in the exhibition.

On display near the entrance is a video showing an un-named couple, both apparently more white than brown, standing in front of what appears to be a Maori meeting house.

The woman speaks about the Harriet shipwreck of 1834 and starts by saying quite flatly that there was no cannibalism of the ship’s crew.

Now, whatever the source of this statement, it is a plain lie.

Captain’s diary spells it out

We refer to the contemporary (1834) diary of the ship’s captain, Jackie Guard and quote:

May 7

“… there were about two hundred coming towards, and all around us, armed with muskets, spears, clubs and tomahawks …  

… They told us with the greatest indifference, that they intended to kill us all.”

May 8

“We returned good for evil, by inviting the Chiefs into our tents, and making them presents.”

May 9

“they … appeared in greater numbers … and … said they would ‘eat our hearts!’ … They … kindly informed us that they should heat their ovens ready for the morning, when they intended to feast upon our carcasses.”

May 10

“At eight, a.m., … the natives rushed upon us and killed two of our men. …

… During the skirmish, Mrs Guard was twice knocked down by the savages, with a child at her breast, and but for her comb would have been instantly killed;

… she was, however, taken prisoner … with her two babies. 

We were now reduced from twenty-eight to fourteen; …

… those who were wounded … were soon despatched by the savages, and cut up into small portions convenient for cooking … 

… for they consider it a luxury to feast on their enemies.”

May 15

“We were now with new masters …

…They had brought amongst their plunder, a considerable quantity of pieces of flesh, part of our fellow men, which was eagerly devoured by them …

… they also brought some of the flesh of our unfortunate comrades for us to eat!”

Mrs Guard’s brother
eaten in front of her

Escaping to Cloudy Bay, Guard reports that twelve of his crew were killed and eaten, and he names some of them, including his wife’s brother, who was eaten in her presence.

Mrs Guard, in her testimony at the subsequent enquiry, described how, nearly exhausted by the loss of blood from her head wound, she was taken prisoner by natives who

voraciously licked [her] blood”

and

when it ceased to flow, attempted to make an incision in [her] throat for that purpose with part of an iron hoop”. 

Only a chief’s wife saved
her from being killed

Stripped naked with her children, including the one feeding at her breast, she was marched away and saved from imminent death only by the intervention of a chief’s wife.

She was given an old shirt as her sole item of clothing for the winter while her son was taken from her for two months.

This may be discounted as much as you please, using words like ‘eurocentric’, beloved of tribal apologists and grievance industry specialists when they have no contrary evidence to offer.

But it should be plain to all that cannibalism of crew members was on an extensive scale.

Tribesmen came to beach
to collect ransom

When Guard and others returned with a strong force, tribal members did come down to the beach, in the expectation that they were about to collect the ransom demanded for Guard’s wife and children.

But suggesting, as the woman speaker does, it was in a gesture of brotherly love, and in view of their earlier conduct, defies belief.

Ngatiruanui one of most
bloodthirsty tribes

In fact, the tribe concerned, the Ngatiruanui, who have collected recently a fat ‘Treaty settlement’, were among the most bloodthirsty Taranaki tribes, towards both settlers and other Maoris, as described in contemporary Taranaki newspaper accounts (to which you have been given references).

It may be said, as it was indeed at the time, that the British reaction was excessive.

Again, Maoris were not the only people who plundered shipwrecks.

Initial Maori excesses
caused conflict

However, Maori excesses in the first place and particularly their cannibalism on a large scale were most significant events in the escalation of the conflict.

The museum presentation of a fabricated story portraying the tribe as a virtually innocent victim of brutal British aggression gives a grossly distorted view of the whole affair.

Excepting the wife and children of Guard, few came out of it with credit.

Museum wrong to present
fabricated story as truth

It is quite wrong that it should be presented to the people of the Nelson district and our many summer visitors as an account with official approval and sanction as if it were the truth.

It would be far, far better if this event of nearly 180 years ago were to be quietly buried in the pages of the history books while all persons of white, Maori and mixed descent, such as the speaker, got on with their lives in the spirit so devoutly wished by Hobson when the Treaty was signed:

“Nga [He — JA] iwi tahi tatou” — “we are one people now”.

We request accordingly that the video to which we refer be withdrawn forthwith from presentation.

