Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dargaville's media should honour the town's intellectuals, not its resident crackpot

An Open Letter to Rose Stirling of the Dargaville and District News

Kia ora Rose,

I was interested to see the article called 'Maori weren't first says book' which you published in the Dargaville and District News on the 10th of November. Your article seems to be based upon an interview with Noel Hilliam, a man you incorrectly describe as an 'historian and marine archaeologist'.

You report Hilliam's claim that he has a new book on the way which will prove that Greeks and three other peoples arrived in New Zealand thousands of years before the Polynesian ancestors of the Maori. Hilliam claims that his book is about to be published, but does not disclose the publisher, claims that he has co-authored it with three people, but will not give the identity of his co-authors, and claims that his tome will contain 'real earth-shattering evidence' about New Zealand prehistory, but provides no details of this evidence.

You report Hilliam as saying that he has written his book because he has 'decided to speak out' after for a long time keeping quiet about New Zealand's past.

The reality is that Noel Hilliam has been 'speaking out' for decades now. Unworried by the fact that he has no qualifications in any relevant subject, this self-declared expert on history, archaeology, genetics, marine biology, and half a dozen other subjects has claimed again and again, year after year, in phone calls and e mails to politicians, in letters to the media, and in postings on obscure websites, to have made dramatic discoveries about the past.

Over the years Hilliam has claimed to have discovered the ruins of Viking villages in Waipoua forest, the remains of Spanish ships in the sands of Pouto, the skeletons of an ancient tribe of white people in the caves of the Kaipara, and a submarine in the waters off Northland. Again and again, Hilliam has insisted that he has evidence that the story of New Zealand's past must be rewritten. Again and again, he has failed to provide a skerrick of evidence for his alleged discoveries.

In recent years Hilliam has made a series of particularly silly claims which have fallen flat and earned him widespread ridicule. In 2007 Hilliam claimed that a group of high-ranking Nazis had brought a submarine to Northland in the last days of World War Two. Hilliam told the media that the sub had been wrecked off the western coast of Northland, and that it contained gold. He also claimed to be in contact with descendants of Germans who had made it off the craft and settled in the north. Hilliam promised to reveal the location of the mysterious U boat, but then went back on his promise. He also failed to reveal the identities of the descendants of the Northland Nazis. Not surprisingly, he was roundly mocked for these failures.

Near the end of last year a controversy occurred over a Maori carving Hilliam had acquired and then displayed in a misleading manner inside Dargaville Maritime Museum. The carving was easily identifiable as a pou, or gate post, carved in an archaic Maori style common in the far north of New Zealand. Hilliam, though, displayed the pou alongside a text which claimed that it was an artefact of a mysterious ancient people known as the 'Waitaha nation'.

Hilliam had conducted a ceremony to 'honour' the pou with a man named Patrick Ruka, who claims to be a leader of the so-called 'Universal Peace Nation of Waitaha'. According to Ruka, the 'Nation of Waitaha' came to New Zealand in ancient times, and its members possess supernatural powers. Ruka claims that his ancestors lived in ancient Egypt before coming to these islands, and that they came to ancient Egypt from Outer Space. For reasons which you will surely grasp, Ruka's claims are not taken seriously by scholars of history.

The Te Uri o Hau iwi of the northern Kaipara had complained about Hilliam's misappropriation of their pou, and when Hilliam's misrepresentation of the object reached the national media Dargaville's museum received a stream of complaints from archaeologists, scholars of Maoritanga, writers and other angry Kiwis. Anger was intensified when the senior New Zealand lawyer David Williams revealed that Hilliam had a history of breaking into and stealing from Maori burial caves in the Kaipara region. Dargaville's museum quickly recognised the absurdity of Hilliam's ideas, junked the caption he had provided for the pou, and issued a statement distancing itself from him.

Hilliam made a fool of himself again last March, when he falsely claimed to have received the prestigious Senior New Zealander of the Year Award. A publication called Dargaville Online unwisely printed Hilliam's claim as fact, and was soon informed of its error by the organisers of the Senior of the Year competition, who had given their prize for 2010 to the South Island philanthropist Sir Eion Edgar. Dargaville Online was forced to print an embarrassing retraction, and Hilliam's reputation as a fantasist was yet again boosted.

Hilliam is fond of saying that his 'discoveries' about the past are not taken seriously because there is a vast and sinister conspiracy working against him. He believes that historians, archaeologists, Department of Conservation staff, and politicians all conspire to hide the 'truth' of his 'findings' from the New Zealand public.

It is Hilliam, though, who seems to be driven by a strong ideological agenda, and to be part of a political conspiracy. Hilliam has associated for some years with a small right-wing organisation called the One New Zealand Foundation. The One New Zealand Foundation apparently believes that white people in this country are under threat from Maori, and calls for the state to tear up the Treaty of Waitangi, stop funding the Maori language and other aspects of Maori culture, and undo the Treaty settlements of recent decades. Hilliam and many other supporters of the One New Zealand Foundation and similar groups mistakenly believe that if only they could 'prove' that some other people beat Maori to New Zealand, then the Treaty of Waitangi would be invalidated.

