Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Seekers of gold

I've been fiddling with the manuscript of Ghost South Road, the book that will bring together my texts and the images of Paul Janman and Ian Powell. Here are a few of the photographs that are floating from file to file and chapter to chapter.
Pilgrims on Ghost South Road. They asked for directions, unfolded a map the size of a blanket. Coromandel peninsula was a wagging finger.
 'Seekers of gold dig up much earth and find little' Heraclitus wrote. Ian Powell took this photograph at Wiri.
His punctilious insects are gnawing at our lives. The timekeeper of Ohaupo.
Marinetti's attack craft has been rusting ever since he crash landed it at Ardmore.
Modelling Martyn's Farm, on the Ghost South Road: July the seventeenth, 1863. The ambush was laid out like a picnic blanket.
Petroglyphs under the Puniu River bridge recall the years  1958 and '73, when the river rose in flood and became a border again.
Putaruru Hotel was built in 1953, for the royal tour. The queen never stopped.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Into the void

When the New Zealand Herald's Dionne Christian visited Visesio Siasau's new paintings at Orex Gallery they reminded her of black mirrors. She looked carefully into one of the mirrors, and saw something twitch behind its glass.

In my review of the exhibition for EyeContact, I've argued that Sio's paintings are portals to the ancient void Tongans sometimes call 'uli 'uli va. Despite or because of their supernatural connotations, the paintings seem a response to the politics of contemporary Pacific culture, and to the treatment Sio has received from conservative Tongans since winning the Wallace Award in 2015.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Corbyn, the right, and the problem of reality

In the aftermath of Britain's general election a number of right-wing commentators in New Zealand have attempted to reassure themselves and their readers that the surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party was an aberration, rather than a sign of the political times.

Kiwiblog published a long-winded attempt to explain away Corbyn's success. Its author insisted that Labour remained unelectable, and that the 40% of the vote that the party won under Corbyn represented a sort of electoral high tide mark. I was impressed by this sentence from Kiwiblog's pundit:

[Corbyn] remains an unreconstructed Marxist and his Manifesto, no matter how he dressed it up, was any Fabian’s dream.
I think that sentence, on its own, sums up the difficulties folks at Kiwiblog, and perhaps Corbyn’s opponents in general, have when they try to understand left-wing thought, and the recent revival of the fortunes of the left. 
To think that ‘unreconstructed Marxism’ and Fabianism are the same thing is to lump Lenin in with George Bernard Shaw. It is to conflate very different ideas.
Labour’s manifesto was indeed a ‘Fabian’s dream’, in that it was a classically social democratic document, of the sort that Labour, and indeed Britain's Social Democratic Party, used to produce in the pre-Blair era. Labour's manifesto imagined a mixed economy, free tertiary education, increased regulation of the banking sector, and renewed government control of vital pieces of infrastructure like the railways.
Now, I understand that for a lot of people on the right, especially those who have no memory of the world before the neo-liberal revolution of the ’80s and ’90s, these ideas might seem perverse, and even rebarbative. But they aren’t in any way the same as ‘unreconstructed Marxism’, with its call for the expropriation of the entire economy by the state and the replacement of parliament by soviets. Corbyn might want in some respects to take Britain back to the 1960s, but ’60s Britain was not the same place as the Soviet Union in 1919.
There’s an interesting parallel between the urge of so many people on the right to call Corbyn’s programme communist and the tendency amongst some misguided people on the New Zealand left to describe Bill English’s government as ‘neo-liberal’, when in fact the National Party English leads has moved a long way to the centre and away from ardent laissez faire economics since the 1990s.
Both the rightists who call Corbyn a commie and the leftists who call English neo-liberal are looking for terms that express their disgust at policies they dislike. Their use of language is emotional, rather than intellectual. But when they believe their rhetoric they lose the ability to understand their enemy.
And we saw the consequences of this loss of contact with reality during the recent election campaign in Britain. The Tories and their allies in the media made wave after wave of attacks on Corbyn, characterising him as a dangerous extremist and calling Labour’s manifesto communist. But these attacks backfired, because when the public examined the manifesto they found a set of policies that owed more to Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson than to Lenin or Marx. By arguing against an imaginary communist policy programme, the Tories gave a free pass to Labour’s actual, social democratic policies.
I first got interested in politics as a schoolboy back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, at a time when the Soviet Union and its allies were tottering and falling. I remember reading the papers of the New Zealand communist parties linked to various pieces of the Eastern bloc – there was the Tribune, published by the Socialist Unity Party, which was funded partly by Moscow, and the pro-Albania People’s Voice, put out by the Communist Party, and also one or two pro-China publications. It was fascinating watching the Stalinists trying to cope with the refutation of their ideology by events. Some of them engaged in self-criticism, but many, I remember, tried to deny that the world and ways of thinking were changing. 
I think that, in the years since the Global Financial Crisis, and especially in the last couple of years, proponents of neo-liberalism have had to face the same sort of refutation by reality as the communists of the early ’90s.

