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Speaker: E Tu, Bill?

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    I'd just make one comment:

    It would be really helpful if we'd abolish the term "Crown" and replace it with the contemporarily accurate "Government and People of New Zealand" or some less clumsy formulation (the Aussies use "Commonwealth").

    Because in 1840, the "Crown" was the elected (by a limited franchise) British Government and by the early 20th century it had become the fully elected New Zealand government - representing the people of Aotearoa.

    It's *never* been a nice/nasty person in a castle in Britain - which is what the term evokes.

    Of course, as and when we become a republic we'll have to ditch "crown" and use "republic" to refer to the legal person of the state.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • 81stcolumn,

    vivat crescat floreat "may it live, grow, and flourish!"

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report

  • Andrew Feltoe,

    Hey Kane,

    A veritable tome here. Much appreciated.

    I'm a British citizen who came to New Zealand ten years ago (and heading back in a month). In sociology and cultural studies in university we looked at the smoke and mirrors surrounding how people define themselves and their place in cultures.

    I promise I'll read your post again, but for now I only have one question: What is it exactly that Maori want? A separate government? Land returned to them? Reparations from injustices imposed?

    Perhaps I've travelled in different circles, but to me race relations in New Zealand have been something to aspire to. My friends have white, yellow, and brown faces. We laugh and joke, and share our cultures with each other in some hippy kumbya way. I'm in my twenties, so maybe it's a youth thing. It's strange then to to read rhetoric (to clarify, I don't disagree with you, I just don't understand). I won't lambaste you because even with some education and time spent here, I still feel as though I'm ignorant of the crux of the argument. Is there some simple way of putting it, without spin, and including rebuttals? For example:

    1. Maori believe they were deceived by Crown in 1840.
    2. The Crown accepted partial culpability in 1975, but this was ill-defined.
    et cetera.

    As for me, my hermeneutics are developed from the angle of post-colonialism and globalisation. I wouldn't put 'kiwi' on the census, but I understand why some people want to identify themselves so. What it does do, however, is make it tougher to understand someone else's perspective. I've talked to a lot of people about this, and most of the white, mid-thirties, ex-Europeans just don't understand, so they get angry in response. Cue loud arguments, Michael Laws, iwi/kiwi billboards, mainstream NZ'er, and cronulla-esq 'I'm a kiwi' rhetoric.

    Sometimes you just want to get all the culprits from all sides together in one room, lock the door and just get them talking. Must admit, other times I get frustrated at trying to understand the arguments and would rather throw away the key.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report

  • merc,

    Not only do our politicians live in a parallel universe of their own creation (remember history is written by the victor but the little people live, breathe and die regardless), they also want to own the stories they create.
    A small island state like NZ must be tolerant for it to survive, if we all started killing each other it would not take long for us to be unable to replace our numbers. We let the politicians think they are necessary (poor dears), then do what we need to survive and ultimately face our maker alone.
    Haggling over the little details in-between is really quite unconscious behaviour, behaviour that seems quite natural to those who require the stimulus of the public sphere.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Ben Austin,

    Isn't cultural nationalism just one of those ugly things that goes in cycles?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report

  • Andrew Feltoe,

    Yeah, like famines, menstruals, and the Black Cap's ability to bat well. ;)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report

  • merc,

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Manakura,

    I promise I'll read your post again, but for now I only have one question: What is it exactly that Maori want?

    I reccommend you ask some of your friends with the brown faces?

    I could tell you what I want as a Maori person, but I would never be the whakahihi (know-it-all) that would claim to know and represent what all Maori want. What is wanted varies hugely between iwi, hapu and individuals, meaning we Maori are just like any loosely defined community.

    I agree race relations are not as bad here as they are in many other places. But we have no reasons to be smug or complacent about it, as Don Brash's electoral successes illustrate well, along with the atrocious standards of living many Maori continue to deal with. There is much good work to be done.

