Martin Doutré: Faeries, fallacies and fascists
The book “Ancient Celtic New Zealand” was written by an American living in New Zealand called Martin Doutré. In it you will find all kinds of obscure diagrammes relating to the position of stones on hilltops around Auckland; diagrammes which purport to show that these stones were once arranged in circles, in the manner of ancient sites in Britain. When the sun rises it does so in a trench that Doutre says was cut by Patuparaiehe, white fairy-like creatures in traditional Māori lore whom he has co-opted as a stand in for Celts.
Taken together, all of this purportedly shows that white people were here long before Māori.
In first reading this book I had difficulty following Doutré's 'logic'. After a few frustrating hours I decided to find out a bit more about him before I went any further. It was at this point that my bemusement vanished. In fact, I became quite alarmed about what lurks behind this whole thesis, especially after the mosque attacks in Christchurch. In effect, I believe, Doutré is attempting to manipulate history and to convince vulnerable, poorly-educated pākehā that they have a a glorious secret history behind them -- a history that justifies white supremacism.
Gabi Plumm, an Englishwoman who made the two-part documentary series “Skeletons in the Cupboard”, has called Doutré an archaeologist. He has no such qualification. Most copies of her documentary have been pulled from YouTube following complaints, however at the time of writing you can still find it here. Just remember: not a single bona fide archaeologist was consulted at any point. Of the experts who are quoted, some do not seem to exist at all, while others were horrified to learn that their work had been used, and totally misrepresented. TVNZ also investigated Doutré's claims (after a complaint against them was upheld). Their summary of the farce they discovered is important reading (here) because it exposes the tremendous level of intellectual dishonesty that is at play.
Despite this, some might be tempted to see Doutré as a fairly harmless Erich von Däniken wannabe. Not so. He has deep connections and sympathies with the far right and these connections are clearly at play in his work. Below are some excerpts from an article by Scott Hamilton, an Auckland sociologist and reviewer (more here).
Doutre himself has enjoyed warm relations with two well-known neo-Nazis. He has maintained a friendly correspondence with David Irving, the neo-Nazi pseudo-historian whom courts in Britain and Austria have found guilty of denying the Holocaust...
Doutre also maintains a friendship with Kerry Bolton, who is perhaps New Zealand’s best-known neo-Nazi. It was Bolton who invented the theory of a white indigenous population...
Bolton and Doutre have worked together on several projects besides the Celtic New Zealand website. Bolton has written for the website of the One New Zealand Foundation, an extreme right-wing group which Martin Doutre helps to run. The One New Zealand Foundation claims that the Treaty of Waitangi is racist, that whites are an oppressed group in New Zealand, and that the United Nations is preparing to take over the country.
We probably should explain that last point a bit further. As a representative of the One New Zealand Foundation (alongside his now deceased friend, the infamous Alan Titford), Doutré also argues that the Littlewood Treaty, found in Manurewa in 1989, is our founding national document, whereas the original Treaty of Waitangi is a fraud.
But back to those patuparaiehe/Celts. It seems there are good reasons why Doutré has not been able to produce any hard evidence for his arguments. He explains the problem in ‘Forbidden History – Covered Up!’ Special teams of armed men, controlled by sinister forces, are going around the country blowing up the caves where Celtic bones are to be found. This team is made up of "ancient control freak" organisations. There are no prizes for guessing who Doutré is referring to here.
As easy as it is to dismiss Doutré's work on the grounds of profound bias, it is not so easy to change his followers' minds. I have met many of them, and few would consider themselves racist. These are the same people who maintain that the Māori wiped out the Moriori, whom they believe were here first. This convenient tale has been used as a justification for many years for plunder by Europeans. They have either missed or ignored the fact that Moriori culture only existed on Rekohu, and even though Māori went there (on European ships) and did conquer, the same never happened on the mainland of Aotearoa/NZ. And, of course, the Moriori were not wiped out.
The sad fact is that Aotearoa/NZ is home to a growing cohort of vulnerable people, easily manipulated for political ends. If you feel tempted by these kind of theories I suggest you check out a sympathetic YouTube post by Noam Chomsky here.
If people can be convinced that the root of their problems lies not with the rich but with other poor people, and in particular with those of a different "race", then the overarching social narrative can be controlled and manipulated. This allows corporates to remain above it all. I’m not saying that Martin Doutré or Gabi Plumm are among the rich and powerful; in fact they may well be victims as much as the people who have swallowed their ideas. However, they are helping to reinforce the notion that white people are a superior race, with a culture that is somehow under threat from "below". Once this premise is accepted, and science is set aside, much of the hard right's arguments become relatively easy to accept.
As people fall for narratives like that of pre-Māori settlement, they come up against a growing tide of ridicule. One response is to retreat further into conspiracy theories and associations with other people who believe as they do. We do not help them by ridiculing their beliefs. All we can hope to do is alert those who are new to this subject, or who are in danger of being taken in, to be very careful of hidden motives. It is a conspiracy, but characters like Doutré are the perpetrators, not the victims. Please: look hard at the "evidence" they put in front of you, and always check what others have to say about it!
In recent discussions with Doutré's followers I have cited fact after fact, enough (I would have thought) to discredit the whole narrative. However, rather than questioning what they have read, they dig their heels in and see me as an adversary. In fact, I now believe I have driven these people even deeper into the hole that I was hoping to pull them out of.
So how can we proceed? An ex-police officer once said to me: "I have never dealt with anybody who felt they were totally wrong. Everyone wants to justify at least some of their actions so they can be understood. They have a deep desire to be ‘good.’ It is only their personal confusion, arising from bad experiences, that distorts what ‘good’ looks like."
The next part of what he said is what I stll take about with me.
“Two negatives never make a positive. But a positive on a negative always produces a better outcome."