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John Robinson

Dr John Robinson is the author of “The corruption of New Zealand democracy, a Treaty overview”, “When two cultures meet, the New Zealand experience”, and “Twisting the Treaty, a tribal grab for wealth and power” (joint author), "The Kingite Rebellion", "One Treaty, One Nation" (joint author), "Gate Pa and Te Ranga, the full story" (co author),  and articles on “The battles of Tapu te Ranga”, “Chance to create and island of peace” and “Spoils of war behind Ngati Toa settlement for Wellington coast”

BSc, MSc (mathematics), Dip Hons (physics) from Auckland University and PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his career has been as a scientist and futures scholar.

Dr Robinson has been hired to research and report on matters Maori by the following:

* the Faculty of Business Studies at Massey University
* the Royal Commission on Social Policy
* the Ministry of Maori Affairs
* Te Puni Kokiri
* the Treaty of Waitangi Unit at the Department of Justice
* the Treaty of Waitangi Research Unit at Victoria University
* the Crown Forestry Rental Trust.


Maori Party Co-leader and Te Tai Hauauru candidate Debbie Ngarewa-Packer has called for an inquiry focused on identifying and getting rid of racist monuments, statues and names from our colonial era, and in doing so to create a new version of our …

Maori Party Co-leader and Te Tai Hauauru candidate Debbie Ngarewa-Packer has called for an inquiry focused on “identifying and getting rid of racist monuments, statues and names from our colonial era”, and in doing so to create a new version of our history. The Maori Party demanded the removal a Hamilton street name of John Bryce who “led the Parihaka invasion.” Radio New Zealand have reported a claim of many killed at Parihaka – which is a lie as the only casualty was one boy who had his foot stepped on by a horse. (For a true account see Parihaka the facts by John McLean.)

In capitulation to one such demand, and a threat, the Hamilton City Council has removed a memorial to Captain John Hamilton after a Maori elder called him a ‘murderer’ and threatened to remove his statue by force. Captain Hamilton, commanding officer of HMS Esk, had lost his life at Gate Pa, fighting to end rebellion and bring peace to New Zealand; this was no murderer. His statue should remain, a fitting recognition of his sacrifice.

What, however, should be done when some historical figure did in fact commit terrible atrocities? What of Te Rauparaha, whose killings around Kapiti and across the South Island are well established and widely reported, and who is recognised in Kapiti street names and the Te Rauparaha Arena and Aquatic Centre at Porirua? His deeds were horrific, yet he is held in high regard by his iwi (Ngati Toa and Ngati Raukawa).

This raises the question of what then should be done when some historical figure who is recognised in the community by a street names, a stadium name or a statue, is held to have done wrong. Should any one group have the power to expunge a memory that they find distasteful?

The answer is to keep the recognition, and at the same time to understand the wrongs that he committed. So, while recognising the horrors of the wars of Te Rauparaha, I do not call for his name to be expunged. No important historical figure should be written out of history, and any difference of opinion should not give any particularly vocal group the right to remove any record of the past.

Once respect for differing opinion is established, we can recognise our equality in a peaceful nation, and become one people.

Before colonisation Maori society was by nationwide murderous wars, with more than 35,000 deaths in and following battles, plus massive social disruption, leading to a population decline or 65,000 to 80,000, in 1800-1840. That mayhem is described in Unrestrained slaughter, the Maori musket wars 1800-1840 (2020).

Colonisation, which was an essential factor in the Maori cultural transformation, brought a great improvement in the lives of all Maori. Peace came. There was an end to country-wide inter-tribal warfare, to cannibalism, to slavery, to infanticide. Developed technologies came, new crops and animals (including horses), literacy, the idea of equality and that all people deserve respect. Disputes were to be settled by the law and no longer by armed might.

The British did not come in force and for some time Maori communities were left to govern themselves. Many Maori rushed to sell land, but others wanted to prevent land sales. There was fighting between the two factions in North Taranaki, disputes in the Waikato.

