Every man and his dog can stand openmouthed in front of a spectacle. And typically dozy media can say, as the Nelson Mail emoted: “Anyone tuning in would have been no doubt about New Zealand’s cultural heritage…” But they were totally wrong. It was Disney fantasyland meets Maori triumphalism – the hijacked opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup – nothing at all to do with majority New Zealanders’ highly varied, but basically British and European cultural heritage. It was glossy PR, politically targeted – and it let us all down.
Out where a rugged individualism still exists, away from the metrosexual gushing, the naivety and what is close to simple sycophancy, reactions to the nowadays only too typical takeover of public occasions was far different – rational, sane, concerned – even angry. It varied, as quoted –“It should have been called the Maori World Cup”…to “ I never saw most of it: I simply switched off in disgust…”… And “overblown, insulting to majority New Zealanders”… “The opening ceremony was ridiculous”…”Outrageous. …
“I’m still waiting for the world to be shown New Zealand’s many-faceted cultural heritage – not the usual presentation of supposed Maori supremacy” … And from one overseas watcher – “I couldn’t see a white face in the opening ceremony…”- to a PC radio caller who approved of the farce it essentially was, saying that “it wasn’t as ‘colloquial’ as he thought it might be – there were no sheep…” – seemingly he meant ‘colonial’. It says it all really.
I missed most of the opening ceremony after watching with some disbelief a Maori woman clad in the usual authentic silver-grey, satin evening gown that apparently was the custom for calling the welcome onto the marae. It reminded me of the equally ‘authentic” meeting place in shades of purple and mauve that from memory, the politically correct and culturally askew Te Papa, our capital city infotainment museum, presents as a showpiece.
Essentially, what I did see was undoubtedly farcical, an utterly representative, only too typical bowdlerising and whitewashing of a culture presented as dominant, no doubt unique, but historically ultimately violent, aggressive, egocentric and intolerant. Far from the typical pretty picture being presented through the Maori side of their inheritance, today’s iwi – (adroitly avoiding recognition of the fact that none of their members are now full-blooded Maori and that many would have as little as 1/16th or 1/32nd genetic inheritance) – have invented this fanstasy land of a non-existent Aotearoa, far removed from the reality of their pathologically warring forebears.
We can expect from self-serving politicians and the usual media “experts” the continual, unduly apologetic and one-sided appraisal of what is apparently and everlastingly owed today to part-Maori New Zealanders. The liberal Left’s contention is that they can never be sufficiently compensated for what was in the end a treaty to impose law, establish property rights and put a stop to the internecine warfare, cannibalism, cruelty, torture, and generally degraded lifestyles so despairingly commented on in the records of the young Marist Father missionaries – let alone in the journal and letters of Charles Darwin and other historic onlookers. But does this excuse our political overlords continually paying Danegeld to the tribes and hapus that dream up more and more utterly untenable claims – not only to the foreshore and seabeds of this country, but to the electromagnetic spectrum, the airwaves, to the waterways and riverbeds, our forests and flora – in fact to every possible part of New Zealand, both under and above ground, that they can persuade an only too willing, rather than simply gullible government to take seriously? For its proper name is corruption.
Votes, votes, votes. What an unprincipled political party won’t do for votes – has done for votes… But surely it can’t be correct that the present damaging Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Chris Finlayson, is awarding $10 million dollars to Maori interests as compensation for the loss of their “maritime fleet” ? Apparently Finlayson, an unelected MP, endorsed by no electorate, and representing no-one except himself, his leader, and a few of the more extremist Nats, can do what he likes. Certainly, he ridicules opposition and seemingly thinks he is not obliged to answer questions sent to him. Perhaps he shortly intends to compensate Maori for the loss of their pre-colonial air force? After all, the brave nursing student Anna Penn was sacked for challenging her Maori tutor’s claim that the British, on arrival, had thrown the Maori printing presses into the river – exactly what river was not specified.
Apparently we must take seriously pagan entities called taniwha that lurk near any potential development, protesting at the routing of roads and the building of bridges until their veto is removed by paying a considerable sum to their helpful local iwi.
