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Key's rewrite of history an insult to Maori

Chairman Dave Hereora
26 June 2008

Key's rewrite of history an insult to Maori ancestry

The Government Maori caucus says John Key's ignorance of New Zealand history absolutely proves he is not someone who can be trusted to lead this country.

"What an appalling display of ignorance from a man who fancies himself as the next Prime Minister," Caucus chairman Dave Hereora said.

Newstalk ZB has reported Mr Key as saying:

"We're not a country that's come about as a result of civil war or where there's been a lot of fighting internally, we're, we're a country which peacefully came together."

It is the second time Mr Key has promoted his own view of history after making a similar statement on Radio Waatea earlier this month:

" if you really think about it. Maori and, and, ah, the Crown, you know, signed the Treaty, um, as a, as a peaceful solution not on the back of a war that was, you know, raging as you see in so many other countries but as a, as a peaceful and, um, I think sort of durable way to, to, to develop a country."

"Maori should be warned that this is not a man who can be trusted. For someone who doesn't even know where he was during the 1981 Springbok tour to suddenly start rewriting history to suit himself shows he has scant regard for our heritage," Mr Hereora said.

"He's lost the plot; he doesn't understand history and the value of that history. As painful as it may be, it has still brought us together as nation and we should never forget our ancestry."

Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia said he was astonished by the National Party leader's inability to accurately articulate history.

"I am floored at Mr Key's lack of knowledge on New Zealand History," Mr Horomia said.

"There were wars, there was fighting and there were a lot of lives and land lost. What does Mr Key think of yesterday, the signing of the biggest treaty settlement ever with CNI iwi, was all about?

"It certainly was not about providing redress to Maori for the niceties of the 1800's."

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Associate Minister Shane Jones, also the Northland List MP, said it was "shocking and unbelievable" that Mr Key could even contemplate rewriting history.

"Does he not know that our first civil war was at Kororareka (Russell) in March 1845 when Hone Heke and Te Ruki Kawiti joined together to fight the British in the 'Flagstaff War'," Mr Jones said.

"It is an incredible thing for him to say, it is an insult to the descendants of those from both sides of that war and many other wars. He is either deliberately twisting history or he is plainly vacuous, what is it Mr Key?"

Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa said Mr Key's comments were made even more painful because of his own ties to Parihaka.

"I grew up in Parihaka which was founded during those traumatic times of the land confiscations and dispossession I find John Key's comments absolutely insulting to Maori and our Ancestors who suffered at the hands of colonisation in the 1800's," Mr Okeroa said.

"Maori are entitled to be treated with some respect in our own country and have our history recognised as important part of New Zealand's history. We can't have this Johnny-come-by-lately rewriting our past because he wants it that way."

List MP for Waiariki Mita Ririnui said Mr Key was in denial over the past and his comments are a dire warning to Maori.

"While there are some Maori who carry grievances from the past, there are obviously non-Maori like John Key who are in denial about it," Mr Ririnui said.

"Such ignorance from a man who aspires to be Prime Minister should not be tolerated."

ENDS

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