Tangata Whenua: New Zealand Skeletons in the Cupboard

Tangata Whenua: New Zealand Skeletons in the Cupboard

Alternative explanations for the origin of Maori in New Zealand


I am going into what is taboo territory in this country.

As usual with longer works I have run into formatting problems.


The other day, I came across a series of tweets where a Christchurch man, Byron B. Clark attacked a right -wing YouTuber, Lee Williams, who goes by the name Cross the Rubicon. 

I have never really been a fan or follower of Mr. Williams, nor do I particularly like him but I wanted to find out why he is so offensive to the Left and to the mainstream so I went looking. 

During this search I found Mr. Williams recommended a video called New Zealand Skeletons in the Cupboard, posted below.

When I watched I found the material interesting and thought-provoking; this led me to go deeper and see what I could find and to give my impressions.

Having watched it I decided to go and look online and see what I could find. What I found was practically nothing – everything came down to a few paragraphs, such as this from a site called 100% Pure NZ!

According to the people of Ngāpuhi (tribe of the Far North), the first explorer to reach New Zealand was the intrepid ancestor, Kupe. Using the stars and ocean currents as his navigational guides, he ventured across the Pacific on his waka hourua (voyaging canoe) from his ancestral Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki. It is said that Kupe made landfall at the Hokianga Harbour in Northland, around 1000 years ago.


Or this:

New Zealand has a shorter human history than any other country. The date of first settlement is a matter of debate, but current understanding is that the first arrivals came from East Polynesia in the late 13th century. It was not until 1642 that Europeans became aware the country existed….


That is about it when it comes to what I could find – one or two throwaway lines TELLING you that Maori came (albeit in several waves of migration) in the late-13th Century or 14th Century.

Worse still was this piece of indescribable garbage.

I wasn’t sure if it was directed at children or (more likely) adult children.

We used, once-upon-a time have serious historians whose writings were readily available to the public. From within my own lifetime I can think of Roger Duff (with whom I became briefly acquainted with in the mid-70’s), books such as the History of New Zealand by Keith Sinclair, Ask That Mountain: The Story of Parihaka by Dick Scott which discusses the government-sanctioned land grab at Parihaka at the end of the 19th Century but does not warrant a Wikipedia item.

These were works that I grew up with.

The new history started in some ways with historian, Michael King’s book, the Penguin History of New Zealand, which may mark the beginning of the new history. 

It was certainly very readable and had a clear narrative.

But that may be part of the problem, as we will see. A couple of years I had a skim read of what he had to say – most of the chapter on the prehistory was full of stories of how Maori was the Tangata Whenua (People of the Land), but in the midst of this was one paragraph that acknowledged the late arrival of Maori

“A thirteenth century date for the initial settlement of New Zealand…is more soundly based on the range of evidence currently verifiable. It is still an informed guess, however [emphasis added], and there is always a possibility that new evidence will provoke a further twist of the kaleidoscope that will move the settlement pattern towards different configurations.”

(Michael King, Penguin History of New Zealand, p.51

Thats all he had to say

It seemed to me as if he had to sweat it out, to just slip in one paragraph perhaps the most important information of the book.

New Zealand Skeletons in the Cupboard: Episode 1 The Red Heads

So, as we have seen, the contemporary official version is that Maori arrived from Polynesia around the 14th Century (about 300 years before Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand for the Europeans). This is reflected in this paragraph:

“Despite a plethora of amateur theories about Melanesian, South American, Egyptian, Phoenician and Celtic colonisation of New Zealand, there is not a shred of evidence that the first human settlers were anything other than Polynesian”

–Michael King, Penguin History of New Zealand

According to the Left, to say this is to be a conspiracy theorist at best, a white supremacist at worse:

White supremacists still active in NZ

One has to wonder where objectivity went.

But more of that later.

There seems to be plenty of evidence coming from “amateur scientists” , but also of archeologists and other scientists whose work has been suppressed that the history is much more complicated than that.