We are now a laughing stock, a source of bewilderment, even derision to overseas visitors, as I was reminded this week, when describing what nonsense is now being promoted by the Nelson City Elma Turner library. A sacred water vessel , an ipu tapu wai has been solemnly installed outside the library’s research room. Apparently, “in traditional Maori practice the use of water to purify and restore oneself from a tapu or sacred realm is paramount…After researching whakapapa it is important to return to the state of noa (safeness) in the existing world.” Apparently Nelson City is very privileged to have been gifted this.
O tempora, o mores. Oh what nonsense. Leaving aside the soup of bacteria, a doctor remarked – the result of many dabbling hands… as an utterly incredulous overseas guest enquired – “Does the alarm go off if you take the spirits out of the library? Or will one get a call from the desk …Have you checked that taniwha out yet?’ Or -‘ Is this taniwha overdue ?’
It is not as if by far the majority of those in this country who also share Maori ancestry endorse this bunkum that our politicians and bureaucrats have tapped into, for their own self-advancement. Yet, as this same highly well-qualified and intelligent visitor noted, when a country like New Zealand has pretty significant economic problems, we can’t afford to endorse these potty theories and quite blatantly historically untrue claims for special iwi advantage.
No-one however, appears to have brought this home to Minister Chris Finlayson, so obligingly centering himself as a facilitator for reinvented claims that demand historically unjustified “compensation”. Labour, National, the Greens all bring to mind that odd little brass image of a trio of monkeys representing hear-no-evil-see-no-evil-speak-no-evil. Only we can substitute the word truth, instead of evil. Why see what you don’t want to? How very useful…
Is this why we now have the quite shocking situation where one determined and utterly unrepresentative individual, Pita Sharples, the co-leader of a racist party that didn’t even attract 3% of the vote in the last election, has, with the permission of his good mate, the ever-obliging Prime Minister John Key, now managed to inflict on schools a requirement to centre-stage reinvented Maori culture bearing little resemblance to its ancestral roots. What an insult to university graduates in the various disciplines – physics, chemistry, mathematics, languages, etc. to be expected, as priority, not to teach their subject well to all their students, but “to engage in respectful working relationships with Maori students and their families, showing sincerity and respect towards Maori beliefs, language and culture, recognizing Maori students as Maori and taking responsibility for their own learning and that of the Maori students.”
What an amazing cheek, the intimidation and lack of reality underpinning the requirement (Sharples failed to get it made compulsory) for professionals to be expected to show “sincerity” towards extremist beliefs that belong to an age of far-off primitivism. What a nerve for teachers to be expected to take responsibility for the learning of part-Maori pupils, who, with their parents, should be taking responsibility for their own learning.
This nonsense of blaming the education system, third-rate although it is, for the failure of these pupils and their parents in particular to take on board the basic fact that hard work underpins learning – does nobody any good. There was a considerable outcry when former Auckland Grammar Headmaster John Graham pointed out that Maori pupils at the school didn’t succeed because they were lazy. Sharples’ message needs to be addressed to failing part-Maori in an equivalent to that well-known idiom – to pull up their socks – rather than to attempt to bully teachers to “meet the learning needs of Maori students.”
The learning needs of “Maori students” are the same as those of all other pupils… (And we should not misuse the word “students” at school level.) To argue that part-Maori can’t do as well as new immigrants such as Chinese, Cambodian, and the children of other ethnic groups who arrive knowing no English, but in two or three years are on top of their subjects and emerge as duxes of their school – is to wilfully ignore the fact that their attitude and that of their parents handicaps them. Either that, or one would be left with the conclusion that after six or more generations of co-settlement they are vastly inferior on account of some Maori genetic inheritance – which is obviously nonsense.
It is beggars belief that Pita Sharples and his Maori Party cohorts, whose miniscule vote makes it very obvious that they did not receive the endorsement of even the majority of part-Maori in New Zealand, feel ti appropriate to pontificate that “to be culturally competent teachers need “ a specific knowledge and understanding of Maori identity, language and culture, and the ability to form relationships with the Maori community.”
There is more of this supremacist nonsense, and it is a shocking indictment (but what is new here?) on the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Teachers Council that they apparently plan to work with, i.e. to impose on teachers, principals, unions and school trustees “to ensure the guidelines are widely used”.
