Saturday, May 31, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
From Olaf Nelson to Kim Dotcom
A tall, heavy man, who spoke English with a thick, northern European accent, he had built a fortune and a fine home by the time he reached thirty. When he became a New Zealand subject, he believed that the government in Wellington would be happy for him to continue wheeling and dealing under its auspices.
Partly because of its obligations to a distant superpower, the New Zealand state began to persecute the successful young entrepeneur. His businesses were shut down, spies followed his movements, police made unfriendly visits to his home, and plans were made to deport him.
Infuriated by his treatment, the young businessman began to condemn the New Zealand state as an enemy of liberty. Looking about for allies, he discovered that many of the indigenous people of the islands where he lived were also estranged from the government in Wellington. Using his money, his connections, and his flair for publicity, he helped them build a political movement that changed New Zealand history.
Those sentences might seem to describe Kim Dotcom, the supersized German businessman threatened with deportation to the United States who has hitched his Internet Party to Hone Harawira and Annette Sykes' Mana Movement, but they also tell the story of Olaf Nelson, who was born on Savai'i, Samoa's largest island, in 1883 to a Scandinavian trader and his local wife. In the first years of the twentieth century Savai'i and most of the rest of Samoa was controlled by Germany, and the young Olaf Nelson was able to get rich by exporting copra to the imperial homeland.
In 1914, though, New Zealand troops invaded German Samoa, tore down the Kaiser's flag, and raised a Union Jack. British diplomats hailed this victory over the Pacific Hun, and Kiwi newspapers demanded that traders with links to Germany be treated as enemies. Nelson found it much harder to do business.
New Zealand administrators quickly began to alienate indigenous Samoans, as well as 'afakasi like Nelson. Their incompetence and indifference allowed the global influenza epidemic of 1918 to take the lives of a fifth of Samoans, and their attempts to privatise communally-held land and racist snubs to important chiefs aggravated discontent. In the 1920s Nelson helped a number of powerful chiefs lead the Mau movement, whose slogan was Samoa Mo Samoa, or Samoa for the Samoans. Protesters paraded, taxes went unpaid, roads were blockaded, and an anti-colonial parliament was set up. New Zealand police and marines reacted by shooting nationalists in the street and burning Mau villages.
Like Kim Dotcom, Olaf Nelson was a clever and incessant propagandist, who used the media to rile his enemies in Wellington. Today Dotcom uses twitter and youtube to lambast John Key's government as corrupt and autocratic; Nelson funded and ran a newspaper, The Samoa Guardian, that poked pins in the sides of conservative governments of the 1920s and early '30s.
John Key and his colleagues are keen to have Kim Dotcom deported to a United States prison, and the governments of the '20s and early '30s were equally desperate to remove Olaf Nelson from Samoa. After being expelled from the colony for five years in 1928, Nelson toured the world promoting the Mau cause, and persuaded the League of Nations to investigate New Zealand's behaviour in Samoa. Shortly after he returned to Samoa in 1933, Nelson was deported again. This time his destination was a New Zealand prison cell.
New Zealand politicians and editorialists endlessly accused Olaf Nelson of 'stirring up' indigenous Samoans, by filling the natives' previously happy minds with exotic and absurd ideas like democracy and self-determination. Patronising colonial officials accused the chiefs who led the Mau of abandoning Samoan culture by embracing protest marches and the print media.
Similarly patronising charges are being made today against Kim Dotcom and his Maori nationalist allies. Key and his colleagues have faulted Dotcom for 'interfering' with New Zealand politics, instead of quietly submitting to his deportation to an American prison. The New Zealand Herald, that long-time authority on radical politics, has accused Hone Harawira of betraying 'Maori radicalism' by using Dotcom's cash and connections.
By the time he died in 1944 Olaf Nelson had become a hero throughout Samoa. Today the country's national library and a clocktower at the centre of its capital city bear his name.
Olaf Nelson and Kim Dotcom were both avaricious, essentially apolitical businessmen who were radicalised after being persecuted by a New Zealand state acting on behalf of a distant superpower. A cashed-up, radicalised capitalist is a dangerous enemy, especially when he has a talent for building alliances and making propaganda. Kim Dotcom may prove as difficult for the New Zealand state to defeat as his predecessor.
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]
Monday, May 26, 2014
Duchamp on the Great South Road
Scott Hamilton should be charged with urinating in public. Any police reading this please take action. Or are sycophantic supporters of govt racist propaganda outlets immune from the laws that apply to most NZ citizens?
If Redbaiter manages to put me in the dock, then I intend to defend my action as a piece of performance art. I shall urge the judge and jury to consider the fact that one of the most famous artworks of the twentieth century, Marcel Duchamp's Fountain, celebrates micturition. I might also discuss Jackson Pollock's drip paintings, and James Joyce's stream of consciousness technique.
