The initial social media response to my Listener cover article was intriguing. It mostly riffed from snap judgement of the cover and headline without reading the actual content. Alas, being ignorant of what I’d said didn’t stop commenters from judging what they imagined I wrote, sight unseen.
If I judge something, I have to know the content first. It’s axiomatic. But apparently social media doesn’t need facts.
I wasn’t being singled out. A ‘design historian’ (who insisted he HAD read the article) called my material a ‘spectacularly asinine understanding of history’, then within a few hours also abused The Guardian, name-called Sir James Dyson (who he called a ‘Tory jerk’) and so on. I was just one of many passing targets for this online school-bully style jeering. I suppose I should have been flattered, but somehow I wasn’t.
From others who hadn’t read my article I learned I was a ‘noted opponent’ of the Waitangi Tribunal, ‘among other things’, which was news – last dealings I had with their senior historian ended in him telling me they’d offer me a contract if one came along.
The point of the article, of course, was to explore what the professional historical and archaeological community say about somebody other than Abel Tasman being the ‘first’ European to meet Maori. And yes, you do need to check it out. Click on the magazine cover.
As an aperitif, the science is clear about who first arrived here. Polynesians. There were no humans here before the Polynesian arrival. We know where they landed – the Wairau river bar, where the latest work indicates an arrival early in the 1300s. That made New Zealand the last large habitable land mass on the planet reached by humans. Maori, whose culture emerged from the Polynesian colonies, are therefore indigenous to New Zealand.
Europe arrived later. How much later? Click on the cover to check it out – and be aware it’s a commercial magazine and there’s a paywall.
If you want to check out one of my books on the possibility, it’s on Kindle.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016