The bastions of neo-liberal ideology are tottering and falling. The Republican Party now belongs to an economic nationalist. Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America. Both right and left-wing critics of laissez faire economics are winning large shares of the vote in European elections. Even before Corbyn’s astonishing result, Theresa May had embraced some populist parts of his programme, and earned a rebuke from diehard advocate of neo-liberalism George Osborne. The austerity programme that Osborne launched is dead.
Kiwibloggers who imagine that Corbyn and Trump and Sanders and their ilk will disappear, and that normal political and economic business will soon resume, are missing the fact that, once again, the world has changed. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Questions for a thief

I wouldn't go as far as the anarchist provocateur and cocaine smuggler Abbie Hoffman, who entitled his autobiography Steal This Book, but I have a relaxed attitude to the ownership of texts. There's a finite amount of space on the shelves in my study, and my wife has made it clear that any volumes found creeping up the hall and into the lounge or our bedroom will be dealt with mercilessly. Because I like to buy books, I have to give them away regularly, too.
I wasn't upset, then, to discover one of the books I left on a table at Nathan Homestead Gallery has disappeared. The table is part of the Ghost South Road exhibition that Paul Janman curated for the gallery, and its books, maps, old magazines, and photocopied essays are supposed to help visitors to the show reflect on the images that Paul and his fellow photographers Ian Powell and Todd Henry have put on the walls. Paul and his friends have photographed places and peoples associated with the Great South Road's military history, so I put Vincent O'Malley's essay 'Te Riki ki Waikato: the invasion of the Waikato and its aftermath' on our table, and added The Needle's Eye, Errol Braithwaite's vivid but forgotten 1965 novel about colonial soldiers who move up and down the road between the taverns and balls of Auckland and the swampy battlefields of the Waikato.
An old topographical map I found in an op shop, complete the name, address, phone number, and annotations of its former owner, uses red stars to indicate roadside clearings where shots were fired in 1863 and '64, and redoubts where soldier-settlers and clergymen shivered behind earthen walls after dark.
Other objects on the table were intended to extend the Waikato war and the Great South road through space and time. An account of a restive, pagan Britain by Tacitus was supposed to remind visitors to the gallery that the colonisers of Aotearoa were once colonised by Rome, and that the road the British built into the Waikato Kingdom was consciously modelled on the highways the Romans ran across the realm of Boadicea.
Peter Eckart's enormous Moon Base Handbook, which features commendatory blurbs by famous science fiction writers and filled with incomprehensible equations and diagrams, was supposed to pose questions about humanity's next great imperial expansion. If space is the final frontier, will it be a frontier tamed with laser cannons and pocket theodolites?
When I visited the gallery on Saturday I noticed that the copy of Sven Lindqvist's Terra Nullius that I'd left on the table had gone. Lindqvist is a octogenarian Swede who divides his time between deserts and libraries. His most famous book is 'Exterminate All the Brutes!' , and describes a journey through the Sahara with an old and cumbersome computer loaded with historical documents for company. After finding an oasis and Lindqvist sets up his computer, and begins to read about Europe's nineteenth century colonisation of Africa. He moves from one half-forgotten text to another, collecting atrocities and noting the rise of a sort of pseudo-scientific ideology, then makes the shocking but utterly credible conclusion that Nazis ideology and the techniques of the Holocaust were invented in Africa, by generations of colonial administrators and writers.