I'm not sure whether Redbaiter is responsible or not, but the geocaches Paul Janman and I placed close to Great South Road landmarks like the Obelisk have been visited repeatedly over the past forty-eight hours. I'm looking forward to discovering what visitors have left, in exchange for the maps, photos, old texts, toy soldiers and other stuff we stashed, and what messages they have written in our cache logbooks. Directions to the caches are available here (scroll down the page to the map, and click on the red triangles).
Our geocaches are a contribution to the A Sense of Place exhibition, which is being held at the Papakura Art Gallery until June the 10th. Radio New Zealand has done excellent interviews with two of the other participants in A Sense of Place.
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]
Friday, May 23, 2014
Honouring the Obelisk
Great South Road Geocache Experiment is our contribution to A Sense of Place, an exhibition being held in Papakura Art Gallery until June the 10th.
Near the end of the day Paul and I made a visit to the so-called Bombay Obelisk, a handful of sad-looking volcanic rocks that were pushed out of the route of the southern motorway in the 1990s and now stand on a bank overlooking indifferent traffic. For the neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists, Maori-bashers, and anti-semites who promote the notion that New Zealand was settled thousands of years ago by an advanced white civilisation, the Obelisk is the remains of an observatory erected by ancient Aryan scientists. In the website we've set up for our geocaching experiment we've described the Obelisk as Stonehenge for Racists.
During a section of Native Affairs' recent expose of the believers in an ancient white civilisation, Martin Doutre, the Holocaust Denier, 9/11 Truther and author of that classic of pseudo-history, Ancient Celtic New Zealand, showed off the Obelisk to reporter Iulia Leilua. As Leilua nodded with an understandable lack of enthusiasm, Doutre denounced the 'apartheid' system that Maori have supposedly imposed on the indigenous white people of New Zealand, and explained that the marks bulldozers had apparently left on the side of one of the obelisk's rocks were actually made thousands of years ago by Celts.
Doutre and his fellow pseudo-historians accuse a vast and intricate conspiracy of troublemaking Maori, politically correct academics, cowed National Party politicians, and United Nations bureaucrats of systematically obscuring this country's glorious white history. Doutre has even spoken to teams of demolitions experts wandering the hinterland of Te Ika a Maui, searching for ancient stone structures to disintegrate.
I would never stoop to such measures, despite my unsympathetic discussion of the pseudo-historians on Native Affairs last week. I did, however, feel the need to leave a small and temporary mark on the Bombay Obelisk today. Paul decided that I was paying tribute to The Who's greatest album, which includes that epic, synth-assisted denunciation of uncritical thinking, 'Won't Get Fooled Again'...
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
David Farrar discovers communism
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]
Monday, May 19, 2014
Talking nonsense tonight on Native Affairs
Native Affairs interviewed Paul Moon and me for a clip that it will use to introduce a live studio debate between Annette Sykes and John Ansell, the former advisor to Don Brash who insists that New Zealand has become an apartheid state run by Maori where evidence of the Stonehenge-like structures built by an ancient white civilisation is being systematically destroyed.
Sykes and Ansell will also clash over Allan Titford, a long-time advocate of the view that whites are the tangata whenua of New Zealand who was recently sent to prison for twenty-four years after being convicted of rape, arson, and various other crimes. Ansell claims that Titford is the blameless victim of an intricate conspiracy, and characterises him as the Nelson Mandela of New Zealand. Sykes disagrees, which presumably makes her part of the conspiracy.
Native Affairs interviewed me in the Papakura Art Gallery, near some of my contributions to the A Sense of Place exhibition. There is a sad contrast between the thoughtful studies of history and landscape which fill the rooms at Papakura gallery and the hallucinations and rants of angry white men like Ansell and Titford. I'm probably excessively optimistic, but I'd like to think that, in some marvellous year, Pakeha will become as comfortable with their history and their geographical location as, say, the Tongatapuans I got to know last year, and will dispense with their fantasies about lost civilisations and superior races.
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]
Saturday, May 17, 2014
I share Murphy's lack of enthusiasm for Jackson's films, but I can't agree with the notion that the man's grotesquely drawn-out depictions of Middle Earth have failed to influence Kiwi culture. Over the years I've argued, cantankerously but intermittently, that Jackson's films have prompted a redefinition of New Zealand culture and identity, as propagandists for the tourism industry and lazy foreign journalists have begun to characterise this country as a ruritarian paradise populated by happy hobbits, rather than as a complex and contradictory modern society.
