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Kupu Whakataki - Part 1 - 3.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes

Before embarking on an account of the events which occurred at the Bay of Islands, a description is necessary of the attractions of the area from Whangarei northwards, which for hundreds of years had made it one of the most sought-after and fought-over territory in NZ. For climatic reasons alone, the area was probably the earliest settled, and would certainly have been the first choice of migrant Polynesians from the tropical islands of the Pacific. Only in the north would the kumara survive the winter in the ground, and only there could it have been propagated until the techniques for it’s survival were evolved, making it’s cultivation possible further south. In Tai Tokerau, Māori society was successively and intensively converged on by explorers, whalers, traders, missionaries, and eventually the whole gamut of British sovereignty and colonisation. Amidst the confusion and complexity of Pakehā economic, moral and social principals assailing Māori intellect and lifestyle, impressions of great consequence were political and primarily converged on land.

In this country we have two cultures which view history in entirely different ways. In the predominant western culture the future is described as being in front of us, that which we are moving towards.

With indigenous peoples in various parts of the world when they speak about the future they will pass their hand backward over their shoulder. Because the future is what you cannot see. What you can see is the past. That is what you face – not the future. The future is unknown and only has meaning if you face the past.

This is a very powerful image for me. Two peoples each regarding history in as different way. The western view of the future pervades a lot of our general community thinking about Maori related issues and does not provide a good environment in which to consider the injustices of the past.

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