Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mike Butler: Holmes column firestorm burns

I have visited Waitangi Day on several occasions – never a Waitangi Day. I visited the treaty house since it is public property but not the marae since it is private. The people on the marae surely can carry on any way they please, since it is private property. If they wish to argue politics and abuse government policy, they are not alone. The problem occurs when vehement racial abuse is recorded by television news and beamed into households throughout New Zealand. Viewers can either agree with what they see, ignore it as having nothing to do with them, or get angry.

It seems that after years of ignoring it, Paul Holmes got angry and exercised his constitutional right of freedom of speech and poured his heart out in the NZ Herald on Saturday, February 11. This is what he wrote:
Waitangi Day produced its usual hatred, rudeness, and violence against a clearly elected Prime Minister from a group of hateful, hate-fuelled weirdos who seem to exist in a perfect world of benefit provision. This enables them to blissfully continue to believe that New Zealand is the centre of the world, no one has to have a job and the Treaty is all that matters.

I'm over Waitangi Day. It is repugnant. It's a ghastly affair. As I lie in bed on Waitangi morning, I know that later that evening, the news will show us irrational Maori ghastliness with spitting, smugness, self-righteousness and the usual neurotic Maori politics, in which some bizarre new wrong we've never thought about will be lying on the table. 
This, we will have to address and somehow apply these never-defined principles of the Treaty of Waitangi because it is, apparently, the next big resentment. There'll be lengthy discussion, we'll end up paying the usual millions into the hands of the Maori aristocracy and God knows where it'll go from there. 
Well, it's a bullshit day, Waitangi. It's a day of lies. It is loony Maori fringe self-denial day. It's a day when everything is addressed, except the real stuff.
Never mind the child stats, never mind the national truancy stats, never mind the hopeless failure of Maori to educate their children and stop them bashing their babies. No, it's all the Pakeha's fault. It's all about hating whitey. Believe me, that's what it looked like the other day. 
John Key speaks bravely about going there again. He should not go there again. It's over. Forget it. It is too awful and nasty and common. It is no more New Zealand day than Halloween. 
Our national day is now Anzac Day. Anzac Day is a day of honour, and struggle, bravery and sacrifice. A day on which we celebrate the periods when our country embraced great efforts for international freedom and on which we weep for those who served and for those who died.
I wouldn't take my three great uncles who died at Gallipoli and in France - Reuben, Mathew and Leonard - to Waitangi Day and expect them to believe this was our national day. I wouldn't take my father, veteran of El Alamein and Cassino, there. Nor would I take my Uncle Ken who died in a Wellington bomber, then try and tell him Waitangi Day was anything but filth. 
No, if Maori want Waitangi Day for themselves, let them have it. Let them go and raid a bit more kai moana than they need for the big day, and feed themselves silly, speak of the injustices heaped upon them by the greedy Pakeha and work out new ways of bamboozling the Pakeha to come up with a few more millions.
His Waitangi Day comments formed only about one third of his weekly column but have set off a firestorm that continues to burn. I was surprised at his outburst – not surprised at the contents of what he said but more surprised that a mainstream commentator, and no one could be more mainstream than Paul Holmes, could be expressing such views that are widely held. Waitangi Day is a joke, its Maori day, it’s got nothing to do with me, but hey, it’s a holiday so let’s use the time to our best advantage.

A few years ago we went to Waitangi Day festivities at a park at nearby Clive as a family outing. Drunken threatening behaviour by patched Mongrel Mobsters meant we did not stay long, and we have never been back. The organisers were not able to guarantee a safe venue. This year I drove past the local sports park, the location of Waitangi Day festivities, at the end of the day, as people were leaving. It was obvious from the way those people drove their cars on leaving the venue that Waitangi Day for them was drinking day.

Prime Minister John Key was ambushed at Te Tii Marae this year. Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, his venomous mother Titewai, his obtuse nephews, as well as the marae controllers, if there were any, were all in on it. Where is the respect? For instance, if the Prime Minister had occasion (which is very unlikely) to visit our household, the place would be very tidy, the good china would come out for the cup of tea, and regardless of any criticism on my part of any perceived shortcoming on his part, he would be treated with the respect due to a person of his standing.

