Since I live in the United States, I’m exposed primarily to claims about the alternative history of America, so it’s refreshing to realize that America isn’t the only place where weird ideas about ancient history pop up. In fact, wherever there are white people who have colonized primarily non-white lands, we find alternative histories creating a fictive pre-history for Caucasian colonization. I remember reading ages ago about claims that some graffiti in an Australian cave was proof of ancient Egyptian colonization of Australia, and the white minority government of Rhodesia made white construction of Great Zimbabwe official ideology down to the fall of the regime in 1980. An entire genre has grown up around attempts to “prove” that the gods of South America were in fact a lost white race of civilizers who visited education upon the benighted brown peoples of that continent and ruled them as their Master Race.
So I was quite pleased to hear from a correspondent in New Zealand that the situation there is no different than here. New Zealand is a former British colony, officially a part of the British Commonwealth, and headed by Queen Elizabeth II. Today, 67% of the population identifies as white, the result of British colonization and government policies that favored white residents over native Māori people. This is down from 92% in 1961, due largely to more New Zealanders embracing Māori heritage. The country has experienced racial tension between the white majority and the Māori minority, who have accused the government of Eurocentrism and who have sought a greater role for Māori culture in New Zealand life.
The Māori came to New Zealand in the 1200s CE and were the first people to live on the islands, according to archaeology.
Against this backdrop, last year three New Zealand amateur alternative historians released a book called To the End of the Earth (not to be confused with books about the crypto-Jews of New Mexico or the North Pole that share the same title), which claimed that the Māori were not the indigenous people of New Zealand but rather interlopers who usurped a land discovered and colonized by white people from Europe a thousand years earlier. The book, by Maxwell C. Hill, Gary Cook and Noel Hilliam, made use of the same types of ambiguous and false evidence as American attempts at rewriting history, like America Unearthed. In fact, the authors relied on Barry Fell, the patron saint of America Unearthed, to validate their claims!
Note: I can’t find any information about publication of the book, only news accounts of it. It appears that it was privately printed, but it generated an enormous amount of press, second only to the press received by David Childress when he came to New Zealand in 1996 to tell New Zealanders that their country was part of an Egyptian-Muvian trade network of the world’s Aryan ancient peoples.
According to news accounts, the authors claim that an “ancient map” by Ptolemy, drawn “before the birth of Christ,” shows the coasts of Australia and New Zealand and thus demonstrates that the Greeks had reached New Zealand before the second century BCE. No original copies of Ptolemy’s world map exist; the oldest was “reconstructed” in the fifteenth century CE from descriptions of geography given in Ptolemy’s works. Even a cursory glance at reconstructed maps of Ptolemy shows that they demonstrate no awareness of South Pacific landforms.
They also claim that some rock art depicts a Greek ship. I have not seen the rock art, so I can’t say what it depicts, nor how one would distinguish a Greek ship in crude rock art.
They got the idea for this from Barry Fell, the British-born New Zealander who later lived in America. He identified some scratched lines in Indonesia as proof that a navigator named Maui sailed from Egypt to Indonesia in the reign of Ptolemy III in 232 BCE, and he got the idea that pretty much every weird inscription around the world was evidence of this voyage. (This was before he decided the Americas were chock full of European voyagers, too.) Fell claimed Maui circumnavigated the world under Captain Rata and the navigational advice of Greek scientist Eratosthenes, who conveniently declined to mention any such thing in his works, in order to “prove” Eratosthenes’ theory that the earth was round! This, in turn, merely reversed the order of events proposed by Thor Heyerdahl, who claimed that Europeans sailed to America to create civilization, and in turn these Euro-offshoots sailed on to Polynesia to found their culture. Thus, by the transitive property, the Polynesians were “really” degenerate Europeans.
A wonderful overview of this theme is given in K. R. Howe’s “Maori/Polynesian Origins and the ‘New Learning,’” in The Journal of Polynesian Society (later included in the much more detailed book, The Quest for Origins). Howe offers exhaustive detail on alternative theories about Polynesian origins and places it in the context of imperialist/colonialist ideology and racial fantasy. In the book, Howe also paints an interesting portrait of David Childress’s trip to New Zealand, where his Adventures Unlimited Press operated a book store, about which I was unaware. What follows is my discussion of material Howe presented.
