Waatea News Column: Moana Jackson: Our most important New Zealand voice

It is with a terribly heavy heart that I write of Moana Jackson’s passing.

I had the privilege of interviewing Moana several times while hosting Waatea 5th Estate and his intelligence, his grace and his dignity always left me hopeful that there was a light so incandescent that it could burn through the garden variety bigotry that chokes so much of New Zealand.

He was in a league of his own as a public academic. His research restored the integrity of those history had ignored and silenced and he understood that indigenous history was always the first that is uprooted and burnt by the colonizer.

He articulated the pain and experience of colonisation with intellectual firepower that none could match in our country.

His restless work was a calling and his even-tempered recitation of the never-ending damage meted out to Māori made him an Academic Atlas on whose shoulders all else has been built.

The gravest ill to our culture was that he wasn’t given the mainstream coverage he deserved. Our shared history demanded his voice and my greatest regret is that his crystal clear righteousness and constant reminder of past injustice won’t be present right as David Seymour launches his co-governance referendum.

We need Moana’s leadership. vision and certainty now more than ever.

He was one of our greats and the importance of his work reverberates in the present with an intensity and power that can never be challenged.

We are a lesser choir without his voice. Our challenge is to keep singing his songs.

First published on Waatea News.

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