    However my post was about political relationships more than race relations and identity politics. I think I have shown a distinct wariness over how the struggle has become about identity and cultural politics. I think the struggle is against the State and the powerful, not Pakeha people or culture per say.

    Whaingāroa • Since Nov 2006 • 134 posts Report

  • o2o2,

    Mr. Manakura,

    This article will take quite the muse before a real discourse emerges.

    Give me an hour, and I'll respond.

    Two steps left • Since Feb 2007 • 1 posts Report

  • merc,

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Lawton Hakaraia,

    The Treaty is in princple about - Partnership - Protection - Participation. Without these principles Maori would be on the persecution list similar to our friends across the Tasman - the Aborigine. The Aborigine is the oldest race in the world and have probably been persecuted from their origins - and continue to be treated without respect - without partnership - without protection and defintely without participation in their own affairs.

    Have we not learnt from the Holocaust? Have we not learnt from Iraq? What would happen if we had no treaties?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 1 posts Report

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    I can see the movie now: What Maori Want, starring Mel Gibson as John Key, Leader of the National Party, who suffers a freak accident and suddenly finds himself able to understand the thoughts of the Tangata Whenua...

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report

  • Robert Wilson,

    This was a very interesting post - I thought you made some insightful points.

    Can I follow up on your response to Mr Feltoe's question?

    What is that you, personally, want in the political relationship between Maori and the Crown? Or perhaps, to your point, a better question would be: What do you want in the political relationship between you and the crown? Can you explain what tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake would mean to you in a practical sense?

    California, USA • Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report

  • Rob Stowell,

    Thanks for the very insightful analysis. I'd never considered the "official bi-cultural project" in this light (and I'm not sure I do now) but it's a fascinating notion.
    I was lucky enough to be taught by the late (and I reckon great) David Novitz for a few years- and he had a lot to say about the concept of "culture". I may be way wrong, but his take was that the word is as used is so sematically (?) messy it's almost meaningless. Cultures are almost never monolithis or static (unless they're "dead" cultures) and attempts to talk of them as if they were were either mis-guided or (more commonly, perhaps) jingoistic and political....
    Anyway- thanks. It's a great debate, and I hope for all our sakes it's one Bill English can continue to participate in.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2120 posts Report

  • Riddley Walker,

    great post, many thanks indeed.

    i was at that lecture and it dawned on me that Dearest Bill ain't all that bright at all. i don't know how he ever managed to promote that idea, that much was smart i agree.

    but remember his brilliance achieved one of National's greatest ever election humiliations. remember that boxing match PR stunt he did just before the election with his mate? or his performance in the TV election debates? the man is none too clever believe me. and i know he can't help it, but having an accent reminiscent of a stroke victim doesn't help him much either.

    anyway, after his lecture and during the questions he was ripped apart. his inability to think on his feet was quite breathtaking. i guess a few years in Treasury and shoving your arm up cows' bums doesn't make you a mastermind after all. (that was a reference to his herd by the way. i think Mary English is genuinely smart, and quite charismatic. she really would be an effective politican.)

    i also remember his attempt to coin the term 'treatyology' - a cheap shot at denigrating the treaty and the significance of studying and understaning it. after that Prof Andrew Sharp tried to push it too for a few weeks, which was rather disappointing in one who was once an admirable 'treatyologist' himself. i suspect his students forced him to drop that albatross after a few weeks. anyway he's gone now, so has 'treatyology' and talk of 'living documents'.

    do you remember The Don's crack at floating the term 'Living Document', and how the ToW wasn't, and therefore was not an appropriate document to base our nationhood on? well Bill parroted Don's 'living document' line too. i mean WTF? what is a living document anyway?

    the funniest part about his 'live' performance (i use the term loosely), was his reaction when asked if he thought the bible, or the Magna Carta were "living documents". he went all red and stuttered something about team new zealand and christianity is faith and the all blacks and we are all different but equal and i can't play the guitar but my wife does too. it was pretty funny. the AU politics dept filmed it, you should see that too and don't just rely on the written speech - i think he skipped a few pages in the actual presentation anyway. but it really is quite a good laugh, and i expect far less plausible sounding when heard aloud rather than when read from the page.

