The man who wants to be the next Prime Minister is being accused of "ignorance" about our past.
A day after the signing of New Zealand's biggest treaty deal, John Key's choice of words is angering Maori, with his knowledge of Maori history being described as severely lacking.
"One of the unique things about New Zealand is that we are not a country that's come about through civil war or a lot of fighting internally. We are a country that's peacefully come together," says Key.
The comments appear to ignore the 19th century which was plagued with land wars, deaths, and land confiscations.
Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says it's ABC to nearly every New Zealander.
"A number of my constituents are quite angry about these comments because it's about our great grandfathers who fought and were killed," says Maori Party Co-Leader Pita Sharples.
Prime Minister Helen Clark voiced her concern.
"I think it's about a very deep lack of understanding of New Zealand history," says Clark.
But Key says he is being taken out of context and is not saying anything that has not already been said.
"The comments were made in relation to the signing of the treaty in 1840, not in terms of the subsequent land wars. Clearly they took place, and there's been plenty of conflict in New Zealand," explains Key.
Some do not accept that explanation.
"Those comments were better suited for a revisionist tourist brochure than a man who wants to be Prime Minister of all our people," says Labour's Michael Cullen.
But National says that is hypocritical given Michael Cullen has previously said we have a continuous political tradition unbroken by civil war or revolution.
"Why is it that when he is saying it, it's ok, when the Governor General says it, it's ok, but when Mr Key makes a comment taken totally out of context suddenly he's all over it like a cheap suit," says Shadow Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee.
Outside parliament, Waikato University History professor Giselle Byrnes gave her expert opinion.
"It shows a huge ignorance of history and it flies in the fact of what we know about conflict in the 19th century, particularly the New Zealand wars," says Byrnes.
She says it is vital New Zealanders do not forget our painful history and the struggle of Maori if we want to live happily together.
"I think we have had a history of conflict, and the way to address squarely is to be honest about the past and move forward into the future," says Byrnes.