Friday, May 29, 2009

The mystery of the disappearing website

On Tuesday I discussed Rosanne Hawarden, the South African immigrant to New Zealand who has been campaigning against the reburial of ancient bones on Malborough's Wairau Bar. Hawarden believes that members of the Rangitane iwi, whose rohe includes Wairau Bar, have been conspiring with academics and museum curators to hide the fact that many of the bones being reburied belonged to a non-Polynesian people.

I suggested that Hawarden was almost certainly the creator of the Wairau Bar Mystery website, which castigated the reburial and accused the Rangitane of being 'thieves' for claiming ownership of the ancient bones. Although the Wairau Bar Mystery site had refused to identify its author, it was easy to note stylistic similarities between the prose on the site and the denunciations of the reburial that Hawarden had placed under her own name on discussion forums elsewhere in cyberspace. A visitor to this blog pointed out that the Wairau Bar Mystery was registered in the name of a 'Judy Neall' of Riccarton, but that name has never been associated with debates about New Zealand's prehistory, and a certain Rosanne Hawarden just happens to live in Riccarton.

Last night a commenter calling herself Sandy Lai Wing made an angry intervention in the discussion about Rosanne Hawarden's ideas. Sandy wondered whether I might be the same person as Keri Hulme, but I think it is rather more likely that she is the same person as Rosanne Hawarden. Sandy's prose certainly resembles Rosanne's - note, in particular, the way that periods go missing and sentences run into each other, as the writer gets more and more indignant - and the very involved (and quite irrelevant) details she gives of Rosanne's career and the ethnic makeup of the SINZASA group Rosanne leads also make me suspicious.

A few minutes after Sandy vented her frustrations, an anonymous comment appeared underneath the post I made a couple of weeks ago about Bill Keir's criticism of the Celtic New Zealand circle. This comment had all the hallmarks of the Rosanne Hawarden style, and it also recapitulated one of the most curious arguments on the Wairau Bay Mystery website:

There is plenty of evidence to show Maori (which is only a name used after whites appeared) were not first in New Zealand, however ignoring all that argument If Maori truly were first please provide evidence of how they sailed to South America and returned with kumara when not one canoe has ever been found with South American wood. No wooden boat could travel so far without being repaired. If Maori history so right and others so wrong I wonder why not one jot of evidence has ever been produced to prove they made such trips.

The author of the Wairau Bay site had claimed that the question of how and when the Polynesian ancestors of the Maori reached New Zealand was unresolved, because no physical remains of any of the waka that supposedly made the journey had been located. I find this line of argument odd, because it seems to imply that the remains of thousand-year old waka should be lying around New Zealand, and because it assumes that no other form of evidence can take the place of such remains. All of the archaeologists, botanists, and biologists who have been digging up camp sites, testing pollen spores to see when forests were first cleared, and carbon dating rat bones have evidently been wasting their time.

If we followed the logic of this strange argument, then we would have to reject the notion that the Aborigines settled Australia first, because no traces of the craft they used to cross the Timor Strait remain. We would have to abandon the idea that the Vikings discovered Iceland, or settled on Greenland, because none of the longboats which made those journeys have survived.

The idea that the Polynesians reached South America was once controversial, but in recent years researchers based in the University of Auckland have studied a series of bones discovered in Chilean caves, and found that they belonged to a Polynesian chicken. Their findings have been hailed around the world as very strong evidence for Polynesian journeys to South America. Not many archaeologists or historians have been worried by the absence of the waka that made those journeys. Of course, arguments that the ancestors of the Maori did not reach New Zealand first, and did not reach New Zealand on waka, suit Rosanne Hawarden's worldview rather well. As I noted on Tuesday, Hawarden is a follower of Gavin Menzies, the bestselling pseudo-historian who claims that Chinese sailors discovered New Zealand on their way back from Antarctica in the fifteenth century. Menzies has proclaimed that 'Maori don't exist', and that the ancestors of the people who call themselves Maori were Melanesian slaves who were being transported on a junk when they rebelled against their Chinese masters, took Chinese concubines as mates, and settled in New Zealand. No epic waka journeys were necessary.

This morning I typed the URL for the Wairau Bar Mystery onto my computer, so that I could take a closer look at the similarities between the arguments on the site and the comments which have been appearing here. Strangely enough, though, the Wairau Bay Mystery seems to have disappeared from cyberspace. Perhaps 'Judy Neall' decided that the site revealed a bit too much about its author.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Scott Hamilton or Maps

Personal attacks are an ancient tactic of oppressive regimes trying to suppress ideas they do not like. By attacking me personally you have put on the shoes of the oppressor and taken a walk on the dark side. An easy step, you will have learned, especially when it is based on sloppy research and incorrect conclusions drawn from the slightest of evidence.

As a new post doc and author, you should know about intellectual property and copyright. You took my photograph from the Academy of Management website without their permission or mine. You have breached my privacy and taken our intellectual property. You have not acknowledged the source. Universities and large academic institutions such as the AOM find this behaviour totally unacceptable as I do.