The situation in this country with regard to the centre-staging of all things Maori and the denigrating of the by far greater and arguably far more relevant rich European cultural heritage has become a disgrace. At a political level, local councils are being pressured to set up Maori wards and Maori community boards that represent nobody, except the tribal cliques that push for these. The nonsense is always advanced that these will serve the interests of Maori. What Maori? Most well-integrated, all part-Maori, with generations of intermarriage, working in the professions, in trades, in industry, or as home-makers are not at all interested in these apartheid-like contrivances for undemocratic centre-staging and advantage. They are always accompanied by requests for more funding, more importance, “special” input into decision-making – as if a part- Maori genetic inheritance confers a wisdom unable to be aspired to by others.
We are all well aware, of course, that the multimillion-dollar settlements bestowed on Maori iwi were meant to be for the advancement of all Maori, particularly disadvantaged Maori – not to be stockpiled in the coffers of tribal executives simply for investment, and to be directed towards only those who would work for tribal interests. It has been a disgraceful situation that this has not occurred – that in the case of the two largest settlement claims alone, that of Ngai Tahu and Tainui, tribal leaders made it quite plain that they had no intention of seeing any money directed towards the poor and disadvantaged of their tribes – basically regarding them as no-hopers. The extraordinarily generous Sealord deal, for example, handing over so much of our fisheries to tribal Maori was, I recall reading at the time, reportedly arrived at between National Party Minister Doug Graham and Ngai Tahu leader Tipene O’Regan over some gin-and-tonics. Yet Sealord has been heavily criticised for using foreign instead of local workers, and is particularly under fire for not hiring iwi locally.
Who’s surprised? Who is surprised that so many New Zealanders, of both European and Maori ancestry – disgusted by the racial bias in this country which has seen our majority cultural heritage ignored and sidelined by a radicalized, highly activist, minority-only part-Maori – have left this country to get away from it all? Who’s surprised when, in an interesting illustration of the inevitable kickback against the attack on the majority European “colonial” culture, an Internet trader listed the car license number plate “Maori”, attracting thousands of comments “many of them blatantly racist”? It was ironic to note the smooth-tongued Pita Sharples’ lamenting that people “felt they could publish their prejudice without regard of the hurt to others”. Sharples is very good at constantly exhibiting his own prejudices.
Prejudices? What about the blatant discrimination of the Rugby World Cup ceremony ? Apart from a brief showing of a Highland pipe band, there was no indication given to viewers worldwide that this is a predominately now multi-ethnic country, originally basically pacified and settled by those of British extraction. The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (by which scores of local chiefs over what were in many cases numerically very small tribes, more like extended families, in many instances) yielded sovereignty over this country to the British Crown, guaranteeing all those under it of whatever race, or gender, or creed the same and equal rights by law.
English, Irish, Scottish, French, Jewish, Italian, German, Polish, Assyrian, Malaysian, India, Dalmatian, Pacific islanders, Chinese and others have all become New Zealanders…a largely Eurocentric majority culture underpinned by Christianity and hosting peoples of all nations. The travesty of the Rugby World Cup’s supposed introduction to New Zealand and its peoples ignored all this – inexcusably so.
It was doubly interesting to get feedback from our overseas guest, a New Zealand expat saddened by what has happened to the country and understandably relieved to be no longer living here. Worryingly, in looking at New Zealand today, now markedly second-rate, with beds parked out in hospital corridors; waiting times of many long hours in emergency departments; a trashed, but highly propagandised education system graduating ignorant, illiterate and incompetent pupils taught demonstrably little to enable them to to compete on the world scene; the locking up of part-Maori children into the insularity and myopia of Maori-language-only learning – and a reinvented language at that; the massive growth in violence and murder these recent decades; the nationwide drug-taking and epidemic of drunkenness with its consequences in the courts – and the abusing of doctors and nurses in the same emergency departments; the disappearing of our farmland into overseas ownership; the plans to sell the strategically important state owned assets that our parents paid for – to try to keep afloat for a while – the deterioration is starkly profiled.
