Tuesday 31 March 2020


So as I've said, I'm writing a book. A new general history of New Zealand. Here's the draft preface to help explain why  ...



“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”
          ~ John Maynard Keynes

“Knowledge is power”
          ~ Francis Bacon
Another New Zealand history? Why now? There are several reasons. Here are some.

There are now five million of us. That’s a decent time to mark how we got to be a place worth being in. Most of us chose to be here, to stay here, to return here – and even those who stay away generally retain their links here for later. This is a place people like to live in; our history helps to explain why.

It’s been nearly ten years since the last major general history, in which time several trends with their roots in decades past have erupted – our growing entanglement with China; the rise of identity politics and neotribalism; “post-truth” politics and the rise of social media; the increasing impact of New Zealanders in the larger world – all of which need explaining and fitting into their context.

And with talk that New Zealand history will be made compulsory in schools, where it’s said a “conversation” about our history will be encouraged, it’s crucial that the conversation, if there is one, is made as wide as possible. That it is actually a conversation, one in which discussion is held from different viewpoints, not just one. Because:
History is no mere list of dates and facts. It is often a contest between sometimes different ways of seeing the past, and what particular events in that past ought to be more pronounced. Many of these interpretations tend to chafe on contact with each other, resulting in history being a discipline that has to accommodate a wide range of views. Maybe this is why successive politicians have been reluctant to support compulsory New Zealand history in schools – it seems too contentious.
    Of course, there are risks that, if done poorly, compulsory history in our schools could veer into the realm of indoctrination. It is no coincidence that one of the first functions authoritarian regimes undertake on assuming power is to produce new history books in order to emphasise the ‘correct’ version of history that is passed on to students.[1]
That it should encompass views other than those favoured by today’s curriculum writers is especially important because “the history students [presently] hear too often focuses on the West’s oppression of the rest rather than its creation of the free markets and free thinking that have lifted billions from poverty and tyranny. How can liberty survive this skewed narrative of the past?”[2]

There are many general histories of New Zealand to choose from with their own skewed narratives, their own ignorance of how the world has arrived at this place of genuine prosperity – while these authors weren’t watching -- at a place where for the first time in all human history fewer than ten percent of people on the planet are living in poverty. Given that poverty is the natural human conditions, it’s this rising prosperity that must be explained. This history will help do that.

Why else is it different? You’ve already picked it up because of the title. Unlike all those other histories you’ve read, this is a politically incorrect history. So if it needs saying, I will say it. Which might challenge you: but that’s the point of reading, isn’t it? To challenge your thinking.

I aim to challenge you on every page with history you may have heard, but analysed here with ideas the politically-correct mainstream would never touch and based on recent research on the contributions of colonialism to human flourishing[3] that throw a whole new light on almost all the stories of our past.

So, the way it tells those stories is different – and not just because I’m unconcerned with the prevailing political correctness of the day. But the stories it chooses to tell are often different too: it’s not just another regurgitation.

Because this history of New Zealand is different. It’s unlike all the others. It’s different in three ways:
1. because of what’s in it– which is unlike most existing general histories of this place;
2. because of how it’s put together– which is unlike almost anyother history you’ve ever read; and
3. because of its razor-sharp focus.
There are many remarkable stories to tell about this place, and many of those other general histories have told them. What I’ve chosen are those that best explain who we are now and how we got here. My focus is literally razor sharp, choosing only those stories from the past most relevant for today -- and slashing away all the rest.
    So, in a sense, while it is a general history of this place, it’s also a history of now –telling these tales about the past to best understand the present.
    Not to use the past for contemporaneous advocacy, of which far too many local historians fall guilty – “weaponising the colonial past”[4] to support the political projects of the day. But instead to re-tell the history of the past to explain the "technologically sophisticated, socially progressive, and politically democratic"[5] mixed-economy place that New Zealand is today.
    Most histories fail to do that. Not one of the general histories of New Zealand attempts it. By failing to even try,
we have denied ourselves a value that only history -- properly pursued– can provide. The facsimile of history we’ve been sold may only rarely illuminate the present, but its fleeting revelations indicate a much greater meaning and power that lie dormant within the subject… a way to make history a vital component of our lives here and now …
The method proposed, says historian Scott Powell, is to throw out any notion that “history is the study of the past.” Like Scott’s recent book, this is a History of Now![6] Because:
if knowledge of the past is to be power, it cannot merely be about the past. It must connect to our lives here and now, in as many ways as possible. It must, in effect, be about the present.
History pursued in this manner is – to coin a term – “present-centric.”
In such an approach the present, which historians typically ignore, is the touchstone of all historical thinking, and history becomes a way to know the world we live in…[7]
New Zealand historians have not just failed to tell this story -- failed to tell the story of now– they’ve failed to tell the full story of the past.

