Updated: Sep 14, 2019
It's coming up three months now since I made the move to the UK. It's an easy place to be; in many regards it's a bit like crossing the road from New Zealand.
Obviously I do still like to keep up with happenings in NZ. During past overseas trips I've defaulted to the NZ Herald for the purposes of keeping tabs on what's going on back home, but since they started wanting money in exchange for the privilege of reading material that in truth is only second-rate journalism at best, I've held my nose and gone back to Stuff, which is even more deficient, but at least it's still free.
Relying on the British media for news about New Zealand is pointless, of course, because New Zealand seldom if ever warrants a mention outside the Sports pages, and even then, only if the All Blacks lose or the Black Caps win. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but New Zealand isn't regarded as being remotely significant, outside of New Zealand.
So logging onto their site the other day I found the usual Stuff icon headline replaced with the word above.
Eh? Puna? What the hey is that all about? Then it dawned on me; Maori Language Week, of course. Clearly Puna means 'Stuff' in Te Reo.
And I thought to myself, I always did like David Carter in his role as Speaker of the House (even if my former Leader didn't), but I'm very glad not to have to sit through another rendition of the Parliamentary Prayer as delivered in Maori by the Rt Hon Mr Carter. Seriously, it was like enduring several minutes of rusty nails on a particularly slate-surfaced blackboard.
I'm sure David won't mind me mentioning this. Not bad as a Speaker, which given that he was following the example set by Lockwood Smith is no mean feat, but truly ghastly as a speaker of Te Reo.
Now I can't talk, of course, being steadfastly monolingual. I don't understand a word of Maori and have no interest whatsoever in doing so.
Neither do most Maori, it would seem. If they did, the language wouldn't need to be on life support, artificially propped up by continual large injections of taxpayers' money, and utterly unused in any real form by real people in real life.
And in any case it isn't even 'Maori', because of course the Peoples who inhabited the islands that were to become New Zealand, prior to the arrival of the white man, never had a singular language, because they weren't a singular people.
Rather, the tongue commonly referred to as 'Te Reo' is a modern reconstruction of the Ngapuhi language, which was one dialect used by the tribe who occupied the Auckland isthmus, at the time whitey arrived.
James Cook's translator was a Tahitian native who could communicate with some of the tribes the English encountered in New Zealand, but not all, and neither could the various tribes always communicate with one another particularly well.
However, one of the things I learned from logging onto the Puna website, was that there are serious moves afoot to make the teaching of New Zealand's history a compulsory thing.
Oh. My. God. , I thought. Here we go.
OK, on the one hand, it's probably a good thing, that some history is going to be taught in New Zealand schools at all. Anything has to be better than nothing.
But honestly, I have to ask; what bastardised, politicised, romanticised, propagandised, edited, censored, and completely fictional made-up bullshit version of 'New Zealand's History', is going to be foisted upon the youth of tomorrow?
Utter crap, would be my guess.
I guess that because the Establishment has no greater interest in telling the truth about New Zealand's history than it does in telling the truth about anything else, which is none at all.
The official line regarding the climate? Bullshit.
The official line regarding 1080 and pest control? Bullshit.
The official line regarding Clark Gayford and cocaine? Bullshit.
The official line regarding firearms and crime? Bullshit.
And so it goes. New Zealand schoolkids have been fed bullshit about all these things for a generation or more now, and there is nothing, but nothing, to indicate that what they get fed regarding New Zealand history will be anything different.
They're already being fed bullshit regarding the 'Maori language.' You can take it to the Bank that what they get fed where NZ History is concerned, regarding Maori, will be equally fictitious.
Let me give you a lead on where I think it might go.
"In the beginning, Rangi and Papa created the Heavens and the Earth. And the Earth was void, and without form, and darkness was on the face of the Deep.
"And Rangi and Papa said, 'let there be light', and there was light, and it had brown skin.
"And God created Maori in Her own bisexual, transgender, differently-abled, multi-faith image. And Maori were peaceful and friendly, and lived in harmony with one another, and with the earth, and never exterminated the Moa.
"And they all spoke the same flowing melodic language, which had words for things like shotguns and microchips and deep fat fryers, even though those things hadn't been invented, by anyone, and most certainly not by a disparate bunch of tribes who hadn't managed to discover the wheel, or metal, or even mathematics.
"And there was no inter-tribal war, or incest, or cannabilism.
"And Moriori were just another tribe of Polynesian Maori, and didn't come from somewhere else entirely, and weren't subject to genocide at all.
"And the lion laid down with the lamb, and there were words for these critters as well, or at least there are now, and it's RACIST of you to suggest that they're just made up, and only modern transliterations from English.