Terra Nullius describes Lindqvist's journey through the deserts of Australia, where he ponders the dispossession of the Aboriginal peoples, and discusses the role that the Aboriginals' extraordinary intricate cultures have played in the development of Western anthropological thought. The title of Lindqvist's book refers to the British belief that Australia had been an empty, uninhabited land before 1788. The Aboriginal peoples may have occupied the continent for many thousands of years, but their hunter gatherer culture was so distant from the paradigm of European civilisation that they could be treated as ghosts.
I liked Terra Nullius so much that I didn't notice, until I read a scabrous review of the book by Aussie Hugh Brody, that Lindqvist had managed to journey for months without meeting a single Aboriginal. Brody thinks that Lindqvist prefers his computer screen to people, and that Terra Nullius is really a disguised expression of the guilt Swedes feel about the wealth and safety of their society, and about the collaboration with Nazism that helped make them wealthy and safe. I agree with some of Brody's points, but I still think Terra Nullius is a fascinating book, and that it was worth adding to the table at Nathan Homestead.
I folded a photocopy of Richard Polt's essay 'The Question of Nothing' into Terra Nullius. Polt is an American philosophy who has the rare ability to make the ideas of Martin Heidegger, the German founder of existentialism who notoriously became a follower of Hitler in the 1930s, seem not only comprehensible but interesting.
'The Question of Nothing' examines typically Heideggerian phrases like 'The nothing nothings itself' and 'Why does nothing not exist?' and argues that they were intended to create a mixture of dread and joy - an 'abyssal wonder' - that can stimulate humans to perceive the world in new ways. For Heidegger, a mood like anxiety is valuable, because it can make us stop and look in new ways at the world around us. Objects that we normally treat as 'transparent', and activities that we can normally complete unconsciously suddenly become problematic, and disclose new meanings. We begin to open a door, and for the first time perceive the roundness and firmness and coldness - the thingness - of its knob. We stop swinging a hammer, and wonder at its power and shapeliness.
I put 'The Question of Nothing' into Terra Nullius because I was interested in whether Lindqvist and Heidegger were, at some level, doing the same thing. Lindqvist wanted his readers to see the people who filled a supposedly empty land: Heidegger, according to Richard Polt, wanted his readers to see the previously invisible world in which they lived. I wondered whether Heidegger's Nazism, which was spectacularly confirmed by the recent publication of his anti-semitic personal notebooks, made any good intentions in his philosophy irrelevant. What, I wondered, would Lindqvist have thought about his words being juxtaposed with those of the German philosopher?
I was intrigued to find, on Saturday, that the thief of Terra Nullius had removed 'The Question of Nothing' from the book, and left it on our table. Was this a repudiation of Heidegger's arguments, or of his politics, or of both? Did the thief take Lindqvist's book because he or she wanted to learn more about the colonisation of Australia, or was he or she trying to keep Australia's dirty history out of our exhibition? And why did the thief take Lindqvist, but not O'Malley, or Tacitus, or a blueprint for the colonisation of the moon? Perhaps I'll find out in time.