What’s in this history is many of the whole truths they’ve neglected. Being unshackled by any need to be politic, I aim to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing that is post-truth. The whole truth, not partial or made-up truths. I aim to give you the whole context of all the most important events that made this place. What caused them, and what they caused in turn.
    For example, in assessing the reasons for New Zealand’s relative freedom and prosperity the book explains the link with a man from whom the “me too” movement would need a lot of explaining – and with the ability of some talented New Zealanders to turn grass into food, electronics, housing, hardware and machinery.
    In talking about the treaty, the book explains how the work of a missionary, a Royal Naval captain and a Māori politician helped to inadvertently inspire a mass movement today for neotribal colonialism. In telling the story of the skirmishes that ravaged the North Island for several decades, we trace the problems back to a journey undertaken after a long-standing feud in the Waikato decades before.
    In telling the story of New Zealand’s rising prosperity in the late-nineteenth century – to the extent that for several years we enjoyed the world’s highest per-capita income -- we tell how this happened and who should get the credit; and also the real reasons that so many Māori were excluded from this prosperity for so long, and what this has to do with fertility rates and the North American fur trade.
    In recounting the reasons for New Zealand soldiers invading a beach in Turkey on what we now commemorate as Anzac Day, we recall the real reason the troops were sent there – which is one early version of the Russian meddling that is still so topical today.

“Full context”, that is this book’s motto! And I can guarantee full value.

You may be offended by some of the stories. Or hurt. Or even enraged that these people did not always behave the way you would like them to. But remember, you are not inviting these people into your time to live with you by your standards at this time in history, but to live with them in theirs. So, understand – understand fully – before you judge. People rarely see themselves as acting badly; in everybody’s story, they see themselves as the good guy. So, understand their context before you judge them. (Which is good advice in any weather in any case.)
    You should at least, I hope, be challenged, because I do hope to change the way you think about this place.
    Because this is nothing like those other general histories, which despite their length have failed even to tell the full story of the past. Instead, like listening to Morning Report, we hear a very thorough but extremely narrow view of our place, much of it “occluded by the [partial history] of New Zealand biculturalism.”[8]
    One of the biggest differences in my account is focusing less on grounds for grievance, and more on the reasons for our prosperity. The present that we enjoy is prosperous because of what entrepreneurs have done in the past. Yet in every single one of our general histories, and in the overwhelming majority even of specialist histories, the ideas that made the place great are largely ignored in favour of those that (allegedly) divide; and the businesspeople and entrepreneurs who made this country one of the best little places in the world to live are startlingly, even stunningly, absent. The Wakefields aside, for obvious reasons, the very people whose zeal, hard work and acumen built this place barely appear at all in the many histories written about us.[9]
Instead we have a litany of one-sided general histories that focus on New Zealand as if the only thing that happened in two-hundred years is the rise of political correctness, and the fall of political dynasties. What emerges from to many of these books is “political history, Māori history, social history, class history, and the history of identity,”[10]… but not in any way a full history of this place. And when their authors have examined economic life at all, as even they must do if they explore New Zealand’s depression years, for example, their kneejerk Keynesian assumptions and insufficient rigour generally leave them flailing.
It’s as if they wrote a history of local rugby that was all about the linesmen and referees, and then about the volunteers who make the sandwiches, and then never bothered to mention either the players or how they played the game. (And when they do, they confuse entirely the directions in which the two teams are playing!)
On top of this, when one considers that the largest employer of historians in present-day New Zealand are New Zealand tribes, their forestry trust, and the Waitangi Tribunal – and in earlier decades, were employed by various Ministries -- it seems that many are not just narrowly read but hopelessly compromised.[11]