This did not happen at Waitangi this year, or any other year, so for this reason alone I totally agree with Holmes who said “it's a bullshit day, Waitangi. It's a day of lies. It is loony Maori fringe self-denial day”.

So why am I writing this nearly two weeks after the event? I had opted to leave the debate to the mainstreamers but a few crackpot comments today by columnist Dr Rawiri Taonui, who is AUT indigenous studies adjunct professor, got the engine running.

Taonui wants TVNZ to sack Holmes from his role as presenter of 's Q&A Sunday morning current affairs show citing what he describes as a "racially offensive" column about Waitangi Day. Hello! The Holmes column was in the New Zealand Herald. Why does Taonui want TVNZ to sack him? That is not going to stop the Herald columns.

Taonui wrote: "It's a sad day when a great writer repeats the prejudices of the past, but Holmes' offer on Waitangi Day is a fall from grace." Hello again! Holmes was commenting on Waitangi Day this year and the next big resentment, which this year involved possible moves involving Section 9 of the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986 and the Maori Council’s demand for a special deal for on the planned sale of part of State-owned electricity generating companies.

Taonui wrote that Holmes “has a right to his views” but Taonui still wants him sacked, therefore he really means Holmes no right to his views.

I wonder if Taonui would want to take any of his rellies who may have given their lives in World War II to a Te Tii Marae Waitangi Day abuse fest as a national day, or would he prefer the august solemnity of an Anzac Day dawn parade, where the calm unity of all people is palpable.

This year’s Waitangi Day antics were interesting because the Maori Party and the Mana Party were both trying to raise their respective profiles. Hone Harawira is highlighting the fact that the treaty-settlement process concentrates wealth and influence in the hands of a privileged few.

Harawira called the Holmes column mean-spirited, adding “Holmes must have known it would hurt a lot of people”. Sounds a bit like a teenager complaining about people being mean. Harawira has no hesitation in dishing out the dirt in response. Here is some of what he wrote:
Yes, there were protests at Waitangi this year, but did you know Mr Holmes, that there were protests at Waitangi in 1840 … before they even signed the Treaty!
What? What on earth could they have had to protest about back then, I hear you say? 
Well, a lot of our tupuna seriously doubted that the Governor and his cronies could be trusted, that’s why. Ring a bell, Mr Holmes? 
And quite a lot of them thought that Pakeha just wanted to steal our land. 
And they didn’t think a treaty would stop untrustworthy Pakeha traders from pushing gut-rot alcohol into Maori communities. 
And they didn’t think a treaty could make dirty, stinking, Pakeha whalers, sailors, thieves and brigands wash more than three times a year. 
And some of my tupuna didn’t like the nasty way that early Europeans treated Maori kids – you know, telling them to get out of the way, telling them to shut up, hitting them … 
And some of them were protesting because they thought that Pakeha only wanted a treaty to stall for time while they brought their military in to steal what they couldn’t get honestly. Ring a bell Mr Holmes?


Kiwiwit said...

Holmes is absolutely right and has captured the spirit of the vast majority of New Zealanders. We're all damned sick of having our national day used as an increasingly strident bitch session and we're sick of the escalating extortion that passes for genuine grievances.

Maori brought about their own demise in the 19th Century through a combination of the genocidal Musket Wars (in which they slaughtered at least 20,000 of their own people) and infanticide (killing so many of their girl babies they achieved by the mid-19th Century the lowest known female-male ratio of any population in the world). Anything Europeans did to them after that pales by comparison.

The Treaty was signed by Maori chiefs who wanted British protection and who wanted the genocide to stop. It achieved precisely that.

Maori as a whole should be celebrating rather than protesting each year on February 6th.

Ray S said...

Quite frankly,I dont give a shit any more either.
Holmes has done no more than record the sentiments of all thinking New Zealanders.
Strangely enough, I dont blame maori entirely for the deteriorating race relations. Maori are just the face of the issue. Blame must be shared between maori and successive governments for the last fifty years or more. More so since MMP.

Anonymous said...