The list goes on. And it was a comparison with Poland today made by our guest which reminded me how impoverished the country has begun to look , something very noticeable three years ago when travelling down the South Island after a long time away from known places, and seeing the half-occupied towns, the empty shop frontages, the untidy road verges, the closed-down or vanished petrol stations.
We now have, as a he observed, a second world ethos, a kind of consolation prize attitude of aiming to be virtuous – e.g. The stymieing of much-needed mining developments as a result of the Green’s environmental extremism -as if this was good enough. Yet any comparison our achievements with that of our neighbouring Australia alone is quite shocking.
We would have to not travel to be unaware of these things, including even the time-consuming and economic consequences of being passed from operator to operator in queues by our biggest corporations and our telecommunications industry when calling for information. NZPost’s services go from bad to worse – not just as a result of loss of business through e-mailing. And above all, it should considerably concern us that while countries like China and India are turning out graduates in engineering and the sciences and investing heavily in technological development , we are graduating hundreds of experts in treaty law and sociology.
Obsessive as this has become, and, culpably, as a result of politicians long encouraging the gravy train of recycled,even untenable treaty claims, no-one knows or cares about treaty negotiations outside New Zealand. Yet the growth in treaty law has become the biggest growth area in law in this country in recent decades.
In reality we are now putting everything through the filter of Maori sensitivity – or, more accurately, that of radicalized and politicized part-Maori very much taking advantage of our political party system to profit at the expense of all other New Zealanders, and demanding utterly disproportional influence on government and local government decisions and undertakings, and with regard to university and research grants and scholarships.
The situation has become essentially scandalous. And it was the utterly one-sided presentation of New Zealand and its peoples in the introduction to our hosting of the Rugby World Cup which should bring home to us what we have lost.
Moreover, in the eyes of the world, in being obsessed with the Treaty of Waitangi -“reinterpreted” and misused to the point of utter folly – we are perceived as being used as by knaves, as well as misguided ideologues, to make fools of the rest of us.
What’s to be done about it? In the interests of becoming more fully informed. don’t miss Bruce Moon’s excellent article – Strident and Spurious Treaty Claims –now posted on our website.
Nothing, however, will be done, if so-called ordinary, i.e. grassroots New Zealanders – from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South and our outlying territories – do not themselves resolve to make a stand.
Does that mean that you yourself don’t need to make a stand…don’t need to bother to come on board to help?
And is it realistic to plan for far better directions for the country?
Yes, it is, if individuals care enough about what they are leaving their children and grandchildren to inherit (or to endure?) not to walk away from helping to claim back this country – irrespective of their political affiliations.
And most importantly, for all the well-meant initiatives that other individuals have embarked on, all of which count in their own right, none of these offer the same chance of reversing what has happened to this country as our 100 Days – Claiming Back Democracy initiative. It has been well stated that it is the only real chance of limiting the power of politicians.
By working for what the most democratic country in the world achieved – that period of 100 days after the passing by Parliament of any legislation at all – so that the country has a right to scrutinize it (with an obligation on state-funded media to present both sides of the issues concerning such legislation), we can in future prevent the inflicting of profoundly undemocratic laws on the country.
(See – How It Works –The second page on our website …and Strategies for the Way Forward.)
The most crucial challenge we face at present is to limit the powers of our unrepresentative, List-promoted political oligarchy.
In due course, calling for the repeat of legislation which has undoubtedly damaged the country in socio-political as well as economic areas – such as the invidious and highly damaging anti-smacking legislation – will follow.
But priority must be to first limit the ongoing and future damage that politicians can do. Only our 100Days – the Facultative Referenda roadblock – can do this – and it is so very simple.
In the words of Arnold Toynbee: “Every age has its own crisis and challenge which must be met – otherwise society collapses.”
And which of us has the right to a soft ride through..?
We need your help for financial support for posters, for advertising and all that will be entailed in gaining publicity for the fight ahead.
Thank you indeed, those of you who are already helping spread the word and have already donated to the cause.
And please remember, those who are waking up to the enormous potential of this movement, that no donation is too small – or even too large (!)
The earlier we come on board to spread the message to others, and to offer such support, the sooner we will eventually claim back this country for democracy.
The alternative..? see HOW IT WORKS
©Amy Brooke for 100 Days.