A letter to Mr. Hide

Dear Mr Hide,

Like you I believe that New Zealand is a grossly unequal society.  Let me give you some bald statistics.

  • Over the past year, the number of Maori suicides has increased for most age groups, in particular the 15 to 19-year-old group, which is almost double the average of the previous four years.  Source
  • 51.3% of the current prison population identifies its ethnicity as Maori.  Source
  • Since 2008, 75 people have died in prison, where the suicide rate is 11 times higher than in the general population. The coroner investigated 37 of those deaths, recording 13 as suicide, a trend the ombudsman called a “serious concern”. Source
  • As a population group, Māori have on average the poorest health status of any ethnic group in New Zealand. Source
  • A larger proportion of Māori youth were NEET (not in education or employment) in the September 2011 quarter when compared with other ethnic groups (22.2 percent of all Māori aged 15–24 years). Source
  • The unemployment rate for Māori was 13.3% in the year to June 2012…  Compared with the unemployment rate for all people, which was 6.6%.  Source

The fact that these statistics are not news to you or anyone else in New Zealand, and yet we maintain that we are a fairly equal society that gives people a fair go is disturbing.

There is no use in writing opinion pieces like you have written about the Waitangi Tribunal.  There is no use insulting a language you do not speak.  It demonstrates your arrogance and ignorance.  There is no use even bothering to speculate over the disingenuous use of the word kawanatanga from a man fluent enough in Maori to know what mana and rangatiratanga actually meant.  There is no good comparing Victorian England with Maori society in 1840.  Any barbarity on the part of the Maori can be counter-balanced with any number of the atrocities committed by the West from 1840 to the present day. 

One unjust act that has the West has perpetrated was carried out in this country: a long history of racist government policy that disenfranchised a people, and threw them to the bottom of the heap on any index you care to measure.  Since the mid-1970s there has been some attempts to find redress, but the long list of facts I gave above are, sadly, from the last two years, and show that we have not come far with redress.

Maori should be our partners.  We should be sharing this country with them.  Partnership is a sound basis for a country’s foundation.  The Waitangi Tribunal makes rulings about water, and airwaves because they are resources that the Maori people are supposed to share with Crown, but the Crown continues to act as if it is the only people in the land.  The Waitangi Tribunal seeks to remind them that they are not.  They need a lot of reminding.

In 1860 Maori owned 80% of the North Island.  If Maori owned 80% of the North Island today I would like to suggest that their statistics for education and health outcomes would be quite different.

Please don’t insult me by telling me that Maori get special treatment.  Unless you mean that a Maori boy born today is more likely to be sick, more likely to fail at school, more likely to not get a job, or get a low paid job, more likely to go to prison.  Is that the special treatment you are talking about?  And yet having smashed this culture some begrudge a settlement that recognises an injustice, or that protects a rich and current language, or asks the government not to simply sell away rights to rivers.  Some in society even begrudge the paltry compensation many Maori get for being disempowered in their own land which is called the dole, or the DPB of the sickness benefit.  Even that degrading, insulting pittance is frowned upon.  “Why don’t you pull your socks up and get a job and stop bludging?” people say.  And all down the line, generation after generation the Crown has stripped away land, denigrated a language, and – at best – wrung its hands over poor outcomes.

What we need is more partnership, not less.  What we need is better understanding, not worse.  An empowered people will not be grossly over-represented in negative statistics.  The last time Maori were an empowered people they seized on the technologies and ideas of the West.  They proved flexible, innovative entrepreneurs and world travellers with a strong self-belief.  Is that what we want for Maori in New Zealand?

It is a fact that I can travel thirty minutes from where I am sitting now and find two New Zealands.  I can go and see the New Zealand that has large, well-maintained houses, and a set of diverse local shops, and schools preparing well prepared students for an exciting world, where the health of the sick and the old is attended to, and most people have employment that lets them not only survive but enjoy life.  Or I can take a slightly different road and find good houses run down, and a set of local shops, some empty, many selling things that do not benefit a community, where schools are struggling to lift the achievement of students who arrive unprepared for school, where community confronts more health issues with less money, where more people are out of work, and where those in work earn less, and worry about bills and buying food for the family.

