Submitted by admin on April 22, 2009 - 23:16
HISTORY, MYTHS IN NEW ZEALAND
The present is constantly trying to remake the past for its own purposes; people so keenly feel that they are the product of their origins that they tend always to find in those origins what they choose to see rather than what is, in fact, there. So it has been in New Zealand's historical thinking, and the distortions which have resulted are not entirely without value. They mean, at the very least, that the past is still alive; were it not so people would not seek to alter it. But the academic historian, dedicated to reconstructing the past as faithfully as he may, must make it his business to detect and expose the myths, legends, and fallacies which accumulate around the past of his country. But he will not limit himself to mere exposure. The myths and legends, used themselves as evidence, are valuable clues to the mentality of the people who, more often than not unconsciously, constructed them.