Prof. Joel Hayward's Old Website

Joel Hayward, ZDaF, BA, MA Hons, PhD, FRSA, FRHistS

The New Zealand Listener: now merely a tabloid?

On 15 September I emailed the following Letter to the Editor of the NZ Listener, responding to an article by journalist Philip Matthews that appeared that morning.




The Editor
New Zealand Listener

15 September 2003


Re. Listener article by Philip Matthews


Dear Editor


I would like to explain to readers the reason why I would not contribute in any way to the article Philip Matthews wrote (20-26 September). As I explained to Mr Matthews by email when he approached me, his previous article on me persuaded me that he was not a fair and ethical journalist. I did not believe he would treat my circumstances in an even-handed, professional manner.


As for Mr Matthews' curiously veiled suggestion that I no longer regret mistakes in my 1991 thesis, let me bring clarity:


I continue to feel sincere regret at three things: errors in my thesis; some people's anger at those errors; and the misuse of the thesis by certain racists and politically motivated cranks.


I firmly stand by all my statements in the Addendum, dated 26 January 2000, that I attached to the thesis. It can be read: at:


That does not mean I will remain passive while protagonists on either side of the revisionist/anti-revisionist debate attempt to use me or my old thesis as ammunition to fire at each other.


Although I don't trust Mr Matthews I certainly do trust the good sense of the New Zealand public. This year many articles, most written by independent journalists, some written by me, others by my detractors, have appeared in major newspapers. A sizeable scholarly article on me and my circumstances also briefly appeared in a history journal. Its prompt destruction after publication but before circulation caused a book burning controversy at the University of Canterbury. Even so, copies of the now-famous destroyed History Now article can be read on the internet.


Thus, I believe the New Zealand public does not need Mr Matthews' coaching on what to make of this entire controversy. There is sufficient material available for the public to read, or re-read, so that they can exercise their own intelligence and arrive at their own conclusions. I don't fear that; I welcome it.


To facilitate this process, I have started compiling material, including the complete History Now article (slightly longer than the edited version that appeared in The Herald and The Press), and placing them on my little Totem Press website.


I invite readers to visit this website:  and to explore the various pages.


Yours sincerely


Dr Joel Hayward