Sunday, August 29, 2010

Leadership in NZ history

Future historians of recent Chinese descent could be most important for New Zealand history and I would encourage these students to consider the topic to study at University. Why?

Europeans have been predominant in this area and have come from a long background of studying the topic, writing about it and criticising it. Europeans have been the leaders of it for many years. The leaders have been instrumental in forming attitudes in the general population through their choices and opinions.

Maori who have been here longer than us but have had to put up with the European leadership of history because they could not compete with the competency levels needed and the influence of old boy networks.

Even though Maori (I will qualify this group in a minute), are now at the highest echelons in the topic of our history, they are focused on their own history and how the Europeans treated it and them. To me, the subject of history is quite a bit wider.

When speaking about Maori, I'm referring to those who 'group think'. I can't put it into words very well but recognise it when seeing and hearing it. Some very European looking people with Maori ancestors do this automatically. Other people, looking more Maori 'think individually'.  You can't tell by looks. Leadership of the group thinkers is so much more influential than leadership of people who 'think individually'.

This is where I can see Chinese leadership bridging the gap. I think they are more likely to be able to do both or something in between and may breathe fresh air on our history.


  1. An excellent post Lyn; I enjoyed reading it and agree with what you are saying.

  2. There are some of us quietly working on this. We recently published this book: Gwa Leng Wongs in New Zealand (bilingual)

    Alison Wong has just won a Book Award with her book As the Earth Turns to silver.

    Zengcheng New Zealanders was publishe a couple of years back by the Tung Jung Association.

    Golden Prospects was published this year by Julia Bradshaw.

    In the Mountain's Shadow - A Century of Chinese in taranaki 1870-1970 - will be available shortly.

    And of course all of Manyin Ip's books

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


  5. The Chinese are a long way in front in documenting their NZ heritage - and the role we have place in NZ History - having the Poll Tax Grants is an added incentive to get going. Here's a community project you may be interested in.

  6. Thanks for the links NZBC. I can see I have a lot of catching up to do. Would you like to email me privately? My email is an image at the top of the page. Thanks