Even New Zealand’s most popular general histories fit this lacklustre bill. 
Michael King’s popular ‘Penguin History of New Zealand’ devotes just nine pages of the first 300 to discussion of New Zealand’s economic development… [W]hat emerges is not a history of New Zealand per se; it is, more aptly, a history of the Māori and politics.[12]
Insightful in those areas, perhaps, but lacking in any context that would give their fuller meaning.
Similarly, in the first half of his 600-page volume‘Paradise Reforged,’ James Belich grants 23 pages to the development of the frozen-meat industry … while other industries and businesses are largely absent. Further discussion on economics and business in this work is generally framed in notions of class and politics…    Equally, there has been an unfortunate tendency among social and general historians to repeat economic generalisations without further investigation. Michael Bassett, for example, in his work on the state in New Zealand, devotes one paragraph to economic development in the 1880s [the years of our own Industrial Revolution]. He repeats a list, often churned out, suggesting that the depression deepened, high government debt caused retrenchment, there was a collapse of meat prices, and unemployment steadily increased. Unfortunately, even a little analysis of such a list reveals that it bursts with inaccuracies… More balanced and better researched is ‘A History of New Zealand’ by Keith Sinclair, and ‘The Oxford History of New Zealand,’ although, in both, economic development is relegated to the occasional chapter – wars, class, and politics are what dominate the historical landscape.[13]
Not that New Zealand’s civil wars and political posturing are wholly unimportant. But here even the popular “specialist” histories fall down. Belich’s bumptious New Zealand Wars for example – in both book and TV programme – “ignores the role played by the tribes whose aims paralleled the government,”[14] takes no measure of the total number of casualties and the social results of this tragic loss of life,[15] introduces wild and unsupported population numbers to bolster his suggestion of steep post-war population decline, [16] and makes several wild, unsupported and highly partisan claims about Māori military technology. Most bizarrely that
“Māori ‘were the first to develop’ modern trench warfare … had ‘invented the anti-artillery bunker’ … [and] that the British Army had learned nothing from its experiences in New Zealand, for it was ‘not taken on board, not fully incorporated into their understanding of warfare.”[17]
None of this, from New Zealand’s premier living historian, is remotely true –and historians without his elevated platform have begun to correct such inanities. “Historians such as Christopher Pugsley, John M. Gates and Peter Maxwell, [Matthew Wright], and the cultural historian of Polynesia, Paul D’Arcy, have all contested Belich’s claims with regard to the origins of trench warfare and the uniqueness of Māori warfare.”[18] British military historian Ian F.W. Beckett has examined, not to say eviscerated, Belich’s claim with regard to “the lessons not learned.” But few have noticed. Belich’s “opinions, particularly in regard to the middle and later phases of the wars, are deficient.” Yet instead of war histories by Thomas Gudgeon, “who fought in a number of the campaigns … and [James] Cowan [who] walked the battlefields in the company of the men who had fought them … the white warriors, but also to the brown,”[19] a 2019 book on New Zealand’s ninetenth-century sovereignty wars can still claim Belich’s thirty-year old tome “remains the seminal work on the wars.”[20]
    Something is clearly wrong in the places where mainstream history is written.
    Meanwhile, the general histories of Belich and others still peddle long-exploded myths about the runholders and pastoralists who kicked off New Zealand’s prosperity, dismissed as “oligarchs” and “gentry” while completely ignoring recent literature clearly demonstrating that “the term ‘gentry’ is inapplicable to New Zealand.” This is, too often, how the historical “conversation” in New Zealand has been happening: by too many so-called eminent historians simply refusing to engage in contrary views, with little “conversation” occurring beyond the repetition of acceptable canards.[21]
    So, the corrections to those canards are ignored, and these are still the histories by which most of us have come to know this place’s stories.
    Worse, for many of them the facts of the past are only things to manipulate to make an activist’s point about today; and for all of them, and far too often, the wider history of the world, and the market process and the reasons for this place’s relative prosperity, seems to be a complete mystery.
    The overwhelming focus is politics, local politics, with their expertise on anything outside that woeful. So even when politics does intersect with economics, for example, these historians can talk about lower prices as “disastrous” instead of reflecting that these meant better times (and greater “purchasing power”[22]) for consumers; mention ‘Think Big’ as “unsuccessful”[23] without being able to explain why; or call a Prime Minister who helped extricate New Zealand from the Great Depression before many other places “bone from the neck up”[24] while castigating him for not “economic pump priming”[25] – a more economically bone-headed recommendation being hard to imagine.
    Their politics is overwhelmingly interventionist, making virtually anything written on depression causes and cures suitable only for humour – and their understanding of wealth creation so woeful that to them New Zealand’s most important and formative period of prosperity looks like a long depression.
    The political focus is relentless. They can write a book celebrating New Zealand’s “twenty turning points that mark a defining moment in the development of the country”[26] without mentioning either the Rugby World Cup or the country’s agricultural exports – especially the turning point of exporting refrigerated meat -- that have made us all so well off that we take our first-world comforts for granted! Or the “success” of government subsidised foreign film-making without ever discussing how those resources may have been better spent if left in taxpayers’ pockets – or even discussing why it is that, with some heroic exceptions, New Zealand film-makers seem far more adept at telling children’s stories (especially coming of age stories) than genuinely adult tales.
    Worse, while they all relentlessly discuss Māori issues and Māori land they almost all fail to compare the abysmal results of tribally-held Māori land against the many different forms in which property may be held; they fail to see, let alone describe, the tremendous benefit to Māori, from 1769, of being introduced to the worldwide division of labour (which, to most of them, is in any case a complete mystery); and they are frequently so focussed on their agenda of class, race, gender and politics that, while they might pontificate that someone like Kiri Te Kanawa “enlarged New Zealand’s sense of itself on the international stage”, they are entirely at a loss to explain how the unlikely success of this enormously talented Māori woman “in the great opera houses of the world”[27] fits the over-arching modern interpretation focussing on Māori alienation, class determinism and gender oppression.
    There is something very important missing in these histories. I aim to put it back.
History has failed.
But there is a better way.
We must start with the now.
The historian’s first responsibility is to develop an awareness of the present.[28]
Of the full present.
That is why we begin with the present, to explain first how we landed in this prosperous but politically-correct place anyway ….