Contrary to what Hilliam says, there is no 'politically correct' conspiracy to repress the truth about New Zealand's history. Historians, archaeologists, and others who study the past of our country are constantly finding new evidence, and often disagree about the meaning of that evidence. Our scholarly journals and the seminars at our universities and museums are places of continual debate.

If scholars do not agree with Hilliam's claims that the Greeks or the Vikings or the Celts or the Spaniards got to New Zealand thousands of years ago, it is because Hilliam has no evidence for his claims. None of the pottery shards or ancient coins or ancient skeletons which Greeks or Vikings might be expected to leave behind have been found. The analysis of pollen seeds shows that large-scale forest clearance, which is a key indicator of human settlement, did not occur in these islands until less than a thousand years ago. DNA tests have shown that Maori never interbred with any European people in prehistoric times.

In your article, Hilliam talks about some bones he found, or rather stole, and how an unnamed researcher from an unnamed university was supposedly forced to quit after discovering these bones were three thousand years old. Hilliam has made this claim many times over the years, and never backed it up with facts and names. It deserves to be taken as seriously as his talk about a Nazi sub off the coast of Northland, or his boasts about receiving the Senior of the Year Award.

It is a pity that Noel Hilliam has never learnt how to do historical research and never chosen to participate in the continual scholarly debates about the past which are such a feature of intellectual life in this country. Hilliam has preferred to spend his life making one ridiculous claim after another, and as a result he has developed a reputation as a crank.

The story of Noel Hilliam is a sad one, but what is sadder is the damage his fantasies and obsessions have done to Dargaville's reputation. Dargaville is a wonderful town with a fascinating multicultural history, and it has produced a series of talented sons and daughters who have made their mark on New Zealand life. But the antics of Hilliam, and the tendency of some journalists to take those antics seriously, have begun to earn Dargaville a reputation for wackiness and insularity. Your paper contributes to this problem when it reports Hilliam's claims uncritically. At the very least, your article ought to have noted Hilliam's lack of any qualifications, his lack of any support from serious scholars, the series of false claims he has made over the years, the unease his grave-robbing and misappropriation of taonga have caused amongst Maori, and his ties to the One New Zealand Foundation.

It would better still, I think, for you to ignore Hilliam altogether, and to focus instead on some of the genuine intellectuals that Dargaville has produced over the years.

Next Wednesday night a book of previously-unpublished work by Kendrick Smithyman, a proud son of Dargaville and one of the greatest thinkers of twentieth-century New Zealand, will be launched at the University of Auckland's Old Government House. A poet, scholar of literature, educationalist, social critic, historian, and keen amateur archaeologist and ornithologist, Smithyman grew up in Te Kopuru, on the edge of Dargaville, and always regarded the northern Kaipara as his home. The many poems he set in the area helped make him one of this country's most respected writers.

I had the privilege of editing, annotating, and introducing the book of Smithyman's lost writings I have called Private Bestiary: selected unpublished poems 1944-1993, and the experience helped give me an appreciation of the best qualities of Dargaville and of the region around the town.

I challenge the Dargaville and District News to stop giving oxygen to a sad crackpot like Noel Hilliam, and instead come to next Wednesday's launch and support a real Dargavillean intellectual.


Anonymous Edward said...

Nicely said. As always Scott, I couldn't have put it better myself. What a disgrace (again) for yet another Dargavillian to get sucked into this unseemliness. It's difficult to ignore the cranks when others keep giving them oxygen.

9:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rose Stirling is obviously a racist idiot.
How else could she believe such obvious rubbish???

10:01 am  
Blogger Giovanni Tiso said...

Rose Stirling

No relation, I hope! To have The Listener ruined is one thing, but please don't mess with the Dargaville and District News.

10:41 am  
Anonymous Edward said...

Giovanni, I like the sarcasm.
Unfortunately however, it does have a reasonably wide readership up there. (which wouldn't be a bad thing if it didn't provide a platform for such a one-sided argument). Put yourself in the shoes of the local hapu or a student of history working in the area - you come across it all the time and articles like this merely reinforce it. It might seem inconsequential, but it adds to the difficulty already faced.

Anyway, for what it's worth (which isn't much), I sent a brief letter to the editor also:

"Dear Editor,

I am writing with regard to an article by Rose Sterling which was recently published in the 'Dargaville and Districts News', detailing Mr Noel Hilliam's claims of pre-Maori inhabitants and academic conspiracies.

