Parliament’s tribute: Maori Party’s inappropriate centre-staging
I’m not the only New Zealander who was perturbed by the fact that when Parliament stood to remember the 29 fathers, husbands, sons and brothers whose lives have been lost in the tragic mining disaster in Greymouth, the Maori Party used this occasion to inappropriately grab the limelight.
It was incredible that members of this radicalized minority, who by no means represent mainstream Maori, should have the nerve to expect Parliament to sing a well-known European hymn in Maori, rather than how it was composed and meant to be sung, in English. It was equally incredible that Parliament actually agreed. What a sell-out of integrity.
If the Maori party were down at Greymouth offering help and support, the mainstream media forgot to tell us. But they didn’t lose an opportunity to try and utterly inappropriately grab this tragic occasion to centre-stage themselves.
How great thou art…is not a Maori song. Not one of the miners who have died in the mine appeared to be of predominantly Maori descent. Not one apparently had a Maori name. It is quite disgraceful that Parliament should so insensitively insult these men from New Zealand’s majority European culture by allowing a radicalized minor party to take over a well-known European hymn and sing it in a language most (if any) of these miners did not speak and would not even have understood.
How incredible that what should have been a prayerful tribute to them was not even delivered in their own language… And what poor judgment our supposed representatives showed by not pointing this out and insisting that a prayer for these men, as a celebration of their lives, should be delivered in their own language. Apparently all MPs went along with this, although by far the majority would not have known any Maori translation of this hymn, were obviously following a cue system, and had obviously practised before the TV cameras filmed them.
This should have been their time to think.
The now constant inappropriate thrusting of a highly politicized and radicalized minority (of what are now all part-)Maori people into the media limelight is achieving a well-deserved backlash from the majority of the population, including, to their credit, many Maori themselves. But as long as either of the two main parties is scrabbling for the tribal Maori vote, their subservience to an unrepresentative minority of Maori activists will continue.
National is beginning to be particularly disliked in this respect.It is regarded as having betrayed the electorate, since it came into power pledging quite the opposite. What can now reasonably regarded as its sheer opportunism, if not venality, has dismayed and even sickened many long-time National supporters. There is a limit to how long its leader’s folksy personal charm is going to compensate for how it has basically deceived the electorate.
Sickening was the word I heard applied by a shocked viewer watching this performance on screen. It was also pointed out that not only is a Maori version of our national anthem inappropriately sung first at international rugby matches, taking precedence over the language of majority New Zealanders, but most Maori All Blacks don’t even know the Maori words, or if they do, can’t be bothered singing our anthem – in either Maori or English. Their performance is lamentable, given the pride overseas rugby teams show in their own anthems, singing them vigorously and with obvious feeling.
Radical Maoridom’s assumption of entitlement has reached the stage of sheer hubris. Very many New Zealanders are feeling they have more than had enough. The pseudo-mysticism, the spiritualized mumbo-jumbo, the personal escorts of kaumatua to accompany the transfer of various threatened species around the country ( including those Maori showed no particular interest in protecting) the trips overseas to remove ghosts from embassies, to officiously bring back traded heads their own ancestors removed; the hijacking of nearly every occasion, every new naming of ships, place names – government programmes and courses offering: all now virtually kowtow to politicized Maori pressure.
The intrusion of supposedly special Maori entitlement into so many aspects of New Zealand culture has reached such a deplorable state of affairs, that when the mother of a neighbouring friend was recently killed in a car accident on our main state highway, her children found out later that a local Maori minister, without asking their permission or even letting them know, had intruded on their family to the extent of visiting the site to supposedly remove some sort of tapu on the place where their mother was killed. She was European: none of the family are Maori.They understandably resented such a high-handed action. To those who question why this extraordinarily inappropriate intrusion ever took place, the answer came that obviously being able to tap into special funding was the reason.
Mana, or the constant demand for prestige and special recognition tiresomely and constantly invoked by activist Maoris is one anathema to other cultures where it can be equated with extreme egoism, snobbery, self-promotion and an inordinate demand for attention. Moreover, as the cynical have observed, this nebulous concept seems to be well satisfied with monetary compensation. Mana equals money has come to sum up the perception at large.
Moreover, while now extremely wealthy Maori tribes could well afford to run special language programmes for their own people and their own children, the taxpayer is still being continually bled dry to fund all things Maori. It is almost incredible that this funding amounted to approximately $260 million dollars last year, for the now largely reinvented Maori language promotion alone. This, while hospitals cannot afford to maintain cancer treatment facilities, even in the capital city, for child cancer patients and their families; while all over the country district health boards have to remove people from hospital waiting lists because of constraints on health funding; while our Armed Forces are expected to make savings of $40 million – and we supposedly can’t even afford to pay $30 million each (as columnist Richard Prosser points out in his excellent column in this month’s Investigate) for the vital air combat jet fighters which should be a priority to provide vital cover for New Zealand solders in military manouevres.
But we can afford up to $260 million dollar annually, to promote a language than not even the majority of part-Maori – with their recognition of far greater priorities for them on the world scene – want to learn to speak? However, the neo-tribal power groups, with their promise of bloc voting for the political party of their choice, are desperate for young part-Maori children to be steeped in this reinvented Maori. The advantage to them is the ongoing recruitment of activists for the anachronistic and power-seeking neo-tribes.
However, the goodwill of many New Zealanders towards all things Maori, and a willingness to learn at least some of the language is rapidly evaporating, in light of the continual gracelessness and anti-“Pakeha” disparagement from Maori spokesmen – and other grandstanding radical activists. I recall the late great Frank Haden, a legendary newspaper man, with a now rare ability to ignore political correctness, recounting how willingly he had begun to learn a little Maori – and how he even more willingly deliberately abandoned the process as he became fed up with the constant thanklessness and distortion of our shared history by radicalized, ever thankless Maori activists.
Treasury Secretary John Whitehead, in a speech about lifting New Zealand’s economic growth, recently outlined his concern about the costs both on government on government and on our society in general in a large number of areas, including poor educational performance and failure; the need to lift teacher quality; the growing number on state benefits – and other burdens on government. Oddly enough, he did not mention the constant hemorrhaging of taxpayer dollars on all things directed towards Maori preferment or the estimated seven to eight billion dollar Maori economy. In spite of the latter, money which could well be benefiting all New Zealanders is still being allocated to the tribal gravy trains in the continual bestowing of scores, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in ongoing compensation which in some cases at least, has been shown to be decidedly spurious – (see this months Investigate article on the treaty rorts in The case for abolishing the Waitangi Tribunal).
It is a great shame that a country which once had so much going for it and where majority European New Zealanders freely intermarried with Maori, a state of affairs taken for granted, is now divided and riven by the tension, and arguably, sheer greed of minority Maori groups for whom nothing is enough – neither enough compensation, nor enough media attention.
The black American writer Thomas Sowell warned that radicalized minorities can seize control of the country by their virtual blackmailing and emotive manipulation of the majority culture. Who would now doubt that to a very large extent this is now happening to our country – and that its effects are divisive and pernicious?
Many would have concurred with that incredulous reaction to watching our whole Parliament standing to pay tribute to brave men – while disparaging – by ignoring – the fact of their European cultural inheritance. Sickening indeed.