Historian's new book backs Taika Waititi's claims New Zealand is 'racist as f**k'

  • 18/05/2018
Historian's new book backs Taika Waititi's claims New Zealand is 'racist as f**k'
Photo credit: Getty

A historian is backing up Taika Waititi's claims New Zealand is "racist as f**k" in a new book.

Ghost South Road sheds light on the racist history of south Auckland and New Zealand, according to Dr Scott Hamilton, the historian behind it. 

"I wanted to expose the secret history of Auckland and New Zealand," Dr Hamilton told NZME.

The book delves into the story of Great South Rd, which was built from Auckland through the Waikato by the British army. 

"The invasion of the Waikato was legitimated by racism and it cast a long shadow," Dr Hamilton said.

Looking through archives and old newspapers, Dr Hamilton discovered Māori
were treated as "enemies of the state".

His research found Māori were excluded from bars, cinemas and barber shops in south Auckland. 

"For much of the 20th century it was hard to get a drink in places like Papakura and Pukekohe if you were the wrong colour," he said.

The book highlights the experience of a Māori psychiatrist, Rongomanu Bennett who was refused a beer in the Papakura Tavern in 1959.

The incident sparked a campaign by Bennett which made headlines around the world. 

The New York Times likened Papakura to Arkansas, where African Americans were fighting segregation.

They called Papakura 'the Little Rock of New Zealand.'

Dr Hamilton believes Taika Waititi's claims are justified and hopes this book will help New Zealanders understand them better.

"If more of us knew about what happened in the past, then we'd understand the historical context for Taika Waititi's complaints about continuing racism."