I look around at those I share my life with - in our families, our neighbourhoods, at the shops, in school, at the gym, wherever – and can’t imagine how this separatist policy is supposed to work at street level.
Since 1974, the term Maori has not been legally defined by blood percentages and good interracial relations has long since intermingled the many ethnic bloodlines in this country. Yet we constantly read of “Maori” statistics, “Maori” entitlements and “Maori” claims on the public purse. It seems like we should know, yet it can be hard to tell who’s what anymore.
Many of us will remember the farcical episode back in 2003 when the ex-All Black and very “white”, blue-eyed Christian Cullen joined the Maori rugby team for an international tour, despite only having 1/64th Maori blood. There was controversy, but he still went.
Another close-to-home example is a friend’s red-headed, green-eyed child getting a special phone call from the principal of a North Auckland school welcoming her as the newest Maori pupil. So because of a distant “Maori” ancestor, she can apparently look forward to preferential treatment, lower entry requirements and financial subsidies at university despite her dominant Caucasian bloodlines and middle class origins. (Where is that in the Treaty again?)
Then you note the European names, the light skins and fine features of some of the Maori activist elite. It’s almost amusing when, for example, a Scottish-named, Caucasian-skinned person wears a greenstone carving around their neck in a desperate attempt to display their Maori-ness while collecting taxpayer-funded, race-based pay packets.
The beautifully tailored suits and super-shiny grooming are also impressive. Although it amazes me that Tuku Morgan stills expects credibility after his taxpayer-funded, silk boxer misdemeanor. So one understandably questions whether race has anything to do with these rampant ‘contemporary’ claims. It certainly seems as if “greed, not need” is driving this game.
An inevitable conclusion is that the Maori claims/separatist industry has very little to do with the people at street level. This is evidenced by the case that despite the billions of dollars that have been paid out in Treaty of Waitangi settlements, we see no major improvement in the “Maori” education, health or welfare statistics. So then it must be all about the political animals who use contrived corporate entities to claim “on behalf of Maori” and then richly reward themselves for successfully working such an incredibly farcical system.
I wonder whether one day the tables will turn and there’ll be backlash? Will other New Zealanders have enough? Will those “Maori” who don’t agree with the preposterous claims in their name, get tired of being tarred with the same brush and speak out?
Mike did recently. He wrote on Facebook: “This Maori boy has worked hard all his life, has paid his taxes, has studied using a student loan rather than claiming any race-based grant or concession, has no police record (never even had demerit points despite driving 3000 odd km per week) and provides for those close to him without any handouts. I've never poached seafood, I don't particularly like KFC. Oh, and I'm also half "non-Maori". So despite all that, I'm lumped in with the claimants am I??”
I feel his pain but also feel that the ball is in his court.