While the Encyclopedia of New Zealand says the “oldest” archaeological site in the country is the Wairau Bar at the top of the South Island, dated to around 1280 AD. it is indeed possible that there was a much earlier settlement of New Zealand. prior to the Polynesian settlement.
This has been summarised here:
What have we learnt? Firstly, that New Zealand may have been settled sometime in the early first millennium AD, much earlier than historians currently believe.
There are artefacts found five to six metres underground beneath ancient forests that clearly had to belong to people who existed much earlier than 1200 or 1300AD.
The earliest artefacts are found in the South Island, which may have been the first colonisation point as it is a larger target coast for a New Caledonian canoe than the North Island is.
Secondly, that early South Island cave paintings depict creatures that existed in Melanesia, not Polynesia, once again raising questions about the identity of New Zealand’s original settlers.
Thirdly, that Maori who met Captain Cook in the 1770s were able to describe and even draw pictures of pythons, in a country that has no snakes.
Fourthly, that modern historical assumptions and a continuing debate about the date of human arrival in New Zealand may be off-target because researchers have failed to factor in the evidence-destroying effects of the Mahuika asteroid strike and its mega-tsunami.
Fifthly, that the original settlers, whether Melanesian or a Melanesian/Polynesian mix, were either slaughtered or absorbed into a much bigger wave of Maori migration after 1200AD.
—Ian Wishart, the Great Divide
This is the second film: 
I found an American ‘appreciation’ of the series:

TVNZ Cans Doco Claiming Seven-Foot Celts Arrived in NZ Before Māori

The two-part series was listed under “documentary and factual”
TVNZ has pulled a bizarre documentary claiming seven-foot Celts were chilling in New Zealand thousands of years before the arrival of Māori. Yes, you heard that right. Contradicting the scholarship of literally every respected historian, the two-part documentary, New ZealandSkeletons in the Cupboard, insists that not only Celts but also Australian aboriginals rocked-up to New Zealand long before Māori
Barry Brailsford and Waitaha
I could not talk about any of this without mentioning historian, Barry Brailsford who was asked to talk about Waitaha.
If you look online most references are to place names.
This is all the Wikipedia item has to say:
“Waitaha is an early Māori iwi which inhabited the South Island of New Zealand. They were largely absorbed via marriage and conquest first by the Ngāti Māmoe and then Ngāi Tahu from the 16th century onward. Today those of Waitaha descent are represented by the Ngāi Tahu iwi. Like Ngāi Tahu today, Waitaha was itself a collection of various ancient iwi. Kāti Rākai was said to be one of Waitaha’s hapū”

But, although being absorbed by Ngai Tahu there is no way that Waitaha identify with them.

They have quite a distinct origin and identity as is shown by this from their website waitaha.org

“Traditionally the Waitaha Nation are a Matriarchal people who followed the philosophies of Peace known as Rongomaraeroa, the entity of Peace. Incidentally there have been no weapons of war found in the oldest archeological sites in our land of Aotearoa, New Zealand.’

THIS is their website

It is historian, Barry Brailsford who tells their story in the book, Song of Waitaha: the Histories of a Nation

In 1989, Te Pani Manawatu, of the Rangitane tribe, a surviving remnant of the Waitaha Nation, asked Brailsford to bring their ancient lore to the world. Te Pani, was the Ariki [Chief] of the Tuahuriri Runanga [Council] of Ngai Tahu, a major South Island tribe.

This is a description of the book:

“At last our story is told.

Now the brave ancestors we have hidden for so long stand again for all to see. With these words the Elders of Waitaha tell us that their ancient and sacred lore is shared for the first time.

Bound in secrecy for centuries, protected through the ages by those who gave their lives to keep it safe, this knowledge travels out of the past to be revealed in Song of Waitaha .

For years New Zealand archaeologists have been puzzled by a people who lived without weapons and created trading systems that moved industrial stone the length of the country.

These writings explain they were a peaceful confederation of over two hundred iwi known as the Nation .

It tells their story from the dawntime of exploration and settlement to the final days.

Song of Waitaha repairs the torn fabric of our past and opens doors into the future.

If we are not gentle with life, the garden within us dies.

The Histories tell of a society where many peoples walked in harmony with each other. It shows how they honored the land and waters to sustain life harvesting birds and fish to increase the numbers, cutting tall trees for waka and leaving the forest stronger, carving stone without breaking its spirit, respecting the rivers keeping the environment in balance.

This treasure from the days of the ancestors journeys out of timeless realms where the people and the land were one beneath the stars.

It carries wisdom born of the ancient trails of the spirit and adds a thousand years of wonder to our past.

It reminds us if we lose our story we lose our dream.”

