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Bain Attwood, a professor in Australian studies from Harvard University, gives a lecture on New Zealand’s indigenous history on Friday. Attwood discusses his findings about the Maori people’s relationship with the British government.
Photo Credit: Charlotte Carpenter | Daily Texan Staff

In its early days, New Zealand was plagued by conflict between its indigenous people and the ruling British government, according to Bain Attwood, a visiting professor of history at Harvard University.

Attwood said his findings on the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, and their relationship with the British government represent the “perennial question in the British imperial historiography.” He said the issues between these two groups stem from their disparate levels of access to the legal system.

“The British sovereignty withheld legal discourse as a resource drawn upon to get leverage over the indigenous peoples,” Attwood said. 

Up until the 20th century, Māori people were rarely recognized as legal owners of much of the New Zealand landscape — an injustice Attwood puts at the center of his research. 

Attwood said many historians question whether British leaders’ vernacular helped trick the Māori tribes into signing an unfair treaty. Though some question the Māori’s understanding of the treaty, and of the concept of sovereignty as a whole, Attwood said answers are indefinite because there is little historical proof to support a given interpretation of what happened. Attwood also said the British downplayed the Māori’s strong military power. 

The Māori people have flourished as time has passed, according to Attwood. In 1769, only about 100,000 Māori people filled New Zealand territory. With the weakening of British power, the Māori people have grown to account for 15 percent of today’s New Zealand population. 

A police officer looks towards a black vehicle that has had its contents removed at a crime scene outside the Metropolis in Montreal on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

MONTREAL (AP) — Police interrogated a man accused of opening fire at a midnight victory rally for Quebec’s new separatist premier, but they said the suspect’s rambling statements in French and English offered no immediate motive for the shooting that killed one man and wounded another.

A police official Wednesday identified the suspect as Richard Henry Bain, 62, from La Conception, Quebec. The police official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the suspect had not been charged.

Police said Bain will likely appear in court Thursday morning. Meanwhile, people who know Bain, the owner of a hunting and fishing resort, recalled his complaints about bureaucracy but could think of no political grievances he held.

Quebec provincial police said the masked gunman wearing a bathrobe opened fire just outside the building where Pauline Marois of the separatist Parti Quebecois was giving her victory speech.

The gunman was heard shouting “The English are waking up!” in French as police dragged him away.

Marois was whisked off the stage by guards and was not injured. She later called the shooting an isolated event and said it was probably a case of a person who has “serious health issues.”

“I am deeply affected by this, but I have to go forward and assume my responsibilities,” Quebec’s first female premier said Wednesday, calling Quebec a non-violent society. “An act of folly cannot rid us of this reality.”

The attack shocked Canadians who are not used to such violence at political events and have long worried that gun violence more often seen in the U.S. could become more common in their country.

Police said a 48-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene and a 27-year-old man was wounded but would survive. A third man was treated for shock. Police didn’t identify the victims, but they worked at production company Productions du Grand Bambou Inc, a person answering the phone at the Montreal company confirmed.

Printed on Thursday, September 6th, 2012 as: Marois' victory rally marred by shooting