Those who tell Maori to stop living in the past rarely apply the same logic to first world war commemorations.
Is New Zealand mature enough to own its history?
Early in 2014 a group of school students from a small town in rural New Zealand took a trip to some nearby historical sites.
Guided by local Maori elders the students from Otorohanga College encountered a history that was all but unknown to them.
As Leah Bell later recalled ‘It’s shocking to hear that there were massacres half an hour from where you live, not that long along.’
Orakau and Rangiaowhia – where the school party visited – saw two of the bloodiest confrontations of the Waikato war – a conflict between British imperial troops and the local Tainui tribes that had been fought exactly 150 years earlier (1863-64).
It was the largest and most significant in a wider series of clashes that took place in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872 as M?ori communities resisted colonial conquest and expansion.
That history was barely acknowledged beyond the descendants of those on the receiving end of British bullets.
Few students learn about it in school.
Many of the sites where these conflicts took place are neglected (many are not even signposted).
There were no official commemorations – no museums and few memorials.
For many Pakeha (non-Maori) New Zealanders the wars were part of a troubled past they preferred to forget.