I don't know if my arguments against the hobbitisation of New Zealand have won over all of the readers of this blog, but I have gotten some sympathy from the University of Wollongong's Michael Organ, who cited one of my Jackson-bashing posts in his recent, splendidly titled essay 'Please Mr Frodo, is this New Zealand? Or Australia? No, Sam, it's Middle Earth?'.
Do the words of Murphy and Organ suggest that Jackson's attempts to reinvent New Zealand are beginning to lose credibility? Are Kiwis about to reject citizenship in Middle Earth, and migrate mentally to the troubled, exciting New Zealand of films like Utu or Goodbye Pork Pie? Here's hoping...
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]
Thursday, May 15, 2014
A message from the future
In the post-war era traditional religion had begun to decline in the West, but tensions between nuclear-armed superpowers had suddenly made the future of humanity precarious. Jung suggested that the strange saucer and cigar-shaped objects that appeared in the skies over America and Europe in the 1950s were a response to the human need to believe in some much more advanced and powerful being or force. They were the icons of a new religion.
In some time travel stories, like Robert Silverberg's novel Up the Line, specially trained 'time agents' are despatched from the future to monitor and occasionally alter the present. These powerful beings move amongst us in disguise, just as Dionysus and other mischievous gods moved in disguise through the marketplaces and taverns of ancient Greece.
The document is aimed at Mercer, a small town built close to the Mangatawhiri Stream, a tributary of the Waikato that at the beginning of the 1860s formed the border between Pakeha-controlled New Zealand and the realm of King Tawhiao. The Waikato War began when British troops crossed the Mangatawhiri by whaleboat on the morning of July the 12th, 1863. After the war, Mercer's Railway Hotel hosted many travellers between Auckland and the newly subjugated lands of the Waikato.
In 1889, the elderly Te Kooti spent a night in Mercer's hotel, on his way home from Auckland, where he had been imprisoned after being illegally deported from his homeland on the east coast of Te Ika a Maui. Crowds of rudely curious Pakeha followed the train that carried the legendary prophet and warrior south.
at the map on this page for directions), and also left it amongst other artefacts on a table set up inside the Papakura Art Gallery.
DECLARATION BY THE UNITED STATES OF MIND, AOTEAROA QUADRANT, 3066 A.D., TO BE DELIVERED BY THE NEXT AVAILABLE TIME AGENT TO THE LAST POST TAVERN IN MERCER
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
From Titford to Taua
Titford has been abandoned by some of his more canny co-thinkers, like sometime Act MP Muriel Newman and the 1 Law 4 All Party, but he retains the supports of a few paranoiacs, including the folks who run a giveaway rag in Pukekohe, that small South Auckland town with a glorious history of racism. Titford's defenders blame his incarceration of a vast and sinister conspiracy involving National MP John Carter, Maori radicals, the United Nations, and a gang of 'PC academics' which apparently includes yours truly.
I'm not responsible for framing Titford, but I did talk with Iulia Leilua, who works for Maori Television's Native Affairs programme, early this year, when she was researching a documentary about the man and his defenders. The documentary, which is screening in two parts this week, features an interview with my old mate Justin Taua, whose article denouncing Titford's mates in Pukekohe appeared on this blog back in 2009.
Justin's article is a part of the contribution that Paul Janman, Ian Powell and I have made to the A Sense of Place exhibition, which opened at the Papakura Art Gallery on Saturday. Paul, Ian, and I have left Justin's text on a table in the gallery, and also packed it into a 'conceptual bomb' that we've left beside the so-called 'Bombay Obelisk', a pile of stones between the Great South Road and the Southern Motorway which Titford and co believe is part of the remains of an ancient white civilisation.
The 'bomb' at Bombay is one a of a series of caches we've left up and down the Great South Road. You can read about the caches and their meanings on the website Paul has made.
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]
Friday, May 09, 2014
leaves the stash beside the Great South Road.
We call on the shopkeepers and publicans of Auckland to reject the delusions of the regime in Wellington, which has long been a servant of the kelptocrats of Britian and America and is becoming a servant of the new kleptocracy of China, and honour Tawhiao's currency.
More money will be available at the launch of the A Sense of Place exhibition at Papakura Art Gallery tomorrow, as part of our contribution to that show.
I blogged about Tawhiao's bank and the landscape in which it grew here.
Bombing Conifer Grove
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
The trial of Roger Douglas, and other pieces of an alternate past
Sunday, May 04, 2014
The leaders of colonial and early twentieth century New Zealand had dreamed of creating a hypermodern 'better Britain' in the South Seas, by using industrial technology to reorder landscapes and add value to exports like milk and timber. Distinguished visitors to these shores, like British royals and American generals, were offered tours of the steel-bright interiors of new milking sheds and freezing works.