Maui is a Māori god; if he could be proved to be a Greco-Egyptian, then the Maori are merely a subject people of Hellenistic culture. Barry Fell first proposed this idea in the 1970s in the New Zealand Listener, an influential publication, claiming Maui was from Libya, as were all Polynesians, and that they were known to the Greeks as the Mauri. The remnants of Maui’s expedition reproduced with local women and thus gave rise to the Māori people. Thus, Fell concluded, early New Zealand was part of “the old Mediterranean world” and the Māori language, far from being the “Other,” was in fact “our classical heritage.” It was a strange combination of Eurocentrism and an attempt to reconcile Māori and European.
R. A. Lochore, who attributed the Māori—and in fact all Polynesians—to Mesopotamia (!), supported Fell’s version of events and extended it back to 3000 BCE, when the first Māori ancestors lived in Northern Mesopotamia before moving to Libya and thus following Fell’s version of events. Lochore took it further, stating that the Polynesians also became the Indo-Aryans and colonized the Americas.
David Childress picked up the story, and he expanded upon it. If Fell and Lochore tried to reconcile the Māori and Europeans by pretending they were once one people, Childress imagined (in Ancient Tonga and the Lost City of Mu’ua, 1996) a full-on race-based class system. The Polynesians, he said, were the direct descendants of the Egyptians, who colonized the Pacific in search of gold. The Melanesians were their sub-Saharan African slaves who operated the (white) Egyptians’ gold mines. This is clearly derived from James Churchward’s imaginary Mu, where a white Master Race ruled over the brown peoples who squatted on the miserable islands of the Pacific.
In turn, all of this derives from Victorian race theories that sought to prove that the Aryan peoples (the Indo-Europeans) were the apex of civilization, and all others were undeveloped offspring of the same. Thus, the Polynesians were seen as primitive survivals of the earliest stages of Aryan culture, derived, they believed from Europe. As a simple example, Andrew Lang claimed that the Polynesian peoples’ mythology was derived from the Greek, and that they preserved a version of the Greek story of Jason and the Argonauts. And even this is merely a reworking of the still earlier claim that Europeans alone preserved Biblical truths correctly, while all others possessed degenerate versions of Biblical truth.
terry the censor
2/10/2013 09:51:18 pm
Reading these kinds of texts would probably unhinge my mind.
7/14/2015 01:50:32 am
Maui was white, he created maori.he also colonised the ahi ka ( the ring of fire ). The myth and legends and stars is were we keep our secrets just like the greeks to pass from generations.the day maui slows the sun is the first day of the maori calendar its our shortest day on papatuanuku.the soltice 21st of june, we call it tuakaihautanga o tamanuitera.our iwi is hikairo the uplifted cairo.its the same day eratotene you call erostothenes measured the circumference of the earth.there longest day in cairo alexandria.
1/20/2016 03:17:52 am
All peoples once came from the Middle East. No news there. But Maui wasn't white any more than he was green. Keep in mind that there are what seven Maui's in legend. Lots of confusion me thinks. Know why? Because each group to get here, and there were many, took up the traditions of the people they found here. This is no different to the way a Korean goes to America and picks up on American culture, language and lifestyle. Thus their children become Americans but look like Koreans. That is why we see Polynesian, Melaniesan, Peruvian and other quirks within Maori. Migrations were constant and over thousands of years from all directions.
2/13/2013 08:46:32 pm
What terry said -- how do such theorists respond to DNA data? The settlement of the South Pacific is fascinating, but the DNA trail shows a path back to mainly Taiwan and before that Madagascar. Not everything has to be about Europeans.
terry the censor
2/14/2013 06:02:15 am
> protesting orthodoxy in favor of direct personal revelation
7/14/2015 02:17:31 am
Its confusing for you guys i can understand. There was three great colonisations of the place you call new zealand.first was maui who created maori and colonised the pacific finally settling there on papatuanuku ( mahia) because he new how to map and he was sent to discover the uplifted lands we get the legend of catching the north island. Maui nows its the shape of a fish.we call te ika a maui ' the fish of maui'. The next migration came the polynesians who we bred with and they adopted our korero which they knew because they were generations of ancients from the same colonization.then came the colonials who we bred with as well.
