Tragedy put into Perspective

Tragedy put into Perspective

Our Prime Minister has been making political capital out of tragedy with her constant references to the Christchurch Mosque shooting.

During her recent trip to the USA she stated again that the Christchurch massacre was New Zealand’s darkest day and inferred that her government had solved the gun problem as a result of that, through the gun buy-back scheme.

Let me state clearly that this article is in no way trying to lessen or downplay the impacts of that massacre at Christchurch, on the survivors, it will have lifelong effect on them and many other people closely involved. It was a tragedy; it should not have been allowed to happen and if correct processes had been followed it may not have happened.

If our PM wants to keep quoting references to this tragedy then she should get the facts right as it was far away from our darkest day

There are a number of historical events in which more than 50 people died, and the Christchurch Mosque shooting is at the bottom of that list.


* 60, 000 dead.           1821- 1840. Maori murdered by other Maori during the                                        inter-tribal Musket Wars or starved to death because                                          their tribes neglected cultivation for fighting.

1200 dead.                  1834 Sacking of Taranaki’s Pukerangiora Pa by Tainui                                          invaders. Death toll included around 150 Te Atiawa                                             whose skulls were personally staved in with his mere                                         by Tainui paramount chief, Te Wherowhero, who only                                       stopped because his arm became swollen and tired.

* 257 dead.                 1979 Air NZ Flight 901 airliner accident, Mt Erebus,                                             Ross Island, Antarctica 28 Nov 1979.

* 256 dead.                 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake of 3 Feb 1931 20 km                                               north of Napier.

* 200+ dead.               1820s Southland tsunami Orepuki Beach.

* 189 dead.                 1863 HMS Orpheus shipwreck 7 Feb 1863 off Manukau                                       Heads, near Auckland.

* 185 dead.                 2011 Christchurch earthquake 22 February 2011                                                   Christchurch.

* 151 dead.                 1953 Tangiwai disaster train wreck/lahar 24 Dec 1953                                         Whangaehu River.

* 134 dead.                 1879 Little Waihi landslide Waihi Village.

* 131 dead.                 1881 SS Tararua shipwreck 29 Apr 1881 off Waipapa                                           Point.

* 121+ dead.               1894 SS Wairarapa shipwreck 29 Oct 1894 off Great                                             Barrier Island.

* 108-153 dead           according to various accounts. 1886 eruption of Mount                                       Tarawera.            

* 87 dead.                   1865 Fiery Star shipwreck 11 May 1865 240 km off the                                         Chatham Islands.

* 75 dead.                   1909 Penguin shipwreck 12 Feb 1909 off Cape                                                         Terawhiti.

* 68 dead+.                 1866 General Grant shipwreck May 1866 Auckland                                               Island.

* 65 dead.                   1896 Brunner Mine disaster mine accident 26 Mar                                               1896  Brunner.

* 65 dead.                   1846 Kakaramea landslide 7 May 1846. Tuwharetoa                                             tribal leader Te Heuheu Tukino II and most of his                                                 family were killed in the landslide.

* 53 dead.                   1968 Wahine shipwreck 10 Apr 1968 Barrett Reef,                                                 Wellington Harbour.

* 52 dead.                   1865 City of Dunedin shipwreck 20 May 1865 off Cape                                         Terawhiti. By some retrospective accounts, between                                             250 and 600 passengers perished, but these reports                                               were 20 or more years later.

* 51+ dead.                 1863 Blizzards and floods Jul 1863 – Aug 1863 Central                                           Otago goldfields. The actual death toll was probably                                             higher because of the transient nature of the miners                                          and the ruggedness of the country.

* 51 dead.                   Christchurch mosque shootings.

For the PM to talk about the Christchurch Mosque shootings as our darkest day and then infer in later comments that the gun buy-back scheme put in place as a knee jerk reaction to this terrible tragedy, has solved the gun problems in New Zealand is nothing short of political posturing; grandstanding and in actual fact not true.

In my opinion it is nothing more than trying to make political capital from the tragedy and in the light of this government’s race-based politics of division it is manipulative, deceptive and far from the openness and transparency that she likes to claim as her mantra in government.

Currently we are seeing a huge rise in gun crime with various gangs accused of shooting at each other and many drive by shootings at private homes.

The only actual effect of the gun buy-back scheme was to take a particular type of gun (military style semi-automatic rifles) out of the ownership of the public and it has had no real effect on the level of gun crime or the severity of that gun crime.