Scott Hamilton RTM Profile picture
Author of Stolen Island (BWB), Ghost South Road (Atuanui), Crisis of Theory (Manchester Uni Press) & random scattered essays. Columnist at North & South.
Jan 12 9 tweets 4 min read
1/9 Everyone knows about Japan's war 'stragglers' - those soldiers who hid out for years or even decades on jungle islands in the Pacific, unwilling to believe that the war was lost. But after both World Wars, NZ had its own strange stragglers. 2/9 During the World Wars thousands of NZers avoided conscription by hiding. Many went into the mountains and bush, where they improvised camps & lived by hunting & fishing. A few of these inner emigres raided farms for food, or made money by selling liquor from bush stills.
Jan 12 10 tweets 4 min read
1/10 Wendy Pond is a great scholar & a great rebel. Because of her adventurousness & non-conformity, few NZers know of her work. In a new podcast, though, Pond tells the story of her revolutionary work in Tonga's most remote islands. 2/10 In 1966 Wendy Pond & her husband & fellow anthropologist Garth Rogers sailed a small yacht to Niuafo'ou, Tonga's northernmost island. They were escaping the Eurocentrism & moralism of postwar NZ society, & seeking alternative ways of living.
Jan 10 9 tweets 3 min read
1/9 In 2018 Joan Druett published a sympathetic, revisionist history of slaver & paedophile Bully Hayes. Reviewers criticised Druett for her lack of awareness of indigenous history & contemporary scholarship. Druett's piece on Matauranga Maori has similar flaws. Image 2/9 Writing for Stuff late last year, Druett paid tribute to Polynesian seafaring feats & to the achievement of Maori in settling Aotearoa, but suggested that 'pigs & chickens' did not survive the voyage to these islands. Image
Jan 9 7 tweets 3 min read
1/7 The great writer JG Ballard said that he believed in the power of imagination to change reality. Looking at images of Kanton Island, I wonder whether the place somehow escaped from Ballard's mind. ImageImage 2/7 As a kid Ballard watched the Japanese capture Shanghai's International Zone & destroy the Western society that had prospered there. His books are filled with images of ruined modernity: weedy swimming pools, crashed airplanes, gutted hotels. ImageImage
Jan 6 17 tweets 5 min read
1/16 In the UK four men who pulled down the statue of a slaver have been acquitted. Australians are renaming Ben Boyd Park because Boyd was a slaver. Here in NZ we have a number of place names that are forgotten relics of the Pacific slave trade. 2/16 2 Brissenden Stream flows into the Waitakere River a kilometre or so from Te Henga/Bethells Beach on Auckland's West Coast. The stream is named for businessman Edward Brissenden, who brought Melanesian slaves to Auckland in 1870.
Jan 3 28 tweets 9 min read
1/28 I got bogged down listing the best books I read in 2021, so I'm going to skip to the top of my list & tweet at length about a couple of tomes I think everyone should read. The Dawn of Everything was arguably the most important book published in '21. Image 2/28 Dave Graeber was a radical anthropologist & a founder of the Occupy movement. He died suddenly & prematurely in 2020. The Dawn of Everything is the book he worked on for a decade with David Wengrow, & finished just before his death. It is subtitled A New History of Humanity. Image
Nov 29, 2021 15 tweets 5 min read
1/15 In his new column Damien Grant characterises defenders of Matauranga Maori as a sinister 'mob', then salutes a group of slave owners, corpse-stealers, & 'scientific' racists as 'pillars of our society'. The debate about science is exposing some double standards. 2/15 Grant is upset at the 2,059 scientists who signed a letter defending Matauranga Maori. The letter was a response to seven scholars who had written to The Listener to argue that Matauranga Maori 'falls far short of science'.
Nov 28, 2021 9 tweets 4 min read
1/7 Paul Verdon is a rugby writer. Altho he likes the All Blacks, he thinks the team should drop the Ka Mate haka, because its author Te Rauparaha was a 'murderer' 'on a par' with Hitler. Does Verdon also call for the abandonment of the NZ flag? It was authored by a mass killer. 2/7 In a piece for Muriel Newman's far right NZCPR site, Verdon calls Te Rauparaha a 'pathological monster'. He highlights Te Rauparaha's part in the Musket Wars, but ignores the facts that Te Rauparaha didn't start those wars, & in fact eventually helped end them.
Nov 28, 2021 6 tweets 3 min read
1/4 The Free Speech Union's Jonathan Ayling thinks the reduced influence of his Baptist church is linked to the s'posed moral decline of NZ. As this commenter notes, tho, Baptists can be bigots. I found some disturbing Baptist history when I researched fascism in '30s NZ. 2/4 In 1934 the president of the Baptist Union of NZ, the Rev John Laird, attended the World Baptist Congress in Nazi Germany. Unlike many other German churches, the Baptists had refused to oppose Hitler's seizure of power. Laird was a keen Nazi.
Nov 28, 2021 16 tweets 5 min read
1/10 First there was Jordan Williams, who wanted to take arts grants from Eleanor Catton after she criticised John Key. Then there Elliot Ikilei, who campaigned against drag queens reading in libraries. Now the Free Speech Union has found another representative opposed to freedom 2/10 Jonathan Ayling is the FSU's new Campaigns Manager, & has led recent attacks on critics of Matauranga Maori. Ayling is a fire & brimstone Baptist, who dislikes democracy & yearns for the old days when churches like his held sway over NZ society.
