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Vincent O'Malley

A RIPOSTE TO O'MALLEY'S $10,000 REPORT ON HAMILTON STREET AND CITY NAMES (Report PDF attached below)

The first disturbing thing to be said about the one-sided "Historical Report on Hamilton Street and City Names" is that it was commissioned by two parties, one of them being the Waikato Tainui tribe and it appears that O'Malley has tailored his report to suit their obvious purpose of progressively removing European names from Hamilton city and streets. It is unbelievable that the Council, which is supposed to represent all the citizens of Hamilton, should join together with the prime advocate for a change of names.

For this reason the Report should be treated with a certain amount of wariness. Furthermore, O'Malley cannot be regarded as an impartial historian when it comes to any historical matter affecting British forces for he has told at least one public gathering that he hates the British for what they allegedly did to his Irish ancestors some 200 or so years ago.

His report is not impartial; it is character assassination by carefully selected half truths of four historical figures whose names have been recognised in Hamilton for a century and a half without any problems. O'Malley's narrative is backed by bold assertions that are often untrue but widely accepted, being part of the new "conventional wisdom" of revisionist "historians" and others.

In his Introduction he makes the rather trivial point that Captain Hamilton never visited the place to be named after him. So what?

Nor did Lord Auckland ever visit Auckland, or the Duke of Wellington visit the capital of New Zealand, or Sir Charles Napier visit Napier. Nor did the hero of Trafalgar ever visit Nelson, or General Picton visit Picton, or Lord Palmerston visit Palmerston or Warren Hastings visit Hastings.

As early as the Introduction O'Malley shows his bias by referring to the "invasion" of the Waikato by Governor Grey and this word "invasion" (or its verb) is used throughout the book (13 times) in an emotive and brainwashing manner. It is untrue as the word "invasion" suggests an invasion of another country or territory such as Hitler's invasion of Poland or Argentina's invasion of the British colony of the Falkland Islands in 1982. Since Waikato, like all of New Zealand, was sovereign British territory under the rule of the Governor of New Zealand it was not legally possible for Grey to "invade" part of his colony. "Militarily occupy" - yes; but not "invade".

On Page 4 he states that the military settlement of Hamilton was established on the site of a Maori "kainga" known as Kirikiriroa. That may be so but the Hamilton of to-day was built almost entirely by the enterprise and labour of people of European ancestry (mainly British) and there is no reason 150 years down the track to change the name of this lively and largely non-Maori city. In fact, it would be disrespectful to the memory of all those who helped build Hamilton over the years to do so.

Captain Hamilton died in the battle of Gate Pa in defence of the sovereignty and unity of New Zealand, as established by the Treaty of Waitangi and subsequent events, against a rebellion that was trying to destroy such sovereignty.

The statement on page 14 of the Report that Governor Grey "captured and kidnapped the elderly Ngati Toa rangatira," Te Rauparaha, is highly emotive but incorrect. The true story is as follows:

Richard Deighton, a government interpreter, discovered a letter written by Te Rauparaha calling on the disaffected Upper Wanganui and inland tribes to join with chiefs Mamaku and Rangihaeta to raid Hutt Valley frontier posts. Deighton took the letter to Governor Grey in Wellington and it was decided to arrest Te Rauparaha for treason (plotting rebellion). This is not "kidnapping". Thomas Lambert, author of "Pioneering Reminiscences of Old Wairoa" (New Plymouth, 1936) wrote on Page 293 of his book that, had Deighton not alerted Grey to Te Rauparaha's intentions, the forces of Te Rauparaha, Rangihaeata, Mamaku and Maketu could have united to massacre occupants of the fledgling colony of Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

Furthermore, to describe Te Rauparaha merely as "the elderly Ngati Toa rangatira" is to tell only a fraction of the story for this "rangatira" was the most notorious cannibal in pre-1840 New Zealand.