I must say that I was disappointed to learn that the local media has given Mr Hilliam yet another platform to promulgate his pseduo-historical and junk-science ideas to an audience, and would like to point out that he has, in fact, a long history and habit of 'speaking out' annually despite providing no evidence which stands up to scientific or scholarly scrutiny. I would also add that, as both an archaeologist and Dargavillian I was deeply troubled that my home town would still be giving oxygen to such ideas in an uncritical manner. While I agree with the democratic right to freedom of speech and opinion, it should be obvious that such opinion is pointless if it is uninformed and isn't held up to a critical light and balanced by evidence and qualified commentators. Mr Hilliam is no historian, anthropologist or marine biologist, having no qualifications in such nor respect from professionals in any such fields. It is unfortunate that people such as Mr Hilliam do not use their energy and passion for constructive ends, such as engaging with the literature and research of genuine scholarship, but it is all the more unfortunate when junk-science is given a singular platform by the media.

This is becoming a repeated and embarrassing theme in the Dargaville media of late and I know that the good people working on news items can do better than conspiracy theories and junk-science.

Kind Regards,


12:26 pm  
Blogger HORansome said...

All I can add to this discussion is that Noel Hilliam seems to be more a Dargavillain than a Dargavillian.

2:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL hilliam says in the article that lots of maori names are actually spanish...does he know either language?

what a joke this guy is
does dargaville realise it is the punchline in the joke?

4:04 pm  
Blogger Marty Mars said...

Thanks for this post Maps.

It seems strange that so many give credence to grave-robber hilliam - after all the evidence presented shows that he has zero credibility, if that.

How many other small towns are hiding this type of thinking - or maybe not hiding because it seems commonplace, bubbling up to the surface with regularity.

I enjoyed the way you countered with Smithyman - I imagine his poems of this period would be unmissable.

I'll raise a glass here in Takaka for you on Wednesday to celebrate the launch of Private Bestiary.

Kia kaha

7:50 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Thanks Marty. I've never made it to Takaka but after the way Peter Simpson talked about the limestone and marble outcrops there in the recent interview I did with him I'm keen to head down when I can: I'm mildly obsessed with limestone! Peter's forthcoming book on Takaka boy Leo Bensemann apparently includes some incredible paintings of the outcrops.

Oddly enough I haven't had a reply yet from the Dargy News, despite e mailing them directly...

9:38 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

"HORansome said...

All I can add to this discussion is that Noel Hilliam seems to be more a Dargavillain than a Dargavillian."

!! Very good! Maps is a great bloke but he never laughs so maybe your humour will help him...

11:41 pm  
Blogger maps said...

I take umbrage at that Richard!
I think the complaint I get from most friends is that I laugh, at great length, at things which aren't funny, and yet don't recognise genuine jokes.

There is a great anecdote about Palme Dutt, the legendarily austere Anglo-Indian bureaucrat who co-led the Communist Party of Great Britain from exile in Belgium for decades. Dutt's dourness got too much for one of his comrades, who snapped at him "Palme, you have no effin' sense of humour! Can't you lighten up?" With his usual straight face and in his usual monotonal voice, Dutt replied "Such claims are baseless and malicious. I have a sense of humour. When a comrade tells a joke, I laugh!"

1:00 am  
Blogger Richard said...

I think the trouble is {but it is not a problem for me - "truth" is always a relative fiction - see below) that the news people aren't really interested in truth* - they would probably even know for sure that this bloke is a nutter - but they will publish anything to sell their papers.

The other thing is they will say they are only publishing a report about Hilliam and what he wants to do - and as he is a local it is of interest. And so it is.

There will always be such people and probably there will always be racists (or people with "fantastic" views of the world) - I think that as humans we are naturally "programmed" to be xenophobic; and we are also programmed to love the strange, the slightly horrific, the bizarre, and so on....Smithyman was thus attracted; hence his "Dwarf with a Billiard Cue", his strange dreams...and so on...

I think they should publish it
he IS a local, albeit eccentric, and maybe we or others disagree with his views, but sometimes one has to accept that there are different viewpoints. I like reading the local news - there is always someone in there either more unhappy or poorer or dying of some (fascinating) but obscure disease or they are more pathetic or miserable or mad than myself that they present; or there is some eccentric over whom I can get a good whooping laugh over it all ("Hooo! Hooohh! Ha-Haa! A-aah! Huhah-ha! Hahaa!!!" I go.); it's hugely boosting and joyful to see all that (extra) eccentricity and misery out there and I am not so bad off after good long laugh...

Take evolutionary theory for example - some mad (?) man will always want to dispute that and anything else...Many people believe that evolution is not valid. Now I cant convince a person who so believes or says he/she knows that (X is God or z is the "real" organization or person "behind everything...)

And many also probably feel that evolution has (for them) negative philosophical implications. Or affects their world what they feel - perhaps rightly - is in a negative way. When certain scientists go to the other extreme - such as the demented Scientistical Evangelist Richard Dawkins - a lot of people feel trapped in his or their barren materialistic, nay, cold, mechanical, and empty universe...