Nov 27, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
1/4 I'm sorry to hear that Jimmy O'Dea has died at the age of 86. Even if you haven't heard of O'Dea, you've probably seen him. This famous photo shows him being beaten by cops outside Eden Park during the Springbok Tour of 1981. O'Dea's was a life of protest. 2/4 I remembering meeting O'Dea through a barred window back in 1999. He & several other activists had barricaded themselves inside a state house in protest at market rents. The cops eventually cut through the ceiling to evict them.
Nov 27, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
1/3 Frank Ricard is criticising a Treaty Settlement he hasn't read. Moriori are being compensated not for the 1835 invasion of Rekohu by two north Taranaki iwi, but for the way the Crown took the side of the invaders, by giving them legal title to the land they took. 2/4 Ricard says 'Willie Jackson's tribe' invaded Rekohu. They didn't. Jackson's whakapapa runs through Ngati Maniapoto & Ngati Porou. Neither iwi had anything to do with the 1835 invasion, which was the work of Ngati Mutunga & Ngati Tama.
Nov 26, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
1/5 Australian cops & troops have been sent to Honiara after protests by the Malaitan community there. The Aussies are not neutral. They have been summoned by an anti-Malaitan government, & Malaita has always been a stronghold of anti-colonial feeling in the Solomons. Image 2/5 In the 19th C the blackbirding ships that sought slaves in Melanesia learned to be wary of landing on Malaita. Scores of white slavers were slain in the island's jungles, & ships were stormed & burnt. Image
Nov 24, 2021 9 tweets 3 min read
1/10 Professor Brian Boyd is one of the world's foremost experts on the Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov. Armed with these credentials, Boyd has waded into the argument about Matauranga Maori. Unsurprisingly, Boyd has had nothing sensible to say. 2/10 Talking to Newsroom, Boyd claimed that Matauranga Maori was a threat to science, and compared it to Christian Creationism. Because indigenous thought is 'holistic', Boyd said, Matauranga Maori will demand that every Maori oral tradition is taken as literal fact.
Nov 24, 2021 17 tweets 4 min read
1/15 The controversy over the letter by a group of scholars opposed to treating Matauranga Maori as science continues. I think the scholars who wrote the letter rely on a glaring double standard, when they dismiss the idea that Polynesian societies had science. 2/15 In their letter, Michael Corbalis and co argue that science emerged from a range of societies, including Greece, India, Egypt, and the Islamic Middle East. They accept science was often misused for political & military ends, & that it was a tool of colonisation.
Nov 23, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
1/4 I've been writing for North & South about Arthur Dallimore, the Brian Tamaki of the '30s. Dallimore was a faith healer who preached to packed town halls over the prostate bodies of those he'd 'slain with the spirit'. Philosopher Dick Anschutz decided to test Dallimore. Image 2/4 Anschutz was a young lecturer at the University of Auckland. He knew Dallimore got audience members on stage, annointed them with holy oil, & then proclaimed them healed after they'd fallen down. Anschutz headed to the Town Hall one weekend for a Dallimore service. Image
Nov 22, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
1/4 'His place, his rules': Christchurch Air B and B operator who tried to ban guests from using Maori is getting huge support on the facebook pages of Hobson's Pledge & Newstalk ZB. The case shows the importance of NZ's anti-racism laws. But some want to weaken those laws. Image 2/4 Before the Race Relations Act was passed in 1971, there was no legal way to stop hoteliers & renters discriminating against Maori. & discrimination was endemic. A 1938 survey in Hamilton found that Maori were barred from 26 of the city's 27 hotels & boarding houses. Image
Jun 14, 2021 8 tweets 4 min read
1/8 The Surrealism exhibition at @Te_Papa represents an enormous wasted opportunity. Te Papa could have drawn on its permanent collection & put European masterpieces alongside the Pacific art that inspired them. Instead, surrealism is misrepresented & our region ignored (thread) 2/8 The Surrealists revolted against European capitalism, whose rationality & clock-time they associated with the First World War. They looked to the colonised world, & especially the South Pacific, for alternatives. Surrealist leader Andre Breton was obsessed with Melanesia Image
Feb 28, 2021 10 tweets 4 min read
1 In his new book Tranquillity & Ruin Danyl McLauchlan tries to make sense of life using both Buddhism & 'Western' academic philosophy. Many Westerners still believe that Buddhism is an exotic ideology, with few historical links to European thought. They're wrong. (thread) 2 Like me, Danyl went to university in the '90s. Like me, he learned that the first Western thinker to dig Buddhism was the gloomy romantic Schopenhauer, in the 19th century. But Christopher Beckwith's startling 2017 book suggests Buddhism went West many centuries earlier.
Feb 25, 2021 10 tweets 4 min read
NZ has many intellectuals who appear before the public. But since the death of Peter Munz in 2006 we haven't had an old-fashioned 'public intellectual'. Danyl McLauchlan's new book Tranquillity & Ruin seems to me to take up Munz's unfashionable but vital mission. (thread) 2 In NZ, intellectuals of both the left - think of, say, Jane Kelsey, @gtiso, @MorganGodfery - & the right - @PronouncedHare, Michael Reddell - regularly publish articles & speak on radio & TV. They take positions on issues, advocate changes to society. Their work is important.
Feb 23, 2021 7 tweets 3 min read
1 For most people, the America's Cup is a rather esoteric series of races between very expensive yachts. For far right activist Derrick Storey, though, the Cup is an opportunity to demonstrate the superiority of whites over Maori. (thread) 2 Derrick Storey lives in Palmerston North, where he runs an accountancy business. He's a prolific social media poster and writer of letters to newspapers, whose work has often been republished by Don Brash's outfit Hobson's Pledge. This photo shows Storey with Brash in 2018.