On Page 16 O'Malley writes "Iwi such as Ngai Tahu were rendered virtually landless". If that were true, then it would be by their own actions. By 1840 this group of a mere 2,000 people had sold two thirds of the four fifths of the South Island which was nominally theirs. However, most of these sales were overturned by Hobson's Land Commission which looked into pre-1840 sales to see that they were fair. The tribe did not return the purchase price to the original buyers.

The chiefs then later sold their land again to the government in ten sales covering 37.366 million acres. The Kaiapoi natives thanked Governor Grey for the "fair payment" that they had received. ("One Treaty, One Nation, Wellington, 2015, Page 226) The 1896 census showed that Ngai Tahu were cultivating only 857.5 acres of their 45,000 acres - less than 2%. (Ibid, P. 231) Thus they were not using even the land that remained to them.

On Page 18 O'Malley makes the utterly false statement that the Maoris "had been explicitly promised the right to manage their own lands and affairs in the Treaty of Waitangi". This was not explicitly promised and anyway it would be in violation of Article 1 of the Treaty which ceded sovereignty to the British Crown.

On Page 21 O'Malley writes, "Grey claimed he had been left with no choice but to launch such an invasion (that word again!), pointing to supposed evidence of an imminent Kingitanga attack on Auckland. Historians have been highly dismissive of these claims." Not true.

The leading historian of the Maori wars, James Cowan, wrote in Volume I of his "The New Zealand Wars" that the half-caste government interpreter, James Fulloon, reported to the Government that the Kingite rebels planned to "execute a grand coup by attacking Auckland by night-time or early in the morning. The Hunua bush was to be the rendezvous of the main body, and a portion of the Kingite army was to cross the Manukau in canoes and approach Auckland by way of the Whau, on the west, while the Ngati-Paoa and other Hauraki coast tribes were to gather at Taupo, on the shore east of the Wairoa.

The date fixed for the attack was 1st September, 1861, when the town of Auckland was to be set on fire in various places by natives living there for that purpose; in the confusion the war-parties lying in wait were to rush into the capital by land and sea. Certain houses and persons were to be saved; th(os)e dwellings would be recognised by a white cross marked on the doors on the night for which the attack was fixed. With the exception of those selected in this latter-day Passover, the citizens of Auckland were to be slaughtered." (pages 239-40)

Also on Page 21 Rewi Maniapoto is introduced as "a senior Ngati Maniapoto rangatira" What is missing is Rewi's part in joining the 1860 rebellion in Taranaki against the wishes of the first Maori "king", Te Wherowhero and the role of Ngati Maniapoto in driving the British out of the Waikato in 1863 against the wishes of Te Wherowhero's successor, Tawhiao.

On Page 23 O'Malley continues his mischief by stating that at Rangiaowhia there occurred "the deliberate torching of a whare whose inhabitants were killed in the blaze". The evidence for the burning of this whare is most uncertain and it appears that it accidentally caught on fore from another burning structure. The occupation of Rangiaowhia was for the purpose of capturing the rebels' food supply, thus avoiding a direct attack on their fort at Paterangi which would have caused many deaths on both sides.

However, at one whare Sergeant McHale was shot dead at point blank range when he invited the inhabitants to surrender. Apart from the deaths of two Maoris, all subsequent deaths at Rangiaowhia arose from this shooting of McHale. In the words of Captain Wilson, who, unlike O'Malley, was present at the scene, "Our man (Sergeant McHale) was dead inside the hut [killed by a Maori] before the attack commenced" (One Who Was There, Brett's Historical Series, from P. 3 of New Zealand - the Fair Colony, by Bruce Moon, P. 3)

Further down Page 23 O'Malley tries to establish that a large proportion of those killed in the battle of Orakau, which effectively ended the Kingite rebellion in the Waikato, were non-combatants (women and children). If they were "non-combatants", what on earth were they doing in a fighting pa that had been specially constructed for making a last-ditch stand against very superior forces?