Hilliam looks a bit like Ezra Pound...

1:11 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Title of post post comment:

'I Was Joking About Maps Not Ever Laughing.'

Recantation by RT. Official -

"Dear readers, it is true. Maps does laugh. Sadly, I lied. Maps, I have known for long time, and, in complete contradistinction to what oi said; e 'as a great sense of 'uma (albeit it is sometimes quite wicked) - I was being a bit

Confession and Recantation over.

Scott - I'm quite excited about seeing that book of yours. I want a copy. I will buy (bankrupted or not by the merciless and ruthless Titus Financial and Publishing Mogul Hegemony of "I have a Portable Efpos Machine" B. Cross et al) The Smithyman (but I also want to get a copy of the E P Thompson book when it comes out) - I really like what I have seen of the poems - they seem more accessible (I didn't think I would ever use that term - but I don't mean "transparent" bad as "democracy or "freedom") and in some ways "better" than many I have read by him...that one about the observers on the Islands was brilliant...also the one "about" his poplar trees and his cats and so on...

1:39 am  
Blogger maps said...

I hope the book won't be too expensive, Richard! Good old Smithy wouldn't want that...

11:09 am  
Anonymous Edward said...

I think if they publish it (and they're free to), and thus give a public platform for this nonsense, they should at least try to balance it out by pointing out the problems with such theories or seek an expert opinion. (there's also the issue of giving a crank a legitimate title - 'Marine Biologist' and 'Historian' - well, if by 'expert' they mean 'untrained and amateur interest', then in this case I'm now pronouncing myself an evolutionary biologist, psychologist, and cosmonaut!) This, as it stands, is a disservice to public education. Context-free reporting is as inane as it is lazy and pointless.

11:14 am  
Blogger Marty Mars said...

I imagine you will like Mohua (Golden Bay) Maps. The limestone and marble are worth the visit alone, add in the weather, the nature, the solitude, the beaches, the history and the people and you have some strong rationale for coming south. Be great to catch up - send me an email if you get some plans together.

Edward - how is the action against hilliam going from the society? Is there anything they can do, I'm sure they are horrified to be lumped in with this grave-robber.

3:57 pm  
Anonymous Edward said...

Hi Marty,

I'm not sure as I haven't been in touch with them about it, but I think most members just try and keep out of it, hoping that ignoring it is the best bet. I do know that these cranks are a constant source of a mixture of bewilderment, amusement, and annoyance. I guess so long as the crazies have an audience there isn't much anyone can do except complain to the media sources which host them. It will be interesting to see what the book's 'evidence' is - if it contains yet more grave-robbing and site-pillaging activities Hilliam and the contributors will be heading for trouble.

4:23 pm  
Blogger maps said...

If Hilliam continues to be a nuisance, then I think a few of us could sit down, literally or by e mail, with the likes of Ngati Roroa reps and David Williams, and get their opinions on the whether it's worth laying criminal charges against the guy. With his antics in burial caves, he has clearly been in breach of at least one important piece of legislation, as Edward has noted previously. I also think a complaint could be laid with the Press Council over Rose Stirling's demented article.

Part of the problem is one of time. Hilliam seems to have all the time in the world on his hands to make a nuisance of himself, but the rest of us - barring certain Dargy 'journalists', perhaps - have much better things to do than focus on him.

There's a question, then, of whether we can be bothered cleaning up the messes Hilliam makes. I think the misrepresentation of the pou at Dargy museum was something that definitely required urgent action. Idiotic articles in obscure papers aren't as important. If Hilliam is still involved in tomb looting, though, I think the weight of the law needs to be brought to bear. I'm hoping that his humiliation over the pou at Dargy museum, the public criticisms he received from Williams and iwi reps, and the warning sent out by the New Zealand Historic Places people has dissuaded him from that particular activity.

4:37 pm  
Blogger maps said...

PS I certainly will be keen to have a beer when I eventually wash up at Golden Bay, Marty! You didn't Bill Direen's band The Builders play down there a couple of years ago did you? They had a great time...

4:40 pm  
Anonymous Rose Stirling said...

First of all - I never called him a marine biologist - oops.
I do not know who monitors these pages but I do not believe name calling is very intellectual.
I am Maori of Ngati Porou and Ngati Paoa descent. I am proud of my Maori ancestory. To say that I am racist because I interviewed someone who believes that Maori were not the first to settle NZ is like saying I must be a chef because I interviewed Gordon Ramsey per say.
I'm proud to be Maori but i'm also proud to be a Maori with an open mind.
I intend to report on Mr Hilliams findings in the very near future and a second opinion will be sought and reported on.
This first news item was to break the news.


