Anonymous asks:

What sorts of conspiracy theories are popular in New Zealand? Do kiwis believe in reptiloids?

Does anyone anywhere actually believe in reptiloids?  I don’t know; these things live on the internet and the internet is everywhere, so the same nonsense as people believe in the USA, I suppose.  Perhaps somewhat fewer of us, although I don’t have any statistics to back that up.  I think we have somewhat more trust in our government than the Americans do (if nothing else, it’s more transparent and less powerful than theirs) so it takes a bit more to make us believe that something really world-shattering like aliens is being covered up.  In particular, the one about the world really being flat is a very difficult one to take seriously when you live in the southern hemisphere, simply because we’re more conscious of the practical consequences of the fact that it’s round.

I suppose there are those Waitaha nutjobs…

It’s not exactly a conspiracy theory in the way that you mean, with government cover-ups and science fiction-sounding nonsense, but it’s fairly odd all the same.  There haven’t been people in New Zealand for very long.  In North America the first human settlements go back something like 15 or 20,000 years; in Australia it’s at least 40,000.  For New Zealand that number is 1000 years, tops.  That’s when the first Polynesian settlers, the ancestors of the Maori, arrive in New Zealand, probably coming from somewhere like Raiatea or Tahiti on big catamarans.  Before that there was nothing but the birds and the forest… unless you believe the Waitaha.  The Waitaha are a sort of fringe lunatic faction within Ngai Tahu (one of the most important Maori tribal groups).  They insist that they’re not Maori at all, but the descendants of a much older ethnic group that lived in New Zealand at least a thousand years before the Maori got there, taught the Maori everything they knew about the plants and animals of the islands, and were subsequently assimilated by the more warlike people of Ngai Tahu.  And for this there is not a shred of archaeological evidence.  The rest of Ngai Tahu don’t believe a word of it, and nor does the archaeological community.  There are similar unsubstantiated notions floating around about Egyptian or Greek explorers reaching New Zealand in ancient times, or Portuguese explorers visiting the islands a good hundred years or so before Europeans are generally thought to have arrived.  No “ancient aliens” bull$#!t, at least.  Um… as far as I know, anyway.

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