And so to Howick yesterday afternoon. I was invited there by Ken Gillingham, a man with a lot on his troubled mind. Ken is the foundation president of Kiwi Bigots For Brash, and erstwhile ardent supporter of Don’s doctrine on things Maori.
That changed on Sunday morning, as Ken was reading his paper. “He’s lost the plot,” he says, stabbing the offending story with a nicotine-ringed finger. “He says there’s no such thing as a full-blooded Maori any more . Christ almighty, can’t he see what that means? How I can we tell any hori jokes if there’s no such thing as a hori?”
“Look at this one” he says, lifting his heavy frame from the La-Z-Boy and lurching across the lounge to the computer. A few taps at the grimy keyboard, and up comes a long file of jokes.
“This one’s a cracker”, he says, “and a smirk snakes its away across his stubbled face. “100,000 people at the funeral for the Maori queen and only five people take time off work! I’ve got a mate who’s a Maori. He didn’t get upset when I told it to him.”
“And look at this! You just type ‘Maori Jokes’ into Google and look at all the stuff you can get.”
how do u put 100 maoris in a mini?
put fish in chip in there
how do you get them out?
tell them they have to pay for it
“Mate, I only got the internet for the nudie pics, but I tell you what, some days I’m too busy pissing myself at the jokes to bother.”
All very interesting, I said, but where did Don come into it?
“Mate, I thought he knew the score. You know and I know that the Maoris are different from the rest of us. Always will be. I’m not complaining. They make good bus drivers and that, except for the Maori overdrive of course - they’re rough as guts on the gearbox. But we all know what One Law For All meant. Maoris were getting more than the rest of us. That just wasn’t on.”
“So I was right behind Don on that one. But now he’s trying to pretend we’re all the same. We’ll he’s dreaming. Never were, never will be.”
Ken’s not an easy man to trade ideas with, but I have a try. Let’s say Don has a point – that cultures are being blended. If you’re half Pakeha and half Maori, does it inevitably follow that you will adopt the Pakeha aspects of your life and abandon the Maori ones?
Ken looks at me quizzically. “Why wouldn’t you?”