Yours sincerely,

Bruce Moon
Michael Lincolne

_____________________________

MOON TO DAY 6 

LETTER
From: Bruce Moon
To: Kelvin Day
Cc: Mayors of Nelson, Tasman and New Plymouth; Jonathan Young MP; Tasman Bays Heritage Trust; Ken Meredith, Nelson Residents Association; and others
Sent: 8 January 2013

Dear Kelvin,

As advised earlier, I have received your extraordinary letter of 20th December 2012.

I reply.

It was Peter Millward who informed me that you were the constructor of the exhibition under discussion, and I addressed you as such.

If he was incorrect in doing so, you could inform him of the correct situation.

You say there was an “extensive collaboration between many people”, some of whom were university lecturers, historians, your staff, and old part-Maori men.

So be it.

“I’m an expert”
is not an argument

But you should know that an argument from authority is no argument at all.

Nobody is an “expert” merely on account of his or her occupation.

They must be judged solely by the quality of their work.

And I do this.

In this case, it is quite inadequate.

If you were the editor of the book to which you refer, then so be it.

I make no comment on its quality, as I have not seen it.

I confine my critique to such of your work as I am aware of.

There is no such country
as ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’

Please note and remember henceforth that the name of our country is ‘New Zealand’, not ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’, as you pretend.

You appear not to know that before the advent of Europeans, Maoris had no name for the country as a whole.

Some referred to the North Island as ‘Aotearoa’, though Barry Brailsford says it was used as a name for the South Island.

(See his Song of Waitaha, 2003, ISBN 0-14-301867-1, p.34, in which he names the North Island as ‘Whai Repo’.)

Maori called NZ ‘Nu Tirani’

Be that as it may, in the Treaty of Waitangi, the name of our country is given as ‘Nu Tirani’ — clearly a transliteration of ‘New Zealand’.

And to my certain knowledge, this continued to be the practice in the 1940s.

‘Aotearoa’ was, I understand, first used as the name of the whole country in a work of fiction, written around 1890 by a European author.

History is about truth,
not “interpretation”

You go on to say you have

“given due consideration to [my] comments regarding the interpretation of particular historic events”. 

Please understand once and for all:

I do not make “interpretations”. I am simply interested in the actual truth of New Zealand history.

And efforts like yours do us no service towards that end.

(You may recall Isaac Newton’s wise words: “hypotheses non fingo”.  There is something of an analogy here.)

In this context “interpretation” is a weasel word.

Nonsense to say
there’s no true history

Then we come to your most extraordinary statement of all:

“that there is no such thing as one true history”!

That, my friend, is pure nonsense, and it strongly suggests that you live in a fantasyland.

History is nothing unless it relates events which actually happened in earlier times.

Of course it is impossible that every shot fired in a battle, or what you had for breakfast last Thursday week, be recorded.

But those events which are recorded must be, as nearly as humanly possible, a true statement of events.

Of course the recording process is seldom perfect.

Historian must separate
truth from dross

And it is the task of the serious and capable historian to separate the truth from the dross, to the extent that it can be done — not to assert that every account of events is equally valid, or an “interpretation”.

If, as you say, the matters which I raise were “never a concern”, then sadly, it shows only the deplorable ignorance of events in their own province of Taranaki people today.

If, as you say again, the exhibition was

“the result of years of research and analysis of both primary and secondary sources and considered input from a great many subject matter experts”

then this only shows that:

  • these alleged ‘experts’ (or at least a great many of them) are not experts at all
  • the ‘analysis’ was flawed, and
  • the ‘experts’ simply fell down on the job.

Question: if Day and other so-called historians do not believe that there is only one true history, surely they would be more likely, not less, to present alternative views.

So why do they cling so religiously to the pro-Maori view?

No true historian would
trust Waitangi Tribunal

When you say in your final paragraph that you “drew heavily on” the Waitangi Tribunal 1996 report, that explains a lot.

The Waitangi Tribunal is perhaps the most corrupt body ever to have been given credence in this country.

Its acceptance of uncorroborated verbal evidence from old part-Maori men, without the normal cross-examination by bodies seeking the truth — on the spurious grounds that cross-examination would be an affront to their supposed ‘mana’ (whatever that may be) — is just the first of many of its practices which give grave doubts about the accuracy of its conclusions.

Tampering with historical documents, employment of competent lawyers to represent the grievers and inexperienced counsel to represent the people of New Zealand, with instructions in some cases not to press the Crown case too strongly, are reported examples of where the likelihood of valid outcomes was remote.

