Global warming carries particular risks for the Māori communities with which I work – although further research about the likely impact is needed. I’m completing a three-year study about Māori young people’s hopes and fears about the future and I often find myself worrying about what lies ahead for them and their children. These uncertainties tie us directly to the health of our mountains and rivers: to what Māori call Papatūānuku, or Earth Mother. They are a constant reminder of how our connections with our ancestors have been disrupted by the colonial land grab and its attendant plagues of white privilege, corporate greed and climate change.Read More →

The New Zealand Wars (1845–72) had a decisive influence over the course of the nation’s history. Yet Pākehā have not always cared to remember them in anything approaching a robust manner, engaging at different times either in elaborate myth-making that painted the wars as chivalrous and noble or, when that was no longer tenable, actively choosing to ignore them altogether.Read More →

I am a Māori woman who weeps when I hear the words, Ōrākau, Rangiaowhia, Rangiriri, Meremere; this tragic roll call of almost incomprehensible pain and loss. When I drive down Great South Road to the Waikato, I imagine the beat of horse’s hooves and the tramp of soldier’s boots and I feel a catch in my throat. Read More →

Recently, during a staff-room lunch break with colleagues in my Faculty, a debate sprang up about teaching about violent histories. They had been talking about the reluctance of the New Zealand Ministry of Education to position New Zealand’s colonial history as a central component of the school curriculum. It was one of those conversations that started casually enough but ended in fiery denunciations and a string of reply-to-all emails that lasted through the afternoon. Someone had brought in a basket of feijoas† from their garden and I tucked into them as the debate unfolded at the other end of the table (I’ve published on this debate so my views are already known to my colleagues).

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