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report

  • Andrew Miller,

    Maori need to let go of the idea that negotiation and ‘partnership’ with the Crown is the only viable path to tino rangatiratnga and mana motuhake. As a keen history pupil I have no faith in the Crown whatsoever as a true and honest Treaty partner. Instead Maori should get real and focus on rebuilding strategic political and economic alliances with workers, urban liberals, and with building new alliances with ethnic minorities, especially with the Austronesian and Asian diaspora in Aotearoa.

    Thanks for the interesting post.

    Like others would be interested in you expanding n your views reagrding the 'political relationships' you talk about, especially in light of your comment that Maori need to

    <stop looking so much to the Treaty and the false promises of official Bi-culturalism. >

    What practical form would you like to see these 'political realtionships' take if they're not to be based on Crown/treaty bi cultralism.

    I also found the longer paragraph I quoted particuarly interesting, and again would be interested in hearing you expand on the form you could see these alliances talking.

    London • Since Jan 2007 • 6 posts Report

  • Manakura,

    For those asking about tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake - google it, or even better ask someone you know who is involved in the struggle(s). I don't wish to speak to these because I'm not a paid up memeber of any sovereignty movements; my iwi and hapu leaders have recently acted in ways contrary to my own hopes for the sovereignty of my people, thus my views are changing a lot right now and I don't wish to speak about the sovereignty of my iwi/hapu before I understand leadership actions; I worry that what I say will become some sort of gospel on what Maori want (Mel Gibson film had me lol, btw!) and it will return to haunt me at bbq's in grey lynn and newtown.

    Go out and do the research, find out the range of views Maori have. Sorry, you all probably think I'm being difficult, but thats my whakaaro on defining tino rangatiratanga & mana motuhake for you.

    Andrew (and others), the following is only my view, and it is not particularly sophisticated as this is not my specialty.

    The Crown will still need to deal with iwi/hapu and have a relationship with them for the foreseeable future. It is the Crown that is responsible for the most serious breaches of the Treaty and thus it is from them that iwi and hapu should receive due reparation and justice.

    However, I see a need for unity among other oppressed social/ethnic groups in Aotearoa in oder to increase the effective pressure Maori can bring to bear on the Crown. (These would be mutually beneficial relationships of couse but what non-Maori get out of them is for another forum). Currently iwi/hapu negotiate from a relatively powerless position and they get 2% of what they're due because of it. The ability to present a more united front among Maori, Chinese, working class, Thai, Indian,women, Samoans, Somali... would put enormous pressure on any elected govt. to provide better services and resources to all.

    Another reason for unity of the oppressed is that a big section of the Maori population does not gain from reparation given to iwi and hapu because they live in isolation from their whakapapa. So for these Maori and the groups that represent them alliances with other marginal groups is imperative. It could be a powerful means to Maori empowering themselves more on their own terms, as opposed to the colonial government setting the agenda.

    The nature of these relationships? To be honest I'm not even sure why the question is being asked. Just like any other political relationship between groups with shared aspirations - Labour and Trade Unions for example. Its nothing mysterious or new fangled that needs explaining. But ok, I'd like Whaea Tariana to not say things like this:

    And instead concentrate on things like this:

    (Thanks Tze Ming)

    I'd like to see more research sponsored for projects lead by Maori and Chinese/Burmese/Indian/Tamil academics, see the leaders of the Tino Rangatiratanga movement inviting migrants and other ethnic minorities peoples to hui with them, then to hikoi with them. I'd like to see Taumata, the Maori business forum hui with Chinese businesspeeps, I'd love to the Maori health organisations pooling resources with other providers, etc, etc.

