"A leading academic has sparked outrage after comparing the Holocaust that killed six million Jews to Britain's colonisation of New Zealand. Language lecturer Keri Opai claimed that New Zealand's native indigenous Maori were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following the 'holocaust' of British rule.
But last night the President of the New Zealand Jewish Council slammed the Maori academic for 'trivialising state sponsored genocide'.
During the New Zealand Wars of 1845-1872, which saw the Maori defended their tribal lands from British colonial forces, 20,000 Maori were killed while hundreds of thousands more were driven from their homes.
The debate on national identity was part of a special broadcast on Waitangi Day - the holiday that marks the signing of the first treaty between representatives of the British Crown and Māori chiefs in 1840.
The document has always been disputed because the English and Māori versions of the treaty differed significantly. The British believed it gave it sovereignty over New Zealand and gave their appointed Governor the legal power to rule the country.
But Māori believed they ceded to the Crown a right of governance in return for protection, without giving up their authority to manage their own affairs.
What is usually glided over is that it was Maori killing Maori that was the major cause of death after the British arrival. The Maori were vastly impressed by guns and gladly traded land for guns -- which they then used to kill off neighboring Maori tribes. It was in fact only British influence that eventually brought peace.