Perhaps the Tribunal per se was not responsible for some of these abuses. But at the least, it colluded with them.

Tribunal “one-eyed”
— Brian Priestley

It would be appropriate to reconsider your reliance on any tribunal report after learning what was discovered about its procedures by Brian Priestley.

He was a very experienced journalist, well capable of recognizing the difference between truth and falsehood in what he heard and saw. And he was appointed to the staff of the University of Canterbury to lecture on his subject.

This is what he said:

“Years ago I attended several sessions (of the Waitangi tribunal) …

It would be hard to imagine any public body less well-organised to get at the truth. 

There was no cross-examination. 

Witnesses were treated with sympathetic deference. 

The people putting the Crown’s side of things seemed equally anxious not to offend. 

In three months I don’t think I was asked a single intelligent awkward question. 

I should have been. 

I resigned because I am basically a puzzler after truth and not a one-eyed supporter of causes.”

Kelvin Day also one-eyed

Your acceptance of the unsubstantiated claim by the woman in the exhibition video that there was no cannibalism of the crew of the Harriet is a pretty clear demonstration that you are one of the latter.

Day ignored captain’s
evidence of cannibalism

You fly in the face of the evidence of Captain Lambert of HMS Alligator before the 1836 Select Committee of the House of Commons that Elizabeth Guard had been offered to eat the flesh of her brother who had been killed and whose head was constantly exhibited to her.

Again, Captain Guard’s diary gives the names of some of the twelve men who were killed and eaten.

More evidence in the same vein is available if you look for it instead of just seeking “interpretations”.

(See for example, A Mission of Honour, John McLean, 2010, ISBN 1 872970 23 0.)

Reliance on such things as a Tribunal report shows all too clearly the extreme lack of judgement in you and your collection of “experts”.

Why no mention of 177 settler
homes destroyed by Maori?

It would be more appropriate if, for example, you studied with care the list given by Grayling of the 177 settler homesteads and farms destroyed by the tribal rebels in little more than a year in 1860-61, with damage reckoned to be £123,608.

(See The War in Taranaki, W I Grayling, 1862.)

Why no call for apology
and compensation of settlers?

It would be simple, natural justice if the tribes concerned were to offer a profound apology to the descendants of these victims and to make financial recompense to them from the fat Treaty settlements that they have received in recent years.

Perhaps $35,000,000 would be a reasonable payment for them to make — barely $200,000 per farm; little enough in relation to today’s value for a Taranaki farm property.

Why does Day not counter
Moon’s evidence?

The other thing which is significant about your letter is that it does not contain a single piece of evidence to counter what I have provided to you, to show where you are wrong.

I suggest that this is simply because you are incapable of doing so.

Is it because he’s prejudiced
in favour of griever Maori?

In other words, you are simply flying in the face of sound evidence, and what you say is based largely on prejudice and attempted defence of an indefensible position.

You need to be aware that there is an increasing number of able and well-informed persons in this fair country who are not prepared to tolerate the sort of propaganda of which there is all too much in your exhibition — people who are determined that a true account of our nation’s history must be established in the place of increasingly distorted version which has pervaded society and been fed to our schoolchildren since 1975.

They will not rest until this is achieved.

Do think hard about this.

I am,
Yours faithfully,
Bruce M

_____________________________

MOON TO DIRECTOR OF PUKE ARIKI

LETTER
From:
Bruce Moon

To: Director, Puke Ariki (New Plymouth Museum)
Sent: 10 January 2013

Dear Director,

I attach a copy of my letter of 8th inst. to K Day, in reply to his of 20th December, which will be available to you.

In view of the manifest inadequacies in his work which have now been established, I suggest that you deal with this matter yourself, instead of referring it to him as you did previously.

This Horrid Practice
shows Maori cannibalism
was nationwide

With respect to the cannibalism of the crew of the Harriet by Ngatiruanui, you should also refer to the very thorough work This Horrid Practice (2008, ISBN 978 014 300671 8) by Paul Moon (not a relation of mine), which shows that cannibalism was practised throughout the entire country, though he does not mention the Harriet butchery in particular.

The more proof,
the more denial

As he remarked to me only yesterday, it seems that cannibalism denial is on the rise, which he finds inexplicable.