Calls to sack someone for having an opinion? We sure do have a perverted form of 'free speech'. I'm not surprised to see this - 'free speech' as long as the PC/pro-Maori crowd agree with it.

Q&A is crap, imo, but Holmes has done nothing to warrant the loss of his position.

Frsd said...

Mike Butler I totally agree with what you have said in this article and I have also written agreeing with Paul Holme's article, I have Maori blood in me but my philosophy throughout my 77yrs has been to work for your living pay your taxes' live in harmony with your neighbour get an education & let the Government get on with governing the country, you may not agree with a lot of their policies but remember they have been elected by a democratic system, so what I am saying get off your backsides & do the same, to me all they want is something for nothing,so put your shoulder to the wheel for the sake of all New Zealander's, by the way I have a feeling the Moriori's may have been there first.

Barry Tomlin said...

Holmes told the truth.Except for "bravely" for Key instead of "corruptly".

Chuck Bird said...

Mike, you article is a bit more balanced than Holmes. Holmes was quite right about his criticism of the protests at Waitangi. However, he turned it into an anti Maori rant. “Never mind the child stats, never mind the national truancy stats, never mind the hopeless failure of Maori to educate their children and stop them bashing their babies.”

While Maori are overrepresented in child abuse stats the vast majority of do not bash their babies. Repeating the well known statistics achieve little but encourage more racist comments like going on about cannibalism. I am sick of hearing what went on 170 years ago be it from white or brown racists.

Anonymous said...

For many decades, there has been no such thing as a discrete or separate "Maori" ethnic group. Prior to the passage of the Electoral Amendment Act 1975, the legal definition of “Maori” for electoral purposes was “a person of the Maori race of New Zealand or a half-caste descendent thereof.” After panicked complaints from its Maori MPs that soon nobody would be eligible for the Maori Roll, the then-Labour Government changed the second half of this definition to read “any descendent of such a person.”

Under current electoral law, New Zealanders of Maori descent can determine once every electoral cycle whether they wish to be on the Maori Roll or the General Roll. We thus have a legal definition of “Maori” that defies definition in the Courts because it is based solely on an individual’s periodic decision to identify as “Maori.”

All so-called “Maori” alive today are of mixed European-Maori descent. It would be virtually impossible to find a “Maori” who doesn’t possess more of the blood of the colonisers than that of the colonised. There is no logical reason why public policy should support the notion that someone less than half-Maori should lawfully be regarded as “Maori.”

"Maori" is thus today not a definable ethnic group, but an artificial creation of statute and a cultural identity sold to its part-Maori adherents by "entrepreneurs of ethnicity," and adopted for the psychic rewards of belonging to a supposedly "oppressed" people.

Writing in 1972, historian Joan Metge offers a compelling explanation as to why a subset of New Zealanders today might continue see themselves as Maori: "New Zealanders, both Maori and Pakeha, tend to identify others as 'Maori' if they 'look Maori,' that is if they have brown skin and Polynesian features."

Since the Maori phenotype tends to predominate in a person’s appearance, those who are considerably less than half-Maori are often identified by others as "Maori" whether they like it or not. Such individuals often compensate for this psychic wound by aggressively embracing a collective "Maori" identity and seeking utu from the majority culture they have chosen to feel shut out of.

In a free society, someone can choose to voluntarily affiliate with any other individual or group they wish to.

Just don't ask me to pay for it!!!

Anonymous said...

When there is no true blooded Maori left, howcome part Maori enjoy full Maori benefits, something wrong somewhere or it is just a government (tax payer) supported way to screw taxpayers and tax payers don't do a thing about it. So who is smart?

John Chant said...

Anonymous is so right. There are no full-blooded Maori left. These more virulent part-Maoris as they now are want to turn back the clock and milk the now-defunct Treaty for their own individual benefits. Rorting the system is now their raison d'etre and they are blind to the greater national good.
These types need to look beyond their narrow confines and raise themselves up as New Zealanders and behave accordingly.
Waitangi Day is now a distorted farce. Key and Co. should shun it.

Anonymous said...