I once worked in a school in this second New Zealand.  I was a Dean for a few of those years.  I met my students as 12 year olds, and saw them turn fifteen or so before I moved to another school.  It was a hard job for a lot of reasons.  It was hard because I was not used to having insight into lives as difficult as the lives these boys and girls had.  I wasn’t used to seeing people just become teenagers cut themselves, I wasn’t used to hearing a girl talk about how a brother had smashed the front teeth of another brother out on the weekend, or finding that when I called home there was nobody there, nobody who really cared anymore, nobody who would come and help put back together whatever wrong their son or daughter had done at school that day.   Or suicide.  I wasn’t prepared for that in the young.  The ultimate condemnation of a society.  But what really crushed me was that almost all of the trouble that came through my door had brown skin.

Between 12 and 15 years of age I watched something happen to a lot of my troubled students.  I watched them slowly realise that they were in trouble.  Trouble that wasn’t to do with having a teacher send them out of the room, but trouble that was to do with seeing their life’s options narrow down to either welfare, or a low wage job, or a gang, or a prison.  With the best will in the world we tried to get them to prepare for a low wage job as the best option, but – truthfully – this is the hardest option to take, because it involves keeping your respect for, and working within, a system that has disenfranchised you, and your family and their families for generations.   

If you want to know what most people choose from that list then you only need look at the bald statistics of race and welfare, race and low paying jobs, gangs and crime.  Yet you and I both know that when it comes to human capability there is no difference between us except what society gives us.  Poverty is an issue, and for New Zealand that issue has a predominantly brown face.  It is no good pretending otherwise, or talking about being colour blind, because this is not being honest, because that is pretending history doesn’t exist.  Actually it is immoral.  When someone is down you give them help.  You give special treatment to those who need it, so that they won’t need it anymore.  It is brotherhood.  Something that has been lacking.

I was deeply disappointed to read your article in the Herald.  I believe that the Waitangi Tribunal serves a useful purpose, and is one of the few checks we have in our system against a largely unchecked Executive.  Beyond this though, I was disappointed by your tone.  Your dismissive, derogatory tone against a group that faces serious disadvantage, and has few representatives with real power.  And yet you suggest nothing except to get rid of the Waitangi Tribunal, and to impose a Crown reading on a document that was largely discussed and signed in Maori.  In international law it is the treaty in the indigenous language that stands.

We need peacemakers.  We need to empower the disempowered and respect that there are different views in the world.  A New Zealand of true partnership would be a light to the world, but more importantly, it would reduce suffering in our land.

Shall we be the first among nations on 6 February, 2040, or the least?

Yours sincerely,

John-Paul Powley

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50 thoughts on “A letter to Mr. Hide

  1. Great stuff! I got pretty fired up about his ignorant venom too.
    Doesn’t Rodney Hide belong to a political party led by a bloke who believes in the evil mischief of talking snakes?
    Does this mean Rodney also considers that Act’s ideas are archaic and irrelevant? (welcome to the club!)
    “Choosing” to be ignorant in a diverse cultural environment is nothing more than a sad, post-colonial, eurocentric copout to avoid debating the real issues.
    I think many pakeha are starting to appreciate te tiriti for the first time. Obviously this doesn’t apply to those occupying the one percent…

  2. Politicians spout b******t all the time. We shouldn’t be surprised by this.

    Now, I’m not starting an argument with you. I have an open mind and I’d really like to understand some points in this debate. The last person I asked got annoyed when I said she hadn’t answered the questions.

    The first thing I’d really like to understand is why this statement…

    “You give special treatment to those who need it, so that they won’t need it anymore.”

    …necessarily refers to racial inequality.

    To choose a random trait, if the government were to stop paying for schooling for left handed children, would that stop right handed children failing? It wouldn’t. If we were then to find that 80% of failing children were left handed and decided this needed to stop, what would we do?