On Page 24 O'Malley describes the Pai Marire (Hau Hau) movement as "good and peaceful" when, in fact, it was a terrorist movement that carried out random murders and beheadings of such grotesqueness that other tribes quickly came round to fight on the side of the Crown in order to defeat these barbarous savages. The Pai Marire people beheaded Captain Lloyd and carried his head around the country, claiming that it could talk, and they murdered Rev. Volkner at his church at Opotiki on 2nd March, 1865, stripping him, hanging him and then spreading his corpse out on the ground and chopping off his head. "The natives then formed themselves into a line and prepared to taste the blood as it ran out of the head and body," wrote Captain Levy of the "Eclipse" who was present. (GB Parliamentary Papers 1866 (3601) Colonial Secretary's Office, Wellington, 21 March, 1865)

In the words of historian, James Cowan, this scene of horror "was of a character revolting beyond measure. It was as if a devil had entered into the people. Assuredly there was a demon before them in human form, at once terrifying and fascinating them by his sheer savagery. Kereopa, dressed in his victim's long, black coat, stood in Volkner's pulpit and placed the dripping head on the reading-desk in front of him; by its side he set the communion cup of blood....Gripping the head, he gouged out both eyes...he swallowed them one after the other. ...Then the cannibal priest took up the communion chalice and drank its contents. He passed it to one of his flock, who put it to his lips and took a sip, and then it was passed from hand to hand among the congregation." (The New Zealand Wars, Vol. II, Page76) To describe this violent and bloodthirsty movement as "good and peaceful" is deceitful on O'Malley's part and suggests that he is unable to distinguish between right and wrong - a serious problem for a so-called "historian".

Also on Page 24 in the last paragraph O'Malley states that over 3 million acres were confiscated under the New Zealand Settlements Act. What he fails to mention is that the government gave back to the tribes around half of the confiscated land, making an eventual confiscation of 1,610,618 acres. In failing to point this out O'Malley is guilty of either deception or shoddy research.

On Page 26 O'Malley writes "But a stumbling block remained the Crown's unwillingness or inability to return the confiscated lands in full, rather than the small fraction of them that formed part of Grey's offer." The key issue was not land but sovereignty - whether a separate state should exist within a newly united nation. That was why the chiefs signed to Treaty of Waitangi - to obtain a single sovereignty over and above the ever squabbling and fighting tribes. Sovereignty had to be settled before confiscated lands could be handed back and this Tawhiao, the second Maori "king", always refused, thus preventing the return of lands to the Waikato tribes. O'Malley ignores this key issue. This distorted story of the events leading up to the fighting, being the rebellion of some Maoris only, has become common in recent historical commentary. The false insistence that there was no rebellion flavours the whole narrative.

Many Waikato Maori refused a "king" and several great meetings in 1857 and 1858 failed to reach a consensus. Furthermore a majority of Maori across the country supported the peace and opposed the king movement. At the Kohimarama conference in 1860, the largest gathering of chiefs in New Zealand history, the more than 100 chiefs present unanimously affirmed their loyalty to Queen Victoria, their Sovereign.

Page 33 of this increasingly unreliable Report states further misinformation re Rangiaowhia that women, children and elderly men were sent there "as a place of safety and sanctuary for non-combatants". Oh, really? Then why did the troops find "substantial quantities of arms" (NZ - the Fair Colony, Page 31) when they later searched the whares? In the words of Bruce Moon in his book, New Zealand - the Fair Colony (P. 24) "Far from being the haven of peace which these people [e.g. O'Malley] would have us believe, Rangiaowhia was the principal source of food for the rebels in their strong fort at Paterangi and therefore fully involved in the rebellion."

O'Malley ends Page 33 by throwing in something that is in violation of all the historical records of the time; "And other unconfirmed estimates put the death toll at more than 100". His reference for this? His own book. Nothing more. This appears to be nothing more than wishful thinking on his part and has no place in any half credible historical report that is being paid for partly by the ratepayers of Hamilton. It is at variance with all reports by all sides at the time - military, newspaper correspondents, missionaries, etc.

