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Overcoming My Pākehā Family's Historical Amnesia

New Zealand politics professor Richard Shaw comes to terms with how his family's silences finds roots in the historical amnesia surrounding the acquisition of lands by Irish settlers in Taranaki, a region in the south west of the Aotearoa's North Island.

Armed constabulary awaiting orders to advance on Parihaka pā

Armed constabulary awaiting orders to advance on Parihaka pā, 1881

Alexander Turnbull Library, CC BY-NC-ND
Richard Shaw

The day my great-grandfather Andrew Gilhooly was buried at Taranaki’s Ōkato cemetery in early February 1922, Jas Higgins played the Last Post. Neither man had seen active service in the “great war” with which that ritual is most closely associated. Rather, both had served in the New Zealand wars, an earlier series of conflicts fought across the mid-to-late 19th century as part of the colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand.

In New Zealand and Australia it’s a mark of honour to have ancestors who fought on the Dardanelles or at the Somme or Passchendaele. A national origin myth has been constructed around the Anzacs, replete with a day of remembrance, outsized monuments, and a rich tradition of rituals that are rehearsed annually “lest we forget”.

Nothing like the same emotional (or financial) investment is made in remembering the wars that took place at home. Our own colonial violence, in Taranaki and at Ōrākau, Pukehinahina/Gate Pā and elsewhere, has been relegated to the margins of the national consciousness. It’s an ongoing process of selective historical amnesia that we’re only slowly beginning to address – not so much lest we forget, as best we forget.

This might explain why I grew up knowing next to nothing about my maternal great-grandfather. Yes, there were plenty of stories about his wife (roundly condemned as having been a “difficult” woman) and six children (farmers, priestly prodigies and musical spinsters). However, other than the bare facts that he was born into a poor farming family in County Limerick in Ireland and had served in the New Zealand Armed Constabulary (AC), about Andrew there was only silence.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

"Welcome To Our Hell..." Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba Speaks

In a rare in-depth interview, Ukraine's top diplomat didn't hold back as he discussed NATO, E.U. candidacy, and the future of the war with Russia. He also reserves a special 'thank you' for Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Dmytro Kuleba, Foreign Minister of Ukraine attends the summit of foreign ministers of the G7 group of leading democratic economic powers.

Oleg Bazar

KYIV — This is the first major interview Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has given. He spoke to the Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg about NATO, international assistance and confrontation with Russia — on the frontline and in the offices of the European Parliament.

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At 41, Kuleba is the youngest ever foreign minister of Ukraine. He is the former head of the Commission for Coordination of Euro-Atlantic Integration and initiated Ukraine's accession to the European Green Deal. The young but influential pro-European politician is now playing a complicated political game in order to attract as many foreign partners as possible to support Ukraine not only in the war, but also when the war ends.

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