    I'd have like to have seen a Phillipino forestry worker teaching Mike Smith how to operate a chainsaw properly...

    All of the above goes for Pakeha-dominated groups that Maori once had strong alliances with, such as trade unions, and worker's rights and anti-racist movements. I don't want to see a return to the past where Maori concerns where marginalised in these alliances, but a renewal of the relationships where Maori can participate more equally.

    The point of all this? To lift the political and economic power of all Maori (not just a select few) and combinethat power with the rising power of ethnic and cultural minorities. I don't think I advocate revolutionary activity (but I'll keep it in reserve for Brash style emergencies!) so I wish to see Maori and other oppressed group empower themselves (on their own terms) and in doing so alter the fundamental structure of power and society in Aotearoa towards something that benefits us all.

    What exactly that last statement may mean I have no idea. I'm a magician not a pyschic.

    Whaingāroa • Since Nov 2006 • 134 posts Report

  • anjum rahman,

    i also have to say that this was a brilliant post.

    there are several aspects that strike me as interesting:
    1. how very little we get to hear maori perspectives like this in the MSM. i know it's to be expected, but it's pretty damn sad. one of the problems is that maori media is so strong in this country (both tv & radio), that maori journalists don't want to work with MSM. i guess it's much easier to work in a mono-cultural environment when the multi-cultural one is sometimes less than friendly. but the result is that the general populace does not get to hear enough about the maori perspective on these and other issues. the few notable exceptions are willie jackson on tv & derek fox on national radio, both of whom i enjoy.

    2. absolutely agree with you re building political alliances between maori and ethnic communities. i know there have been various efforts to try to make this happen - went to something by the human rights network last year, and i know there was something on at the museum the year before. i've been to discussions in hamilton about this as well. but nothing has really taken off, and i wonder if you have any ideas of how we can actually make it happen...

    3. ... because i have met and heard from many ethnic people who have terrible attitudes/opinions when it comes to maori. and i've been told by a maori person to go back to iraq (even tho i'm an indian kiwi). so racism definitely has no boundaries! some of the problems stem from the ignorance of nz history - in fact, i'm still amazed that 19th century nz history is not a compulsory part of the social studies curriculum (or is it, and i'm just behind the times?).

    4. one of the problems with empowerment is that while one group gains power, the other group thinks it will lose power. so the incumbents hang on with all their might, stupidly not realising that there's plenty to go around. the way i see it, a stronger maori community makes a stronger nz, as does a stronger ethnic communtiy as does a strong pakeha community. it seems that all our conversations seem to have an "either/or" mentality, which seems quite hard to break.

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 130 posts Report

  • Che Tibby,

    hmmm... only just found this post. melbourne is great. am writing from the state library building. the room i'm in is a vaulted dome four stories high.

    looking forward to taking some time to read this!

    maybe tuesday.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report

  • Yamis,

    So within a Western liberal democratic and free-market structured State Maori are free to be Billy T and Anika Moa but not Eva Rickard, or Tame Iti . We are given the generous allowance to be a musical-sporting-all-singing-all-dancing people, but not an independent-in-control-of-our-own-political-and-economic-destiny people.

    I like this bit. I've always felt that that sums up how a lot of people view Maori in NZ, or how they feel they should behave.

    You can build as many boats as you like, you can own a few boats (but not too many), you can steer the boat now and then, but you better not ever rock the boat.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report

  • Deborah,

    You can build as many boats as you like, you can own a few boats (but not too many), you can steer the boat now and then, but you better not ever rock the boat.

    Nice, Yamis.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report

  • Deborah,

    Great post, Manakura. I especially like the way that you point out that Maori would love to be subject to the rule of law – Foreshore and Seabed case anyone? Wouldn’t it have been great if the legal process had been allowed to run through, instead of being ruled out of court.

    Reading English’s speech, and your post, I think your analysis is fair enough. I wouldn’t be quite so inclined to dismiss the ‘recognised in public culture’ claim, in part because I think the point that English makes at the start of the speech, that..