In reaction to the unrest, Governor Gore Brown went to the Waikato in 1857 and asked a meeting what they wanted. The requirements included runangas, a European magistrate, and laws. He agreed and the senior chief, Te Wherowhero (an old warrior who was to become the first Maori king), was delighted and welcomed that assistance.

Meanwhile, some Maori, such as Tamihana Te Rauparaha, had thought that a Maori king could assert the much-needed law and order. That movement was not accepted by many Maori in the Waikato, and was turned down by large hui in 1857 and 1858. The kingite contingent went ahead and anointed Te Wherowhero, a supporter of the government who was unwell and died in in 1860. Fighting began in the Waikato in 1863 when Rewi Maniapoto led an insurrection with the driving out of the Government agent and there were a number of attacks by armed bands on settlers south of Auckland.

Many chiefs from across New Zealand had recognised the danger of the movement at a great meeting at Kohimarama in 1860. They profited from the peace and remained loyal to their government, and were apprehensive of the kingite actions.

The British troops were fighting for the many Maori who refused the king movement and demanded their right to live in peace and to sell land if they wished, for people of Auckland who were threatened, and to assert a unified nation.

The Waikato rebellion was dominated by a coalition of tribes, the wartime alliance of Ngati Haua, Waikato, Ngati Maniapoto and Ngaiterangi formed by the warrior chief Waharoa during the previous musket wars. His son, Wiremu Tamihana Tarapipipi Te Waharoa (generally known as Wiremu Tamihana or William Thompson) was a leader of the king movement, known as ‘the kingmaker’.

Ngaiterangi of Tauranga were active fighters. A large raiding-party of between one hundred and fifty and two hundred, who had gone to the Hunua Ranges in 1863 to plunder settlers’ houses and attack soldiers on the Wairoa, had been discovered by an army detachment of fifty-five men and driven off.

After defeat in the Waikato, some Ngaiterangi chose to threaten Tauranga, where there were many loyal Maori and a few Europeans. They built Gate Pa nearby, which had to be removed.

After the fire of the guns, howitzers and mortars had destroyed a large portion of the fence and palisading, and opened a breach made in the parapet, an assaulting party of one hundred and fifty seamen and marines and an equal number of the 43rd Regiment entered the pa. There was a fierce conflict in which “the natives fought with the greatest desperation”. Captain Hamilton was shot dead on the top of the parapet while in the act of encouraging his men to advance, and in a few minutes almost every officer of the column was either killed or wounded. (Gate pa and Te Ranga, the full story, 2018, with John McLean, page 68)

It has been pointed out by Andrew Bydder (https://thebfd.co.nz/2020/06/15/hamilton-statue-the-facts/?mc_cid=57c7e011b2&mc_eid=60f36909d3) that “Hamilton was in New Zealand for 12 hours. He did not even fire a shot, and did not get close enough to fight anyone. What were the atrocities he committed? Whom did he murder?”

Hamilton gave his life at Gate Pa in an act of bravery by a loyal warrior in a just war, surely worthy of remembrance. This was no murderer.

Te Rauparaha was a chief of Ngati Toa, of Kawhia. In 1819-1820 he joined a great taua of Ngapui and allies from the north, hoping to find a refuge safe from the deadly attacks of Waikato. That and a following 1821 amiowhenua (round the land) taua, of Ngati Whatua and Waikato, decimated the peoples to the south of the island, and Te Rauparaha recognised that the weakened region around Kapiti, and the island, could provide the much-needed sanctuary.

He led a heke (migration) south, drove out the inhabitants and took that land for his iwi. After a failed counter-attack by those he had dispossessed, he invited other tribes to join and strengthen his numbers, forming a coalition of Ngati Toa, Te Atiawa, Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Tama, Ngati Ruanui and Ngati Rarua, which carried out a number of murderous attacks on South Island Tribes. The horrors of those actions, with the considerable killing and cannibalism, has been described by his son, Tamihana (Life and times of Te Rauparaha, 1980, edited by P Butler). Many of those taua were mainly undertaken for the love of war and conquest.