On Page 35 O'Malley returns to the battle of Orakau and calls this purpose built fighting pa a "sanctuary".

At the top of Page 45 the Report gives a laudatory description of the village of Parihaka. However, another report (from the Taranaki Herald, 12 September, 1881) stated "The natives of Parihaka are in a deplorable state.....They are fearfully affected with vermin, which has been induced by the crowded state of the whares and the want of cleanliness. Parihaka is absolutely filthy for want of sanitary precautions".

On this same page the Report again enters into the territory of speculation (as opposed to history) when it states that "Oral histories also record that multiple women were raped" [at Parihaka]. These unfounded allegations (and that is all they were) first appeared during the hearings of the 1927 Sim Commission, which looked into the Parihaka incident - 46 years after the event. The two who made the allegations were Te Whiti's son, Noho Mairangi Te Whiti, who was only fourteen at the time of the Parihaka incident, plus a certain Rangi Matatoro Watene. They referred to the alleged perpetrators as "the soldiers" (no names, rank or further description) and were unable to state the number of alleged victims, their names, their ages, the dates on which the supposed acts occurred, the location(s), or the number of such offences.

In June, 2017, 136 years after the event, the Minister of Treaty Settlements, Christopher Finlayson, resurrected this unproven and unlikely allegation and used :"rapes committed by Crown troops" as a ground for paying $9 million to the descendants of the people of Parihaka. A concerned taxpayer, Mike Butler, sent Finlayson a request under the Official Information Act asking:

* date(s) on which the alleged offences occurred

* the specific location(s) where the alleged offences occurred - at Parihaka or elsewhere?

* the number of such offences

* names and descriptions of the alleged offenders

* names and numbers of the alleged victims

* ages of the alleged victims

* the date(s) when the alleged offences were first reported.

Finlayson failed to answer any of these questions. There were reporters from the newspapers at Parihaka when the occupation occurred, there were strict orders to the soldiers not to consort with the inhabitants, and no such allegations were made at the time. Therefore, unproven rape allegations against both the weight of evidence and the traditions of the armed forces can best be regarded as untrue. So why did O'Malley include this in his Report? It seems to be nothing more than a further indication of his bias against British and colonial troops of the nineteenth century.

The smell of bias continues further down page 45 when the Report talks of Te Whiti and Tohu being "imprisoned without trial". Technically correct but nevertheless misleading. On Page 124 of his book, Kinds of Peace; the Maori People After the Wars, 1870-85, Professor Keith Sinclair wrote of Te Whiti and Tohu's confinement in the South Island as "being treated as gentlemen and not as convicts" while the New Zealand Mail wrote on 24 March, 1883, "Te Whiti states that he has no cause to complain of the treatment he received when he was in the South Island but on the contrary he was very hospitably entertained. He certainly does not look upon his forced residence in Nelson as an imprisonment or even as a banishment."

In conclusion one has to wonder at the point of this Report. It seems to be part of an undemocratic process to impose on the people of Hamilton certain name changes that appear to have no other purpose than to further advance the domination of the area by the tribal elite of Tainui, a relatively small tribal grouping that represents a small percentage of the people of Hamilton. And not even all of these would support a name change as many part-Maoris seem to want to just get on with their lives like other New Zealanders and not to be tools of the tribal elite. To change the name of a major city, built largely by the sweat, toil and initiative of non-Maoris, as well as three of its main streets is a serious matter and SHOULD ONLY BE DONE BY REFERENDUM OF THE PEOPLE OF HAMILTON.

Why should Hamiltonians have the name of their city taken away from them by a passing council after several generations of building Hamilton into what it is to-day? This biased report by a biased historian is not an appropriate tool for anyone to use in trying to reach a decision re the name of Hamilton; it appears to be part of some underhand and undemocratic process for changing the name of the city and some of its streets by going behind the backs of the people of Hamilton.

By a New Zealander
Ċ
Kiwi Frontline,
Jul 13, 2020, 9:33 AM