10:42 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Edward - yes. Pity they don't do that as lot of people will think Hilliam is right (or will give him more credence than he is justified in having) - not as they are racist or anything just because they will be impressed by it being there in print...

I know a fellow who is writing a book attacking evolutionary theory (a fellow chess playing fanatic friend of mine likes talking to him as he is "scientifically minded" and is in the skeptics club!), and he even got onto the radio and part of his ideas were based on a vision he had had!! He became a Christian after the vision I think.

Oh well, it takes all kinds!!

10:59 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Maps - Smithy wasn't into making a fast buck or two? That's because he had a well paid job and normal financial worries. You have to be hungry to do well in business!

Even a dead poet has to be hungry to do well....I mean...

My favourite poem for some reason of the poet's of Smithyman's generation one by Baxter I recall seeing in Landfall about 1968 called 'Seances'.

But it is good that now days Smithyman's works more widely recognised. He has a peculiar and deeply unique style or manner. I recall John Morton (in Ron Riddell's "The Dead Poet's Book Shop") wanting to buy a copy of his own book but I wouldn't sell my own copy of "The New Zealand Sea Shore", somehow I got talking to him about poetry and he immediately singled out Smithyman as a poet he appreciated a lot.
Actually I attended lectures by Morton in 1966...he had a great enthusiasm and flew into things such as the Kreb's cycle (photosynthesis etc) ... so he knew his biochemistry and his crabs and sea life and much else (he was also very funny at times!)(Smithyman was less 'dynamic' but he was a garulous raconteur as recall)...probably Smithyman had his book...and they probably talked about sea life and ecology or such things as bird life; Baxter has perhaps a more popular appeal..but he was also widely read and quite intellectual. His precocity meant perhaps that he wrote to much, although Smithyman wrote a contrast Allen Curnow seems to have written very carefully and slowly (like such as Yeats) and with extensive revisions.

12:31 am  
Blogger maps said...

Thanks for responding Rose.

It's all very well to speak of keeping an 'open mind', but your mind should not be so open that your brain falls out. I'm afraid that your article raises serious questions about your competence as a journalist.

A five minute google search would have shown you that Noel Hilliam does not have the qualifications and track record of publications that would allow him to fairly be called an historian, that he has made a series of bizarre claims over the years that have been proven quite false, that he has been repudiated by serious scholars, by Dargaville Maritime Museum, and by the tangata whenua of the northern Wairoa, and that he has links to an openly racist organisation which uses his 'research' to advance its agenda.

Any journalist worth their salt would have done some basic research on Hilliam and, at the very least, gotten in touch with some of the man's many detractors and included the opinions of these people in a profile of him.

Saying that you're going to get the facts right and present a balanced opinion the next time you write something about Hilliam doesn't cut it.

And trying to wriggle off the hook by citing your links to iwi whose rohe are far from the northern Waioa is, frankly, pathetic. You don't get a free pass just because you can whakapapa back to iwi in different parts of the island. You have a responsibility to the mana whenua of the indigenous people of the northern Wairoa - the people whose burial caves have been robbed by Hilliam, and whose artefact was desecrated - and you have failed in that responsibility.

Have you stopped to wonder how someone whose ancestors' remains have been disturbed by the man whom you presented so positively might feel about him? Have you read what David Williams has written about the pain that grave-robbing caused Te Roroa in the nineteenth, and the way that hilliam has reawakened that pain in recent decades? Have you talked to anyone from Te Roroa who fought for an end to the desecration of their artefact in Dargaville maritime Museum? For someone who proclaims their Maoriness, you seem very blase about the free pass you have given to a man with a long history of insulting Maori and desecrating Maori taonga.

The decent thing to do would be to apologise and to retract your patently false representation of Hilliam as a serious scholar. And, for goodness sake, don't you think that there might be slightly more important subjects you could write about than a mad old crank like Hilliam? There are scores of serious scholars working on Northland history and prehistory. Some of them comment on this blog; others can be found via the New Zealand Archaeolosgical Association site. Wouldn't it be better to talk to them?

I've amended the description of Hilliam from 'marine biologist' to 'marine archaeologist'. Hilliam has no skills in either discipline, and he has made so many claims to so many different fields of expertise that it didn't occur to me or others here that I'd misread your description of him. I'm half-expecting the bloke to claim to be an astronaut next...

12:34 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Rose - Maps is (rightly) very earnest about these issues - Hilliam is a worry - but there are some pretty bad journos around and you are probably not one of them!

I think the CIA, SIS etc probably keep an eye on what is spoken here but nobody really monitors Blogger as far as I know...although one can complain...

I think though if you take action that will result in a string of counter actions.

I think the trouble is that all this mythical freedom of the press etc can lead to "Let's print anything - verifiable or not." - but the ticket maybe is for Maps and Edward is protest not to arraign anyone. No crimes have been committed.