The Present

So how to select the most vital facts from the entire history of New Zealand? “All we need to do is to pin down what we mean by ‘important’.”[29]
    All history has both facts and interpretations. So, every writer of history must make choices about which facts to select, and how to interpret them. The writer’s own values, knowledge and acumen guide the choices he makes about which facts are most important, and his own judgement will enable him to tell what they led to, and what caused them. In other words, all history writing is “a selective recreation of the events of the past, according to a historian's premises regarding what is important and his judgment concerning the nature of causality in human action"[30]– which is a mouthful meaning what I just said.
    In my judgement, the story that is crying out to be told in a history of this place (and which hasn’t come close to being told in any of the popular politically-correct general histories) is this: how did this country come to be one of the best little places on the planet in which to live, and what were the hurdles along the way.
    The reason to tell the story is not just because it is a great story. But because if we understand how we got here, we may better understand where we might be going.

The Past

To tell the story in a way that’s easiest to grasp, I give you “Anchor Dates” around which to ground our story[31]: starting you off with the most explanatory facts, the most causal, the ones that best explain the story to begin with. This gives you the “mountain-top view“ of the historical landscape, the bigger picture, into which you can then easily fit the historic periods that the landmark causal events on those dates either set off, or represent.[32]
    The reason is simple: because “to establish an outline of … history, one must think in terms of fundamentals. One must seek the answer that underlies all other answers and sets the context for any further inquiry.
    Using Anchor Dates to ground the history makes the history easier to learn. And it offers a “razor” to slash away the least relevant stories, presenting as a result the most relevant facts in as clear and unambiguous way as possible.
    So, let’s discover our first major anchor fact, to begin answering our central question, which is: how did we all come to be here and prospering the way we are – and what were the hurdles along the way?And let’s start by looking at the time and place we’re in now…

First Question:

What sort of age do we live in now?
Look around you.
Think about the New Zealand you live in today.

If you were here ten years ago, do you think today’s New Zealand is much different to the way it was back then? Like, fundamentally different? Maybe? How about twenty years ago, back to the year 2001? Maybe. Maybe not. 2001 itself was vastly different to the place filmmakers like Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick imagined it might be. To viewers of their famous film it would have come as a major disappointment! And on examination it does look remarkably different to the place we live in now, twenty or more years later. Just think, if you went to sleep in 2001 and just woke up today, you would see …
• more political correctness

• more “post-truth” politics

• less mainstream media and the dominance of social media; and at the same time…

• many more threats to free speech

• much increased globalisation, which has had both a good and bad reception

• widespread world success by talented NZ writers, artists, musicians, actors, sportsmen and filmmakers such as Eleanor Catton, xxx, Lorde, Simon O’Neill, Neil Finn, Jermaine Clement, Lucy Lawless, Scott Dixon, Stephen Adams, Taika Waititi, and Peter Jackson

• the cultural supremacy of intersectionalism, xxx, and identity politics

• comedians, commentators and cultural icons terrified to give offence

• increasing wokeness, and the growth of the “pile-on” culture

• the dominance of Te Tiriti in public and private institutions; and with it

• the rise of Neotribalism and its accelerating March Through the Institutions

• increasing irony in culture

• increasing entanglement with China, with all the threats and promise thereof

• housing that is certifiably and seriously unaffordable[33]

• increasing focus on privacy (or lack thereof), security and cyber-security, terrorist threats, especially

• dealing with the threat of both Islamic terrorism and the alt-right terrorist response; and finally
And finally, an ongoing entanglement in America’s “postmodern wars,”[34] some of which our visitor from 2001 would have been around to have seen begin -- but never end!

This is not to say that all is bad. But the good that men are doing (and by “men” I mean anyone of any gender, class or racial disposition who are actually out there doing good[35]) is largely inspired by the ideas from ages past, not those given birth to in this age.
    Since it’s one of the main foci of this book, one way to measure how different the world is today to only a few decades ago is to consider views on colonialism. New Zealand was born as a colonial country. That much is not controversial. What is controversial now is to argue that, by any reasonable standards of human flourishing, colonisation was beneficial. Consider this argument, by Dr Bruce Gilley from Portland University:
"When a more advanced society is given the opportunity to diffuse its economic, technological, administrative, and educational systems to a less advanced society that by and large welcomes its presence, the results are so obviously good compared to what would otherwise have happened in that society that the only interesting questions are how large the positive effects are...[36]
    "[Yet] for the last 100 years, Western colonialism has had a bad name. It is high time to question this orthodoxy. Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found, using realistic measures of those concepts. The countries that embraced their colonial inheritance, by and large, did better than those that spurned it. Anti-colonial ideology imposed grave harms on subject peoples and continues to thwart sustained development and a fruitful encounter with modernity in many places."[37]
This is clear, well argued and objective, and backed up by a flood of research. And said just a few decades ago would have been largely uncontroversial. But today, in the intellectual climate in which we live, to say this in print in a 2017 academic journal was enough to get people sending death threats to the author, such that the journal felt forced to retract the article.[38]