Te Rauparaha was a skilful general who fought brutally and uncompromisingly, often with trickery and deceit. He was a mass killer who earned the hatred of those he conquered, and is far from a suitable role model for our times. Yet he is undoubtedly a major figure in the history of New Zealand, and some among us honour his name. He is recognised in Kapiti street names and the Te Rauparaha Arena and Aquatic Centre at Porirua.

It is evident that we disagree on the place of Hamilton and Te Rauparaha. I believe that my disgust at the actions of Te Rauparaha does not give me the right to remove any mention of his name and to erase him from history. Similarly, the opinions of members of the Maori Party, which I dispute, do not give them the right to insist that his statue be destroyed. Let us hold to our positions, and argue our points – and leave the monuments alone, with respect for those who hold a different view.

We inherit much wisdom from the past, with many directions for a caring society. One key principle is the recognition of the inherent equality of all people, from birth, regardless of status, wealth and position, race or gender.

This is fundamental to the Treaty of Waitangi, which asserted that ‘now we are one’ and gave to all New Zealanders the rights and duties of British citizens.

It was clearly stated in the USA Declaration of Independence, allowing no room for doubt. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal …”

That reference to ‘man’ with its possible gender bias is tidied up in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, where the first article is “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.

Let us recognise that truth and live by that principle. When any Maori claims a special position and special rights, speak the words of the Barber of Seville. “Because you are a great noble, you think you are a great genius! Nobility, a fortune, a rank, appointments to office: all this makes a man so proud! What did you do to earn all this? You took the trouble to get born – nothing more. Moreover, you’re really a pretty ordinary fellow.” (The Marriage of Figaro, Pierre Beaumarchais, 1778)

Accident of birth should never bring privilege. Law should be blind to ancestry or ethnicity. No one group should be set up as arbiter of our thoughts, as in much of New Zealand law. We must stand up to vigilante actions, which have become all too common and even consented to by authority.

There is positive action that can be taken, which is to celebrate the coming together of two formerly very different people to form this nation, with enmity and war replaced by peace-making and friendship. This is nowhere made more clear than in the monument at Kihikihi erected by Sir George Grey in honour of his former bitter foe, and now friend, Rewi Maniapoto.

We are now free to travel, and to see our country. Instead of removing a statue in the face of threats, the people of Hamilton, led by their council, should organise a ceremony of remembrance and celebration at Kihikihi, a gathering before that monument to friendship.

We must stop the hatred and consider the forgiveness expressed there; refuse to submit to bullying and instead establish a more positive mood, to go forward together. Here is a wise use of that freedom, reminding us of the full story of the past, bringing to mind the considerable accord rather than focussing only on grievance.

Dr John Robinson's Kapiti Independent series

The numbered articles below are all under this link >  http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/new-zealand-history/

#  1 Getting to the truth about NZ history
#  2 The insecurity of tribal life
#  3 Maori population recovery after 1840
#  4  Wiremu Kingi - Waikanae to Waitara 
#  5 Wiremu KIngi - at Waitara
#  6 The Waikato King's land rejection
#  7 Celebrating Peace - Rewi at Waitara
#  8 Tamihana Te Rauparaha
#  9 Maori Disagreement about a King
# 10 Cultural Change among Maori Chiefs 1
# 11 Cultural Change among Maori Chiefs Part 2
# 12 Class, Family and Corruption in a Tribal Society


DR JOHN ROBINSON COMMENTS ON ‘Every 4 minutes’: A discussion paper on preventing family violence in New Zealand by Ian Lambie (Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, 6 Nov 2018) >

JR: This report claims that Maori experienced little violence before colonisation, but are now highly exposed to violence and should be given culturally appropriate solutions. It has been widely reported, as in a Herald article, ‘New Zealand lacks comprehensive strategy to counter family violence – new report:’

~~ “Colonisation had had a traumatic affect on Maori, and culturally-appropriate solutions – informed by science – were needed for Maori and Pacific communities. Despite the well-reported relative absence of whanau violence before colonisation, Maori are now highly exposed to it. The trauma of colonisation has had an inter-generational effect on Maori, who experience disproportionate rates of family violence, combined with other negative social effects of racism, discrimination and dislocation, alongside strengths and resilience factors that endure.”