    I believe we would do two things. First, stop withholding funding for the left handers. Would the second act be to provide assistance to the left handed children that we would not provide to the right handed children who were failing? Or would we simply provide appropriate assistance to all children who were failing? If we provide it to all and 80% of those receiving assistance were left handed, then so be it. Sure, some form of compensation to the left handers may be in order for the wrongs, but this doesn’t change the assistance needed by all failing children because children will fail regardless of whether the left handed policy stays or goes.

    So then there is the question of land compensation. I understand that land was taken and that the land was a means to an end for the ‘owners’ at that time. But I also understand that ‘ownership’ – which I keep putting in quotes – is always a transitory state. Tribes stole from other tribes on a regular basis. As far as I am aware, Te Rauparaha did not sign a treaty with those whose lands he overran. My Maori history is poor, but from what I learned in school many years ago, he came and took by force. By my account, he was bloody good at that. If we look to compensate for just the thievery of the pakeha ‘tribe’ are we missing the point? Is that not, in itself, a form of racism?

    But if we truly are one country, then let’s put the past behind us and concentrate on the future. Goodness knows it’s a bloody hard one anyway given the multiple threats of economy, ideology and nature which blight the world in our time. If we are to succeed, surely we must unite as one and play to our strengths.

    Finish up the land claims then forget about the water. Nobody owns the water. The elected government manage this national resource on behalf of and for the benefit of all of us.

    Why shouldn’t we just:
    1) Identify those who need a helping hand, and
    2) Help them.

    No further qualification should be needed. Am I a horrible person for wanting *everyone* in this country to succeed?

  3. I get what your saying Allister but dont necessarily agree. The one thing I can say is that within Maoridom (in traditional Maoridom) which many Maori still hold true today and practice in their every day lives, no one is ever left behind, we will always hold out that helping hand to those in need. Dominant western culture and world views have shown us and is evidenced in the disparities we see today in our society that this wont be achieveable until the true sense of partnership is realised via Te Tiriti o Waitangi. If we acknowledge and truly embraced that principle of equality as opposed to equity which underpins the notion of partnership, I believe thats when everyone in this country will succeed. We have to give equal opportunity to all people to be empowered, not just one people.

    That theivery you speak about re: Te Rauparaha, that is called Muru it was something that would rebalance a wrong that was done between tribes, or to gain Mana, it was not for an economic or possessory gain by which money was the result of. Our Iwi warred because it was a means of restoring Mana, Prestige and for survival. Those lands would always have a Whakapapa (geneology) that would evidence who that land should be passed down to through the generations, it would always go back to it’s descendents. The theft by the Crown was clearly for economic gain that would have less benefit to a broader spectrum of people because it was very individualistic by nature. It left Maori alienated from their lands which diminished kaitiakitanga (taking care of) practices. Today through forced Crown negotiations (and I say that because Maori have no other avenue of retrieving stolen lands) Maori have had to engage in to retain their lands that notion of kaitiakitanga has been lost by the economics of the transaction. Ownership has never been a concept of Maori, because we have always had kaitiakitanga, but to be able to care for our lands it can’t be bound by capitalist modes of existence where the only benefit in something is the dollar value placed on it. We are now seeing the effects of that globally.

    When we look around we see the negative effects of how this notion of ownership has desecrated our ability to take care of the environment we live in today, not just for Maori but for all peoples.

  4. I’m afraid I got lost in the analogy, but I get the idea. If you like, we could do it your way, but if you’re talking about joined up, community-driven, well-funded, long-term commitment I think you’re also talking about culturally located programmes. Large sections of New Zealand are effectively segregated, and some areas are very poor. If you like, coincidentally, most people in those areas are Maori or Pasifika. Shouldn’t the programme in that area be community led? And if it is then it empowers. If it is simply a blanket programme, that imposes a Wellington view upon countless diverse communities then I think it would fail.

    I can’t comment on your horribleness, but your comment was enjoyable to read. Thanks.

  5. Thank you for this comment. I learned a lot from it. I think that it is interesting what you say about the economic system and the Waitangi Tribunal. In some ways it would seem that this process of redress has actually been another way to destroy an alternative worldview about ownership. A fairly unhappy consequence.