By way of contrast, what it is acceptable today to offer at universities and to publish in academic journals includes the following:
  • · Victoria University of Wellington offers a “Science Teaching Resource” in ‘Decolonising Our Cities,’ explaining that “Urban planning and design is largely done through the lens of Eurocentric values rather than through the values of the indigenous people … The ‘Imagining Decolonised Cities’ competition was launched, encouraging people to imagine how two sites in Porirua could look if they were designed with Māori values rather than colonial ones.”[39]
  • · A local academic journal publishes an article “discuss[ing] responsibilities for Pākehā to take deliberate and conscious steps to decolonise through reconciliation and dismantle disturbing and prevailing prejudiced attitudes.”[40]
  • · Decolonisation workshops are offered widely. One “Pākehā (non-Māori) Male” offered his dripping wet perspective on what he called “Decolonisation in Aotearoa,” enthusing, “What I learned in the decolonisation workshop is this: Being part of the dominant culture is not a bad or shameful thing. Instead, it creates an opportunity to make conscious, constructive steps in understanding the people of the land. It is obvious to me that the challenge starts with myself, with my pronunciation, practice, values and everyday thinking. Decolonisation brings with it the challenge of personal development, which will in time re-shape partnerships, families, communities and nations.”[41]
  • · A lecturer in Māori environmental management at Victoria University, Wellington, argues that “Within New Zealand, colonisation is alive and flourishing.” (Her article was published not in the mid-nineteenth century but the twenty-first.) “It has embarked on a greater journey of alienating the Māori peoples from their lands, practices and fundamental freedoms, now with new and more powerful tools of oppression." Māori sovereignty activist Moana Jackson draws an analogy between the processes of colonisation and of film-making: ‘Colonisation [he says] is about creating a suspension of disbelief, which requires that those from whom power is to be taken have to suspend their own faith, their own worth, their own goodness, their own sense of value, and their own sense of knowledge. Today, colonisation is a process of image-making, where we’re bombarded by Hollywood about what should be worthy in our lives, and today’s scriptwriters, today’s controllers of knowledge [and therefore research] are the descendants of the old scriptwriters of colonisation’.”[42]
If this makes no sense, it is hardly meant to. This is no longer colonialism; it is postmodern colonialism: intellectuals in thrall to total nonsense.
    The economist John Maynard Keynes used to say that “Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.” Whether we know it or not, much of the frenzied babbling of today is a result of post-modern scribblers of the distant and not-so distant past — post-modern German and French intellectuals to whom many of our universities’ departments and academics are in intellectual thrall.[43]
    As a result, philosopher Stephen Hicks, author of the best-selling guide Explaining Postmodernism[44] likens this so-called “post-truth” age in which we are living as one of Postmodern Colonialism.[45] Which seems doubly apt, since it mirrors nicely with New
Zealand’s birth as a genuinely colonial nation.
    This postmodern age is marked in New Zealand not just by increasing Political correctness, but by the growing dominance of what educationalist Elizabeth Rata calls neotribal capitalism – a kind of cronyism giving wealth and favour to both a new neotribal elite and to their enablers in the political system.
    And overseas it is still marked strongly, and militarily, by reactions to an event so well-known we mark it with only three letters and a symbol: 9/11; and by our growing entanglement with China. In this new global age, events overseas can be as powerful as those at home.
    As such, we could label this new age as The Age of Neotribal Colonialism– marked perhaps by the date when the Waitangi Tribunal declared that signatories to the Waitangi treaty did not cede sovereignty, while recommending largesse under that same treaty – the reaction to which even from the government, opposition and most commentators and academics was simply a big yawn. In other words, the final surrender of outlook, opinion and local law to postmodern philosophy.[46] "This is not a concern about some trivial detail, but over the fundamental history of our country, which the Tribunal has got manifestly wrong."[47]

So: We could mark the birth of this new postmodern global/colonial age by the date when the Waitangi Tribunal determined that Māori who signed the treaty at Waitingi never ceded sovereignty.



It marks the birth of The Age of Neotribal Colonialism

>>>More on this Period in Chapter 11

Increasing globalisation means events abroad inspire even the Period in which we live. But the political, legal, cultural, social, and commercial framework we inhabit here in New Zealand seems (for good and bad) robust and, with glaring exceptions, working.
So, let’s ask ourselves:
       Why do we inhabit the legal, political, commercial, monetary, local government, property, and Māori framework we do today? 
       Wherefrom, despite the increasing globalisation, this growing sense of us having an independent voice? 
Most immediately, legal, political, commercial, monetary, local govt, property and Māori framework we inhabit today was introduced in a few short years by the Fourth Labour Government, who in those few short, volcanic and exciting years overturned nearly everything, often (but not always) for the better. So much so that, despite all the carping about “Rogernomics” since, virtually none of the framework introduced then by Roger Douglas, Geoffrey Palmer, Richard Prebble, David Lange, Michael Bassett, and then by Ruth Richardson et al, has been overturned since. And that’s not only because every politician since has been by comparison so politically timid.