But probably Hilliam should be...

A latter day Ezra Pound with crazy ideas broadcasting to an exhausted the age of the My Lai Massacre and Guantanamo Bay and dawn raids in Tuhoe country.

12:45 am  
Anonymous Keri Hulme said...

Noel Hilliam has no credibility within the groups who actually study what he purports to *know* - his credence is limited to tiny sets of people who hold extreme beliefs
(pseudo-nazis, white power supremecists.)
It is shaming that a Maori editor gave this person publicity-oxygen.
I mean, I find it personally shaming that an editor of Maori origin couldnt actually google Hilliam and find out about his shitty record and refuse to run his tripe in a local paper.
Been a journalist. Am a Maori. Really love the fact that Maps et al keep on keeping people informed in a polite, astute, rigourously academic/scientific way.

1:02 am  
Blogger Richard said...

My (perhaps ameliorative) post crossed that of Maps's.

Whether Rose is for the chop or not: it is true there is a lot of superficial journalism...

The Listener has some really bad stuff these days (they hatchetted poor old Tao Wells in a really stupid article) used to be the or one of the main papers with a lot of interesting stuff in it. And it had a bigger format.

I'm surprised Smithyman came from Dargaville as I thought that that place was a kind of backward backwater where the main industry was the manufacture of morons!! But I cant say this is true, as I have only flashed through the place it seemed always to be just a massively boring and not very scenic Ville in my view

He was from Te Kopuru? There is photograph of the hotel of that town in the old days in a print place just down the road from me... Now Te Kopuru, now we're talking! That is full of great (eccentric intellectual and other) people and is very exciting, mysterious, and beautiful and intense. Like my Mongolia.

1:03 am  
Blogger Marty Mars said...

Kia ora rose,

I hope you have you have a good read of the post and follow the links provided. The evidence is there - the photos of ancestors descecrated to further the anti-maori agenda is there.

You could turn it around - write an article on grave robbing and its sick parent. Expose these scum to the light, as Maps and others do. This will be mana enhancing for you, your hapu and iwi, and most importantly mana whenua, who are still suffering the descecration of their ancestors today.

The challenge is to be part of the solution Rose not part of the problem.

9:48 am  
Anonymous Edward said...


Marine archaeologist is not any better I'm afraid, so it seems you missed the point, but I'm sorry if you have been subject to name-calling. I'm afraid, however, like Maps, I don't buy into the 'open minded' reporting excuse though - as I've said in my comments, Mr Hilliam has a right to say and believe what he likes, and you have a right to publish it, but as a journalist providing a public platform for his ideas, the responsibility falls on you to make sure that such claims are critically appraised, balanced by evidence, and opinion is sought by qualified experts. You have failed to do this so excuse us if we remain unimpressed by your response.

As an archaeologist I am continually faced with public misnomers and confusion fed by such myths, and the difficult battle to educate the public of genuine research and the history of our country is undermined by thoughtless "open minded" (read: uncritical) reporting. No one here is against having an open mind or even the right for Hillaim to have his opinions or you to publish them, but 'free speech' and 'open mindedness' does not mean freedom of responsibility.

It is amusing though, how junk-science and pseudo-history theorists are quick to cite freedom of speech, and yet when those who disagree publically challenge these theories they are met with threats of legal action due to claims of defamation. I recieved such threats by Mr Hilliam last year for openly criticising his claims.

Perhaps you should be more thoughtful about who and how you interview in the future and a little less quick to play the tired old 'open minded' card as an excuse. As I said, context-free reporting is a public disservice.

11:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather sad to see the tall poppy syndrome so alive and well. People who challenge the current PC convention should be applauded not vilified. The good news is that NZ'rs diet both cerebral and physical has improved markedly in the past few hundred years along with life expectancy. I gather that a Pohutakawa is alive and well in the township of Aorangi Spain, Europe and historical documentation supports how it was obtained. Frankly I am sure a DNA test would soon reveal the racial connections so anyone of the knockers want to volunteer? Who knows they might be able to create a whole new legal claims industry.

2:32 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Noel Hilliam as a tall poppy? Now I've heard it all. How come this tall poppy can't write a single scholarly article reporting his 'findings', let alone get it published? How come he can't find that missing sub off the Northland coast, or that prestigious award he claimed to have received?
They don't make those tall poppies like they used to...

And I think you'll find that there has already been the odd DNA test done on Maori and other Polynesian peoples to determine origins, anon. A major study a few years ago run mostly out of foreign universities traced ancestry back to the coastal region of southeast Asia, and established some connections with a couple of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. There was no trace of a genetic link to Europeans that went back before the nineteenth century. The response of Noel Hilliam and other 'whites were first' crackpots to this sort of research is either to ignore it, or else to claim it is part of a conspiracy.