Indeed, it appears that the stronger the evidence of such practices amongst pre-Treaty Maoris becomes, the more strongly the propagandists who are rewriting our history into a distorted, politically acceptable form choose to proclaim the contrary.

Even in the remote south there was cannibalism, as the pathetic remains described by A.C. and N.C. Begg in Dusky Bay (Whitcombe and Tombs, Christchurch, 1966) make clear.

Chief told captain that
Ngatiruanui were worst tribe

It is also interesting to note from the evidence of Captain Lambert of HMS Alligator that one of the principal chiefs at Kapiti, who may have been Te Rauparaha himself, told him that Ngatiruanui

“were of the worst tribe of persons in the whole of New Zealand; renegades and people that had escaped from various tribes for thefts and every crime that could possibly be thought of.” 

One would not expect Te Rauparaha to praise his enemies but this account is much less than complimentary.

You should note that I do not intend to let this matter rest and this correspondence is being circulated widely.

Yours faithfully,

Bruce Moon

_____________________________

MAYOR OF NELSON TO MOON 2

LETTER
From:
Aldo Miccio
To: Bruce Moon
Cc: Michael Lincolne
Sent: 11 January 2013

Dear Bruce

TARANAKI WARS EXHIBITION – NELSON PROVINCIAL MUSEUM

Thank you for acknowledging my letter of 19 December and for your letter of 22 December requesting the withdrawal of a video from the current Taranaki Wars exhibition at the Nelson Provincial Museum.

I would like to reiterate that Nelson City Council has no jurisdiction over the nature and detail of exhibitions that run at the Nelson Provincial Museum; any operational decisions the Museum makes are not subject to approval or interference by Nelson City Council.

I note that you sent a copy of your letter to Tasman Bays Heritage Trust and New Plymouth District Council; it is for them to take direct action.

Yours sincerely

Aldo Miccio
Mayor of Nelson

_____________________________

MOON TO MAYOR OF NELSON 3

LETTER
From: Bruce Moon
To: Aldo Miccio (Mayor of Nelson)
Cc: Michael Lincolne
Sent: 14 January 2013

Dear Mayor Aldo,

Thank you for your letter of 11th January in which you state again that your Council has no jurisdiction over displays at the Nelson Provincial Museum.  I accept this of course.

Nevertheless, surely it is of concern to you and your Council that there is in our city, an exhibition at the Museum which is riddled with falsehoods and distortions of the history of our country?

This being so (and I have supplied much evidence of it), it would surely be entirely proper if it were suggested to the Heritage Trust that you have been informed that there are many flaws in the exhibition for which they are responsible and that an investigation of the situation might well be appropriate?

I am myself continuing to pursue the matter with the bodies you nominate who are directly responsible and, for your information, I attach a copy of my recent letter to the Director of Puke Ariki Museum in New Plymouth.

Yours sincerely,

Bruce Moon

_____________________________

DAY TO MOON 5

LETTER
From:
Kelvin Day
To: Bruce Moon
Sent: 20 January 2013

Dear Bruce

I acknowledge your letters of 8 January and 10 January to the New Plymouth District Council regarding the exhibition Te Ahi Ka Roa, Te Ahi Katoro Taranaki War 1860-2012 Our Legacy – Our Challenge, which is currently on at Nelson Museum.

I have been asked to respond in my current capacity as Acting Manager of  Puke Ariki.

As we have indicated in previous letters, Puke Ariki stands by the content of the exhibition which we believe offers the best overall representation of the events of this period.

We have considered the particular issues you raised in your letter of 8 January around the Harriet Incident.

While we respect your right to an opinion and acknowledge your research on the subject, in this instance we do not feel it is appropriate to change the content of the exhibition.

The exhibition was deliberately designed to allow multiple community voices to heard, an example of this being the narrative presented around the Harriet Incident which you mentioned.

As the accompanying text label says, such narratives may be different from accounts people have encountered in the past but it is our belief that such an approach allows for different perspectives to be heard and discussion generated.

It also acknowledges that history is often made up of multiple voices, perspectives and interpretations of the same events.

You will have noticed that within the exhibition there is the facility for visitors to give their opinions on the exhibition which are then displayed publicly.

This was a powerful feature of the exhibition here in Taranaki and we understand that it has been well-utilised at Nelson Museum.

We would encourage you to add a comment.

