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James Belich

Late last century, historian James Belich made much of these artillery-proof pā, in which underground bunkers, communications tunnels and rifle pits replaced palisades and fighting towers as the key defensive measures. He credited northern māori with inventing trench warfare. Māori had certainly adapted pā to suit the musket, but others dismissed belich’s claim as baseless post-colonial revisionism. > > https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/ruapekapeka

THE FACT IS: Trench Warfare in the form of siege operations was already a developed art by the seventeenth century. The master of this form of warfare was the French marshal Vauban (1633–1707). > http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/political-science-and-government/military-affairs-nonnaval/trench-warfare

Belich's estimate of the number killed in the intertribal wars (20,000 http://tinyurl.com/kzhx37u ) were described as "cavalier", "ignorant" and "not good scholarship" (on page 78 in Dr John Robinson’s book ‘When two cultures meet’) and his estimates of population numbers are absurd (page 79), "breathtaking and unfounded". Many of his statements are unreferenced with no clear description of how a conclusion is arrived at.

A careful count of around 42,000 by Rutherford is available here > http://tinyurl.com/korb6pe

Belich’s dismissal of Cowan, the most important source of information on the wars of rebellion, as "a product of the intensely Anglocentric, Empire-worshipping period" (pages 7, 116 ‘When two cultures meet’) then dodges the requirement for specific, well-founded criticism of any points he does not like.

Belich damns the best of historians writing on NZ wars, James Cowan, with faint praise (“When two cultures meet” p7)