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Bryan Johnson

Our nationally and officially accepted historians, Orange, King, O'Malley, Belich, Salmond et al, have much in common.

First, they have the unquestioning support of governments, as evidenced by regal honours being granted to some and their status being promoted internationally by the media.

Second, in their historical records they are careful to avoid incidents that may offend Maori. Michael King suggested that cannibalism was virtually non-existent, when in fact it was endemic. The 4000 casualties of the Land Wars are set for an annual commemoration, while the 50,000 slaughtered in the pre-Treaty Musket Wars are not mentioned.

Third, in reportage of conflict between Maori and the colonial government, the official publications resort mainly to Maori oral accounts, while the colonial government's records are largely ignored or disparaged. No comparative reportage of the benefits of colonisation to Maori are stated. Sir Apirana Ngata observed: "But for the sovereignty handed to Her Majesty I doubt there would be a free Maori race in New Zealand today." Mention of this by the historians? Nil.

Fourth, their lack of objectivity gives support to Treaty revisionists to introduce such erroneous terms as Treaty principles and suggested partnership with the Crown, which are accepted by many of the naive and gullible public.

Fifth, they have gained the support of most of the media so that opinions challenging their claims are seldom published.

Sixth, a large number of politically motivated academics and left-leaning members of the judiciary and education, supported by government patronage, have given them unquestioning public acceptance.

Seventh, they seem incapable of presenting full and accurate reportage of history.

Finally, they lack introspection and professional integrity. Historians should be judged not just for what they say but also for what they choose not to say.

When the recently retired Race Relations Commissioner, Susan Devoy, relying on an historical claim by Vincent O'Malley of an action between colonial militia and Tainui Kingite rebels at Rangioawhia, made a defamatory and false statement on Waitangi Day, her justification was, "Well, history is often contentious and debatable." Wrong! History is fact. It should be unembellished, unadorned, unromanticised.

O'Malley's version of the Rangioawhia action was fully reported in the 'Listener,' but a contrary, historically verified version of the event by historian Bruce Moon was refused publication. Free speech?