With regard to other matters you raise in your letter, such as your concerns around the Waitangi Tribunal, we are not in a position to answer to these issues and recommend you contact these organisations directly.

Yours faithfully

Kelvin Day
Acting Manager
Puke Ariki

_____________________________

CHAIRMAN, TASMAN BAYS HERITAGE TRUST TO MOON

LETTER
From: T. B. Horne
To: Bruce Moon
Cc: The Mayor, Nelson City Council, The Mayor, Tasman District Council
Sent: 23 January 2013

Dear Bruce,

I refer to our telephone conversations of 14th and 18th January 2013 and your letter of 14th January concerning the Taranaki Wars Exhibition

Thank you for your interest in the Exhibition and in our museum.

The Exhibition has 2 elements. The major part was researched and prepared by Puke Ariki. It was on display for a considerable period of time in New Plymouth. A much smaller amount of additional material was prepared by the Nelson Museum and related to the effects on the Nelson province.

The Trust has looked into matters you have raised and we comment as follows:

•   We are not aware of any criticisms in respect of the material prepared by the Nelson Museum about the impact on the Nelson province.

•    Puke Ariki have made it very clear that they stand behind their material and research. We note the extensive research they undertook over a lengthy period and accept their position.

•   There has been an issue raised about a video which is shown near the start of the exhibition. Puke Ariki again stands behind this video and we believe they have explained that to you. We believe the context of the video is clearly communicated. The written explanation states that the story is told from an Iwi perspective. The video itself states that this is a story normally told from a settler viewpoint. The context is therefore made very clear to any viewer.

Accordingly we do not see any need to amend any of the Exhibition or to withdraw the video.

Yours sincerely

TB Home
Chairman Tasman Bays Heritage Trust

_____________________________

MOON TO DAY 7

LETTER
From: Bruce Moon
To: Kelvin Day (Acting Manager, Puke Ariki Museum)
Sent: 26 January 2013

To hand is yet another extraordinary letter from you, dated 20th January last.

It is clear that you ignore entirely the great deal of incontrovertible evidence of the falsehoods in the exhibition which I have provided to you and which, if you care to look, must be abundantly clear to you.

Instead you attempt to justify your reply by telling me you “respect my right to an opinion”.  This is wholly beside the point: I do not offer you any “opinion”; I provide hard evidence ~ something entirely different.

You claim the “exhibition was deliberately designed to allow multiple community voices to be heard” and there is nothing wrong with that per se, but in no way whatever does this entitle anybody to tell falsehoods which in some cases are evidently deliberate lies.  Again “perspective” masquerading as history cannot be justified on any legitimate grounds.  Here it is a ‘weasel word’.

Of course the Harriet video account is “different from accounts people have encountered in the past” because it is a falsehood manufactured by somebody along the way with contempt for the facts. There is hard and clear evidence that Taranaki Maoris slaughtered and ate twelve of the crew of the Harriet and that Elizabeth Guard was subjected to many horrifying and degrading experiences during captivity.

Concerning the “Waitangi Tribunal”, I was not raising issues which might be addressed directly to it in due course (a matter outside the immediate issues I raise with you).  What concerns me in the present context is the heavy reliance you appear to place on the reports of a corrupt organization.  Its claim that the Parihaka incident was a”holocaust” is an example of that.  You ignore too the reliable testimony of Brian Priestley that it would be hard to imagine any body whose procedures were less likely to establish the truth than the Tribunal.  You ignore such sage advice and rely on that tribunal.

You claim that “history is often made up of multiple voices, perspectives and interpretations of the same events.”  It is not.  History is an account which is as accurate as it can be of events which actually happened in the past and nothing else.  There may be a place for “interpretations” and so on, provided they are clearly labelled as such, not falsely depicted as if they were the truth in so much of your exhibition.

Frankly, I am appalled that a person who evidently suffers from so many delusions in these matters should be in a prestigious position where he can wield much influence.

You asked for my comments.  You have them.

I inform you that this correspondence will be circulated widely.

Yours faithfully,

Bruce Moon

_____________________________

MOON TO CHAIRMAN, TASMAN BAYS HERITAGE TRUST 2

LETTER
From:
Bruce Moon
To: T.B. Horne (Chairman , Tasman Bays Heritage Trust)
Cc: Mayor, Nelson City Council, Mayor, Tasman District Council, and others
Sent: 26 January 2013

Dear Mr Horne,

I have to hand your letter of 23rd last.  Needless to say, I am disappointed with your wholly negative reply.  I respond to your points.

