Sunday, August 8, 2010

Michael Bassett: Hone Harawira's View on Racial Marriage

Hone Harawira’s call to prevent what in the South African Apartheid years was known as “miscegenation” (interbreeding between races) in his family comes two centuries too late. Mixed race sexual relations have been a part of New Zealand life since Captain Cook. Well before the Treaty was signed in 1840, Pakeha whalers, sealers and traders had established liaisons with Maori women resulting in mixed race children. The rush of mostly British settlers after 1840, boosted by Gold Rush immigrants in the 1860s, and Vogel’s immigrants in the 1870s, brought to our shores huge numbers of settlers, many of them unattached young males.

One major factor in the so-called dying out of the Maori race in the late 19th century was the fact that more and more people of Maori ancestry no longer qualified for the then strict definition of who was a Maori for census purposes. The four great early 20th century Maori leaders, Sir James Carroll, Sir Apirana Ngata, Sir Maui Pomare and Sir Peter Buck all had non-Maori blood in their veins.

At the time of the Treaty Maori were not numerous in the South Island. It is widely believed that by 1900 the last full-blooded Maori had gone from there. As southerners drifted northwards, farming more and more of the North Island, mixed race co-habitation steadily increased. By the 1950s large numbers of mixed race people were found in even the remotest parts. Often those mixed race people married each other, and it became increasingly difficult for them to trace their tribal ancestries. Today it is not uncommon for Maori to list as many as six tribal connections. Most Maori MPs of recent times have had Pakeha ancestors. Peter Sharples and Tariana Turia have, and I would guess that the other Maori Party MPs including Hone Harawira himself, also do. It’s surely a bit late for Harawira to preach racial purity? That train left the station more than a century ago.

Prior to 1974 a Maori was defined as someone who was half-caste or more. But by 1974 it was increasingly difficult for many Maori to work out what, precisely, was their proportion of Maori blood for electoral, land and other purposes. The Maori Affairs Amendment Act 1974 re-defined a Maori as “a person of the Maori race of New Zealand; and includes any descendant of such a Maori”. This hugely widened the definition of who was a Maori. During the debate on the Bill one MP scoffed that it now seemed so wide that anyone who cycled past a marae could claim to be a Maori. Nearly every day New Zealanders discover that friends, neighbours, and grandchildren have a small portion of Maori blood. It doesn’t worry us; it’s just part of the rich tapestry of modern New Zealand.

It is Mr Harawira and Professor Margaret Mutu who seem to have problems. Would Mr Harawira worry if one of his children came home with someone who is more Pakeha than Maori? One of Shane Jones’ children, for example? Most people who are entitled to call themselves Maori under the 1974 Act are less than half Maori. Would one quarter Maori and three quarters Pakeha satisfy him? And what about the thousands of people who have as little as one thirty-second of Maori blood? Still Maori under the 1974 Act, but barely so. Or is there some magical formula in the Harawira-Mutu calculations when the wicked Pakeha influence that they detest, has been sufficiently swamped?

The way New Zealand society is changing, racial separatists amongst Maori will have to hurry or there will be no remaining partners for their children. Why not just give up and face the fact that for 200 years more and more young people have been acquiring Maori ancestry, even the progeny of fairly recent migrants. If that matters, then Harawira and Mutu owe us a serious explanation. And it had better be more convincing than the sort of separatist claptrap preached by that high priest of South African Apartheid, Dr Hendrick Verwoerd.

Michael Bassett is an historian, former cabinet minister, and a member (1994-2004) of the Waitangi Tribunal.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

All very true... but what is going to stop Harawira and Mutu and the many like them? Who is going to stop them? It will take more than grumpy people going tut tut, while the rest of the national remain ignorant of the enemy within.

Anonymous said...

As far as joining Harawira's family is concerned, what sensible white motherf....r would seriously want to? With a father in law wanting to kick you out of the country or worse, it would be a risky undertaking.