Whereabouts in Spain is this mysterious town of Aorangi? I'e just googled it, and can find no reference to it. Is there a conspiracy to hide it by the PC brigade, perhaps? There are over five thousand trees related to the pohutakawa, some of them quite closely: I've seen photos of trees in the Azores that look remarkably similar, but are indigenous to those islands.

3:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The anonymous commenter obviously has no idea how DNA testing works. It's not like geiger counter, anon. It doesn't deliver immediate clear and quantifiable results. Only by tracking certain very subtle signals can progress be made. For instance the relationship between Maori and Taiwanese was shown by the way both had a particular genetic signal associated with the assimilation of alcohol. The lack of Euro ancestry for Maori in precontact times is shown chiefly through the absence of similarities that ought to exist if such contact had occurred. Has anon ever tried to find out about real-life research using DNA? Or does he just believe Hilliam's redneck hick spiel? More fool him if he does.

3:31 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Here's an explanation from someone who actually uses DNA about why the claims of Hilliam and his ilk about DNA links between Maori and Celts and conspiracies of silence are nonsense:

3:40 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

A DNA test will connect anonymous or anyone else with a tiny wriggling piece or protoplasm which would be close to what we call viruses. It would also connect anon and Hilliam with (as well as slime molds etc) Lemurs, Monkeys, Apes and even eventually, to a hair in the depths of Rodney Hyde's beautiful nostrils.

3:54 pm  
Anonymous Edward said...

"tall poppy", "PC convention" - anon is just too stereotypical to be anything other than either: a) a joking troll; or b) utterly and completely unaware of the rigors of genuine research or the scientific method. I just love it when people without arguments try and make an argument. Not inane at all. Yay for the underdog by default in all situations lmfao.

9:40 am  
Blogger David Winter said...

Very well said Maps,

I just thought I'd add a little to Anon's presumption that no one has looked at Polynesian DNA.

Of course people have looked at human DNA, and used as one tool to try and uncover how the Pacific was settled. In broad strokes, settlement of Polynesia started with people related to the indigenous people of tawain. Upon arriving to Melanesia they met the locals, which led to a lot of biological and cultural admixture Some time later (the timing is disputed) proto-Polynesiasn set out and settled the Pacfic, moving more or less W to E. Maori mitochondrial DNA has a high abundance of the characteristic "Polynesian motif", a 9 DNA base deletion common in Polynesia, relatively rare in SE Asia and very rare anywhere else and other makers (including those on the Y-chromosome, inherited down the male line) that are common in Polynesia are rare elsewhere.

I should also say, people often place too much faith in DNA evidence (I blame CSI). No scientific evidence is infalible, and it's only through the analysis of language, culture, archeological and even biogeographical evidence (as a snail geneticist I am obliged to tell you Polynesians traded shells, and snail genetics have helped us understand ancient trading relationships in the Pacifc!) that we assess how likely the "DNA version" of the story is. As it happens, all those lines of evidence point very much in the same direction, so we have confidence we are on the right track (although of course, there are more details to understand).

Lisa Matisoo Smith, formerly of Auckland and know down here in Dunedin is world leader in this field, there is an interesting interview with herhere if you'd like to undersand her work.

4:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember (Maori) stories as a kid stating that there was other peoples in New Zealand prior to Maori (which involved many independant migrations over hundreds of years. These stories seem to be all but gone now, which always made me wonder why?

Is there maybe some truth in the claims of Greeks, Egyptians or some other group of people being here prior to Polynesians?

Be careful not to write this or anything off before looking at everything with open and unbias eyes

5:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

woo hoo you go Noel, lol some of these people could have the hard cold evidence put in front of them and they still wouldn't beleive because they don't want too....end of story, how dare you upset there little belief systems, they wana stay in there little ignorant boxes, I know more people that beleive in you that don't so keep up the geat work Noel Hilliam and Co.

11:28 am  
Anonymous Scott said...

Yeah, and Noel's got a sub full of Nazi gold he'd like to sell you, anon.

11:41 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believed people were here before the maoris through my own research long before I even heard of Noel Hilliam and just because he is going against the flow it's upsetting a few and thats to be expected scot

6:53 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

People are less upset than amused, anon. Do you not find the notion of the Universal Peace Nation of Waitaha amusing? And when are you going to get some of that gold-laden Nazi sub Noel says he's found?

7:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well from what I have been reading on here people are getting upset, name calling is a sign of been upset is it not, I thought that when you criticise others you are reflecting your own lack of self acceptance, which I would have to say I am guilty of doing so myself at times. I have read the book "To The Ends Of The Earth" and if that isn't convincing enough nothing ever will be. I don't know anything about this sub and I couldn't really carealess about it, I want my kids to know there true heritidge and thanks to the hard work Noel and Co have done they will.

9:33 am  
Anonymous Scott said...