[Posted by Scott Hamilton]

Monday, June 12, 2017

Talking war and peace

Here are some photographs from Saturday's Ghost South Road korero at Manurewa's Nathan Homestead gallery. I sat with Vincent O'Malley and Pita Turei on a panel while Paul Janman showed slides of some of the photographs and artefacts on display on the gallery's walls and tables.
After Paul asked him about the Great South Road's connection to the Waikato War, Vincent cited some 1857 issues of Te Karere, the newspaper New Zealand's colonial government set up for the benefit of the country's indigenous people. According to Te Karere's propagandists, the Romans had civilised Britain and prepared it for imperial greatness by building roads through its forests. The British latecomers to Aotearoa were, in the same spirit, building roads through their new colony. Vincent said that this curious history lesson was designed to reassure Maori who saw theodolites being raised and gravel being laid, but that it had the opposite effect, and made them connect road-building with a threat to their lands. And by 1862, when Governor Grey was pushing the Great South Road to the very edge of the Waikato Kingdom, anxiety had become a mixture of panic and anger.

Vincent talked about how secure and efficient supply lines had become an obsession of British military planners in the aftermath of the near-disastrous Crimean War of the 1850s, and emphasised the size of the army that Grey marshalled against Maori in 1862 and '63. The Great South Road had to feed and arm the twelve thousand troops who invaded the Waikato in July 1863, and it became a logical and regular target for Maori taua in the first months of the war.
When he explained why Maori chose to wage a guerrilla war in South Auckland in the days and weeks after the invasion of the Waikato, Vincent emphasised how much weaker they were than their imperial opponent. The British had heavy artillery, the latest rifles, and ironclad battleships; Maori boasted wooden waka, old muskets, and the odd unreliable cannon thieved from the enemy. George Grey wanted to fight on open ground; King Tawhiao preferred to break his men into small groups, and to let them riad and retreat. By attacking convoys on the Great South Road and the cottages of settlers Maori slowed the British invasion of their rohe.
Pita Turei took up where Vincent had left off. He'd driven to our event from Taranaki, where Chris Finlayson had been apologising for the destruction of the pacifist settlement of Parihaka in 1881. Pita insisted that Maori pacifism didn't begin with Parihaka, but with the iwi of the 1830s, who realised the futility of the decades-long Musket Wars, and decided that new ways of settling disputes must be found. Pita argued that, in the early months of the Waikato War, King Tawhiao and his allies combined peacemaking with their low-level guerrilla war along the Great South Road. They wanted to tire the British and bring them to the negotiating table, not to refight the devastating Musket Wars.

Pita and Vincent went on to talk about Irish republican allies of Maori, Pakeha soldier-settlers who were cheated out of their land by the corrupt banker-politicians around Grey, the campaign for a national day of remembrance for the New Zealand Wars, and polar bears.

Paul talked about the wargamers and apostles of alternate history who had helped him model the first ambush and battle on the Great South Road, and a military modeller named James Andrews, whose whakapapa linked him to the war party that staged the ambush, presented us with a sculpture dedicated to the clash, and also showed off a venerable musket.

We've filmed Saturday's discussion, and on Sunday Paul took Vincent O'Malley on a tiki tour of the Great South Road and shot an interview with him.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

A dragon's tooth

The mileposts of the Great South Road belong to myth as much as to history. Sometime in the winter of 1862 they were cut artlessly from native trees, splashed with white paint, and pounded into the muddy road, to mark its progress from the colonial enclave of central Auckland through burning forests towards the Waikato frontier of Tawhiao's kingdom.

Like medieval theologians disputing some indeterminate event in the irretrievable life of their saviour, colonial historians have argued about the role and meaning of the mileposts. Were they raised so that the imperial authorities paying for the construction of the road could calculate their costs precisely? Were they intended as aids to the lonely men who built and manned toll booths on the frontier road? Or was their meaning symbolic? Was their progress south, toward the edge of a recalcitrant Maori nation, supposed to express the anabolic expansion of the world's greatest empire? Were they the architectural equivalent of a promissory note, harbingers of the forts and taverns and courthouses that were coming to the Waikato Kingdom?

