OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Terra Firma

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  • Danielle,

    half-baked gobbets of Belich and Orange

    Ah, jeez. Do *I* have to have a fight with Craig now? Is it my turn? Or are you saying that their interpretation by teachers is half-baked, rather than their ideas?

    And I second Kyle's argument for learning NZ history in high school. I'm thoroughly disturbed by how little I knew about New Zealand before I went to university. It does tend to help with that whole 'becoming a productive member of our society' thing.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    And I second Kyle's argument for learning NZ history in high school

    Geebuz I must be getting old now. I'm pretty sure that when I was in 7th form, we did half a year of Tudor and Stuart, and half a year of NZ history. This was so long ago we used Keith Sinclair's History of New Zealand as the set text. Written on rolls of papyrus, it was.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Written on rolls of papyrus, it was.

    Papyrus?

    Looxury.

    We had it on blocs of stone. Julius Vogel visited us and explained why he'd borrowed all that money.

    And Hone Heke was a regular contestant at the wood chopping competiton at the school gala day.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    This was so long ago we used Keith Sinclair's History of New Zealand as the set text. Written on rolls of papyrus, it was.

    I remember that - it was the set text for my first NZ history paper at university, in the distant days of early 2003.

    As for the NZ history component, we received that via an internal assessment that required research on an NZ topic (I think I did immigration policy and its effects from 1950 through till 1970, or something like that). The school justified offering Tudors and Stuarts instead because it was able to get a senior teacher expert in that field, which I think was an acceptable payoff.

    I still rushed to sign up for that 19th century NZ paper when I reached university, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1611 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Geebuz I must be getting old now. I'm pretty sure that when I was in 7th form, we did half a year of Tudor and Stuart, and half a year of NZ history. This was so long ago we used Keith Sinclair's History of New Zealand as the set text. Written on rolls of papyrus, it was.

    We got 100% tudors and stuarts. Because 7th form is 100% about those stupid exams at the end of the year that don't actually give you anything useful, or let you into university. Bursary, that's what it's called.

    But your mix and match sounds better than another school I know which studied mostly tudors and stuarts, but spent about 25% of the year looking at the voyages of discovery. It apparently was 75% the history of mother england, and 25% the history of white folk discovering there really were other parts of the world... but the students didn't actually get to learn about the places, just the discovering of them. The "Land ahoy! And now we've learned all we needed to know about the Pacific..." theory of history.

    Man, someone still uses Sinclair? Respect and all that, but that book was published a few years ago. There's been a wee bit of thinking about NZ's history since.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Written on rolls of papyrus, it was.

    Papyrus?

    Looxury.

    We had it on blocs of stone.

    I know diversity of voices and all that, but a good set up - knock down just warms the cockles of my heart.

    but that book was published a few years ago

    1957, I think. It was 'quaint' when we were using it in the 80s.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Sinclair's "A History of New Zealand" was originally published in 1959. But if you were using it in the 80s, you were probably using the 1980 revised edition. I've got a copy of the 1988 edition with me here. Dunno about "quaint", but it is certainly idiosyncratic (not necessarily a bad thing), and the dude seems to have been unfortunately reluctant to update the text significantly to engage with more recent events -- there's only one chapter (brief, sketchy, and assuming the reader already knows a lot of the context, which might have worked at the time of publication but is a bit inadequate today) on events from 1970-1987, followed by an even sketchier, speculative epilogue on national identity.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    er. actually, that should read two chapters on events since 1970 in the 1988 edition (the total length is less than most of the earlier chapters, and the timeline isn't neatly broken between the two, so it's best read as one unit, but nevertheless).

    Sinclair is somewhat conservative in style (to about the same extent as contemporaries such as K B Cumberland), but not so much in content; on events pre-1950, there's about 90% agreement between the revised Sinclair and King's history.

    OTOH the last few chapters of Sinclair dated really fast given the ideological swings and roundabouts we experienced between 1987 and 1990 -- and his attempt at examining national identity suffers by comparison with the outpouring of national self-examination that accompanied the sesqui.

    (With the benefit of hindsight, we'd have to say he placed too much emphasis on the effect of the USA in NZ's future -- though he was probably still not too far off the mark if interpreted as predicting an influence of California on Auckland rather than the USA as a whole on NZ as a whole.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Man, someone still uses Sinclair? Respect and all that, but that book was published a few years ago. There's been a wee bit of thinking about NZ's history since.

    Herodotus is really crusty, and in may respects dramatically unreliable in the light of more recent scholarship and intellectual fashions (which are not necessarily the same thing) but that doesn't make his work utterly useless. I do take your point, but its a pretty big mistake to confuse historiography with science or the fashion industry.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I do take your point, but its a pretty big mistake to confuse historiography with science or the fashion industry.

    Ah yup. Cause I didn't pick that point up while doing my two history degrees :) 'Scuse me while I go next door to tell a couple of professors that they should stop all research if anyone has written about it before.

    Historiography's all good, and a comparison of Sinclair's work with something more recent like King, Belich, or Erik Olssen's forthcoming history of NZ (to which I've had the great 'joy' of helping prepare a small part of the data) would make an interesting course as part of an honours degree or a research essay about the changing nature of national histories and the discipline. That's different from using it for plain teaching. Sinclair's book was massive in its time, but it's still largely a product of the late 50s, even if you look at a later edition. Historical ideas have moved on a whole heap since then.

    And Herodutus' primary sources are lost to time. You can't go back and rewrite his work very easily, as for some parts of it at least he's the only source, or one of a couple of competing sources. You can re-write a history of New Zealand, because the material that Sinclair used is all still available and could be re-analysed, as historians have done.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    followed by an even sketchier, speculative epilogue on national identity.

    I'm just a reader, rather than a student, of the texts, but Sinclair's 1986 book on New Zealanders' search for identity, A Destiny Apart, is substantial and, I think, successful. I've quoted ideas in it more than once.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Dunne just pulled his support for the bill.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    They don't need UF to pass the thing, with the Greens support, do they?
    Still makes it look that much weaker. And of course Dunne will be looking at the next election, hoping for a few headlines, and chalking this up to a good look going tinot "talks" with National next November.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Methinks Dunne has had a close look at the two Political Opinion Polls at the weekend and .... decided who will be his most likely Govt partner after the next election ...


    As if.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    It passed.

    Ow! My Freedomz!!1!!

    [Joke does not necessarily reflect opinions]

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Dunne just pulled his support for the bill.

    Wow... the political equivalent of the kind of chap whose idea of effective contraception is 'I promise I'll pull out before I come'. Funny how often that doesn't work either.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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