"We need to teach all Māori history, warts and all" - Kelvin Davis

Ryan Bridge 08/10/2019

Māori Crown Relations Minister Kelvin Davis joins Magic Talk Drive with Ryan Bridge as the replica of Captain Cook's Endeavour made its way into Gisborne's waters on Tuesday to mark 250 years since the arrival of Pakeha.

On the issue of protesters Davis says, “there is maybe a couple dozen people who are opposed to it and thousands who are just enjoying the spectacle.

I think many Māori have mixed feelings about this whole day.

When the UK High Commissioner expressed regret for the killings of Māori under Cook Ryan asks why Kelvin Davis didn’t push harder for an apology.

“It’s nothing to do with the New Zealand Government, which didn’t exist 250 years ago. That’s entirely the British wanting to do what they want to do.”

It’s not our business to tell the British Government what they should do.

The interview then moved on to the official history of New Zealand, Ryan mentions an earlier interview with Tina Ngata who claims that New Zealand history neglects to teach about the violence Cook enacted upon the Māori.

The history that’s been told has been pretty lopsided,” Davis said. “The Government is going to talk and teach about our history in schools. I think it’s long overdue.”

It’s an  opportunity for 1000 years of polynesian, Māori history to be thought.

Asked for his own description of Captain Cook’s arrival to New Zealand Davis responds, “when he arrived here there were a number of people who died. That’s not a great thing.”

“I would like to see the stories of our ancestors to be given more prominence than the story of Captain Cook. Let’s understand there was 750 years of Māori history and settlement before Cook arrived.”

Kelvin Davis Source:Supplied

“From our first arrival to how we spread out across the country to how we evolved into the Hapū and iwi that we are now.” Ryan then asks if Kelvin Davis has been in contact with the Ministry of Education in order to shape a curriculum.

He confirms he has in his role as Associate Minister for Education saying, “We've got a couple of years to get it right, and get the resources in place. The history of the North is more relevant to the people of the North,” explaining the same is true for the South Island.

So there’s going to be a lot of localised content, each tribe has their own history.

“Hopefully, since they are saying their history needs to be taught that they’re happy to impart that knowledge and release some of that information.”

“Because if they’re not prepared to release and tell us these stories then it’s very hard to teach it.”

When asked if Māori  history will include acts of violence and war between the different tribes Davis replied, “I hope so.”

We have got to teach our history, warts and all.

“There are some stories and tribal battles that are pretty gory. We need to teach it, we can’t sort of just teach the rose coloured view of our history.”

“I think it’s very exciting and people will be very intrigued by the stories, the history that we have.”

You can listen to the full interview above.