JR: This assumption, that the problem was created by colonisation, is emphasised several times in the paper.

~~ In section 8, page 5: “Despite the well-reported relative absence of whanau violence before colonisation, Maori are now highly exposed to it. The trauma of colonisation has had an intergenerational effect on Maori, who experience disproportionate rates of family violence, combined with other negative social effects of racism, discrimination and dislocation, alongside strengths and resilience factors that endure.”

~~ In section 47, page 14: “The trauma and losses associated with colonisation have continuing impacts over generations, increasingly appreciated as a contributor to the intergenerational transmission of trauma. There is historical evidence of respectful whanau relationships, collective obligations and responsibilities, including for the care and protection of children (and their mothers), and the absence of violence within whanau, prior to colonisation.”

JR: We need to know the evidence supporting this claim. This always the case in serious scholarship, where nothing is accepted on trust, and any argument must be supported by concrete evidence.

The reference given to the last point is ‘Transforming the normalisation and intergenerational whanau (family) violence’ by Denise Wilson, in Te Rau Matatini (the Journal of Indigenous Wellbeing) 2016; 2(2): 32-43. I found and downloaded this in order to learn of the proof for this assertion.

~~ HERE IT IS: “It is hard to imagine how Maori (indigenous peoples of Aotearoa [New Zealand]) went from a society where tane (men), wahine (women) and mokopuna (children and grandchildren) all had important roles, which maintained the strength and wellbeing of their whakapapa (genealogy) to many living amidst violence in their whanau.

Wahine and mokopuna were highly valued members as the bearers of future generations and represented their future. Of particular note was the nurturing role and communal obligations that tane and the wider whanau (comprising of grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins) had to protect its members and raise healthy mokopuna. Our matauranga (knowledge) contained within purakau (stories myths and legends), waiata (songs), karakia (ritual chants or prayers), moteatea (traditional laments or chants), and oriorio (lullabys), for example, provide evidence of traditional values and practises. These indicate whanau and its members obligations held central the care and protection of mokopuna (Eruera & Ruwhiu, 2015), as well as their mothers. Our historical documents confirm the absence of violence within whanau and hapu (sub-tribe), particularly that inflicted against wahine and mokopuna, sometimes to the dismay of the authors of these accounts (Taonui, 2010). Any violence against wahine and mokopuna was unacceptable, and indiscretions addressed both swiftly and harshly – viewed as transgressions against whakapapa (Kruger et al., 2004; Mikaere, 1994). The impacts of colonisation destroyed our traditional ways of life for many whanau. The importance of respectful and complementary relationships and the collective obligations and responsibilities held by whanau and hapu members eroded. Instead, the new ways of our colonisers replaced traditional values and practices.”

JR: It is said that Maori learned the lessons of colonisation so well that they came to outdo the colonists (with their assumed defective culture, which included maltreatment of women and children [is this proved here?], previously – it is said – unknown to Maori), until they outnumbered them in a long list of negative statistics, measures of reprehensible behaviour. This is truly mysterious; in the words of the quoted reference, “It is hard to imagine”, and so is never explained.

Note that the claim is for “the absence of violence within whanau and hapu” – that is within the tribe. The history of warfare, cannibalism and slavery makes it clear that people outside the tribe were ‘the other’, non-people who were attacked, killed, eaten or taken as slaves (many of whom would later be killed and eaten). Taken as a whole, this was an extremely violent society/culture.

These claims are general. It is said that songs, myths and the like “provide evidence of traditional values and practises”, which protect women and children. It is all so familiar, and many Christian precepts call for similar decency, but that never guaranteed universal good behaviour, not in any society. What are the facts, the actual actions?

