It’s “Really New” Zealand

, , , , , , | Learning | February 3, 2018

(We are writing about the histories of English-speaking countries for a project on colonialism. This happens when I read out a history of New Zealand in front of the class.)

Me: “People have only lived in New Zealand for approximately 700 years. It may be as long ago as 800 AD, but—”

Teacher: “No, [My Name], I need a history of the natives, not the settlers.”

Me: “But the Māori only arrived in New Zealand from the Pacific in what would have been the medieval times in Europe.”

Teacher: “When I said a history of New Zealand, I didn’t mean just the white people. The white people may have arrived then, but tell me what year they came from Australia, shall we?”

Me: “No, really, it was less than a thousand years ago. They didn’t come from Australia; they came from the Pacific Ocean. And Europeans weren’t interested in places outside of what they already knew until after Columbus came back from America. Well, roughly. So, everything you’re saying is wrong.”

Teacher: *passive-aggressively* “Hmm, I think I’ll be the judge of that.”

(I got a C.)

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