Monday, December 05, 2016

A part of the story

The weekly online magazine E-Tangata has published some excerpts from the first chapter of my book The Stolen Island. E-Tangata will be publishing an interview with me  in its December the 18th issue. 

I've spent the last few days talking about history with descendants of the survivors of the slave raid on 'Ata and with other interested Tongans at kava circles and in lounge rooms (apologies for unanswered e mails and texts!). I'm excited that radio stations in Tonga are talking about The Stolen Island, and that 'Atans are responding to the tohi by celebrating their identity. I'm proud to own this T shirt, which was made recently by an 'Atan. 

9 Comments:

Blogger Nasili Vaka'uta said...

I came across your book on 'Ata yesterday, ordered a kindle version, and 'consumed' it within two hours after work today. My ancestors are from 'Eua, and I must admit that I felt sad and disappointed at once as read through the book. Even more so knowing that Australians and NZers were part of the slave trade in the Pacific. I would like to arrange a public forum for you to share your findings if you are interested. I taught at the University of Auckland, but am now the Principal of Trinity Methodist Theological College at Meadowbank.

9:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This book is claptrap. A small incident blown out of all proportion when the real history of the Pacific is read. Journalistic excess. This is pseudo history. Scott is an internet troll and his research is very poor. He makes stuff up people.

7:31 am  
Blogger Skyler said...

Get in touch anon and I will introduce you to some of the Tongan community in Auckland. You can tell them face to face that the kidnapping of 144 of their kin was a minor incident and isn't worth remembering. I think you will find they disagree. But you didn't have the guts to put your name to your comment, so I doubt you'll have the courage to talanoa with the descendants of Ata.

10:20 am  
Blogger Nasili Vaka'uta said...

Thanks, Scott. I heard about the story of 'Ata from my granddad when i was little, but back then it sounded like a folktale rather than history. Now info comes to light and it's very eye opening. Would love to catch up (and perhaps have a bowl of kava) when you have time.

6:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This book is about promoting Scott not the Tongans. 144 is a very convenient number, he has names??? He is not the slightest interest in bringing injustice to the attention of others. if he does not benefit. Has he written on the Armenians? No, point made. The Tongan community has been warned not to talk to this man. He makes stuff up if the truth does not suit him.

7:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Behind that small brain is a very big ego.

7:33 pm  
Blogger Skyler said...

'144 is a very convenient number'

Convenient in what way? The number comes not from me but Henry Maude, one of the greatest twentieth century historians of the Pacific. In his book Slavers in Paradise, which I acknowledge as a vital source in The Stolen Island, Maude cites a letter written By EW Robertson, the acting British consul in the Peruvian port of Callao, to W Stafford Jerningham, the incoming charge d'affairs at the British embassy in Lima, on the 21st of July 1863. Robertson's letter reports that 174 captives, 103 of them male and 71 of them female, from the 'Frinately Islands' had been landed by the ship General Prim at Callao on the 19th of July.

In 1872 Captain Moresby of the HMS Basilisk landed at Niuafo'ou on an anti-slaving mission, and learned from locals that 30 men had been taken away by a slave ship almost a decade earlier. When we deduct the 30 Niuans from the 174 islanders on the ship that landed in Callao, then we get a figure of 144 'Atans. Of course, this figure is only approxiate, because many 'Atans may have died in the dank and crowded holds of the General Prim and the Grecian, the ship whose captain sold them to the General Prim.

In his eyewitness account of the raid on 'Ata, John Bryan talks of 'about 130' islanders being taken away. His figure fits roughly with the figure we get from Robertson.

'he has names???'

It's not necessary to have the name of every individual victim to be able to say that a slave raid took place. We do not know the names of the vast majority of the slaves taken across the Atlantic to the Americas, but we can still retrace their journeys and count them using the archives. As it happens, though, I do have a couple of names. Read the book.

'Has he written on the Armenians? No, point made.'

But what a strange point. I can't write about injustice in Tonga because I haven't written about injustice in another place. I don't think Michael King wrote about the Armenians either: shall we throw away his books about injustice and genocide in the South Pacific?

'He makes stuff up if the truth does not suit him'

Read the book and find some errors and get back to me.

'Behind that small brain is a very big ego'

I get that you don't like me. Fair enough. But it's pretty sad that you have to use the tragedy of 'Ata as a way to have a go at me. Nevertheless, it's good for me to have some practice answering these 'It didn't happen' claims: I'm sure more of them will be coming from rednecks and right-wingers, as the book gains more publicity and New Zealanders learn about 'Ata.

1:25 pm  
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1:08 am  
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3:03 am  

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