Conspiracy Theorist Claims UN, Government Suppressing Truth about Ancient "White" Colonization of New Zealand
Today I’d like to take a little break from U.S.-centric alternative history to look at an ongoing debate in the alternative history of New Zealand. The material I’m going to discuss comes to me from Matthew Dentith, a New Zealander with a Ph.D. in the epistemology of conspiracy theories (how cool is that?), who runs a blog where he has carefully examined conspiracy theories about New Zealand, including a twelve part series on the allegation that the New Zealand government and sundry other dark forces are conspiring to hide the hidden ancient “white” history of New Zealand in order to turn the country over to the Māori.
Unfortunately, since so much of the media in America is U.S.-centric, we don’t often hear about the fringe ideas of other countries, so I thought I’d highlight the weird ideas about New Zealand that Dentith has done so much to examine and expose.
I’ve previously discussed some of the claims of alternative theorist Barry Fell that the archipelago was first discovered and settled by Greco-Egyptian colonists who gave rise to the Māori, but as it happens there are so many more ways to suggest that white European were the first colonizers of the islands, including the popular “Celtic New Zealand” hypothesis whereby Martin Doutré, a supporter of Holocaust-denial historian David Irving against a “Zionist” conspiracy and a questioner of the “real forces” behind the September 11, 2001 attacks, argued that stone circles in New Zealand (many actually natural formations) were (a) observatories, (b) thousands of years old, and (c) so sophisticated that only white people from ancient Europe could have devised them.
There is an entire conspiracy theory in which Doutré and others argue that the Māori and elements of the New Zealand government are conspiring to privilege the Māori over white New Zealanders, return the country to Māori rule, and deny whites their true history as the real New Zealand natives. John Ansell, another conspiracy theorist and a supporter of Doutré, calls this “Treatygate” for rather boring reasons you can read about on his website. (Essentially, like Scott Wolter with the Templar-Sinclair “land claim,” he thinks that proving a white presence in ancient times can legally undo history and abrogate treaties, laws, etc.) The upshot is that he believes the government and historians are conspiring to create an anti-white alternative history for New Zealand. This is very similar to the implied America Unearthed idea that the U.S. government and academic historians are conspiring with secret elites to deny white Americans their true history and position as legitimate and eternal rulers of America.
By the way, for those of you who enjoy America Unearthed and its silly claim that Mystery Hill in New Hampshire is “aligned” to Stonehenge, Doutré claims that the so-called Waitapu Observatory in New Zealand (a field of stones Doutré sees as a megalithic observatory but which appears to be a collection of natural and possibly Māori features; older surveys claimed a natural origin) is “mathematically linked” to Stonehenge as well!
Somehow I doubt that H2 would be interested in a show called New Zealand Unearthed.
Doutré shares a lot in common with our Sinclair-Holy Bloodline speculators. Doutré, for example, titled his book Ancient Celtic New Zealand and then promptly became outraged when mainstream researchers described his idea as the “Celtic New Zealand” hypothesis:
This whole off-centre focus on “Celtic” is a typical Marxist distraction or red-herring to draw focus away from what is so copiously stated in our history books (recorded oral traditions) and, instead, get people looking sideways at “obviously demented” individuals like Martin Doutré with his “crack-pot” theories about actual “Celts” roaming around New Zealand.
Remember, his book was called Ancient Celtic New Zealand and was about how the “monuments” of New Zealand were part and parcel of Celtic European culture. (Technically, he believes that “proto-Celts” or “pre-Celts” came to New Zealand prior to 1000 BCE, but somehow the Celtic shorthand is OK for him but not for his critics.) How many times have we heard from an alternative historian here in America (or Europe) that it is insulting to them to be accused of believing what they themselves had explicitly written?
Doutré’s evidence is straight out of the Victorian-era colonialist playbook: The native peoples of New Zealand have nebulous myths and legends about a lost white race, just like Native American tribes talked of a white master race! (He is, of course, referencing the falsified and fabricated American Mound Builder myth material from the 1700s and 1800s.) He also cites “white” mummies from Peru and accuses anthropologists of hiding their Caucasian origin. (They’re not Caucasian.) Similarly, he feels that biologists are hiding the fact that a New Zealand bird, the Pukeko, can be found in the Mediterranean. (It can’t—a similar looking Mediterranean bird is genetically different.) When challenged, he asserts a conspiracy and demands:
How do white people like me get access to our true history and do research concerning our world-traveling cousins without incurring the scathing wrath of people like you?
Boy, that sounds familiar. He also goes on about how Māori gods are “identical” to Indo-European gods (they’re not, except in the most general way shared by all pantheons worldwide) and how New Zealand rocks have … wait for it … Ogham writing! Ah, Barry Fell, will your work never fade away? Now, since Ogham only came about in the early centuries CE, that would mean that the writers were Celts, but Doutré is insulted that there is any implication of actual Celts in his work… I can’t even fathom the logic.
Doutré and Ansell, like America’s alternative historians, have a problem with historical research and writing done after the end of the imperial era. They see the Victorians as objective recorders of truth, particularly as it applies to white predominance, and see later work as politically correct propaganda. They are unable to understand how the social values of earlier eras affected that work, nor how their own social and political values inform their own work.
Anyway, Ansell recently claimed that the United Nations is involved in suppressing the truth about white colonization of the Pacific in order to promote the economic interests of “brown” people: “The UN know Māori and others aren’t indigenous, so they simply change the meaning of the word to: ‘The good brown people who got to the country (a bit) before the bad white people.’” He claims that the Māori have benefited from “skipping” three thousand years of evolution as a result of white people.
In the United States Native Americans are now such a vanishingly small part of the population (0.9% of the population, according to the 2010 Census, with an additional 0.8% identifying as having some Native ancestry) that attempts to rewrite American history to add an ancient white civilization don’t read to many Americans as explicitly racial claims and therefore do not need to use explicitly racial language. (Similar claims did use just such language, however, back in the 1700s and 1800s when Native Americans were still a powerful oppositional force to white American society.) By contrast, in New Zealand the Māori make up 15% of the population, and the discussion among the alternative fringe is explicitly racial, with the claims of “white” and “brown” people seen as being in irreconcilable, zero-sum opposition, reflecting perceived racial tension in New Zealand society.
The New Zealand version of the “ancient white ancestors” claim is not different in its essentials from the Sinclair-Holy Bloodline / Mormon pre-Native white Jews / lost white race of Mound Builders / prehistoric European colonizer mythology of America, and the rather blunt use of racial claims by Ansell and others makes explicit the implicit racial underpinnings of so many of the alternative histories proposed for the United States, as well as the modern political and social tensions that such claims reflect and are meant to mitigate.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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