We can mark the birth of this new age by the date of that important election.


It marks The Birth of Modern New Zealand

>>>More on this Period in Chapter 10

So why was it necessary for the Fourth Labour Government to overturn so much stuff?
All the red tape, all the controls and the intervention, these weren't all introduced by Prime Minister Piggy Muldoon (as he was known un-affectionately, and deservedly). In every important sense, the “Polish shipyard” of a country that Muldoon was running into the ground was first made that way by all the stuff that the First Labour Government did. 
It wasn’t all overturned by their successors, sadly, and that First Labour Government wasn’t responsible for all of it, but the election of Michael Savage’s Labour Government at the end of the Great Depression seems an ideal date to mark the date that New Zealand embraced the bureaucratic welfare state with true affection. 

We can mark the birth of this new age by the date of that overwhelming election victory.


It marks the birth of The Welfare State

>>>More on this Period in Chapter 9

So, what sort of people are we in this young country? 
Are we a separate nation of people to the rest of the world? 
When did we, as New Zealand, first come to notice on the world stage – and to ourselves as something special and apart from the rest of the world, and of the British Empire?
That date was probably the day it occurred to New Zealanders that the idea of invading Turkey to give Constantinople to the Russians – with New Zealanders being the chosen blood sacrifice in that task -- was a bloody stupid idea. 

We can mark the birth of this new age by the date of that failed invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula.


It marks the Beginnings of Nationhood

>>>More on this Period in Chapter 8

When the New Zealand Army Corps went off to the First World War, they discovered that even though they thought of themselves as British, that (just like the other Australian and Canadian colonial troops) they were on average already taller, stronger and healthier than the average British soldier. 
We were already eating well. Very well. The reason we had been as because of what New Zealanders had done so well for years: which was producing good meat and dairy products. 
There are many vastly poorer places around the world even today. So how come we’re not so badly off here? Because way back in the nineteenth century entrepreneurs and businessmen worked out how to profitably sell refrigerated meat to the other side of the world as well as the wool which we had already been selling them for decades. Turns out, as their mostly-British customers soon discovered, we are the world’s best at processing grass into food and fibre. 
And ever since, to buy our cars, electronic and other goodies from around the world New Zealanders have been exporting “processed grass.” 
To do it New Zealand farmers have become exceptional at applying science to agriculture, and entrepreneurs and businessmen have been tireless in selling new technology to them so that they can produce more and better and cheaper: from better refrigeration and insulation of those early ships, right up to the gene splicing and biotechnology of today. Even down to the humble, but revolutionary, electric fence.[48]
And it all started, or first came together, with that refrigerated ship, the Dunedin.

We can mark the birth of this new age by the date of that first profitable cargo of refrigerated meat.


It marks the beginning of New Zealand’s Industrial Revolution

>>>More on this Period in Chapter 7

You will observe that New Zealand farmers, through their commercial agents, were mostly selling their wares to British customers. 
And back here in New Zealand, there was a British flag flying over most government buildings, in which a British legal and political framework was (and is) still used -- and most New Zealanders at that time still thought of themselves as British. 
But those flags were not flying over all New Zealand. 
The Governor called a conference on the beach reserve at Kohimarama to invite Māori to discuss with his Government how they viewed a treaty they had signed twenty years before.
Most were sanguine. But a new Māori movement had arisen in the Waikato, the Kingitanga, whose representatives had stayed away. In their view, the New Zealand Government had not provided all the law promised nor lived up to the benevolent billing with which it had come to the country, and while many settlers remained unhappy at the government’s monopoly over land sales with Māori (the only way by which to acquire new land) many Māori had come to resent the dangerously compromised manner in which the government purchased land from them.
It all came to a head with a land purchase in Waitara which went wrong, very wrong, and which brought all the arguments together. Mix diesel and fertiliser, and all you need is a detonator to set off an explosion. The Waitara purchase was the detonator, exploding into civil war across the centre of the North Island.

We can mark this period of violence by the date of the Waitara Purchase.


It marks the major period of The Wars Over Sovereignty

>>>More on this Period in Chapter 6

So how come a small island on the other side of the world had such a hold on these ones down here in the South Pacific? 
The simple reason was because in 1839, after years of wrangling, three ships from the New Zealand Company set sail from Britain to begin negotiating for land and to survey it for settlement. 
What they brought with them were the ideas of the Enlightenment. 
And what they set off helped rouse a reluctant British government to send out a Lieutenant-Governor, brought an old people squarely into the new worldwide division of labour, and ‘modernised’ New Zealand in the way no other place before it had been. Linking these islands in this way to other human cultures and life around the planet made life here radically different: this Anchor Date marks this important occasion.