Today a few mileposts survive, in the flowering front yards of suburban homes or in the cold closets of local history societies. Paul Janman has retrieved a milepost from the innards of the Nathan Homestead and included it in our Ghost South Road exhibition at the Homestead's gallery. Uprooted from the colonised earth that once nourished it, the post looks curiously abstract. It might one of the teeth of a storied dragon: something once fearful but now devoid of its old meaning, its menace.

We'll be discussing relics of the past this Saturday afternoon at Nathan Homestead.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

This Saturday in Manurewa

Here's an epistle Paul Janman and I have sent out this week. Paul promises to discuss the polar bear at Saturday's event.

Kia ora,
You are invited as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography, to an exhibition of stills, moving image and a dynamic tohu mau mahara (site of memory) by Paul Janman, Scott Hamilton and Ian Powell.
This is part of our ongoing work towards a documentary film and a book about the Great South Road.
  • a presentation of the ideas and histories behind the works on display
  • a recreation of an 1863 skirmish near the old Martyn’s Farm in contemporary Ramarama
  • an historical discussion with Vincent O'Malley writer of The Great War for New Zealand with other key history-makers, writers, tohunga and community members.
For more information on these events or to contact the artist researchers, please visit:

Friday, June 02, 2017

Did Israelite Vikings discover New Zealand?

I've had hundreds of responses on social media to my piece for The Spinoff about Noel Hilliam and his notion of a white tangata whenua. Since the article was published the Northern Advocate has apologised for promoting Hilliam, and Heritage New Zealand has announced that it is investigating the Dargavillean tombraider. 

Some people have appreciated my piece for The Spinoff, but others have been very angry, and have accused me of being a part of the conspiracy that is both hiding evidence of New Zealand's ancient civilisation and persecuting Hilliam. 

Here's a dialogue I had on, on the (public) facebook page of the anti-Treaty Hobson's Pledge organisation, with John Yates. I think the dialogue is interesting, because it shows how pseudo-historical claims about the deep past of the South Pacific lead inevitably to absurd claims about European history. 


I wonder whether Hobson's Pledge isn't making a mistake by lining up behind someone as discredited as Noel Hilliam. 

Hilliam told the Northern Advocate that the skulls he'd found in the Kaipara had been examined by an unnamed expert, and that the expert decided that one of them had blonde hair and that both of them belonged to people born in Wales three thousand years ago. 

Anyone who knows anything about the study of the past will immediately recognise that statement as absurd, for three reasons: the colour of a long-deceased person's hair can't be deduced by an examination of their skull; Wales didn't exist, as a cultural or political entity, three thousand years ago; and there has never been a distinctively Welsh skull. 

Hilliam's own history of absurd claims - his insistence that he'd found a Nazi U boat in the Kaipara in 2008, for example - and his admission that he is part of the same cause as Kerry Bolton, New Zealand's most notorious neo-Nazi, further undermine his credibility. 

I disagree with the views of CK Stead on the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori-Pakeha relations, but I don't question his intellectual credibility and the value of his contributions to discourse in New Zealand. I can't say the same for the likes of Hilliam and Bolton. It seems to me that Hobson's Pledge could find better intellectual allies.


Ah, the bullying begins...Early historians such as Alexander Dalrymple and James Burney claim that Juan Fernández was the first European to reach New Zealand. In 1575 the governor of Cuyo, Juan Jufré, organized an expedition to Terra Australis under the command of Juan Fernandez...


I don't know the details of the claims about 16th century Spanish visitors to New Zealand that you mention, but there's a vast difference between a handful of Europeans coming down here then and Europeans arriving 3,000 years ago and building a civilisation here, which is what Noel Hilliam claims happened. 

The aquatechnology of Europe wouldn't have permitted a visit to this part of the world until the late Middle Ages. The Azores weren't settled by Europeans until the very late Middle Ages, and they are close to Europe. 


