May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Colonisation is an act of Genocide | Dr Leonie Pihama

2 min read

Maori researcher Dr Leonie Pihama says the use of the term holocaust is an appropriate and valid description of the impact of colonial genocide on Maori.A Radio New Zealand panel featured Taranaki Maori academic Keri Opai using the word holocaust to describe colonisation for Maori.The NZ Jewish Council said his use of the term was diminishing and trivialising of the Jewish Holocaust experience.

Dr Pihama says the NZ Jewish council are basically incorrect in their response. She states The term holocaust refers to deliberate acts of genocide and ethnocide against groups of people, and that is exactly what occurred here in Aotearoa. There was a deliberate and planned process of colonisation that sought the extermination of our people. That is clear and well documented.

United Nations conventions define genocideasany of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, assuch:as killing members of the group;

  • (i)killing members of the group;
  • (ii)causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • (iii) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • (iv) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • (v) forcibly transferring children of this group to another group

The definition of genocide by the United Nations is clearly one that reflects the experience of Maori people and there needs to be a greater awareness of the reality of the history of this country and of other Indigenous Nations.

Dr Pihama notes that Maori use of the term holocaust should not be viewed as in any way diminishing the experience of Jewish people and others that were targeted by Hitler and Nazi Germany. She says clearly that Maorihave always actively acknowledged that history and the impact of it. Dr Pihama explains This is not about comparing experiences. The reference by Mr Opai is directed to the historical trauma andpost traumatic stress experienced by our tupuna and generations of our people who continue to live with that impact on our own land.

Dr Leonie Pihama (Te Atiawa, Ngati Mahanga, Nga Mahanga a Tairi)
Director-Maori And Indigenous Analysis Ltd

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9 thoughts on “Colonisation is an act of Genocide | Dr Leonie Pihama

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  2. The Indigenous people of the South-West of Western Australia were put through all the atrocious thing called Genocide. The Western part was the first to put up resistence to the invaders; Spears were no match for guns: I estimate there were over 2 million people here in Bibbullmun Country and in under 200years there now is a estimat of 30 thousand . Now they have their own people joining the ranks to bring total genocide to their own people?!.Soon there will be No Bibbullmun Religion.

  3. I am so priviledged to be twittering with a fine thinking group of people.

    My sentiments exactly, yes I understand Mr Opai is going to seek time with the NZ Jewish Council to explain and apparently they will give him time I mean really I think the Jewish experience was absolutly hinus but what it did is it in my view unintentionally diverted the attention from the holocaust other indigenous people were experience. I dont mean to be harsh but nowhere in teh dictionary does it say holocaust is only for the use of the Jewish people.Really!

    And Mr president of the NZ Jewish Council please tell use what you all think about regarding the genocide going on in Palestine?

  4. Now how can Jews, and Israel, shout about the holocaust, and what happened to them when they are doing it to Palestine? Genocide, holocaust are all the same across the world, and time, to many iwi and to say one isnt cause it dose not stack up to ours is ludicrous. Humans have done this from the dawn of time and will continue till attitudes like these are finished.

    1. That is so true. Rounding the Jews up into ghettos was done to the Cherokee and many other tribes. Then they shipped them out with few supplies or rotten supplies during the worst time of year to travel. That is why so many died. Smallpox blankets, non ratified treaties, boarding schools, churches that wanted to kill the “Indian” to save the man. It is the lot of indigenous people when a bigger or stronger group wants what the native people have.

  5. Spot on. Jews aren’t special; heck, no one even mentions the 20 million Russians slaughtered, or the Cambodians, or the Native Australians. I am so sick of hearing this “holocaust” superiority! Holocaust was a biblical term meaning “burnt offering”/”sacrifice” and that’s exactly what the Brits did here; they used a minority culture as a sacrifice to install a new regime and extend the empire. Sounds like a ritual slaughter to me.

    And let’s not forget the chemical warfare caused by disease ridden blankets that were given to the Tangata Whenua.

    I have no sympathy towards anyone who does such things, least of all my ancestors; makes me sick to think I could be related to a mass murderer.

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