  6. Ah yes, John Banks. How he squared his belief in Genesis (and the sequels) with his vote on gay marriage I’m not sure, A very flexible mind perhaps?

  7. It’s refreshing to get debate in response to my questions.

    Yes, I see your point about community and I agree that has to be the most effective way. Just so long as the “Wellington view” doesn’t earmark “Maori initiatives” but rather community initiatives, then it’s all good by me. Unfortunately, it does have to be a “Wellington view” to fund all this if it’s to benefit all areas of concern.

    I can’t help but wonder if more time had been spent on the really thinking through education, that what you talk of would have come about instead of the ridiculous NCEA system. Schools are the most prevalent form of community and an ideal base from which to start fixing the problem.

  8. Unfortunately, I think the western model is so prevalent (and with so many powerful vested interests) that it can never revert to the kaitiakitanga model until such society collapses. It’s unclear just how far off that is. It could be very soon if many of the fundamentally good people living under the thumb of an oppressive government (most western nations!) were to realise the predicament they are in.

    In the meantime, I guess we need to work out a new model to attempt to put everyone in this nation, at least, on an even footing. That has to be a partnership, as you say, though I cannot imagine how it actually works in practice.

    Step 1 appears to be to get people into power who actually have a clue. That’s where I think the biggest challenge lies. Not least because to get them in requires a huge number of other people who have a clue.

    Thanks for the enlightening response. I was seeking to understand better and now I do.

  9. Actually NZ is an unequal country…There are Maori schools..Maori churches,,Maori choirs..places kept in Universities specially for Maori…Maori medical centres..and if you live in a small community you will find that the mobile breast screening bus is on the marae…Yes it is unequal but not in the way you say…Maori get as much if not more opportunities as the white NZers…so stop whinging and use those opportunities!!!!

  10. Hi JPP
    I like your post. NZ has racial problems. You are assertive in many of your points. I have not feel racism before in countries where I have lived, but in NZ.

  11. @Leigh, I can’t decide if it’s your extensive research and expert engagement with John-Paul’s article that has me floored, or the four exclamation marks you conclude with.

  12. It is a terrible pity that Maori make up some of NZ’s worse stats. However waiting for handouts and looking to injustices of the past will not take any NZ’ers into the future, let alone Maori.

    Get over it and get moving. Take personal responsibility.

    There is equal opportunity for those that seize it.

    I’m white and from a poor family. I worked my way through all my school holidays. I went to Uni became a lawyer. I paid my own way as my parents could not afford the tuition, books etc. I stayed at home to save money.

    I’m sick of Maori blaming everyone else but themselves individually. Im sick of activists ‘speaking fir Maori’. These people typically have no mandate, politically or culturally. I don’t mean that as a sweeping generalisation, there are plenty of successful Maori people in all facets of life. Let them be role models.

    Let the Maori remember that they wiped out the Mori-oris (spelling). No treaty for them.

    Those people in NZ society who are failing to take advantage of what NZ has to offer have only THEMSELVES to blame. Make a choice, get on and move ahead. Or bleat and whine and beat your kids.

    There are plenty of people in the world far worse off. Be grateful.

    Stop the reverse discrimination, the handouts.

    These things keep you down, not lift you up.

    Fight through the challenges of life. Become the person you are destined to be.

    It’s time to come together as a people. Stop being decisive, in the long run it doesn’t serve your own people.

    Don’t expect me to fix your stats, get off your asses and fix yourself. No one ever gave me a handout, a preferential place in Uni or a settlement cheque.

    The rest of NZ how about we all step up and help one person.

  13. I do not think the Maori are blameless in this equation. Kids are told from the earliest time the reason mum and dad don’t work is because of the pakehas ripping maori off.
    Their leaders and politicians continue to speak this bile, to maintain their control over the maori population.
    Not 1 dollar from treaty claims have benefitted the rank and file maori.
    It is only when the Maori children are told by their maori elders that they can be successfull if they work hard and smarter that the statistics shown in the story will change. Being brain washed from a very early age about pakeha inequality leads only to a more entrenched feeling of being wronged. And to be manipulated by Maori politicians and elders for control.