"But then the evil White Man came along, and everything turned to shit.
"And so if you are white, you should be ashamed, and guilty. And you should flay yourselves with nettles and other unpleasant stuff. (sorry, other unpleasant puna.)
"Also, you need to give us money, and lots of it, because bad things were done in the past, by people who weren't you, to people who weren't us.
"Here endeth the lesson.
- see what I mean? I'm actually not joking. The officially approved curriculum will follow the above very closely. I'd bet the farm on that, if I could afford a farm, which of course I can't, because decades of successive Governments allowing any and every foreigner who wants a slice of NZ to just buy it outright, has pushed the price of farmland out of the reach of Average Joes like me.
But I digress.
I say 'white' above, because of course the outlanders with whom "Maori" had most of their first recent era contacts weren't Europeans, they were Americans.
Now I know - whitey is all the same to the racist academics who will be putting the new curriculum together (in fact it's probably already at the Printers).
But the truth is that even though Abel Tasman was Dutch, and even though the charts he was following, that already existed, showing the coastlines of Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Antarctica, were Portuguese, it was the Americans who were the first whiteys to come to NZ in numbers. They were sealers and whalers. The US had a consular presence in New Zealand even before the British did. Will that be taught?
Hang on - how does Prosser, redneck that he is, know that the Portuguese had maps showing New Zealand, dating from 150 years before Tasman?
Because a person who had spent 10 years in the RNZN hydrographic branch showed them to him, that's how. And that person copied them at the Spanish National Maritime Archives, where they were freely available. They're not actually a big deal in Europe. No-one cares, y'see.
But I absolutely guarantee you that there will be no mention of their existence, whatsoever, in the new compulsory New Zealand History Curriculum. And that's because it doesn't fit the narrative. And if there IS a mention of it, it will be denied, and some Government agency or other will dig up a foreign journalist, or diplomat, or someone else with a degree that they downloaded, probably from a non-existent University in Pakistan, who will go on camera, with their foreign accent, and say something like "We have been unable to find any documentary evidence to support Mr Prosser's claims," and that will be the end of it, because it will be repeated on TELEVISION, which, as we all know, is the Unadulterated Word of God, and thus beyond question.
Because, you know, you can't say stuff (sorry, puna) on TV that isn't true, because "THEY" wouldn't allow it. Well I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but actually, there is no "THEY". There never has been. So yes, the other 'They' can say whatever they want, on TV. And they do, frequently, and no-one stops them. And lots of it is complete bollocks. Just saying.
So there's lots of stuff (sorry, puna) that will be regurgitated and held up as gospel, when New Zealand history is made compulsory in New Zealand.
But I'm betting there's lots of puna that won't be taught, either, in spite of it being true.
I'm betting that kids won't be reminded of how Maori battalion soldiers, in Egypt and Libya during the Second World War, were able to freely converse with local nomadic tribespeople, so close were the languages they spoke to the 'Maori dialects' known to some of the troops. That doesn't fit the narrative.
It's a bloody shame, because the direction, and passage, and timelines, of some of the Peoples who came to conglomerate in the New Zealand islands, and who came to be known as 'Maori', is utterly fascinating, and I think it's something we should all know about.
I'm betting that the fact that the pukeko, and the North African Purple Swamp Hen, are the same bird, won't be highlighted.
I'm betting that the fact that Libocedrus plumosa, the New Zealand native cedar also known as kawaka, also occurs - naturally - in both South America and southern Portugal, but nowhere else, won't be part of the history as it is taught, because that don't fit the narrative neither.
I'm betting that no mention will be made of the fact that sea currents, known to ancient mariners, could carry Waitaha canoes from Easter Island to New Zealand in as little as 11 days, without sail or oars, because that doesn't suit the modern narrative either. Oh, and other currents could take them back again in about the same time. That doesn't suit the narrative because it was happening 2,500 years ago.
Or that the maps that guided the navigators of those canoes, were actually the carvings on the stern posts of the canoes. Or that those carvings were made by the tohunga who knew the old languages and the ways by which they were preserved and disseminated.
I'm betting that the words of the likes of Ngapuhi Elder David Rankin, who has several times spoken of his tribe's oral histories, with regards to his ancestors coming to New Zealand, and finding people already there to meet them, won't be part of the curriculum, because that doesn't suit the narrative either.
And then of course there's the history of what happened after Johnny-come-lately Whitey arrived, which is where the history - the official school curriculum history, as it is to be - will REALLY diverge from reality.
So I'm not excited by the fact that New Zealand history is about to be made compulsory in New Zealand, as part of the school curriculum. And I'm not excited because I'm absolutely certain that the version of it that is going to be taught, will be 100%, unmitigated, undiluted bullshit.