7/14/2015 02:04:00 am
Your comments are correct when do we determine who is white.maui's mother had blond hair and it's written in the stars, the hair of pherenike.maui tiki tiki a taranga is his full name meaning he belongs to the top knot of his mother.she wrapped him up in it thinking he was a still born.pherenike is macedonian for bringer of victory.maui settles at papatuanuku.papa-victory, tua-far side , nuku-earth.he names his new world after his mother.
3/6/2016 04:17:56 am
How about someone provide some evidence to the equation. Without evidence, it's all conjecture. Now, Archaeologists will say there was no race of tall people in NZ before Maori arrived or when they did because Maori were first. Yet many Maori will tell you there were others here before they arrived. One group was exceedingly tall. Therefore, forget the stones and all the theory. What we need is evidence of some 7-8' tall skeletons right? Follow us at... http://tangatawhenua16.wix.com/the-first-ones-blog
7/8/2018 09:16:53 pm
Why are Egyptians and even ancient Europeans constantly labelled as white people? They were brown and black peoples so is it so hard to believe Maori are partly descended from Egyptians? Having said that we are all descended from Africa (including Egyptians - Egypt being part of Africa) and white people are a minority pocket of black people whose genetics changed due to - "natural selection?" - "environmental/disease factors?" "Genetic mutations causing albinism?". If we research deeply enough we can see that Europe, including all of the British Isles were inhabited by dark skinned people. That if we look collectively at all histories, myths and legends we see dark and light skinned people living together, that the light people were from the dark but their genes had mutated. Why do we all acknowledge that we all come from Africa originally but then see each other and each culture as so separate? Why do we find it so difficult to believe that such a magnificent seafaring people that the Maori are descended from couldn't possibly have been traversing the seas before 1200 CE? We talk about eurocentrism. Is it possible that in all these myths and legends including the bible the majority of people had dark skin amd the light ("white") skinned people who had mutated genetics maybe felt like outcasts, ostricised, even if they actually weren't. So they 'white washed' a lot of these stories to feel superiro instead of inferior. Perhaps its time for us to all see each other as the same people again, forgive the lighter skinned people for white washing all of the stories as they felt like minorities. Forgive them for making everyone else feel like the minority/inferior and accept that we all share in these stories. All myths and legends are about humanity branching out across the globe, having different experiences which had different effects on genetics. Let's see all of this as not HIS story or HER story or BLACK OR WHITE story but simply the Human story. Let's not discredit the idea that we have all been traipsing around the globe since BCE times in magnificent boats sharing our genetics, stories and beliefs because if we research deeply enough with an open mind we can see the same sort of influeneces all over the globe. Moreso, we can see how well our stories have been maintained through oral teachings. Maori have been reknowned as some of the most thorough oral history keepers, so to have the Hebrews and the Indigenous Australians and Native Americans. Stop looking at these stories as separate but all as one story with many chapters and you might see just how possible it is that New Zealand and the rest of Polynesia was a point that many cultures visited over thousands of years. That's nothing to scorn. I am part of the Maori culture and I am proud and amazed that cultures from all over the world came together again in the Pacific Paradise to find peace for a time. That peace was disrupted, but now lets stop the bickering, come back together stop dividing and trying to own different stories and let peace settle throughout the world. Honour our Mother Earth (Papatuanuku).
4/1/2021 07:31:22 am
It’s just facts nothing racist about it. Modern civilization that we know stems directly from Aryan heritage (a term that comes from Sanskrit and old Persian not Nazi Germany) or indo-Iranian and indo-European as it’s called today. They ushered in civilization that exploded all over Eurasia around 3000bc. There’s speculation that civilization goes back further, some think as far back as 12,000bc, but no solid proof yet. The racist ideologies stem from the belief that humans evolved separately, the bringers of culture and civilization (Aryans) evolving from cro magnon and other less civilized races evolving from Neanderthals and/or other archaic humans.
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