  14. Your argument is to do nothing – that’s basically it – it is a Maori problem – so Maori fix it – you are right that Maori should be part of the solution – but – and everything before but is usually bollocks – they need the resources that were taken from them to make that happen. Comments like yours crack me up. It’s someone else’s problem is your argument and someone else sort it out is your solution – very head in the sand thinking which requires no change of heart on your part – the really scary thing is that other people think like that way too. PS – I do not know any moaning Maori – however I hear a lot of things from middleclass NZ.

  15. Well said Andrew. I agree 100%. The poor stats for maori relate to themselves, not to anything that has been done in the past or that is happening currently. They have more help available than anyone yet they still don’t seem to perform.

    Maori already get discounted rates to visit doctors and children under 6 get in free, so there is no excuse for their poor health.

    If there are more maori in prisons, it’s because there are more maori committing crimes. All they have to to is start living as law abiding citizens and that stat will start to change.

    If maori valued education more they would have better education and employment stats. They already have special financial help with schooling, fees, books, uniforms etc. They’ve had that since I was at primary school and that was a VERY long time ago.

    I agree with Andrew, they need to get off their arses and change the stats themselves. Throwing more money at the problem is not going to fix it.

  16. Again, I totally agree David. with maori elders fostering the victim mentality they give young maori a sense of hopelessness that I would say is part of the suicide problem, along with the problems you mentioned.

  17. I think you’re right that there have been a lot of good programmes and opportunities for Maori, but it feels piecemeal to me, and very fragmented. Let’s not forget all the European schools, churches, choirs, medical centres. Of course Maori are free to go to these, as I am to a Maori institution, but there is a cultural barrier both ways.

  18. Thanks. I’m sorry you have experienced this in NZ, although I think – to be fair to NZ – there is plenty of racism in other countries too. Also, I feel more comfortable with suggesting that New Zealand has a racist legacy, and that our society has become unfairly divided along race lines.

  19. @Andrew – I think it is fair for the Crown to offer reparations for proven injustices. If I am ripped off I have access to courts. If I can prove my case then I get something in return. I don’t think it matters that the cases are historical when they affect such a large group of people and have disadvantaged them.

    I agree with you about personal responsibility (although I regret your beat the kids comment. Most parents love their children and do not beat them. Strangely, the minority who do harm their kids often love them too). Obviously you should be proud of your hardwork and achievements, and many Maori can say the same because they have adjusted themselves to the dominant culture. It’s hard to separate out individual responsibility, and ethnic trends based on history.

    Brenda, I’m afraid we have very different opinions. I can’t see how you can say that nothing in the past accounts for the present, but then I’m biased because I teach History.

  20. @David – This is the point I was interested in in Rodney Hide’s article. The idea of the settlements benefiting a kind of Maori elite. To be honest I don’t much about how settlements have gone in the decades after settlement date. Is there any research on this? I don’t think it makes the settlements bad, but if money is not going to help the rank and file then this needs to be addressed.

  21. I work in large multi cultural decile 2 school where pakeha are very much in the minority. Unfortunately many of our Maori children have very poor attendance. Education does not seem to be high on the list of priorities with some Maori parents. I have been on the receiving end of a lot of racial abuse and this is always from Maori parents. Maori claim to be a proud people, they need to lead by example – get their chip off their shoulders and encourage their kids to succeed.

  22. I’m shocked and saddened by those who are arguing that Maori are given too much ‘stuff’ and need to stop complaining. Of course there will be examples (the ones cited here are very anecdotal) where people try to ‘cheat’ the system, but if that’s the actual problem then we are whipping ourselves into a frenzy over the wrong group and we need John-Paul to write another post about the financial system and the bankers and the ultra-wealthy few.

    The suggestion that there are no structural impediments for Maori, or other marginalised groups, insisting rather that if they “help themselves” all will be fixed, is a dangerous logic. You advocate a laizze-faire, neo-liberal politic, a relinquishing of shared community in favour of a ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality. It seems to be in vogue these days but to me, it’s an ugly world. It supports assimilation – a policy that attempts to create unity without diversity and ultimately leads to cultural repression and hegemony; a logic that led to the subjugation of te reo in education and, taken to its tragic end, witnessed the forcible removal of children from their parents (Australia’s ‘stolen generation’).

