Tuhinga Poto

Keith Sinclair and the History of Humanitarianism

Philippa Wyatt, ‘Keith Sinclair and the History of Humanitarianism’, New Zealand Journal of History, vol 54, no 2 (2020), pp 1-19.  

Keith Sinclair was a leading New Zealand historian of the 1950s-80s era who wrote a best selling history of New Zealand and an important work on the 1860s New Zealand wars. In this important article, Philippa Wyatt reviews Sinclair’s argument that New Zealand had ‘better’ race relations than other white settler colonies because of the early influence of Christian humanitarianism on the early period of the colony, including on the Treaty of Waitangi. While Sinclair critiqued the ‘failures’ of humanitarianism in preventing the 1860s wars, he affirmed (and Wyatt essentially agrees with him) that the Christian-inspired ideology of the equality of Māori and European had set New Zealand on a different, ‘exceptional’ path from other colonizing zones. (Made available with permission of the author and the NZJH.)


The Waikato War in Historical Memory

Vincent O’Malley, ‘Recording the Incident with a Monument’:
The Waikato War in Historical Memory, Journal of New Zealand Studies, vol 19, 2015, pp 79-97.

This paper charts changing perceptions of the Waikato War in national memory and consciousness. The recent sesquicentenary passed by most New Zealanders largely unnoticed. Historical memories of the war that once (in part thanks to James Cowan) fed into larger nation-building narratives cut across them today. A century ago it was possible for Pākehā to believe that the Waikato War had given birth to fifty years of peace and that mutual respect forged in battle had provided the basis for “race relations” of unparalleled harmony. By the 1970s such a notion could no longer be sustained, leaving a kind of uncomfortable silence about one of the decisive events in New Zealand history.


Embedding the apology in the nation’s identity

Danielle Celermajer and Joanna Kidman, ‘Embedding the Apology in the Nation’s Identity’, Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol 121, no 3 (2012), pp 219-242.

Danielle Celermajer and Joanna Kidman published in 2012 this thought-provoking and much-needed analysis on the challenges facing reconciliation/social-historical cohesion in both New Zealand and Australia. (Used with permission of the authors and the Journal of the Polynesian Society.)


God’s Own Silence

John Stenhouse, ‘God’s Own Silence. Secular Nationalism, Christianity and the Writing of New Zealand History’ (2004).

‘God’s Own Silence. Secular Nationalism, Christianity and the Writing of New Zealand History’, New Zealand Journal of History, 38, 1 (2004). (Used by permission of the author and NZJH.)


Clapham & the Treaty of Waitangi

Peter McKenzie, ‘Clapham and the Treaty of Waitangi’ (2010)

Peter McKenzie QC shows how the ‘second generation’ Clapham-ites influenced the Treaty of Waitangi. He also canvasses the question of translation. A fine summary. Published in Stimulus, vol 18, no 4, 2010 (used with permission).


Christianity NZ Bicentenary Statement

A small committee prepared a short statement in early 2014 to mark 200 years of the Christian Gospel in Aotearoa New Zealand. It was an attempt to assess the nature and contribution of Christianity to this country since Ruatara invited Marsden to establish the first mission and Pakeha settlement in NZ. It contains a concise historical narrative and some acknowledgements and affirmations