Anonymous said...

The 1st comment above is bang on....we all have opinions on whats happening but where is our vehicle?...Who is the voice of common sense.

We need a new political party since National became castrated servile "yes" men.
Its a pity ACT cant get their 'ACT' together!

Anonymous said...

I don't think it matters even a little bit what Hone thinks.

Like all young people they will full in love with whoever they full in love with. Fathers like Hone will just have to suck it in.

Treat it for what it is. A publicity stunt from an ignoramus.

Anonymous said...

This country of ours was visited by other people long before Maori and yet any evidence to their existance has and is still being destroyed. It is not the greedy Maori we are dealing with but the greedy European which is part of them. This perpetual Gravvy Train must stop otherwise most of us will cease to be New Zealanders.

Anonymous said...

Apparently his surname is Hatfield, our family had the biggest laugh over that, if its so great being a Maori why do so many live in Australia, maybe to get away from people like him and Mutu, their constant bashing of white people only serves to hold their own back.

Anonymous said...

Just imagine the conflict that would arise in your family if your child came home with one of Hone H's children. He should get real and realise he is just a rabble rouser.

Hori R Heta said...

HONE is just full of it. Out spoken racist and a bigot to boot. Why to we tolerate drongos like him, he does more harm to his own people and race,he is an embarrassment to New Zealand.

James said...

Hone Harawira - oops, sorry, John Hatfied - is a disgrace and an embarassment. He is not suitable to be a Member of the New Zealand Parliament.

Clive McDonald said...

I don't know why Maori claim to be the first people to live in NZ. The Chinese were here in 1422. The Port Waikato Maori have Chinese blood in their veins according to DNA tests. And the stone houses built in the Waipoura Forest were not built by Maori.
Clive McDonald.

Anonymous said...

Re some above comments...
OK, whatever Hone is, is fairly obvious and no, it doesn't matter what he thinks, but here is what does matter ....if a white person were to come out and call brown people "Black mo fos" or say " I wouldn't want my child to marry a maori" ... just think of the outcry! There would probably be death threats, and if he were a politician he wouldn't have a job instantly... no doubt.
Yes,its a disgrace that we have the likes of him in Parliament.
He should work in a sewage treatment plant!

But why all this crap continues is because we don't stand up and scream back...thats why the Maori militants are getting away with it, and they will continue to do so until we as a country stop acting like whimpy scared eunuchs and say "enough".. We need to get angry and fight back.

Most Maoris I know, work, love their kids and want to get on and make a life.
However there are some who want to use the "savage" mentality to plunder rather than create.
It a is a vile lunatic fringe which perpetrates this B.S. and they will go as far as we let them. The maori party has a single figure percentage
of the vote so its a no brainer...unless we all just sit still and whine.

Get mad and go see your MP as a start.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't want my kids to marry Hone Harawira's kids. Why? For fear that 'dickhead' is a dominant gene.

Helen said...

I'm sure as most fathers, Hone wants his children to marry happily; probably a good understanding of Maoritanga would help contribute to a happy relationship 'en famille'.
Of greater concern is the many 'Maori' stated as in prison when they are mainly of Pakeha descent. A bit of DNA testing would easily sort out the small number of real Maori, then the ratio of Pakeha in prison to population numbers would be far more realistic!

Anonymous said...

Helen... lets do that...change the standard of "who is a maori"for prison numbers.
I assume your definition of "Real Maori" would logically be a person of greater than 50% Maori blood. If less they could be classed as whatever their major or dominant percentage bloodline is....be it Euro/Sino/Afro or whatever.
I agree totally...absolutely. Very clear thinking on your part.

We would then need to apply this clear and logical definition to everything else however....including grievances and treaty claims.

Most of those driving the claims and grievance industry have more "evil white man" blood in them than "oppressed downtrodden" maori blood, so therefore they are more the perpetrators than the victims.
...not "real maoris"

All a bit silly really isn't it?