The Dentith Files – The “Celtic New Zealand” Thesis

Between 2008 and 2010, Matthew Dentith first joined 95bFM’s Simon Pound, then José Barbosa, on Sunday mornings to talk about conspiracy theories. Listen, as they say, again!

Well, I hope this week’s `ep’ was informative. No trolls yet.

When I gave advance notice of this session’s topic late last week I must say that I wrote a less-than-substantial post on the matter. The whole Celtic New Zealand thing has come at entirely the wrong time; I’m prepping a course, editing a chapter and writing a new one. I don’t really have time to cover the material in anywhere near the depth I’d like to. What I can suggest is that people read Martin Doutré’s responses to both Scott and Edward on the Scoop Review of Books. Doutré shifts his goalposts, metaphorically speaking, and tries (perhaps a little successfully) to get people on the defensive. Fascinating stuff.

Anyway, I’m bound to get drawn into the debate when the link to the interview goes up on Scoop so… we’ll see how it all pans out.

For what it’s worth, the good that is coming out of this is that I’m going to use this little episode as a case study in 2009’s `Conspiracy Theories’ course. I’m also hoping to do something a little special for the radio show when I teach these sessions so that listeners at home get something out of it as well.

Next Time on the Dentith Files: Mumbai. More on the Celtic New Zealand Thesis and some ruminations about Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate

The Dentith Files

The November issue of the Franklin E Local contained within it part three of a series of articles claiming that a pre-Maori, Celtic people, colonised Aotearoa/New Zealand before the arrival of the Polynesians. These articles were endorsed by the editor of the Franklin E Local, Mykeljon Winckel, and they allege not only that Maori are hiding evidence of a Celtic pre-cursor civilisation in Aotearoa/New Zealand but that the academic community is conspiring with them to prevent knowledge of it getting out.

Matthew’s guest on the Dentith Files' is Doctor Scott Hamilton, a former resident of Franklin and a critic of the Celtic New Zealand Thesis. Scott, whose blogReading the Maps’ has covered the issue in some detail numerous times, talks about the political motivations behind the Celtic New Zealand Thesis and how the view that the Celts got here first is not just racist but also plays down just how exciting and unique this country’s real heritage is.

Further reading

The Scoop Review

Celtic New Zealand

Celtic New Zealand, eh?

Racism is a very ugly thing and we rightfully condemn it. One of my pet peeves is when people say `Now, I’m not a racist, but…’ because the next say they say is going to be racist.

It is hard to know what to do about racism; it is an irrational belief and irrational beliefs are difficult to eradicate. Yet, no matter how horrible `mere’ racism is, there some truly terrifying variants of it that seem more conscious than mere irrationality. `Academic’ racism, where some pseudo-history or the like is used to justify the irrational hatred or dislike of another people, now that really horrifies me.

So, what to make of a recent open letter by Dr. Scott Hamilton to the editor of the Franklin E Local? In it Scott takes to task Mykeljon Winckel for not only endorsing a thesis that a Celtic people colonised Aotearoa before the Maori but that the Maori came in, raped and pillaged this first people, and then have engaged, with the academic community, in a conspiracy to hide the true history of this country?

My BA is a double-major in Philosophy and Anthropology, specifically Archaeology and I was, at one stage, pretty far advanced on a thesis proposal for examining, in re the epistemology, how archaeological explanations actually work. Whilst working on my undergraduate degree I heard about Barry Brailsford and his controversial history of the Waitaha. I read a number of books on supposed pre-cursor peoples to the Maori in New Zealand. Not because I thought there was much to them but because I was fascinated by how people could believe such wildly improbable things.

I’ve long wanted to write something substantial on alternative histories, using New Zealand as an example. The Franklin E Local issue has rammed home the need for such a work. In lieu of stopping work on the thesis and moving on to project two right now I’ve taken the opportunity to interview Scott for the `Dentith Files’ this Sunday (sometime between 11 and 12pm, 30th of November). It’s a rather quick twenty minute overview of some of the points raised in the Franklin E Local material; it’s also rather a shame that listeners didn’t get to listen to the other hour and an half of discussion we had outside the recording booth because it was rather helpful in sorting out a range of problems with the Celtic Thesis, as well as allowing us to draw some rather startling parallels to other suspicious alternative `histories’ from around the world.