THERE IS MUCH EVIDENCE IN THE HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS OF THE VERY OPPOSITE. This was very much a class-based society, where commoners had lesser rights than chiefs, where slaves had no rights at all. There are many accounts of the hard labour of most women, who became bowed down and crippled before reaching middle age. Female infanticide was also a common practice.

Observations and conversations with Maori at the time tell a very different story, as reported by an early settler and writer, Joel Samuel Polack, during his residence in New Zealand between 1831 and 1837.

~~ “On taxing some females with having committed infanticide, they laughed heartily at the serious manner in which I put the question. They told me the poor infants did not know or care much about it. One young woman, who had recently destroyed a female infant, said that she wished her mother had done the same to her, when she was young; ‘For why should my in­fant live?’ she added; ‘to dig the ground! to be a slave to the wives of her husband! to be beaten by them, and trodden under foot! NO! CAN A WOMAN HERE PROTECT HERSELF, AS AMONG THE WHITE PEOPLE?’”

JR: There are problems to be faced, now, with considerable differences between different groups, for the most part across class groups, requiring an honest understanding of why this should be so. The first cultural change from traditional Maori ways was well under way when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, having been led by Maori chiefs following their observations of the new culture and their discussions with missionaries. That brought an end to most inter-tribal war, slaves were free, and the new security allowed many groups to return to the lands from which they had been driven.

One clear reason for the social disruption of the late twentieth century was the massive shift to the cities around the time of the Second World War, continuing for the following decades. Certainly the move, from Maori villages, with the many accessible relationships, to city suburbs, removed much of the support for young families. And just as surely, this was no consequence of the colonisation of more than a century before.

This brought many Maori into the working class, and they did well while the economy was growing. But when growth faltered, and when the 1984 Roger Douglas-led Government took actions that destroyed many small industries and employment opportunities – and introduced tax changes that exploded inequality – Maori suffered more than the average.

The past, of war and disruption, was never so blissful as the new picture would have us believe. The absurd rewriting of history and constructions of myths of a ‘noble savage’ Maori society (Arcadian, an image or idea of life in the countryside that is believed to be perfect) is a diversion away from the real causes of social inequality. Only when these are recognised can the country move to solutions of the many problems that are listed in the report.

But the report does pass the main test of today’s New Zealand. IT IS POLITICALLY CORRECT – AND WRONG.

Saturday, 15 December 2018


Maori rebellion and New Zealand wars

The call for a national day to mark the New Zealand wars has been backed by claims that the wars of rebellion against the national government were land wars, which “left much of the country's indigenous population battered and bloodied, and facing the prospect of dying out altogether within a few generations.”

This is quite false. The reason for the Maori population decrease of the nineteenth century is clear from the data – there were too few young, too few women, following the disruption and killing of the intertribal wars that preceded the Treaty.

Nor were the rebellions a consequence of land loss – after all, confiscations followed the fighting and could not have been the cause. They had deeper roots, again in the years of intertribal warfare, as well as the difficult cultural changes of the time. The truth is complex, more fascinating than the simplistic myth of colonial wrong that has been put out during forty years of a grievance industry (since the establishment of the Waitangi Tribunal) fuelled by payments for complaint, turning attention away from the many benefits of a settled government that freed slaves and provided peace and prosperity to most Maori.

The search for causes of rebellion takes us back in time to those intertribal wars,.....
Continue reading Dr John Robinson's explanation HERE 

Rubber stamping rewards for killing

A select committee charade
"This Settlement is in direct contradiction with the Treaty of Waitangi, which held the promise of equality as British subjects, now New Zealand citizens. The Treaty of Waitangi put an end to those war parties. The immediate consequences were breathtaking. Across the country slaves became free and returned to their homes. Peace treaties broke the cycle of utu. Deserted lands were again settled and all gained the right to life, free from marauding war parties with an end to the genocide that had reduced the Maori population by one-third in the preceding 40 years. The country should celebrate rather than apologising for bringing peace.......