"Pakeha just wanted to steal our land" Rubbish. The Maoris by their own admission had no concept of land "ownership" The old chiefs wanted two things: the British Army to act as policemen to stop the inter-tribal slaughter, and to protect themselves from the French. Harawira in his piece also went on about the British at the time breaking every treaty they had entered. Really? Examples please. My understanding is the Waitangi Treaty was unique at the time in British Foreign practice. Harawira should read Stuart Scott's book "The Travesty of Waitangi" to get a better view of matters

Anonymous said...

I could make many comments about the ills of society, what free speech means, and the place of Maori in society and their grievances (both perceived and those of some substance).

However, I think it all comes down to asking a single question: When will 'Pakeha' simply say, "No!" to 'Maori'?

As long as the overwhelming response to claims is "Yes", the claims will keep coming thick and fast. It is little different to dealing with spoiled children. And that is how 'Maori' are treated and how 'Maori' seem to want to be treated.

Although it could also be argued that 'Maori' are appeased like a threatening aggressor, I wonder how many 'Maori' are so committed to their claims, including their claimed ancestry, that they would resort to serious threats, intimidation and/or violence, thus freely associating themselves with the likes of aggressor states, jihadists, and separatist terrorists?

And, if Tuhoe, for example, were offered full sovereignty on the lands of Te Urewera, would they actually accept an independent landlocked country, in which they would be totally responsible for themselves, free from the burdens of NZ welfare, health and education, etc? I seriously doubt it. They want something short of full sovereignty, in which the flow of money and expertise from 'Pakeha' continues, likely at an ever-increasing rate.

Successive NZ governments have sought to appease 'Maori' as if they are an aggressive mob. Legitimate grievances resulting in a "full and final settlement" should not be subject to regular repetitions of "full and final settlements". And claims should not hold the country to perpetual ransom.

It is little wonder that more and more people seek to exploit some Maori ancestry or self-identification/association, as many likely seek a share of the settlements and 'Maori' privilege. Unfortunately, the settlements have largely benefited a tiny elite. Most 'Maori' will likely never see a penny, and like non-Maori will likely suffer in the longer term.

However, one should remember that democracy is mob rule. Any threatening 'Maori' mob should be met with a firm response from the much bigger mob. And where would the loyalties of most 'Maori' and the 'fashionably Maori' fall?

I say, it is time to say, "No!". It is time to call the bluff of the Maori elite and 'rent-a-mob'. It is time to set the divisive Treaty of Waitangi aside, and in line with its principles of equality, inclusiveness, and unity, replace it with a citizen's charter, which spells out in no uncertain terms the obligations and guaranteed rights of all citizens, irrespective of race/ethnicity. Such a charter should guarantee the freedoms to practice one's religion, culture, and/or beliefs, as long as such does not harm/incite to harm other human beings, or involve conversion by means of deceit or duress, or of minors. And should spell out the limits of free speech, without pushing hate speech underground. There is a difference between inciting violence and expressing hatred of something/someone/some people. A person must nuance any expression of hatred/prejudice so that such can be openly/publicly, properly, fully, and fearlessly debated/tested.

But nothing can change until "yes" is changed to "no"!

Anonymous said...

Funny how Paul Holmes’ article on the Herald website had comments switched on, where as Taonui’s article has comments switched off. . . Taonui's article was so blind to reality, it's worth touching on some of his points:

“The theory of White Privilege explains how dominant European groups consciously and unconsciously maintain the advantage of the inter-generational wealth they accrue from the subjugation of subordinate ethnic and indigenous groups.”

- This explanation is not relevant to modern NZ. It’s merely more apologist claptrap and excuses from Maori such as Taonui for a disproportionately large percentage of his people refusing to look to the future and achieve. The “advantage” you mention is called personal responsibility and hard work. Intergenerational wealth comes from financial literacy (from commitment to study and education) and hard work. If these ‘disaffected’ Maori began respecting themselves, looking to the future and not the past, and sought to better themselves through personal responsibility and hard work rather than tax payers’ money, they would find they too have the intergenerational wealth you speak of.

