Sunday, 23 August 2015


Another culture-jam:

Given the epidemic of obesity amongst Maori in NZ, the reworked image of the arrival of the first canoe may be apt commentary -

the divine command

Whilst much criticism has been made of the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) insofar as the stone-age Maori were less than familiar with documents of any sort, much less a legal one of this nature which discussed abstract notions foreign to them such as land-ownership and sovereignty; any treaty was better than the deal the Red Indians received in America.

Indeed, the Treaty and the attitudes of the whites in New Zealand (self-serving and duplicitous as they were) appear positively enlightened when compared to the governmentally accepted concept of “manifest destiny” which set the tone for colonization of Indian lands in America.

Consider these quotes on the concept of "manifest destiny":

Is is our...”manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.”
- John O’Sullivan 1845 (USA)

(Senator Thomas Hart Benton speaking to the US Congress 1846, expanding on the theme of “manifest destiny”):
...“It would seem that the White race alone received the divine command, to subdue and replenish the earth, for it is the only race that has obeyed it - the only race that hunts out new and distant lands, even a New World to subdue and replenish........ the divine command to subdue the American earth had been bestowed on the white man alone: The Red race has disappeared from the Atlantic coast; the tribes that resisted civilization met extinction. This is a cause of lamentation with many. For my part, I cannot murmur at what seems to be the effect of divine law....Civilization or extinction, has been the fate of all people who have found themselves in the trace of the advancing Whites, and civilization, always the preference of the Whites, has been pressed as an object, while extinction has followed as a consequence of its resistance....Moral and intellectual superiority will do the rest [win out]; the White race will take the ascendant, elevating what is susceptible of improving - wearing out what is not....”

and, Manifest Destiny as a divine task:

(William Gilpin  “Mission of the North American People” 1873)
“to rush over this vast field to the Pacific change darkness into light and confirm the destiny of the human race. Divine task. Immortal mission!”

Changing darkness into light at Wounded Knee

Friday, 21 August 2015

fatal impact

Alan Moorhead's book "The Fatal Impact" describes the overwhelming of traditional stone-age cultures in the South Pacific by the colonists who followed the early explorers of the region.
As a culture-jammer I have constructed the image below as a commentary on this clash of civilizations....
More such commentary will feature on this blog....

an introduction:

      It's said that history is mainly about men behaving badly: Cannibalism, Slavery, Head Hunting, Wars, Invasion, Violence & Rapine, Extermination, Appropriation, Religion & Sex - who said that New Zealand history was boring?

During my 2015 spring roadtrip I will explore some of these issues in the towns and villages I visit along the way.

In October I will head to the Far North of New Zealand from my home in Auckland, up the eastern side of the North Island as far as North Cape, then turn and head south again - over to the West coast and on down the centre of the island back to Auckland.
On the way I will note my observations on geological, natural, and social history; visit Men’s Sheds; and talk with as many local characters as I can to learn about their area and hopefully hear a few interesting tales - the taller the better!