Maori broadcasters are on a heritage mission – obviously – in travelling back to Norway

But would these beasts have gone the same way as the moa?

The tosser at a blog called Reading the Maps recently mocked Noel Hilliam, the retired farmer from Dargaville

… who has become infamous, over the past quarter century, for making a series of bizarre claims about New Zealand history.

Over the years Hilliam has discovered a Viking city in the forests north of Dargaville, Spanish ships in the sandy mouth of Kaipara Harbour, a Nazi submarine filled with gold in the Tasman Sea, and the skeletons of an ancient tribe of giant white people in remote caves.

Again and again, Hilliam has failed to produce evidence for his sensational claims, and faced ridicule. Again and again, he has presented gullible journalists with new fantasies.


Hilliam is on the button with that stuff about Vikings.

If it was rubbish, Maori Television would not have sent five executives to an indigenous broadcasters’ conference in the far north of Norway.

The top brains at Maori Television are as fiscally sensitive as anyone here in Parliament.

They can come up with bloody good cultural explanations for whatever spending is involved.

They know – as Alf does and as Hilliam does – that the indigenous people of this country have Viking blood pumping through their veins.

A fellow called Tom O’Connor similarly has written of Asians, Vikings and even Greeks who were supposed to have been here hundreds, if not thousands, of years before the Polynesians.

O’Connor has got things a bit wrong, obviously.

The Polynesians in fact are Vikings who have became bronzed by centuries of exposure to New Zealand’s sunshine.

Of course, the Herald is egregiously oblivious to the links between the Vikings and Maori.

It has struck a disapproving tone by highlighting the public money being consumed in the broadcasters’ travels.

Times are tough for public broadcasting with the imminent closure of TVNZ7 and non-profit channel Stratos forced off the air because they lack public funding.

But Maori TV executives who flew to the Arctic circle will this week be staying in hotels in Kautokeino in the Arctic highlands to attend the 2012 conference of the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network.

Let’s not get too twitchy about the costs (which Maori Television will not divulge).

We taxpayers aren’t picking up the tab for all of the team.

The conference began on March 24 and runs until March 30. Conference organisers at Norwegian broadcaster NRK says Sami Radio is paying for two of the Maori Television people.

And –

Maori TV said it was keeping costs down …

And –

They travelled economy class, said spokeswoman Diane Berghan.

The main industry for the Sami, by the way, is reindeer herding and husbandry.

We would have reindeer in this country today, if the Vikings could have packed them into their longboats, although – fair to say – they might not have been able to procreate faster than they were eaten and might have gone the same way as the moa.

But the link with reindeer and Vikings suggests Santa Claus has Maori whakapapa. This would explain why Alf got a crate of Tohu wine in his stocking last year.

Fair to say, the surnames of those who are going to Norway do not reflect Norwegian origins.

There are no Amundsens, or Neilsens, or Andersens.

Not among the named personnel, at least.

But some names are being kept secret.

The Maori TV entourage is led by chief executive Jim Mather and includes programming boss Carol Hirschfeld and Maori language programmer Haunui Royal. Maori TV said it was not obliged to name the two other executives.

Other indigenous broadcasters attending the conference include BBC Scotland, S4C Wales, TG4 Ireland, NITV Australia and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

We all know about the Vikings looting, raping and pillaging their way through Scotland, Wales and Ireland, way back.

We should not be at all surprised to learn that a people who could get to New Zealand probably dropped off for a bit of looting, raping and pillaging in South Africa and Australia too.

Actually, Alf’s great, great (repeated umpteen times) grandmother was caught by one of these Viking fellers. Alf’s whakapapa can be traced back to the resultant coupling.

This makes him as indigenous in this country as Hone Harawira, although Hone does not seem at all impressed by the claim.

Maybe the Waitangi Tribunal will give it a more sympathetic hearing.

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