We can mark the birth of this new age by the date of the Coming of the NZ Company ships -- with all that led to it, and all that it made possible.


It marks the start of Colonial Settlement

>>>More on this Period in Chapter 5

 The reason the New Zealand Company needed to negotiate for land was that there were already people on it. New Zealand wasn’t empty. How that negotiation progressed is fascinating, as you will see, as it is to compare and contrast this process in different parts of the world. 
           But how did British settlers even know this place and these people existed? Because, first and foremost, a Dutch sea captain called Abel Tasman had stumbled upon the place, had a brief but savage encounter, and then left – but not before marking it in his journal and mapping the short stretch of coastline he had traversed. All Europe had taken notice.
           And then several decades later a master navigator called James Cook received orders to sail to the South Pacific to track the great astronomical event called the Transit of Venus – and while here to track down the rumoured Great Southern Continent.
           Instead, he established there were only these islands and, as Tasman had before him, that there were people already here, and doing quite nicely thank you. 
           So how did those people come to be here? That is one of the great tales of sea voyaging by ocean-going canoes, by navigators as adept as Cook but centuries before him. And one of the greatest of those tales, of Maui Fishing up the North Island, is literally a metaphor describing a great and seminal act of discovery.

We can mark the birth of this new age by the date of the arrival of the people and their culture on those great ocean-going canoes.


It marks the date of Tribal Settlement on The Last Place on The Planet to Be Settled

>>>More on this Period in Chapter 3

So, here’s the overview of all the Anchor Dates – all the most important events we’re going to talk about:

And now we have all our Anchor Dates with which to begin marking out New Zealand’s main Periods of History …

·     1250-1800: First Settlement: Tribal Settlement
·     1800-1860: Colonial Settlement: Prosperity Emerging
·     1859-1872: Internal Wars for Sovereignty: Prosperity Arrested
·     1870-1914: Discovering Prosperity: New Zealand’s First Industrial Revolution
·     1914-1935: External Wars, Depression & NZ’s Second Industrial Revolution
·     1935-1984: Fortress New Zealand: From Welfare State to Polish Shipyard
·     1984-2001: Modern New Zealand: Shackles Broken
·     2001-2019: Postmodern Colonialism & Neotribalism: Shackles Return

… and the observant among you will have already noticed in that diagram above that there’s still one more question-mark there, still one more date to add. 

But all in good time.

In the meantime, we can use those Anchor Dates to begin seeing how they set off the great Periods of New Zealand’s history. First, the overall history, divided into the two main periods of Tribal Settlement and Colonial Settlement ....

… and now, looking more closely at the period of Tribal Settlement …

… and then up close at the period of Colonial Settlement:

So now let’s start to prove to you those dates were so damned important, and the periods to which they gave birth are worth knowing about ….

