Opinion

Fanciful Tales of History

Have we become a little too sensitive about our history? Riding in on the coat tails of an ill-informed public stoush over monuments to New Zealand’s colonial past Sir William Gallagher has again pushed the fury buttons of a few people when he claimed there were humans in New Zealand at the time of the last Taupo eruption, estimated at about 2250 years ago, and that there had been several civilisations in New Zealand here before Maori. It is not the first time he has made such statements and probably won’t be the last.   Such fanciful tales about ancient peoples from China, Norway and Ireland have been circulating for almost a hundred years. The reality is that the further back into history we delve the more blurred the line between reality and myth becomes but most tribal histories, particularly those of the Waikato region, refer to people who were here before them, the people they called Tangata Whenua, the people of the land. Even more intriguing are the stories of the pale-skinned, fair-headed Patupaiarehe, the so-called fairy people of Maori mythology who were said to have lived high on heavily forested mountains and often captured Maori women. The language of the Patupaiarehe seems to have been a dialect of classical Maori and could be readily understood but their songs were very difficult for Maori people to remember. One melody however has survived and is recorded in Nga Moteatea by Aprirana Ngata and Pei Te Hurinui. It is a sad song of farewell and includes references to people and events now long forgotten. Adding to the mystery of early arrivals was the discovery, in 1877, of a ship wreck on the coast between Raglan and Aotea harbours. Mariners of the time, who were experts at vessel identification, described the wreck as not of British design, large but ancient. The heavy five layered decking was held together with wooden, copper and iron fastenings. The wreck was exposed again in 1893. There have also been recent claims of giants was even a book written in the past forty years about the very…

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Government support for Gambling hard to justify

As many New Zealanders and business owners burst their boilers and bubbles trying to return to some form of normality after Covid-19 we have the opportunity to decide at least some of the elements which will make up that new normal. There seems little doubt that we will have to become more self-reliant than we have been for the past century or more

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Pandemic – a chance to re-set NZ tourism

Last week Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis launched a project in which Government and industry leaders will work together on a plan to restart tourism. They should not forget that we have been priced out of, and crowded out of, our favourite outdoor places for far too long by tourists while the industry ignored pleas to slow down and reduce the harm. Instead, with single minded determination, the industry went courting ever greater numbers each year with the misleading Clean Green propaganda message

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Return to old ways with Novel Coronavirus

In times of adversity we should remember how our parents and grandparents managed in difficult times. Most of us have heard about the impact on society of the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Second World War which followed.

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Food of Profit from Fertilizer?

With the start of the new dairy season only weeks away the recent death of an estimated quarter of a dairy herd near Cambridge, believed to have been caused by nitrate poisoning, will be a devastating tragedy for the farmers involved. While the number of dead cows is not known the financial and potential production loss will be significant blow. 

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Peadophile Priests

Two weeks ago another Catholic clergyman admitted he had sexually abused a little child. He was due to face a jury at the District Court in Auckland last week but pleaded guilty, saving the family the ordeal of a trial. 

Just two years ago a Catholic priest was convicted and jailed for 15 months in the District Court at Hamilton for molesting young boys in the 1970s.

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Paying for a tourist to toilet properly

The recent case of a foreign tourist, caught out using a beach near Thames for a toilet, may have horrified some people but for many others, particularly in remote rural areas, it is something they see and deal with far too often.

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Surf Turf Wars near Kawhia

Rumours of gunshots from surfers at a Kawhia beach have sparked outrage.

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WW11 hero, Bunty Preece, dies age 96

The death of the last surviving officer of the renowned 28 (Maori) Battalion of World War Two Captain Alfred (Bunty) on his Chatham Island home on Friday March 1 marked the end of an era in New Zealand’s military history . He was 96.

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Medical Cannabis

In spite of the claims by several groups there is no reliable, peer reviewed, science, so far, to show that cannabis, in any form cures anything. There is good evidence however to show that, properly administered, it is an effective sedative and pain inhibitor without many of the nasty side effects of conventional medications. Two bills before Parliament last week had potential to provide the correct access to the people who need it and those who do not. It’s a shame that politics and ignorance got in the way.

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