    The popular media play a vital role in reinforcing and broadening this shared culture. It takes local twists and global turns through BroTown and Desperate Housewifes, Che Fu and the Rolling Stones World Tour, National Radio and The Edge. Popular culture is hugely diverse, eclectic, high volume, and seductive.

    … is quite important. Acceptance in popular culture does enable / facilitate cross-cultural understanding (horrible term, which implies that cultures are sharp edged, but I can’t quite think of better term right now). I think also that Maori culture is having a recognisable impact on Pakeha culture – look at the way that New Zealanders happily recognise and use concepts like ‘mana’ and ‘whanau’ and ‘hui’. And it’s not mere window dressing for tourists – the words and more importantly the concepts have become common koine. I know it’s only small beer, but it’s important – it signals the growth and change of the majority culture in response to a minority culture.

    But that's a mere quibble. I think the most interesting discussion (in your post) is around whether Te Tiriti should be part of a written constitution. I don’t. It either entrenches a 19th understanding of relations between various groups in this country, or it leads to endless and probably fruitless debates about the meanings of the words in the treaty. And that’s without worrying about iwi and hapu who didn’t sign Te Tiriti in the first place.

    I think there’s a better way to proceed, and that’s by understanding ‘constitution’ as a verb, not a noun. We constitute ourselves in a continued, on-going negotiation and renegotiation about the way we understand ourselves, and ourselves in relation to other peoples and groups within and without this country. Te Titiri is perhaps one of the earliest statements in this negotiation, the land marches another one, the Foreshore and Seabed Act yet another one. Even the on-going discussion about the Maori seats is part of this negotiation and renegotiation.

    This is a profoundly uncomfortable way to live. Nothing is ever settled, or final. So there’s an on-going state of tension. But I suspect that creative and new ways of understanding ourselves and each other are much more likely to come out of this state of tension, than out of a written constitution entrenching the Treaty.

    There’s a great book by a Canadian academic that explores these ideas, Strange Multiplicity: Constitutionalism in an Age of Diversity by James Tully. Tully argues that the process of writing, then discarding, then rewriting, then rediscarding, treaties (exemplified by the treaties signed by First Nations in North America) is just a process of ‘doing constitution’ (my term, not Tully’s), and we should continue to engage in it. I’m not so keen on the treaty idea, in part because I think a treaty entrenches an us and them mentality – the parties to it become strangers to each other – but I do like the idea of the continuing renegotiation. And I think it might fit better with your ideal of

    a foundation of shared social, cultural and political-economic objectives … a kaupapa that is specific, practical and pragmatic.

    Thanks for the post, Manakura. It’s been great thinking about these issues.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report

  • WH,


    I'm not an expert in this area, but I understand that the Foreshore and Seabed Act does make provision for judicial determination of customary rights to the foreshore and seabed.



    “Groups will be able to secure customary rights orders protecting their right to continue any activities, uses and practices they have been exercising substantially uninterrupted since 1840. This does not include customary fishing rights as these were provided for separately in the fisheries settlement.

    “All the legislation does is codify into statute existing common law rights. Nothing more, nothing less,” Dr Cullen said.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report

  • Stephen Judd,

    But Weston, I thought the point was that the courts had not yet clarified what existing common law rights there are? The Foreshore and Seabed Act effectively foreclosed any further exploration on that front. Cullen is fudging; the legislation codifies existing common law rights as Cullen understands them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report

  • Riddley Walker,

    I see that John Key, in the best traditions of Mark Foley, is taking a 12 year old girl from McGehan Close, aptly named 'Aroha', to Waitangi with him - to act as a human shield against flying debris directed at him, and of course as a prop for those inevitable photo ops.

    Now that he's discovered the PR potential of acknowledging the existence of poor people, who knows what'll be next? Perhaps he could have one stay at his Parnell mansion and even let them like, eat at the table.

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report

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