Historian’s Role in Ngai Tahu Claim

February 11, 2017

Richard Tankersley’s article* on Ngai Tahu’s long fight for justice,
culminating in its successful 1998 Treaty of Waitangi claim, does not
acknowledge the key role played by Pakeha historian the late Harry C
Evison.

His 1949 thesis on Ngai Tahu’s land claim “Te Kereeme” and  his
subsequent research in the 1980s, when government archives became more  freely available, led to a number of publications, including his 1993 book  “Te Wai Pounamu-a History of the Southern Maori during the European  Colonisation of New Zealand.”

Evison’s research and evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal was crucial to the
success of the claim, as was acknowledged by Ngai Tahu leaders at the
time. He blazed an historian’s fair and even-handed trail through the
minefield of oral and written history. As Sir Tipene O’Regan said in the
foreword to “Te Wai Pounamu”: “Our own self–view lacks his dogged
objectivity and enquiry. We have been nourished by our sense that we were  wronged. Evison, independently, has worked out how it was done.”

The fascinating story Evison uncovered, based on carefully documented
evidence, illustrates the importance of the role of historians at the
fraught intersection of history, law and politics. In the “post-truth” era
of alternative “facts” this is worth remembering and celebrating.

*Blinks
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/89033172/on-waitangi-day-remembering-a-fight-for-justice-that-took-generations     6/2/17
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/17380200/Kiwis-oblivious-to-our-own-history  10/2/17
http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/87162375/donald-trump-has-ushered-in-a-world-without-facts-and-thats-scarier-than-you-think  5/12/16
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/7/misinformed-millennials-and-civic-ignorance/  14/11/16

#Lyall Lukey 11 February 2017
http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz
My other less serious blog: https://bluggerme.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

Advertisements