    @Mary, I’m sorry you have had some negative experiences in your work. I also work with Maori students and I study through a Maori-run organisation; my experiences have been challenging and also extremely positive and I am learning a great deal about Aotearoa NZ and biculturalism (including how difficult it can be). As a teacher, when I have negative experiences – with any student/colleague/parent – I always try and reflect why it may have happened. Why do you think you have had negative experiences with Maori parents? And why do you think your Maori students have poor attendance? I assume you don’t consider it an innate trait – that Maori people simply don’t like to learn? Could it relate to some of the points John-Paul raised in his article? And if so, is it any wonder that some Maori students and their parents are, if not suspicious about mainstream education, but resentful? As an educator you would realise the importance of success in building engagement and achievement. It’s a huge issue: how can schools improve the educational success of Maori students? Does your school have any targeted approaches (e.g. culturally responsive pedagogies) and are they working? On the topic of John-Paul’s original post, it strikes me that people who are using these comments to vent their opinions (@Mary@Brenda@david@Andrew@Leigh) have not actually engaged with what he has written, or with Rodney Hide’s own racist view, in which he claims te reo is “limited and obsolete” – is this something you agree with? Language is at the heart of any culture – can you imagine if you read that someone was advocating that your culture was limited and obsolete? Isn’t that a frightening thought?

  23. I feel that Maori choose to fail, they have every opportunity not to fail yet they still do.

    Laziness? probably.

  24. Can you tell me why, when Treaty payments are made for land that this money is not poured back into Maori welfare. It appears that times haven’t changed there are a few Chiefs at the top who seem to be sitting pretty while those who need it go without. Believe me having Scottish heritage land was taken from my ancestors, the chiefs received benefits, and my ancestors received reparation for these injustices. I also appreciate that the Brittons had the same things done to them by the Romans (the Romans even sent the children of those in power to Rome to enjoy a rich life). If you read history, invasion, conquest, and land grabbing has occurred all over the world – Maori are not alone in these acts. In fact when I was at school we still talked about Moriori, and you may like to investigate Pakepakeha – it appears that maybe Maori are not innocent. However I appreciate that these are not the acts of modern Maori but their ancestors – I do not hold any of my Maori friends responsible for this, and likewise I do not hold my German friends guiltly for World War II, or my Middle eastern friends responsible for 9-11.

    I would like to see all NZ’ers treated the same, we all pay taxes, we all contribute to making this country great – I don’t want to be made to feel the guilt of people who aren’t even my ancestors If anything my ancestors also fought in World War II which without their efforts NZ would be owned by a different race of people again.. Look at Owen Glenn, he has identified a problem within a community, that of domestic violence, he isn’t NZ born but he is injecting money to fix this problem – he doesn’t have to but he has a conscience and he contributes to the country that he was brought up in. Why can’t Maori Leaders do the same thing, inject money from Treaty payments to better the Maori people. Don’t get me wrong there are many other populations getting rich at a very big cost to the average NZ’er.

    Also finally, ownership of water is ridiculous, water on this planet moves through Ocean Currents, it came from somewhere else originally. I’m 70% water – do you own 70% of me??? Please can we just be one country and work towards making sure all NZ children are provided with the essentials of life – this should be our government and peoples main priority. Thank you Glen Owenn for recognising a problem and using your power to do something about it – we all have this ability whether it is with sharing our good fortune (money), talking, or even just offering a help-in-hand..

  25. What’s the point of blaming if your goal is to get children out of terrible situations. The decisions people make are the product of their journey through life.

    Before blaming people for not having your wisdom or awesomeness, try to imagine living the life they’ve lived. People do not get the same opportunities, they do not have the same minds and they do not have the same viewpoints. Blame is a pointless exercise enjoyed by those who think themselves super-clever.

  26. But how does tut-tutting about the parenting skills of other cultures do anything about the problem? If the kids won’t get teh education they will grow up not really caring about teh education, they will not learn to read, they will not afford a computer and they will not get to read your incessant complaining about what bad people they are on teh internet.

