'Propaganda': Sean Plunket slams 'biased' compulsory Māori history calls

Magic Talk host Sean Plunket warns making colonial history compulsory will turn lessons into "a propaganda exercise for the radicals and the separatists".

The debate over the compulsory teaching of New Zealand's Māori-Crown relationship has hit the headlines recently.

The History Teachers' Association (HTA) says some students are missing out and "should be exposed to multiple perspectives".

But Plunket warns there's "a lot of BS in history" and says it's the version we learn that is important.

"Are you like me, just a little bit worried that if we leave it to the lefty teachers, the version of history we get taught will be a little bit biased, a little bit one-sided," he told listeners on Tuesday.

"I don't want to learn a bunch of propaganda that says the Treaty is a fraud, whities go home, I've been oppressed."

HTA chairperson Graeme Ball has started a petition to make compulsory the coherent teaching of our own past, which already has 800 signatures.

"Too few New Zealanders have a sound understanding of what brought the Crown and Māori together in the 1840 Treaty, or of how the relationship played out over the following decades," his petition states.

Plunket is worried that the "left-wing and liberal" teaching profession will teach a version of history that will upset people.

"It seems to me that the sort of history that most likely would get taught would make a whole lot of people - in fact most people learning it - feel bad about themselves and their forebears because it would be saying that they were really bad colonial white people who were subjugating and exploiting the tangata whenua," he argues.

"Teaching our whole next generation of people to feel bad about it and feel that they have to constantly be saying sorry for something that their grandfather, great-grandfather or great-great-grandfather did doesn't seem to me to be particularly constructive."

While he accepts the problems of colonisation are "not BS", Plunket says we should teach other things than the history of race relations, like economic history.

"I also don't think our history is primarily and exclusively a history of Māori or the relationship between Māori and Pakeha," he says.

"What about the history of commerce in this country, the first time that a refrigerated bunch of meat went overseas, what about all the non-Māori things about our history?"

Plunket contacted the Ministry of Education, which in response to his concerns sent him a "very snappy three-page close-typed release" informing him that New Zealand's history is already part of our curriculum, including the "unique bicultural nature of New Zealand's society that derives from the Treaty of Waitangi".

"So there again the starting point of our history is that it's all about race and it's all about Māori and Pakeha," Plunket says.

"There are other aspects to our history, it is not all about what seems to be inevitably to become the conflict around the Treaty of Waitangi."


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