[1](Moon, 'Compulsory New Zealand history is a turning point for our schools and society', 2019)
[2]Quote from (McGinnis, 2019). Recent accounts, including suggested causes of this dramatic improvement in lives and human affairs, include (Tupy, 2018)(Deaton, 2013)(Wang, 2011)(Gordon, 2016)(McCloskey, 2017)(Rosling, Rosling, & Rosling Rönnlund, 2018)(Norberg, 2016)(Bernstein, 2005), and (Pinker, 2019)
[3]For a literature review of this last see (Gilley, 2019), available at www.researchgate.net
[4](Gilley, 2019), p. 5
[5](Trotter, ‘Blood Sacrifice,’ , 2010)
[6] (Powell, 2019), Loc. 68
[7](Powell, 2019), ibid
[8]Andrew J. May, reviewing Webs of Empire: Locating New Zealand’s Colonial Pastby Tony Ballantyne, Journal of New Zealand History, 49, 1 (2015), p. 146
[9]One exception, pointed out by Ian Hunter, is the outstanding study by Jim McAloon, No Idle Rich, which by examining a broad range of examples overturned ideas about indolent toffs forming a new gentry on the Canterbury Plains; “instead, humble origins and continued industry characterised the Otago and Canterbury rich.” [Jim McAloon, No Idle Rich: The Wealthy in Canterbury and Otago, 1840-1914 (2002); described in (Hunter, 2007)]
[10](Hunter, 2007), p. 21
[11]A leading current example is Vincent O’Malley, whose book The New Zealand Wars (2019)was written while helping spend $859,000 of Marsden Fund money as joint project leader of the Difficult Histories project (www.difficulthistories.nz/our-team.html), which is said to be researching “shifting historical perspectives” of these wars and “ how different groups have commemorated these conflicts over time.” Yet Mr O’Malley’s book promotes one highly-partial revisionist viewpoint of the conflict, and “the [project’s] researchers were visiting a number of historic sites associated with the Waikato War as field research for O'Malley's book.” [See ‘Have we forgotten NZ's violent colonial past?,’ NZ Herald, 6 December 2018, accessed, 2019.] 
In a less partial place, Mr O’Malley and his book would not be the object of this research, they would be its subject. It does however contain a superb collection of paintings, sketches, and photographs, and several excellent and very helpful maps. Value for money!
[12](Hunter, 2007), p. 21
[13](Hunter, 2007), p. 21-22
[14](Maxwell, 2000), p. 11
[15](Wright, 2006), p. 12
[16](Robinson, 2012)
[17](Beckett, 2018), p. 471; quoting (Belich, 1988)
[18](Beckett, 2018)p. 471-472. See especially: Pugsley’s series ‘Walking the Wars’ in the New Zealand Defence Quarterly from 1993 to 2000; (Gates, 2001)(Maxwell, 2000)(Wright, 2006)(D’Arcy, 2000)
[19](Maxwell, 2000), p. 9-10
[20] (O’Malley, 2019), p. 34. O’Malley does tell his readers that “[m]ilitary historians have challenged some aspects of Belich’s work, especially his views on the Māori contribution to trench warfare,” just before taking “some viewers” of the TV series to task for being “critical of what they condemned as a ‘politically correct,’ pro-Māori take on New Zealand’s past.”
“While some later writers have sought to challenge or dismantle Belich’s arguments,” he chunters smugly, “others have tried to build on them.” Which others? Himself, of course. (See (O’Malley, 2019), p. 34-35)
[21]See on this last the demolition of Steven Eldred-Grigg’s unapologetic myth-making in (McAloon, 2002); and McAloon’s comemnts on Belich et al,ibid, p. 31-2, p. 278 (n. 38), p. 279 (n.7), 
[22]Which, bizarrely, is precisely what Tony Simpson argues politiciansshould provide. How? Somehow. See his severely flawed class-warrior histories Sugarbag Years (1974) and Road to Erewhon (1976), which do at least have the redeeming virtue of being rollickingly good agit-prop.
[23] (King, 2003/2004), p. 489
[24](Simpson, 1976), p. 86
[25](Simpson, 1976), p. 91
[26](Moon, Turning Points: Events That Changed the Course of New Zealand’s History, 2013)
[27](King, 2003/2004), p. 513
[28](Powell, 2019), xx
[29](Powell, 2019), Loc. 95
[30](Childs, 1994)
[31]The procedure was developed by historian Scott Powell as one of his techniques of what he calls “History Through Induction.”
[32]The Anchor Dates allow us to use another of Powell’s techniques: Periodisation, his key to History Through Induction.
[33]This is the official opinion of the Demographia organisation, whose annual survey xxxx
[34]“Postmodern wars” being wars fought for no selfish gain to no successful outcome. More on this in Chapter 11
[35]And the fact I even needed to write that is an indication of this “woke” age we’re living in.
[36](Gilley, ‘The Case For Colonialism’, 2018)
[37](Gilley, ‘The Case For Colonialism’ , 2017)
[38]For the story, see ('Occam's Razor', 2017)
[39](VUW, undated)
[40](Amundsen, 2018)
[41](Barnes, undated)
[42](Hutchings, undated)
[43]Example 1, arguing that – like every text – the treaty is inherently un-understandable: 
There are some obvious reasons why the Treaty's meaning isn't obvious. It was drawn up hurriedly, it exists in two versions, it contains ambiguous abstract nouns like 'sovereignty' that cry out for interpretation, and it was communicated to most of the people who signed it in a garbled manner.
    “But there's a more basic reason why the Treaty's meaning will never be settled. Like all texts, it underdetermines its interpretation. 
    “As the great [sic] German hernmeneut Hans-Georg Gadamer pointed out, whenever we read an old text we bring to it aspects of our own situation and our own preoccupations. We can't do otherwise. When we read the Bible, or the Communist Manifesto, or the American Constitution, we do so through the lens of our own era and our own interests.
    “That doesn't mean that there aren't good and bad interpretations of an historical document, and that we shouldn't criticise those who produce bad interpretations.
    “Gadamer argued that to make a good interpretation of an old text we need both an awareness of our own perspective - a critical self-consciousness - and a detailed and respectful understanding of the era in which the text was produced. We need to recognise, in other words, our own subjectivity, while also respecting the integrity of the text.”
[Emphasis mine.]
– Scott Hamilton, commenting at Chris Trottter’s blog, 27 November 2014 (accessed 21 November 2019)
[44](Hicks, 2011)
[45]Quoted in (Cresswell, 2017)
[46]See reactions to this Te Paparahi o te Raki inquiry (Wai 1040)(Waitangi Tribunal, 2014)(Maori Law Review, 2014),(Trotter, 2014)
[47](Moon, 2014)
[48]Unfortunately, however we cannot claim the gumboot. Although, if it weren’t for your gumboots where would you be …

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