Unable to suppress the views of Professor Richard Dawkins, the local media have sought to smear him as a racist. It is also a warning to other academics not to step out of line.

ON 3 MARCH I tweeted 'If Professor Dawkins column gets reported in the local media it will only be to attack it. He is quite right about the 'culture of fear'. On 4 March the NZ Herald obligingly fulfilled my prediction.

Despite ignoring Richard Dawkins while he was in New Zealand for two speaking engagements, the NZ Herald has been forced to respond to his opinion column in The Spectator - if only to attack it. Dawkins has ended up being condemned as a racist without a right of reply. 

With his column receiving widening international attention including supportive comment from billionaire Elon Musk, the NZ Herald obviously decided that any further attempts to suppress the opinions of Professor Dawkins had been rendered redundant. The issue had moved rapidly beyond New Zealand's borders and beyond the control of New Zealand's 'enlightened' local media who think it is their responsibility to guide and instruct us on all things Maori. 

This new totalitarianism of thought is driven by a government agenda of supposed 'decolonisation' that leaves the economic status quo untouched and working class Maori no better off. This is the new totalitarianism of thought that parades as progressive politics in the NZ Herald and features also on Stuff and on the airwaves at Radio New Zealand. This is the new totalitarianism of the professional managerial class. 

'Elon Musk, Richard Dawkins’ criticism of matauranga Maori in schools faces backlash from Kiwi researcher' shouts the NZ Herald headline. It is deliberately misleading. Richard Dawkins has never criticised matauranga Maori itself nor does he object to it being taught in schools. But he is critical of government policy that seeks to give it the same status as legitimate science.

In his Spectator column Dawkins states that 'Origin myths are haunting and poetic, but they belong elsewhere in the curriculum.' He is probably thinking they should be located in the social sciences.

The article gets off to a bad start and it is all downhill from here. The 'backlash' that the headline speaks of is nothing more than journalist Anna Leask seeking some critical comment from a local academic. And that happens to be Auckland academic Tara McAllister, a freshwater ecologist. 

Leask probably knew she would get the reaction she was seeking since McAllister attacked the seven Auckland University professors who published a letter stating that matauranga Maori was not science. 

The chances of getting any intelligent and nuanced opinion from McAllister was exactly zero. And thus disappears any chance of any meaningful and constructive debate. McAllister labels Dawkins a racist, suggesting that his column is 'boring, embarrassing, inaccurate and full of racist tropes'.  But she provides no evidence to back up her claims. It amounts to little more than name calling.  

And she signals to academics who might just happen to agree with Professor Dawkins that they should keep their opinions to themselves unless they too want to be labelled racist. McAllister tubthumps that Dawkin's Spectator column will only 'function to embolden other racist scientists in Aotearoa'. 

McAllister confirms the view of Professor Dawkins that New Zealand's academics are being told to toe the party line unless they want to see their careers damaged by accusations of racism. He writes: 

'Perhaps the most disagreeable aspect of this sorry affair is the climate of fear. We who don’t have a career to lose should speak out in defence of those who do.'


  1. Dawkins last year: ‘Creationism is still bollocks even if it is “Indigenous Ways of Knowing” bollocks. Doubtless it is of great anthropological and aesthetic interest but it is not science and not true.'

  2. Ahhh….. the Moral High Ground squatters are returned to their lofty heights having had to “climb down” and swallow the proof of their ignorance as the vaccine injured numbers climb rapidly.
    So now it’s the pure scientists, and not the government lackeys, to whom they turn their attention and vitriol. Their coffers are probably empty so a wee tour of the woke world sees them latch onto the Maori gravy train.
    Theirs is a morally poor and intellectually barren landscape but still they shout their cants hoping against all hope the woke lovies will see fit to throw them a bone and refresh their depleted bank accounts.

  3. There was a time where making unsubstantiated claims and providing no evidence for those claims would’ve failed your high school English essays. Now it seems to qualify you for a prestigious academic positions.


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