Aliens from the Universal Peace Nation of Waitaha colonising New Zealand via Egypt and Easter Island...Nazi subs filled with gold off the coast of Northland...your kids probably reckon those are nice yarns now, but by the time they're about, gee, seven they should have developed the critical thinking skills to join the rest of us in rejecting old Noel's hallucinations.

Just tell me that you're not also trying to teach your kids how to spell. If I were you I'd drop the pseudo-history for a while and do some research in the dictionary.

10:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol I beleive in Aliens too, why not...just because you havent seen with your own eyes or you were not brought up to beleive in certain things does not mean that they do not exsist. Scott you have your beleifs but you have a real urgency to convince other people that you are right, whats all that about?? I think sometimes we are brought up with beleifs that when are questioned cause an internal conflict an we will defend those beleifs at all costs,chill Scott and go read that book, it's ok to be wrong and it's ok to change your views,just remember they are old beleifs and times change.

11:47 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops u r write scott im shocking at spellin, u are very good at pickin out a persons faults, my kids spell better than me, credentials are a piece of paper, life experience is more valid than a piece of paper in my books, the cards u hold now is the pou, the sub and the whaitaha, oops excuse the spellng and now im lacking credential because i cannot spell, well gee u are onto something here scott, i must be a crackpot like and i love it and i love all you self righteous ones that defend yourselves too....God Bless you..I spose there is no god either in your books

12:08 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

'life experience is more valid than a piece of paper'

'I beleive in Aliens too, why not...just because you havent seen with your own eyes'

While you're dipping into that dictionary, anon, look up the word 'contradiction'.

2:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wat ever scott you will have an answer for everything, pick pick pick

2:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually if there was a sub with gold on it, would be best to keep it quiet as someone from nz would try and put a land claim on it, be there under the treaty sum wea no doubt, lol thats pobley why all went quiet on that one

3:33 pm  
Blogger Angee said...

What Id like to know is what lies in the Kaimanawa Ranges that we are not allowed to view as it is out of bounds? THis wall that is supposd to have been examined by archeaolgists says it is of Celtic origins. Yet noone is allowed to venture anywhere near it. I dont like to be told it is a secret and as such I dont believe anything people say as it is not the honest truth. So it would be great if this also could be looked into.

6:55 pm  
Anonymous don't believe the hype said...

Angee: the so-called Kaimanawa Wall was assessed in the '90s and found to be of natural origin. There are no restrictions on visiting it.

7:45 pm  
Anonymous don't believe the hype said...

The "wall" is located at the toe of a relatively steep spur on the south side of Clements Mill Road within the Kaimanawa Forest Park (NZMS 260 map sheet U19 Kaimanawa, GR 864457). It is almost at road level and about seven metres back from the road, being visible without leaving one's car.

The ignimbrite outcrop of which the "wall" forms part is covered with soil composed of a clay-coloured ash and fine pumice overlain by 30cm or more of humus. The composition and depth of the overburden was determined from the soil composition evident in a single small test pit excavated on the upper slopes of the spur. Without recourse to extensive testing, the average depth of the soil-ash-pumice appears to be about one metre. Nearby road cuttings have exposures, up to four metres thick, of layered pumice deposits from the AD 185 Taupo eruption. Therefore some form of preferential non deposition or erosion process, probably attributable to local topography and the steepness of the spur, has resulted in the relatively thin soil-pumice veneer over the outcrop. The test pit in front of the wall revealed a similar clayey pumice soil. A large red beech (Nothofagus fusca), estimated to be at least 70 years old, is growing on the outcrop immediately above the "wall". Its roots have caused some displacement of the blocks which make up the "wall".

7:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is another name for IWI? 'I want it' what an uneducated small minded group of people you are. Noel Hilliam is not the first and wont be the last to say that Maori were not first to new zealand. Just because someone or something challenges what you pipe on about doesnt mean it isnt true..

10:50 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's plenty of evidence, you just didn't do your homework. I cannot believe you can look blindly past all the evidence in ruins, skeletons, and pottery, and see only the governments lies. Oh, and BTW, it's culture. Not "kultcha" as you call it.

12:28 pm  
Anonymous one-eye said...

If Hilliam is to be believed,....How is it that we aren't speaking Spanish eh Senor ?
Did the ones coming ashore become Aotea rowers..? or did the mori-ori
eat them

1:15 am  
Blogger emee said... hmmmmmm????

2:54 am  
Anonymous Sarah said...

The Maori language is the language of the ones before, we can learn a lot about them through Maoridom.
Aotearoas true history is fascinating, as is true history from around the world.
In no way has this got anything to do with The Treaty of Waitangi and Treaty claims !! Which is compensation for homelands that were stolen from the People living here, the Maori, by the settlers .
Unfortunately afew use our countries history to fuel their racist hate filled crusades, which ruins it for the many of us who are very interested in real history.

9:11 pm  

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