    Then they will have children and they will not care if they don’t show up to school. see how that works?

  27. Are you suggesting that all Maori people beat their kids? What a generalisation that is.

    I also grew up poor, I may not have gone to university but I have worked for everything that I have today. I’m Maori and Im proud of that fact. Yes ill admit I’m not always proud of the actions of some of my people.

    Brenda I’m sure those benefits don’t just apply to Maori. I’m sure there are also pakeha people who are on the dole or DPB or earn low incomes that get the exact same assistance. I’m sick of people like you acting as though all Maori people do is bludge off the system, commit crimes and beat their children. The small mindedness of some people makes me sick to my stomach.

  28. We have a treaty. It set out some rules. Both sides are still extant in New Zealand, and therefore – if we believe in our legal system – where there have been breaches there should be reparation. Other examples from history invariably do not have a treaty as a starting point. I also believe that we should try to be a model for making the world a better place. People have taken a stand over racial injustice in the past and are admired for it. Should we instead have told them to get over it?

    Private philanthropy is to be admired and encouraged, but it is the duty of a government that collects taxes from all of its citizens to take care of all of its citizens. Owen Glenn’s philanthropy does not extend to all people.

    The media likes to portray this as “owning water”. It is water rights. It is access to resources. If water is ridiculous to make a claim about why not land? Or forests?

    My understanding of the Treaty process is that settlements are tied up in investment because the Crown dictates that is how they must be used. This is extremely prudent, but reduces the “huge” amounts of money iwi are given to investment returns spread across a large number of people. I would like to know more about this.

  29. Anonymous, I’m sorry you felt that I think that way. I don’t. I know there are a lot of well educated, hard working, ethical and moral maori who have every right to be proud of themselves, their heritage and their people.

    I do think that, for whatever reason, some maori don’t value education as much as they should for the benefit of their children.

    Yes, there are pakeha people who are on the DPB too, I was one of them for a short while many years ago, and yes, now that such things are administered by WINZ, pakeha probably do get extra assistance with school expenses. But when I was at primary school that wasn’t the case. Only people who were enrolled at the school as a student with maori blood got that assistance, and it was that way for a long time. So maori had that assistance for a lot longer than pakeha.

    I don’t have any objection to that either. Things were even tougher for maori back then. What does annoy me is that despite extra assistance and help in that area for over 50 years now, maori still have bad stats in education, amongst other things. So it’s obviously not a matter of throwing money at the problem. If money was the answer it would have helped by now, don’t you think?

  30. Yes that may annoy you, the Maori people’s statistics in education, employment, crime. But this doesnt annoy me it makes me sad. I see these statistics every day in my own family. It saddens me that some of my family are stuck in this mindset and don’t know how to get out of it. It’s not a lifestyle that they have simply chosen. This has been passed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately this is how a lot of people have learnt to survive. 

    Brenda let me ask you this, back in the days when you were going to school and Maori people were the only people that got financial assistance, do you think they were treated fairly at school? Do you think they were given the same rights to education as you were? 50 years ago my grandfather was at school he couldn’t speak English he used to be caned if he spoke Maori. So my point is yes they were probably given a bit of special treatment financially but dont you think that an equal chance at an education would have served him better? 
     
    This is my opinion and you may not agree and that’s fine. But we’re not statistics, we’re people who live the only way we know how to live and to me that is shaped by the people who raised us. Some of us have the will to break that chain, some of us don’t know how. 

  31. Clearly you’re just ignorant and know nothing about this situation. Nor do you care! So why even put your half a cent in, if it’s so negative.

  32. I agree Anonymous, it is sad. Especially because I know that every maori has just as much potential to succeed as every pakeha. They are not a race of dumb people by any means.

    I can’t speak for all schools, only the one I attended. I don’t have any recollection of anybody being caned for speaking maori. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, just that I was probably too young to notice it if it did. My mother was a teacher at the primary school I attended and I don’t recall her ever mentioning anything like that, and this was in Opotiki, so we had a lot of maori in school. I think corporal punishment for something like that is appalling. I remember being caned for talking in assembly, and getting the strap in class for talking. That’s just what school was like back then and I don’t believe it was a racist thing.

