May 11, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

NZ newspaper apologises to Maori academic for “holocaust” misquote

2 min read received this panui from someone who was present at the event whereTaranaki Maori academic Keri Opai, used the word “holocaust” to describe what happened to Taranaki Maori.

The Taranaki Daily News published the following apology to Keri Opai this morning for misrepresenting his use of the word holocaust. I was present at the Radio NZ panel discussion, and at no stage did Keri Opai compare the Jewish experience to that of Taranaki iwi Maori.

From page 3 of todays paper:

The Taranaki Daily News reported yesterday that Maori academic Keri Opai compared the European colonisation of New Zealand with the killing of six million Jews by the Nazi regime during World War II. In fact, Mr Opai described colonisation as a holocaust for the Maori people. The Macquarie Dictionary defines holocaust as great or wholesale destruction of life, especially by fire. It was in this manner that Mr Opai used the word holocaust. The Taranaki Daily news apologises for the error.

Unfortunately the newspapers print apology hasnt been as widely circulated as the original article, and has been picked up and reprinted in many instances without further fact checking.

The misquote sparked outrage from thePresident of the New Zealand Jewish Council who slammed the comments for trivialising the Holocaust. As a result racist rants quickly gained steam across the internet, suggesting thatMaori didn’t “deserve the gift of civilization”.

The misquote happened on Waitangi Day, when Fairfax media newspaper, the Taranaki Daily News reported falsely that “Keri Opai, aTaranaki Maori academic compared colonisation of New Zealand to a holocaust.”

Hosted by Radio NZ’s Kim Hill, the discussion at Puke Ariki on our national identity was broadcast as part of a four-hour Waitangi Day special.



13 thoughts on “NZ newspaper apologises to Maori academic for “holocaust” misquote

  1. Actually my ancestors were recorded asking the Government to stop the people from burning their families when clearing the bush for agriculture.

  2. I am of Tuhoe, My Tipuna declined the maori knigship to sign the treaty of Waitangi. The colonisers of NZ ran a scorched earth campaign against my people killing men womwn and children. Racism abounds in white NZ. As for the Holocaust comment being anti semitic when applied to the Maori, Maori are from the same common ancestor SHEM son of Noah and were treated as a lower class of human being like the Jews. As for the holy outcry for use of the word holocaust, read and learn who we are then talk because this outcry is the ranting of fools.

  3. Slaughter in Taranaki was not uncommon, by Maori upon Maori See these records. (maybe they are biased white man records?)The slaughter, torture and cannabalism make it rival Rwanda for horror. This is the culture to which I and my family do not want to go back to. My ancestors may have been involved, but that hardly taints me, so why do we taint present day white kiwis with their ancestors “colonial” history. Time to move on.

  4. Another excuse to be critical of a Maori academic. Do the Jews own the word. Of cause it was horrific what was done to them but hey what was done to Maori is also akin to a holocaust. Get real and stop trying to minimise the fact. Naturally Tauiwi are going to get up in arms about using the word HOLOCAUST its in their nature and yes Maori did murder and kill their own before the vile whiteman came that was their way of life, how they lived, but we wont go into what the whiteman did before they came here and even after they came here like calling the pot white or is it black.Whitemans history is nothing to be proud of.

    1. No one is saying “Jews own the word”, Sarah. In fact if you took the time to read and absorb the information I cited in my previous comment you would see that it was rather OTHERS who used the term holocaust to describe the Nazi attempt to purge the world of Jewry:

      For hundreds of years, the word holocaust was used in English to denote great massacres, but since the 1960s, the term has come to be used by scholars and popular writers to refer exclusively to the genocide of Jews.

      Of course the early English settlers in NZ never had on their agenda the extermination of Maori: More lies and dishonesty by revisionist historians, useful idiots [like yourself], and so called Maori ‘academics’ like Opai.

  5. Mr Opai should have known better than to use the word “holocaust” for anything except its current meaning. That meaning is chillingly unique. I’m sure he does know better now.

    “Kiwicando” is impolite to use phrases like “Jew Dr Finkelstein” and careless to misspell the name. Kiwicando seems to have misunderstood Dr Finkelstein’s views, although it’s hard for me to understand from Kiwicando’s website what Kiwicando wants those views to be.

    My sympathies are with the newspaper reporter, who thought that they understood what Mr Opai believed he was setting out to say, and who may have been right.

  6. Who cares what Wikipedia says… the first definition is best in time.

    I suggest people look into what Jew Dr Finklestein has to say about the holocaust during world war 2.

  7. From Wikipedia [emphasis mine]:

    Etymology and use of the term
    Main article: Names of the Holocaust

    The term holocaust comes from the Greek word holkauston, an animal sacrifice offered to a god in which the whole (holos) animal is completely burnt (kaustos).[13] For hundreds of years, the word “holocaust” was used in English to denote great massacres, but since the 1960s, the term has come to be used by scholars and popular writers to refer exclusively to the genocide of Jews.[4] The mini-series Holocaust is credited with introducing the term into common parlance after 1978.[14]

    Did we get that? “… but since the 1960s, the term has come to be used by scholars and popular writers to refer exclusively to the genocide of Jews

    Anyone who uses the term “holocaust” knows damn well what parallels they are making. Keri Opai is a liar and is in damage control; back-peddling for all he’s worth to try and save face.

    1. Jews do not own the word holocaust- indigenous people have been murdered to the tune of untold millions throughout history by colonization- it has been a holocaust. Stop being so arrogant it’s vile.

      1. What I find truly vile are ignorant liars, like yourself and Opai, who refuse to admit when they’re wrong and just keep on digging. And not only that but who additionally refuse to acknowledge that without the ‘evil’ whiteman’s intervention Maori would have murdered and/or eaten themselves to extinction. Many of the Maori signatories to the Treaty recognised this fact, and rather than seeing the whiteman as their oppressors viewed them instead as their saviour.

  8. That is exactly why we needed our own media,because mainstream has a track record of racist reporting…nothing has changes.

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