Please remove my photograph immediately from your blog and post a written apology on this forum and by email to myself at and Professor J Cleveland, Chair, Gender and Diversity in Organisations Division of the Academy of Managment at, apologising for stealing our intellectual property.

Rosanne Hawarden

12:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

scott, first of all let me commend you on the authorship of "The Bone People".

second, let me ask you to please ignore roseanne in the comment above. threats of legal action and accusations of "fascism" seem to be the last bastion of grasping, intellectually bereft racists the world over.

@roseanne, from a descendant of one of new zealand's original settlers. go home. please.

12:42 pm  
Blogger Marty Mars said...

Ahhh the sweet smell of outrage in the morning. Fanatic's always threaten because they are bullies and they are bullies because they have very low self esteem.

Don't buckle to this person maps (not that I think you would, of course)

1:38 pm  
Blogger maps said...


if you look through the archives of this blog, you'll find hundreds of photos taken from hundreds of different websites. You'll find the same thing on most other blogs.

You'll notice that the latest post on this blog includes a photo of a magnificent specimen of the Polynesian chicken. I have no idea who took this photo, or even what page it appeared on - it simply turned up when I did a google image search.

The notion that taking an image from a page which is freely available on the internet counts as a 'breach of privacy' or a theft of 'intellectual property' is as silly as the idea that Maori do not exist, or that the Moeraki boulders were ballast, or that Chinese were buried at Wairau Bay -in short, it's the sort of thing we should probably expect from you.

1:40 pm  
Blogger Fatal Paradox said...

Roseanne's comment is nothing more than a crude parody of the kind of "lawyers' letter" so beloved of those organisations and individuals who wish to try to intimidate their critics into silence because they lack the courage to defend their arguments by rational means.

As someone who clearly has aspirations to academic professionalism and is a paid up member of the NZ Archaeological Association, Roseanne would do better by putting up evidence to rebut the "sloppy research and incorrect conclusions" that she claims to find in Scott's post, rather than resorting to the tactics of bullshit & bluster.

3:55 pm  
Blogger noizy said...

"... it simply turned up when I did a google image search. "

Obviously Google are *also* breaching someone's IP! ;-)

In fact, when I do a google image search on "Rosanne Hawarden" I find several images of said individual in the results. Perhaps Rosanne should extend her legal threats further up the internet ladder?

5:06 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Hello Ross Anne Haw den Anony Mouse

Well den - Haw - I steal things off the internet all the time - I have been doing that sort of thing all my life...

This copy side right dark stuff is nonsense - Bourgeois weakness -

Bugg off to wherever you crawled, scrawled, or hauled from...

At least I'll be sober in the morning...

8:11 pm  
Blogger Olivia Macassey said...

Actually, I think there's a clear distinction between:

[a] copying ("stealing"): downloading someone else's image and hosting a copy of it on your own webserver. This does constitute copyright infringement in New Zealand, same as with any other media form. Technically, web content is still protected by copyright even if there is no notice.

But this is not the same thing as

[b] inline linking: embedding an image that is hosted on another server so that it appears in your own blog or website. This is not "theft" of the image.

If you view the source code for this blog you'll see that Maps is doing [b] not [a].

For what it's worth, not everyone likes inline linking either, because the owner of the original site has to pay the bandwidth charges on the image when it's viewed elsewhere.

Luckily, it's quite easy for a site admin to block inline linking if they want to, either from a specific site or from all sites. (If you want, you can even block google image search from showing images that you host on your site). The hosts of this photograph could easily stop it from appearing here.

- Olivia

4:29 pm  
Blogger D.J.P. O'Kane said...

I tip my hat to you, Maps! If I get the job in Christchurch I'm applying for, I'll track you down and buy you a beer in person.

11:10 pm  
Blogger Declan Fletcher said...

This isn't the first post I have seen you introduce the 'Chilean Chicken' argument.

What I fail to understand is why you don't acknowledge that the very site you link to has a note on it stating that research in July 2008 has shown the study to have been flawed and the findings incorrect.

So the chicken argument goes straight out the window. Seems counter-productive to link to it. Our cause will never succeed like this. If we are to refute these theories, we need to back up our arguments with solid evidence.

1:40 am  
Anonymous Buy Cialis said...

This is so interesting because maybe it could be truth, sometimes authorities don't allow to the museum's owners to say where bones were reburied.

6:10 am  
Anonymous viagra online said...

You have not acknowledged the source. Universities and large academic institutions such as the AOM find this behaviour totally unacceptable as I do.

8:25 am  
Anonymous richard said...

Three years on and the release of the DNA research conducted by Otago University has revealed a number of new truths, none of which validate Rossanne and the submariner's 1421 theories.

10:56 pm  
Blogger Lenka said...

I have no idea who took this photo, or even what page it appeared on - it simply turned up when I did a google image search.
Kitchen Countertops Long Island

5:55 pm  
Blogger Jimmy Smith said...

Well done, it is a good posting as well as nice image.

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