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Why should we be interested in history? Because we can’t afford not to be.

May 30, 2014

History does repeat itself, but we often ignore it and make the same mistakes all over again.

Matthew Wright

Henry Ford once insisted history was ‘bunk’, declaring: ‘We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.’

History has also been listed as ‘one damn thing after another’ – an aphorism likely first uttered by Arnold Toynbee.

Reconstruction by unknown artist of the Treaty being signed. New Zealand. Department of Maori Affairs. Artist unknown : Ref: A-114-038. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22701985 Reconstruction by unknown artist of the Treaty of Waitangi being signed. New Zealand. Department of Maori Affairs. Artist unknown : Ref: A-114-038. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22701985

So why should we bother with it? Those of us who did history at school – certainly in New Zealand in the twentieth century – probably got sick of having to memorise lists of English monarchs and being told that New Zealand didn’t have a history. I know I did.

Fact is, New Zealand does have a history – and a very interesting one. It’s a history that encompasses everything that makes…

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