Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bruce Moon: Treaty gurus teach guilt

A certain class of gurus has grown up in New Zealand in recent years who, somewhat like the soothsayers of old, seem to feel that they are especially qualified to teach us about what the Treaty of Waitangi really means. This is the first part of a two-part series on these merchants of guilt who target somewhat naïve, well-meaning people to tell them how their wicked white coloniser forebears wronged noble-savage Maori.

In reality, the treaty is a simple and succinct document whose actual meaning can be explained in about five minutes to anybody who wants to know. I take a few minutes of your time to do just that here and now, noting as I do that there is only one treaty, a document in the Ngapuhi dialect of the Maori language of 1840.

By Article first the chiefs ceded sovereignty to the Queen completely and for ever.
By Article third all Maoris were granted all the rights of the people of England.
By Article second the rights to own property of all the people of New Zealand were confirmed.
This article also recorded an agreement that the chiefs grant to the Queen the exclusive right to buy such lands as the owners wanted to sell at agreed prices.
The second part of Article second was abandoned, reinstated, and abandoned

That this is so can be verified without much trouble by referring to the actual wording in Maori in the treaty itself, using, as is the only honest way, the actual meanings of Maori words in 1840, unlike many people today who seem to think that today's meanings applied all those years ago.

However, this straightforward simplicity is not good enough for the activist lawyer Mana Party president Annette Sykes, who, when Dame Susan Devoy was appointed as Race Relations Commissioner, pronounced that "the appointment is an affront as only people with an intimate knowledge of the treaty could be qualified for the role".(1)

Really? Spend just a moment, dear reader, to read the words in the quote above and thereby obtain the "intimate knowledge of the treaty" which would give you a necessary attribute for the position of the Commissioner when it becomes vacant again.

Many of these gurus are women with English names. Of course, no valid discussion about the Treaty is essentially racial or feminist. So first, the quantum of Maori blood, if any, of these women is not a real issue. However, one may note that if they seek to present their opinions in the archaic Maori way, which apparently is still observed, of speaking on a marae, they would not be permitted to utter a single word. They should be profoundly thankful that the British traditions of free speech give them a better option.

A further example is another Mana Party candidate, Angeline Greensill, the daughter of protester Eva Rickard and chair of the Tainui Awhiro Trust. Greensill responded to news that iwi/kiwi billboard designer John Ansell was to hold a meeting on treaty issues in Hamilton in May 2013 by saying: "It's the sort of thing I would normally ignore but I'll be interested to see who does turn up and who is taken in by this type of stuff. I need to know that." (2)

Note that Greensill made this highly judgemental remark without trying to find out what Ansell actually said - hardly the behaviour of a dispassionate academic seeking the truth. (At the time Greensill was a lecturer at Waikato University) Then she states that she needs to know "who is taken in by this type of stuff". Just who does she think she is - some sort of thought policewoman? Shades of Orwell's "1984" there.

I wrote to her to make these and some related points but of course she did not deign to reply.

One Louise Tankersley, a Christchurch relationship services counsellor, was in the field in Christchurch a few years ago with what looked like a scholarly presentation but which was in fact riddled with statements of privileges for Maoris but not the rest of us, granted supposedly by the Treaty, which were simply untrue, almost from start to finish. This Ngai Tahu woman has a very white face with a moko on her chin. (3)

A certain Kate MacIntyre of Wellington, said to be a member of the Anthropology Department of Victoria University, has found under a stone or somewhere but certainly not in the Treaty that the chiefs ceded "legal sovereignty" but not "political sovereignty"!! This is truly a remarkable discovery! (4)

Men or women in the street today would be hard put to find such nonsense in the treaty or even what it is supposed to mean.

The chiefs at Waitangi on February 5, 1840,, whose words were actually recorded by missionary printer William Colenso knew quite clearly that by signing the treaty they would become subordinate to the Queen, as did those at Hokianga a few days later and the 200 or so chiefs who attended the great Kohimarama conference in 1860 and, whatever words the chiefs actually used, they knew simply that they ceded that sovereignty (which by force of arms and no more, they possessed), completely and for ever, let us stress.

One Sharleen Baird, who calls herself a treaty trainer has written to "Hawke’s Bay Today" with the statement that "Maori have legal rights to co-governance of New Zealand ... iwi groups legally should be equal partners." (5) Now any alleged "treaty trainer" spreading such falsehood is seriously poisoning the understanding of these matters in the minds of ordinary New Zealanders who actually want to know the truth. The word "iwi" does not even appear in the treaty and the word "Maori" only once in the articles of the treaty, in the important Article third - see above.

Baird goes on to claim that Bastion Point was "stolen" when actually the deed of sale was shown to Jim Bolger whose henchman, Doug Graham, proceeded to ignore it and give a substantial amount of taxpayers' money to the noisy claimants. Baird claims about those who actually oppose racism, unlike herself, that "several issues seem un-researched by the writers". She would do well to heed her own advice.

A network of non-Maori treaty “educators” conducts workshops for hospitals and government agencies throughout New Zealand. Network Waitangi is a non-governmental organisation that evolved from Project Waitangi, a group launched in 1986 to teach non-Maori how to feel guilty about their wicked white coloniser forebears. The Governor General of that time, Sir Paul Reeves, was its patron.

According to the introduction of their book, Network Waitangi, the network links regional groups of non-Maori "educators" holding workshops, study groups, public seminars to "assist pakeha" and "other people of the treaty" to "honour our treaty responsibilities". (5)

These workshops use psychodrama, an action method often used as a psychotherapy, in which clients use spontaneous dramatization, role playing and dramatic self-presentation to investigate and gain insight, in this case, into how wicked and racist the white coloniser has been. Anti-cult groups call this activity brainwashing.

Linked groups include: Network Waitangi Whangarei; Tamaki Treaty Workers, Auckland; Treaty Resource Centre, Grey Lynn, Auckland; Ruth Gerzon, Ohope, Whakatane; Rowan Partnership, Wanganui; Wellington Treaty Educators; Nelson/Whakatu Treaty Network; Network Waitangi Otautahi, Christchurch Community House; Waitangi Associates Ltd, Christchurch; Tauiwi Solutions, Dunedin.

These gurus, who target somewhat naïve, well-meaning people, make assertions that are uncritically reported, and these assertions create an environment enabling the gullible and uninformed majority to conclude that Maori land was stolen and rights not recognised therefore Maori today deserve special treatment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Part two of this series is Gross errors in guilt guru claims.

Sources
1. Dame Susan Devoy: Racism shames Kiwis, April 29, 2013, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8605291/Dame-Susan-Devoy-Racism-shames-Kiwis
2. Hamilton meeting to 'stop the surrender of NZ to tribal tricksters', Waikato Times, May 16, 2013.http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/8680207/Hamilton-meeting-to-stop-the-surrender-of-NZ-to-tribal-tricksters
3. "This is the end" - survivors speak, February 17, 2012. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/12-51/our-people/6423593/This-is-the-end-survivors-speak
4. Letter to Sunlive, 21st June 2013
5. Letter, to H.B. Today, March 2014
6. Network Waitangi. http://nwo.org.nz/files/QandA.pdf

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