Full exposing article here > http://forum.nzcpr.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=46143#p46143

Racism claims not supported by facts

Claims of serious racism in the New Zealand health system are disputed by John Robinson, of Wellington.

AT the University of Otago Wellington campus I recently listened to a claim of serious racism in the New Zealand health system, suggesting Maori report experiencing significant racial discrimination and poorer health care. This is heady stuff, not to be taken lightly. If true, we should all be concerned.

However, a careful study of the research shows the claim was not established by the facts presented.......

Full ODT article here > http://falseracism.blogspot.co.nz/

From tribal society to modern civilisation

The University of Otago has set down a framework to present a more cohesive approach to Maori strategy across all campuses of the University. The intention is to “Integrate into existing programmes and develop new quality programmes in Te Ao Maori, te reo Maori and other robust kaupapa Maori options.” [1] This is a sweeping requirement as Te Ao Maori means ‘a Maori world view’.

The consequences of such policies are evident......

Pre-European tribal culture
Claims of a healthy and peaceful Maori culture before the arrival of Europeans (as in [2]) are contradicted by the evidence ([5], [6] chapter ‘Maori at the time of meeting’). There was a population explosion during the first few centuries after the arrival of Polynesians, in a land of plenty. Once the moa were eaten and extinct, and seal numbers much reduced, the diet was poor.....

It may be that the population was in fact steady rather than declining, but the evidence certainly provides no support for the picture of a healthy people.....

Mass intertribal warfare
Traditional Maori intertribal warfare was evident in the many fortifications protecting against rival tribes. The introduction of muskets resulted in a blow-out of fighting and killing. “Of an estimated 100,000 – 150,000 Maori living in New Zealand at or around 1810, by 1840 probably somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 had been killed, enslaved or forced to migrate as a result of the wars (working from estimates generated by Ian Pool and others). In the main that occurred in the short space of twenty-five years from 1815 to 1840.”.......

Colonial and national government
The assumption of considerable wrong done to Maori people implicit in discussions of the impact of colonisation in health is incorrect. A comprehensive study of Maori health and government policy made the point that “more extensive health provision was made for Maori between 1840 and 1940 then has been generally recognised.” ([11] page 15)

Much of health funding came from rates, which were not paid by Maori, and this created very real difficulties for many regions. However hospitals were “open to Maori equally”.......

Read the full article here > http://falseracism.blogspot.co.nz/

Claimed racial discrimination in the New Zealand health system; A Rebuttal

This paper ascribes ethnic differences in perceptions of health as due to racial discrimination against Maori.

“Within New Zealand and internationally, there is recognition of the important role of racism as a basic underlying cause of ethnic inequalities in health”

“In New Zealand, Māori report experiencing disproportionately higher racial discrimination at an individual level that has been linked to a range of adverse health outcomes, heightened health risk and poorer health care as well as contributing to ethnic health inequalities between Māori and Pākehā (European).”

“Results of this study suggest that, in a race conscious society, the way people’s ethnicities are viewed by others appears to have tangible health risk or advantage, and this is consistent with an understanding of racism as a health determinant. Dismantling the structures of racism is complex yet vital in our efforts to achieve a fair society that facilitates equitable outcomes in health and other social indicators and also enables self-determination of priorities and solutions for Māori.” [1]

It would be highly worrying if this assertion of different treatment based on racial prejudice in the health system were to hold. It is a serious charge against health professionals. However, the analysis is faulty and this is not so.

The study considered perceptions of treatment and well-being as in answers to questions such as:

“Have you ever been treated unfairly (for example, kept waiting or treated differently) by a health professional (that is, a doctor, nurse, dentist etc) because of your ethnicity in New Zealand?” ([2] Question 5.10)

There is considerable uncertainty here of what is measured........

BMC Public Health article > (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/13/844)

Dr John Robinsons rebuttal to the BMC article here > http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/13/844/comments.