1. I did not claim that there was any directly negative impact on the Nelson area in this exhibition.  However, I am concerned that Nelson residents and our many summer visitors are being exposed to this allegedly historical record of one part of our country’s history which contains many falsehoods, some of them apparently barefaced lies, and many errors of omission which present a thoroughly distorted picture.

2. Puke Ariki have, as you say, “made it very clear that they stand behind their material”.  The so-called “extensive research over a lengthy period” which they claim to have made, is to a very great degree, no more that quasi-research which fails abjectly by any objective and scholarly standard.  You simply have no valid grounds for “accepting their position” on its face value.  Any critical review of their bald assertions would have recognized this.

3. Referring to the video issue for which it must be abundantly clear that endorsement by Puke Ariki is entirely worthless.   Any tribe is entitled to have a “perspective” but not on any grounds whatever can this be allowed to mean it is entitled to tell lies concocted by someone, such as its flat denial that twelve of the crew of the “Harriet” were killed and eaten and that Elizabeth Guard was subjected to the most horrifying experiences during her captivity.  That the story is “normally told from a settler viewpoint” is wholly irrelevant.  The video is a straight perversion of history.

I note that you “do not see any need to amend any of the exhibition or to withdraw the video” and regret the negativity you display.

You will have noted, I dare say, my “Voices” article in the “The Nelson Mail” on Saturday last, 25th January, with the headline, aptly chosen by the editor, of  “Parihaka posturing glosses over history of savagery”.

I offer it to you as a verifiable and accurate historical account of the behaviour of some Taranaki tribes.

As I have informed Kelvin Day in the copy of my letter of 26th January attached, there will be an important meeting in the Suburban Club, Tahunanui, at 7:30pm on Wednesday 13th February.

You are invited cordially to attend this meeting together with all the members of your Trust and your spouses, if they care to come.

I advise you that I do not intend to let this matter rest and this correspondence is being circulated widely.

Yours faithfully,

B. A. Moon

encl: Copy of letter from K Day of 20th  January 2013, Copy of my reply to K Day, dated 26th January 2013.

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35 thoughts on “Museums refuse to correct historical errors

  1. Hello World, Kai Ora, John, according to my old books it mentions there were 60,000 deaths in the intertribal musket wars where Maori settlements in the middle of Aotearoa / New Zealand’s North Island were completely destroyed. Those taken lands were sold to Pakeha…
    For further info contact Ross Baker re One NZ Foundation etc…

  2. Surely this must be grounds for a Royal Commission of Enquiry to look into not only our distant past (Not to be ignored) and also into any subsequent neccessary ammendments needed as a result to New Zealand Law and any changes required to Parliamentary “due process” that have occured as a direct result of any alleged misrepresented historical facts in New Zealand, how it all came about and whom is responsible and of course thier reasonings if indeed found to be lacking in true fact not that I doubt it at all given lot’s of relevant facts presented on a number of sites of late.

    Some transparency to the general public would be a welcome outcome as would the re-instatement of any flawed changes in direction of policy direction effected as a result of misconstrued fact perceived to be truth at the time for whatever reason/s.

    This would have to be a step forward to right any percieved wrongs that may have become manifest in our society as a result.

  3. What an excellent site, John. Full marks to Bruce Moon for his meticulous research. Disgraceful that those responsible actually ‘stand by the exhibition’ in spite of all the errors being pointed out and worse still, not making the necessary changes.

    Obviously truth doesn’t matter to them.

    Yes, Ironsides, a Royal Commission of Enquiry should be held but sadly, I feel it would be stacked with closed minds and we wouldn’t get a true outcome. The only way it would work would be for someone from overseas to take charge ot the Enquiry.

  4. Who funded the ‘research’ and the exhibition? A govt. agency with an agenda perhaps? I would suggest that a letter to the Nelson Mail is in order to warn residents of the region that what is displayed is (to use political gobbledegook) disingenuous.

    Once Nelsonians have been fed this tripe for a few months the powers that be will herald the exhibition a resounding success and make some sort of roadshow out of it, parading it throughout NZ for all of 2013. Oh, and don’t forget the school trips to the museum(s), they have a captive audience with that lot.

