Lecturer claims history lessons are one-sided

Last updated 05:00 31/05/2010

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One-sided teaching of our history has left New Zealanders ill-equipped to understand the feelings of Maori, the head of Victoria University's School of Maori Studies said yesterday.

Speaking as part of Puke Ariki's Taranaki War events, Peter Adds said Kiwi children were not getting a good education about the things that shaped their country.

"What is taught is the Government perspective," Mr Adds said.

"As New Zealanders, we don't get much insight – we are in the dark about the things that shaped New Zealand. I don't think that as Taranaki people we have a good idea of what happened here and I don't think as New Zealanders we are equipped to understand why Maori feel the way they do."

It was not well recognised that Maori were a beaten people, Mr Adds, who is the negotiator for Te Ati Awa ki Taranaki in its Treaty of Waitangi claim, told an audience of about 50.

"The colonial government decided Maori in Taranaki needed to be made an example of," he said. "They were too uppity, particularly about land."

Maori had been asked to sign their sovereignty away to the Queen on a document using convoluted language at a time when few Maori could read, he said.

"It is not likely there was wide Maori understanding of what was actually being signed."

A Waitangi Tribunal report identified the relationship between Maori and government as the real issue, Mr Adds said.

"It says, on the first page of that report, that it is today, as it has been for 155 years, the central problem."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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