REVIEWS OF THE GREAT DIVIDE:
Doris Mousdale’s review on Newstalk ZB: “I can recommend it, I think it is a fascinating read and I think everybody should be reading it. We’ve all read Claudia Orange and the other books – this is an updated version.” Listen to the review here.DorisonLeightonZB
Review by Mike Butler
Investigative journalist Ian Wishart has turned his attention to the treaty industry in his new book “The Great Divide: The story of New Zealand and its Treaty” at a time when a lop-sided advisory panel could enshrine “treatyism” into a written constitution.
Digitised archives, the internet, and Google searches mean written history is no longer controlled by academics, or worse, government agencies that believe they can indoctrinate generations with an authorised view of the past. Wishart has trolled through archives often 200 years old that are freely available online to let the protagonists of the past tell their story in their own words.
The result is a page-turner that tells the story of pre-Maori history, of explorers who met a sudden death, of brave missionaries, musket wars, of the beginnings of British rule, the ins and outs of the treaty, land clashes, sovereignty wars, of the role of Christianity, and implications for today. His chatty, colloquial style could and should keep a wide range of readers on the edge of a chair…
…Wishart understands Christianity so comprehends how unarmed British missionaries could dwell among and turn Maori from permanent warfare and cannibalism to God and the Queen. Signs that the missionaries may be rehabilitated can only be good, not that it would please any post-modernist academic historian.
The chapter “Waitangi’s fairytale godfathers” shreds Waitangi Tribunal arguments… Those chiefs who opposed the unity of the races under one sovereign became the Maori king movement, and the focus of the so-called Maori renaissance in the 20th century, Wishart wrote. “Their followers, however, are the ones now in charge of the Waitangi debate, the cultural gatekeepers. They are the ones who can make the majority voices from the past fall silent – their words left out of the popular history books and not quoted in universities.”
So here we are in the 21st century still fighting the 19th century sovereignty war, this time using words instead of bullets. The book is a must-read.
Read the full review by journalist Mike Butler here