How Charlottesville’s Echoes Forced New Zealand to Confront Its HistoryBreaking News
tags: racism, New Zealand, Charlottesville
An 80-year-old Maori man walked up to a statue of a colonial-era British naval commander one winter morning in 2018, a can of paint and a claw hammer in his hands.
“The red paint was to change the way he looked, and the hammer was to break his nose,” said the man, Taitimu Maipi.
Mr. Maipi’s small act of vandalism in the city of Hamilton, New Zealand, was intended to be a reminder of the pain that white settlers inflicted on the Indigenous Maori people. It ended up forcing a national reckoning over historical memory and cultural identity that paralleled in many ways the upheaval a year before in Charlottesville, Va.
The attack in Hamilton drew extensive coverage in the local newspaper. Residents responded with letters denouncing the vandalism. And the conversation caught the eye of one longtime reader: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
In September, Ms. Ardern announced that the national school curriculum would be changed to require lessons on the 19th-century New Zealand Land Wars, in which British troops killed more than 2,000 Maori.
“I did not see that coming,” Mr. Maipi, a longtime activist, said recently as he stood beside the bronze statue of Capt. John Hamilton, which remains in the middle of Hamilton’s downtown square.
comments powered by Disqus
- New PBS Documentary on New York Gossip Columnist Walter Winchell
- Northam Calls for VMI Investigation after Black Cadets Describe Relentless Racism
- After Chicago 7 Trial, Mrs. Jean Fritz Helped Change the Course of History
- Despite Everything, People Still Have Weddings at ‘Plantation’ Sites
- Why Do Witches Ride Brooms? The History Behind the Legend
- John Brown And Abraham Lincoln: Divergent Paths In The Fight To End Slavery (audio)
- "White Supremacy" Once Meant David Duke and the Klan. Now it Refers to Much More
- A Look At The Long History Of Latino Republicans
- American Historical Association Announces 2020 Prize Winners
- How Saidiya Hartman Retells the History of Black Life