Here is Barry Brailsford talking about Waitaha

Part one

Part two

No doubt, Barry Brailsford is roundly hated by the academics.

This is an account from a British author who has also written about Waitaha:

Waitaha – New Zealand’s inconvenient indigenous people and how they are being deleted from history

The Waitaha predate the Maori by at least 35 generations and are a real problem for the Maori claims to being the original people of the islands. This is the tragic story of how the “solution” has been to try and eradicate the Waitaha and other earlier inhabitants of New Zealand from history… and they have very nearly succeeded!

With author Tim Wilcocks whose book – “On the trail of the Waitaha” is available from www.thebowenman.co.uk

Thor Heyedahl and the Kon Tiki expedition

Very few people have heard of Norwegian explorer, Thor Heyedahl who, in 1947 built a vessel and sailed forth to show that it was possible for voyagers to travel from Peru to Polynesia.

Very few have heard of him but he was renowned when I was growing up.

Is it any surprise that he was treated with as much scepticism as present day historians?

Here is a  trailer from the film that was made at the time

And this is the entire film

Kon Tiki – the voyage

The academics: Dr. Paul Moon

In my research I came across the Auckland academic, Dr Paul Moon who has had an interesting contribution to make.

Back in 2010 he responded to research which indicated Maori colonised New Zealand between 1210 and 1385 AD.

“If Maori reached New Zealand waters just 300 years before the first Europeans, some people might also start to reconsider the idea of Maori being indigenous. It could be interpreted as a different type of ‘indigenous’ from the sort that applies to peoples who inhabited countries exclusively for thousands of years. This would be an unfortunate conclusion to draw, but is something that might have to be faced.”

Here is the article from the NZ Herald

Study questions date of Maori arrival in NZ

Research showing Maori may have reached New Zealand later than previously believed may have implications for the Waitangi Tribunal, a New Zealand historian says.

In the study “High-precision radiocarbon dating shows recent and rapid initial human colonization of East Polynesia”, published yesterday in the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and led by Janet Wilmshurst from New Zealand’s Landcare Research, more than 1400 radiocarbon dates were analysed from 47 Pacific islands. The results indicate New Zealand was first colonised by humans between 1210 and 1385 AD.


AUT University History Professor, Paul Moon said the study might have “far-reaching implications for Maori oral history”.

Maori oral histories which recall lists of ancestors have been used to date the first arrival in New Zealand as early as 800 AD, Dr Moon said.

“If these Maori whakapapa [genealogies] are out by over five hundred years, then this must raise questions about their reliability.

“If Maori reached New Zealand waters just 300 years before the first Europeans, some people might also start to reconsider the idea of Maori being indigenous. It could be interpreted as a different type of ‘indigenous’ from the sort that applies to peoples who inhabited countries exclusively for thousands of years. This would be an unfortunate conclusion to draw, but is something that might have to be faced.”

Dr Moon said the study could also impact on the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal, which has accepted evidence of a much earlier settlement date.

“Ironically, the mid-fourteenth century date for the first arrival of Maori in New Zealand was widely accepted up until the 1950s, when academics challenged it on the basis of Maori whakapapa, and shunted back the date by hundreds of years. Now, it looks like it will have to be dragged forward again”


In addition, Dr. Moon wrote a book about cannibalism amongst Maori

In other words, leave it to the experts who, by the way include archaeologists and other real scientists.

Ian Wishart’s “The Great Divide”

In some ways my digging brought me to this book by Ian Wishart.

The Great Divide: The Story of New Zealand & Its Treaty

Here is a bio:

Ian Wishart is a multi-award winning investigative journalist and bestselling author of more than 20 books, who’s now in his fourth decade in the news business. His writing style has often been compared to John Grisham by reviewers.

He’s been a radio News Director, a Chief of Staff for TV3 News and a magazine editor. His work has featured in the Times of London, Daily Mail, New Zealand Herald and America’s massive Coast to Coast radio programme – to name a few. His books Totalitaria, Air Con and Vitamin D became Amazon bestsellers worldwide.

While writing his first book, The Paradise Conspiracy, Wishart’s TVNZ office was discovered to have been bugged, his home was broken into, the manuscript for the book stolen, and an attempt was made on his life. Needless to say, he survived to write the story.

