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New Zealand    1896 BENEDICTINE CRITIQUE OF BRITISH TREATMENT OF MAORIS FINALLY PUBLISHED
An Italian Benedictine's stinging criticism of British mistreatment of Maoris has been published for the first time in New Zealand, more than 100 years after it was written.
    The banned volume, ``History of New Zealand and Its Inhabitants,'' written in 1896 by Benedictine monk Dom Felice Vaggioli, details the ``abominable behaviour'' of British settlers, according to excerpts printed in Monday's New Zealand Herald.
    Vaggioli, who came to New Zealand as a missionary in 1879, wrote that Maori people were "denied justice and have been despicably robbed" of their land.
    The British government was so incensed by the book, it asked Rome to destroy all copies. A handful of volumes survived, hidden in monasteries and at the Vatican. It was largely forgotten until a translation project began six years ago.
    New Zealand authorities no longer view the monk's account which has been widely corroborated as inflammatory. The government even helped fund the translation.
    "The unfortunate Maori certainly have to use their wits to save themselves from the grip of the devouring serpent," Vaggioli wrote. "However, they will never succeed in freeing themselves from its tenacious coils, and will eventually perish forever, overcome by its brutal force."
   
AP
   
23 Aug 00



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