    You have to remember that it was maori who asked that only English be allowed to be spoken in school because they knew that by learning English their kids would have a better future. That doesn’t excuse the caning, but then everyone got caned for all sorts of things, regardless of colour or race.

    In what way did your grandfather not have an equal chance at education?

    And how do we go about changing the mindset you spoke of? Because that desperately needs doing, but how? To me the tribal customs and culture are what is perpetuating that kind of mindset. Maori, more than ever, have equal, and in some cases, more than equal, opportunities today. How do we get them to stop looking back and to reach forward for the future they should enjoy?

  33. JP, you say it is not water ownership, but water rights, access to resources. Well maori have always has the same access to water and resources as every other New Zealander. So that’s a red herring.

    What it really is, is that they want the rights to be able to charge other people or companies for the use of the water. And, if they can do that, it is, in effect,’ownership’.

  34. They need to get off their collective lazy arses and do something instead of moaning about how hard done they are!

    Having the likes of you and JP championing them does not help.

    In the last financial year I paid $32 000 in tax, yet i still live in a rented house and drive a 15 year old car, but you don’t hear me complaining.

    I came from a relatively poor background as did my maori mates at school, but the difference between us was that my parents installed in us a strong work ethic and not a victim mentality.

  35. It’s a book I’d actually like to read. Wasn’t there even a sequel? I liked Prebble. Perhaps he wouldn’t care for my views, but I liked listening to his.

  36. These state assets will be sold as shares to “mum and dad investors”. The lowest socio-economic group will not be able to buy these shares, and they have a contract with the crown that guarantees protection of land and resources. It is fair that shares be reserved for that group. I think you’re right about the red herring though. The actual issue is selling a national asset owned by all to a minority of comparatively wealthy people. This is iniquitous.

    Interesting debate many comments above. I remember getting the strap for talking after the first bell. Makes it difficult to teach people about compassion when you beat them with a leather belt. Also interesting the point about some Maori supporting the banning of their langauge in schools. I have read accounts of this, and it is quite shocking to us now. A real indication of how disorientated some in a culture can become when they are put under so much pressure.

  37. JP, Maori are worth over $37Billion now. Many maori will still be in low socio-economic circumstances, but iwi are not. Iwi could very easily afford the shares. Much better, I’d say, than most “mum and dad investors”.

    Also, what I think a lot of people forget when they talk about “state” assets, or the Crown paying out or the Government. What they are really talking about is tax payers. Those assets are owned by the people. Maori claims and special institutions are paid for by the tax payer. Bailing out finance companies is done by the tax payer. And I don’t remember ever being asked if I wanted my tax to go to any of those things.

    I certainly do not agree with selling off our assets and I don’t think many kiwis do, but thier attention has been cleverly diverted off asset sales and onto water claims. The Govt, with the help of thier lackies in the press, are very good at diverting attention from unpopular issues long enough for them to get the job done so it’s too late by the time the sheeple wake up to the fact.

    I don’t know why maori should find it shocking that thier elders wanted thier children to learn English. I think it showed remarkable foresight. You should be proud of them for seeing the way of the future.

    Like it or not, colonisation brought the rest of the world to maori and enabled maori to explore the rest of the world. English is a global language and you cannot get along in any of the main countries without it.

    Imagine if you had never learnt to speak and understand english. If you only spoke and understood maori. Imagine how difficult it would be to get by on a daily basis just in NZ. It would be far worse over seas. NZ is the only country in the world where maori is spoken and then only by a smallish portion of the population. It is not the language of commerce or trade.

    The elders knew the future generations had to learn english in order to prosper in the future. The methods may not have been wonderful, but it was wise of them to see the way things were going and want to prepare thier children for it.

  38. I think we’re all done here, so I’m going to close off the comments. Thanks to everyone who took the time to make a comment of support or disagreement. Both sides made me think about my own response in more depth. I will even resist the urge to have the last word. Cheers.

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