The first four chapters of The Paradise Conspiracy inspired movie director Geoff Murphy (“Young Guns II”, “Under Siege 2”) to produce the movie “Spooked” starring Cliff Curtis (“Runaway Jury”, “Live Free or Die Hard”) in a loose portrayal of Wishart’s role as an investigative journalist.

He’s been shot at, tear-gassed and stalked, but Wishart says his motivation remains telling the stories that “need to be told”, whether its new leads on cold case murders, or government espionage.

I was surprised by the book.

Instead of finding a right-wing diatribe I found a fine piece of scholarship.

In some ways, in a modern sense, it is not good history in that it is very short on narrative and replete with long quotes of  accounts from the time leading up to the Treaty, from people on Abel Tasman’s, expedition, Captain James Cook, missionary Samuel Marsden. 

He does what few others have done and let these people speak to us from 200 years ago, together with the principles, attitudes and prejudices of the time.

Let us hear from Ian Wishart himself.

His conclusion (verbatim) – 

The reality is is that Maori were treated shabbily in some respects after the Treaty was signed, and I give instances of that.

But by the same token, my biggest point of the book is that the idea of New Zealand being governed by a treaty partnership is a lie.

It’s a modern myth.

It’s not true.

It’s been done for political reasons.

All it does is submit empower a Maori elite and a Pakeha elite who will govern over the rest of us and share the spoils.

What we need for New Zealand moving forward as a constitution that gives us an absolute democracy that gives the people of all colours and creeds and races and religions equal standing in the mall, and says that the politicians are our servants, not our masters.

I have found the above fascinating. I do not have the skills to say I agree or disagree although I strongly suspect that with the evidence they bring to table they cannot be all wrong.
But it is not good enough for the Left (or the prevailing paradigm to even ask questions.
As Lenin said a century ago : “You are either for or against us”. 
That is the language of communism, not a liberal democracy.
If you talk like this you are smeared as a “right-wing fascist“.
But what does ‘right wing’ mean? 
I think I know.
It is the attitude that is common that says that corporate business interests are paramount and it is the workers and those who are unfortunate enough to be thrown on the scrapheap by the Powers-That-Be or some other majority are to blame for our misfortunes.
It is, according to the Right those that overlook that international corporations do not pay any tax and even get subsidies but say, instead that they are the victims and those on welfare are to blame.
That is ‘right wing’.
I know it well.
It is not the prejudices of common folk that are mostly, in this age, harmless, that threaten anybody.
But the ruling ideology aims to attack precisely such people.
The language inclusive but it is hugely divisive because it seeks to replace an albeit imperfect liberal democracy with something based on race that actually leads to the concentration of power in an elite at the expense of the people, Pakeha and Maori.
There is no doubt that the hopes of Maori at Waitangi were betrayed by the Crown. Maori were alienated from their land and a long period of discrimination ensued. If you want to understand this period I suggest you try and get a copy of Dick Scott’s Ask That Mountain: The Story of Parihaka.
Written some decades ago it tells the story without the political correctness that has overtaken New Zealand since the 1990’s.
This had to be remedied.
It invited a balance be struck, an understanding. 
But that opportunity to heal the divisions was missed and instead the pendulum swung in the opposite direction in a way that left the elite that have always ruled firmly in charge, albeit, this time, seemingly in a “partnership” with a Maori elite.
Instead of healing old wounds it is the same old dualism, an ‘either-or’ approach that has brought us to our present turn of events that is anti-liberal and totalitarian in its nature.
Despite all I am still at somewhat of a loss to explain who we ended up with this dark situation.
All this is reflected in a tweet I saw today:
We have a prejudiced British immigrant and those that seek, not to debate or persuade, but rather to destroy.
There is no Middle Way
Are we back to the Great Divide? 
If we end up with increased racial tension and even violence I place the blame fully at the feet of Jacinda Adern’s government and those before her and those who are pushing their agenda which end point can only lead to more division than we have seen for a long time.

One thought on “Tangata Whenua: New Zealand Skeletons in the Cupboard

  1. There is far more history to explore in New Zealand. The Waitaha were people of peace and lived here prior to the invasion of the Maori. They knew the warriors were coming. The Waitaha were invaded by the Maoris. The Waitaha had been here for a very long time. If we step back and look at history of our planet, we will never be able to know who was here first!. So why is it that we have a race of people who feel more entitled. It doesnt make sense. I believe that there are lies and coverups between our Government and the Maori. And I would love to know why!

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