    Helen: You are right in saying an overseas investigator would be required to get even close to a fair outcome. Just as would be the case for investigating ancient archaeological sites in NZ. (And the political system and the banking system and …..)

  5. Yes, Peter C. You just can’t trust anyone in this country any more with regard to investigations. There seem to be agendas everywhere.

  6. There has always been, and is still, a perception that little ol’ N.Z. is free of graft and corruption. Over the last 20 years or so, and more particularly recently, that has been proven to be a totally false perception. I am so pleased that there are now people prepared to speak out and expose the lies and deceptions.

    Great to see J.A. back on-line.

  7. PP: I became cynical as a teenager when I heard lies spill from the mouth of a Police officer standing in the dock. I have questioned everything ever since. Later in life I was assured by my ever-honest, hard-working and astute father that (and I quote) “If you have a contract with the government you don’t have a contract.” Wise words.

  8. Re; the exhibition.
    According to Peter Millward –
    “The bulk of the references will be found in the book by Kelvin Day called CONTESTED GROUND”, also ” we made use as most researchers do of the volumes of history produced by John & Hilary Mitchell”.

    It seems that John & Hilary Mitchells books resulted from research on behalf of a number of Nelson & Marlborough Maori groups, based on whakapapa and family records, for Waitangi Tribunal claims!
    UNBIASED ??

  9. I would say the Mitchells books would be very biased indeed especially as they were done for Maori groups with regard to claims via the Waitangi Tribunal. Enough said.

    I have absolutely no faith in anything whatsoever connected with the Waitangi Tribunal.

  10. Along with myself amd many others Helen.

    Time to sort the rorts and claim our democracy and true history back along with New Zealands identity.

  11. It is good to know the historical facts to assist future debates, but somehow we need to focus on equality for all and getting support in numbers.
    I think that arguing over past matters will never end and would be detrimental.
    I assume that most New Zealanders would strongly agree with JA, but how do we amalgamate?

  12. A *very* good post, John.
    It is a *disgrace* that Millward has not taken action to correct what are clearly wrong and misleading displays.

    *Well done* for posting this article that exposes the FRAUD being perpetrated (and perpetuated) in our museums.

  13. Such corruption of the true picture hurts us all particularly young kiwis of Maori descent who suffer immensely as all the statistics show, due to them being fed false expectations of life. Kelvin Day and Claudia Orange should be held accountable for the continuance of such falsehoods due to their scant myopic research.

  14. The Waitangi Tribunal is an absolute disgrace. A high church of fuzzy logic and vested interest. Maori New Zealanders are being led up the garden path by a clique of self interested opportunists. The state sector has an official state religion which all must bow down to. The commisars are largely europeans who speak pidgin maori as a career advancement strategy…

  15. Why is that whenever I hear the words “Waitangi Tribunal” all I can think of is the Spanish Inquisition? Then, of course, my mind swings toward the Monty Python version of that group because the Waitangi Tribunal makes just as much sense.

  16. Hear, hear, JP. I also agree with PC about the Waitangi Tribunal reminding him of the Spanish Inquisition. And also Shirleyboy – I totally agree with you. Yes, the WT is an absolute disgrace but so is our Government for not getting rid of them long long ago!!

    If they weren’t seriously damaging this country they would be an absolute joke. How can anyone take them seriously?

  17. I believe Michael Bassett was on the Waitangi tribunal and had a bit to say about it after he left There have been a few others as well i think

  18. It would be a very interesting day when these people wish to come foeward and state thier concerns publicly without fear of being minimalised or misinterpreted.

    I feel confidant that other media outlets are becoming aware of articles on both this site and the Franklin E-local site as two of the growing number.

    Wouldn’t it be great if they could combine with these and other relevant information scources to bring thier truth to light also?

  19. You are correct Graeme – Michael Bassett, John Robinson and Don Brash among others have all been on or closely associated with the Waitangi Tribunal. They have all resigned from their involvement with it, strongly criticising the biased, dishonest “kangaroo court” nature of its activities. And we the taxpayer continue to pay for its fraudulent activities. MPs Paul East, Richard Prosser and Winston Peters are deeply critical of the WT. Add the late Stuart Scott, Ian Wishart, Sir Robert Jones … the list of prominent NZers critical of and opposed to the Waitangi Tribunal and its activities goes on & on, but nothing has changed – so far. It is a national disgrace – a “weeping sore” as Richard Prosser called it in his recent article.