So tell me why it is impossible? Vikings have been around for such a long time,with origins in ancient Scythia (Ukraine) area and later know as Scots. All very able navigators before Maori even got out of bed.


The Vikings were not around 3,000 years ago, when Hilliam claims that Europeans came all the way to New Zealand. A thousand years later Julius Caesar struggled to get an army across the channel to what is now England. The Vikings got to North America just over a thousand years ago by island-hopping - they went from Europe to Iceland to Greenland to Canada. The late date of European arrival in the Azores and much later date of landfalls at the Cape of Good Hope shows the limits of European sailing even in the second millennium AD. 


Not only were vikings ( morphed) Sycthians...Sakae- Early Saxons navigators of rivers and coasts of Europe...rivers from the Mediterranean to the Baltic...there is ample evidence they coast hopped from the Red Sea..Indian Ocean and South East Asia ...anything beyond that very feasible calling time on your assumption that these Danites were not around in navigable craft 3000 years ago...pfft


I think you are putting the Vikings in the wrong era and exaggerating the extent of their journeys John. They did not exist 3,000 years ago, when Hilliam claims New Zealand was settled, and even during their era of expansion, which was a little over one thousand years ago, when they crossed the north sea to America and also travelled along various waterways into Russia and the Black Sea, they got nowhere near Southeast Asia, let alone New Zealand.


Then i think you are unaware of early European history...well they may not have been known as Vikings...I did say is without doubt they were navigators and the same people group known as Caucasians...emanating via the Caucasus. One only needs to read the Declaration of Arbroath written by ones closer to the time than say...yourself

The irony of your assertions is that in your mind..only Polynesians and micronesians were capable navigators to find the way to and from Nz...a concept I find completely absurd given the 150 year into the past only exhibited craft that were simply hollowed out logs


I don't think I've yet mentioned either the Polynesians or the Micronesians in my discussion with you: we've been talking about the Vikings. It's not that I'm against talking about other things: it's just that I'd like to get clear about Vikings first. 

My argument is that the Viking maritime expansion occurred in the early Middle Ages and reached its peak about a thousand years ago, when Leif Erikson reached America by island-hopping through the Arctic. Even during this period of expansion, the Vikings never got anywhere near Southeast Asia, let alone New Zealand. So I don't see how Hilliam's claim that NZ was settled 3,000 years ago can be made to fly using reference to a people who didn't even exist 3,000 years ago and who didn't even enter the southern hemisphere.

As for the Polynesians and the Micronesians: there are numerous first-hand accounts by early European mariners of their vaka making journeys across open oceans. The tradition of building oceangoing boats is continuous in some parts of Polynesia, like the Ha'apai islands of Tonga, and also in parts of Micronesia. My friend Visesio Siasau is best known as a sculptor, but he comes from a Ha'apai family of carpenters and shipbuilders. They build outriggers that can sail west from Ha'apai to fish in Fiji and north to Samoa. Theirs is a living tradition of boatbuilding and sailing. 

On a larger scale there are the voyages of the vaka Hokule'a, which was built according to traditional Polynesian and Micronesian principles and using traditional materials, and which has sailed all over the world. In New Zealand the tradition of building ocean-going vessels had died out some time before the arrival of Cook; Maori used waka tiwai, which had only a single hull, to travel along coasts and up rivers. Perhaps you're wrongly generalising from the Maori case and assuming that tropical Polynesians and Micronesians didn't make and use oceangoing vessels.

As far as navigation goes, it's a fact that Cook leaned, during his Pacific voyages, on the Tahitian crewman Tupaia. Tupaia gave Cook advice about navigation, and drew a chart of the Pacific. The Micronesians had their own tradition of making navigational maps out of stick and coconut fibre. These maps depict the distance between islands in terms of travel time rather than sheer distance, taking into consideration currents and winds. Tongans had a very complex navigational system which involved anthropomorphic interpretations of the stars. I'm no expert on this subject, but I'd be wary of underestimating the navigational skills of the peoples who lived and moved across the biggest ocean in the world. 


