The bi-yearly honours list invariably invites controversy with some recipients deemed to be unworthy.
It’s going on in Britain now with massive outrage over Tony Blair’s knighthood, understandably in his case. Nigh on a million signatures have been garnered for a petition demanding the honour be withdrawn. The rage is explicable but nothing will come of it. Blair is a large-scale war criminal but outwardly at least, seems extraordinarily thick-skinned and insensitive.
That said, there are award recipients who are richly deserving and none more so in our latest New Year’s list than AUT history professor Dr Paul Moon.
Academia has a justifiable reputation for indolence, a charge that can’t be laid at Moon’s door. Few if any New Zealand academics could match his extraordinary output of well researched, highly readable books on New Zealand history. Indeed, so lengthy is his list his publishers have abandoned the convention of including his bibliography in the frontispiece of his books.
In an age in which gross dishonesty, small-mindedness and intolerance have become characteristic of many academics, such as the disgraceful recent nonsense over “maori science” from Auckland university’s lightweight fashion-following show-ponies, Paul is a shining beacon of intellectual integrity.