  20. Brilliant letter to the Editor by Peter C in my local Nelson paper tonight greatly criticising the inaccuracies in the Taranaki exhibition currently on display.

    He also gives the link to this site so people can learn all about the inaccuracies and the true story for themselves.

    It may be the Peter C who contributes here. If so, well done.

  21. Congratulations, Peter. There seem to be more and more people down here who think alike. I think our local paper is starting to get the message and I’ve found the Editor good to deal with on these matters.

  22. The closer you look the more you realise just how apathetic our academics really are. They don’t seem at all curious and the worst of it is they’re the ones charged with teaching, or more correctly, indoctrinating our future academics.

    Congratulations Peter C, I hope your letter sparks loads of interest and debate.

  23. How about I just post it right here?

    Dear Editor

    The Nelson Provincial Museum is currently hosting an exhibition entitled Taranaki War 1860-2012. It has been noted by retired Canterbury Professor Bruce Moon that the exhibition is fraught with inaccuracies, which in itself is bad enough, but his efforts to have the inaccuracies corrected have, so far, been ignored. Prof. Moon contacted both Kevin Day (Puke Ariki, New Plymouth, constructor of the exhibition) and Peter Millward ( curator of the Nelson Prov. Museum) directly and was basically duck-shoved from pillar to post. The emails that went back and forth can be read here; http://johnansell.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/museums-refuse-to-correct-historical-errors/.

    I would urge anyone who is interested in the subject matter of the exhibition to view it with caution, as anyone should view any exhibition that is shown to be laden with inaccuracies. On the aforementioned website Prof. Moon outlines the mistakes and offers the facts but there is far too much information for me to include in this letter, which highlights the extent of the problem.

    It is unfortunate that such an exhibition contains copious quantities of misinformation but to have nothing done about it when the correct information is subsequently supplied I find perplexing to say the least. When accurate historical facts are available it is those that should be availed to the public, not one person’s inaccurate interpretation of past events.

    Regards

    Peter C

  24. Don’t hold your breath. I’d say they’ll take the “ignore them and they’ll go away” approach. Anyone is quite welcome to cut and paste it, add their own details and fire it off to the Nelson Mail, or any other paper for that matter.

  25. Excellent further updated exchange of letters from Bruce Moon with those who are fabricating our history and allowing the extreme mis-information to be viewed by all and sundry.

    This matter will not go away and I applaud Bruce’s tenacity to right this matter. I know he will continue until everyone knows our true history and not the badly sanitised, invented in many instances, versions that social engineers posing as historians are trying to feed us.

  26. In case no-one realises, John has added to Bruce’s letters up above, before the comments start. It is extremely interesting/worrying to learn how these people think.

  27. No more questions from myself to proffer up just a statement or two . . . for now!

    No confidance in Labour nor National!

    Snap election!

    Jail all “pshycophants”!

    Revert the penalty for Treason changed by G Palmer the day after Christmas 1989 then “Hang em high”

    The “brighter future” offered by National has finally arrived!

  28. I once thought that corruption was for other countries. Sinse then we have had : The winebox, 245T cover up, 1080 poison Lies, to name a few. It do’nt matter what party is in power, they are all the same. Only interested in getting there noses firmly into the trough.Then they have the cheek to call themselves, The Right Honourable. So where do we go from here?
    Chris

  29. Great stuff, and I admire your persistence, which will push me to persevere with Te Crap, where I (and some others too) have challenged Claudia Orange to a debate.

    Ross Baker says: “according to my old books it mentions there were 60,000 deaths in the intertribal musket wars”. This is correct, indeed some sources give 80,000 (demographer Pool quotes this). I wanted a better estimate and found it in a paper by Professor Rutherford (Auckland), who made a careful analysis of the many battles. In fact he gives several estimates of those killed directly in battle and others dying later (according to the son of Te rauparaha, perhaps twice the number of men dying in battle, being women and children, could be later killed and eaten). I took Rutherford’s count of 43,600 (including later deaths resulting from the warfare) in my calculations. All that is described in my book “When two cultures meet, the New Zealand experience” and in the multi-authored “Twisting the Treaty, a tribal grab for wealth and power”.

    1. You will need a lot of persistence to get Orange to accept your challenge. Ideally any proper debate would be public with the media invited. Good luck.

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