No one doubts the Polynesian traveled by sea..but it was mostly done by following birds and the current rather than by celestial navigation. One only needs to look at the Great Pyramid to know the mid east had a far superior means of figuring stars and the heavens


I think you'll find that there is a long tradition of navigation by stars in Polynesian and Micronesia. The Tongan navigators had an amazingly intricate anthropomorphic map of the heavens in their heads, which they still use when they are crossing the sea. A friend of mine named Kik Velt, who is an astrophysicist as well as a longtime scholar of Tongan society, has published and analysed some of these maps. 

Polynesian navigators were cognisant of currents and the movements of birds, but many of the initial voyages of discovery from the Polynesian homeland around Tonga and Samoa to lands in the east were made against the current. 

I don't know whether the Egyptians had a superior knowledge of the heavens, but they certainly didn't travel anywhere near as far as the Polynesians. Since Lisa Matisoo-Smith's discovery of Polynesian chicken bones on Mocha Island, just off the coast of Chile, we have been able to say with confidence that they got all the way across the Pacific.


Throwing something more into the mix. The folk coined as vikings, were Sakae, Caucasians, Danites- who were of course from the tribe of Dan of Israel collective, that went through the diaspora. They left their mark in the way, hence you have Ireland (anciently called Tuatha Da Danann- the tribe of Dan- Firbolgs), Swe(den), Scan(dan)navia, Dan(ube) Dn(eiper) etc.

In Hebrew there are no vowels, so the name Dan is written DN, or its Hebrew equivalent. Thus words like Dan, Din, Don, Dun, Den, or Dn, correspond to the name of Dan. The Bible recalls when the Diapora was going on a lament 750-520 BC;- That Dan stood afar off in their ships.

In the Book of Judges, we learn another trait of this tribe. In the song of Deborah and Barak, during the time of the Judges, the song asks, "Why did Dan remain in ships?" (Judges 5:17). Or, "Dan abode in ships." The tribe of Dan was a mighty SEA-FARING tribe, which loved to sail the seas. These are the vikings, lately known or sections of them. Food for thought.


I'm afraid I'm a bit confused by this, John. Are you using the British Israelite theory, with its claim that the peoples of northern Europe are a sort of lost tribe of Israel? That notion was popular a century ago, but even then it involved ignoring an enormous amount of evidence. If the Vikings were descended from Israelites, how do you explain the fact that they spoke a completely different language? And how about the lack of genetic similarities between Jewish people and the people of Scandinavia? The haplogroup J, which is very common amongst Jews and points to an ancient genetic link, is virtually absent from Scandinavia. 


Well, for a start, heraldry plays a part, and Jews (from Judah)are not necessarily Israelite's, but converted to the the religion of Judah a principal remnant after the Diaspora. Israel had 13 tribes that were very ordered as you will find in Numbers. Succession of tribal identity, say a woman from Dan, married a member of Naphtali, she would be thereafter be a Naphtali.

The marker of "Jews" is not a term the Israelite used, ever. 
Linguistically there are a lot of similarities between Hebrew and Gaelic, and language can die out and morph very quickly in the right circumstances.

With New Zealand native dialects it was not uncommon from North to south they would have had trouble understanding each other.


Nordic Israelism! Let me just say that I find the notion that the Polynesians discovered and settled NZ much easier to believe than the idea that a tribe of Israelites migrated to Scandinavia then sailed round Africa and through Southeast Asia to this country...

[Posted by Scott Hamilton]

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Kataki fakamolemole Siua

My 'Homage to Tongan Poets' has been included in Jenny Bornholdt's anthology of the Best New Zealand Poems of 2016, along with a note in which I apologise to the great Siua Ongosia, the first Tongan-language rapper.