I suppose this will cause a bit of controversy, but it's really quite interesting.
Down my way, we get a free local magazine called Franklin eLocal and they have been publishing a series of articles that challenges the accepted lore that the Maori were the first inhabitants of New Zealand. One person who is investigating this is Northland researcher Noel Hilliam, who has been compiling evidence of this country’s earliest settlers since 1954 and is retired curator of Dargaville Museum.
Academics from various universities in New Zealand who talk privately
to veteran Northland researcher Noel Hilliam are astounded
at his research material and indisputable evidence of habitation
in early New Zealand. They encourage him to keep speaking out
about the truth, but none will back him publicly. They are afraid to
jeopardise their jobs and research funding by going against the relatively
recent official belief that Polynesians were the first to settle
in New Zealand.
Noel has written to John Key numerous times and also Chris Finlayson, neither who seem to want to know about it. Finlayson emailed back and actually directed him to look at Michael King's The Penguin History of New Zealand, as though that is somehow the Bible of our history.
The problem is that when any remains are found, they are given to local iwi without being examined, or else land with artifacts is being given back to Maori and researchers haven't got permission to go and study finds.
Noel comments: “You will learn the true early history of this
country’s earlier peoples from the Maori and original hand written
records of the Land Court minute books. Those people based
their recorded history on fact and had no reason to lie. The
distortion of our history has come about over the last 30 –40 years.
When Governor Bowen came to the Northern Wairoa in the late
1860s, he met with 600 odd assembled Maori from all over Northland
at Te Kopuru. He put it to those assembled the question of
“who did these ancient skeletons belong to?” Maori replied they
did not know who these early peoples were and to “do with them
what you wish, they are not our people.” This is recorded in Bowen’s
papers and journals of the time, which can be read in the Alexander
Turnbull Library. Around 60,000 of these skeletons were taken to
Eden Mill in Auckland over three years and ground up for fertilizer
– ‘Bone Dust,’ but there are still many more in sites around. They
did not get them all.” (The next episode in this [eLocal] series will feature
It's not just writings - there is heaps of archaeological evidence that has been found including non-European skulls dating back 300 years and 'Maori' heads with blonde or red hair.
Recently, an earthmoving contractor uncovered 120 skeletons
buried in the foetal position at a new housing site in the Bay of
Islands. He contacted archaeologists in Auckland who said to go to
the police. They asked him to show the site to a local Maori, who
said the remains were not Maori. The contractor was told to bulldoze
the whole site and cover it up
In any case, if you want to read more, check out the archives at eLocal.co.nz. The latest issue has the article (November 2009), and there are other articles on the same subject in the September, October, November 2008 issues and January 2009. All are in PDF format downloadable from the site. They have more articles to come.