“They do this by lauding their domination as progress, denying history. . . ”

This is exactly the point. It is history. It’s the past. Those ‘disaffected’ Maori should look to an inclusive future with the rest of NZers, not divisive ‘protesting’ and constant chasing of the tax payers’ dime.

“Mr Holmes laments the behaviour of protesters towards Pakeha dignitaries, but is blissfully unaware of the vilification and ridicule Maori human rights advocates face on a daily basis.”

Holmes is quite right – those ‘protesters’ behaved in a depraved and (ironicaly) uncultured fashion. Taonui mentions “savages” in his writing – well that aptly describes the rabble ‘protesting’ that day. They look to dwell perpetually in the past and to fuel the I Want It (IWI) treaty gravy train. The PM and any sensible NZer should refuse to engage with such heaving idiots.

“Between 2002 and 2006 28 Maori kids were killed in this way. We know their names. But who remembers the names of the 48 Pakeha children who suffered a similar fate.”

Interestingly, Taonui doesn't put these figures into percentage terms – if he did, we all know that the 48 Pakeha children would be a vastly smaller percentage of that population subset. Again, perhaps a large dose of self respect, personal and community responsibility, commitment to paid work, and looking to the future (rather than the past and a handout) might help solve the problem. But no, it’s all Whitey’s fault and the tax payer must keep on paying.

“Treaty settlements which now total $1.3 billion are less than the $1.77 billion paid to compensate mainly Pakeha investors in South Canterbury Finance.”

So there were no Maori investors ? Why would that be ? A widespread lack of financial literacy (from no commitment to study and education) and hard work perhaps ? See my comments above on how to remedy this.

“As with our Pakeha forebears, he wants Maori to be good, meaning silent.”

No Taonui misses the point yet again (or perhaps doesn't want to listen ?) – Holmes wants Maori to look to the future, to stop chasing the taxpayers’ dime, to respect themselves and be inclusive in society, and to take personal responsibility rather than blaming everyone but themselves for their problems.

“Protest has been the principle driver of improvements in our race relations over four decades.”

Rubbish. Maybe it started out this way. But not anymore. These ‘protestors’ Taonui speaks of merely wish to milk the taxpayer for all they’re worth. They want to avoid working for living and personal responsibility. They want a perpetual handout.

Holmes’ views echoed around the country and have clearly a ground swell of support. Most of the country is sick of this sort of behaviour and ‘guilt’ talk about the past. Maori should clean up their act, move on, and include themselves in our country, not look to the past and fuel divisiveness.

Anonymous said...

From where I stand, I seriously doubt there is a greater proportion of significant intergenerational wealth being passed on within the Pakeha community than amongst Maori. Most Pakeha I know and meet are struggling just the same as most Maori. It is just that the Maori elite chooses not to see the poverty outside of Maoridom. To acknowledge significant poverty amongst non-Maori would disprove most Maori grievances.

As politically incorrect as it is to say: all cultures are not equal. Maori have perfected intergenerational underachievement and propagation of a grievance industry as a substitute, along with welfare dependency. The problem is that it only delivers intergenerational wealth and security to the Maori elite, while otherwise delivering grossly disproportionate dysfunctionality.

Most non-Maori realise and believe that while hard work (and even a good education) far from guarantees a comfortable life, let alone a wealthy one, individuals must not expect others to deliver wealth and security on a plate. And that it is shaming for reasonably healthy adults to need welfare. There are no guarantees in life, but for non-Maori, the responsibility is at the individuals door. Even wealthy non-Maori know that continued wealth is not guaranteed, least of all by others.

Unfortunately, many Maori do not feel shamed by welfare dependency, nor intergenerational dependency. If Maori value interdependency they must look to themselves rather than seeking to impose that value (and a grossly disproportionate cost of it) on non-Maori.

Welfare must be reformed to deliver a happy helping hand up rather than a begrudging hand out. Unfortunately, nobody seems to be aware that not only are there many genuine cases needing more than inadequate financial assistance, but that the welfare system actually has no such help on offer. Despite all the helping talk in their brochures, WINZ is little more than an inefficient welfare policing service, and no amount of hard talk and hardline policy-making is going to help those with real barriers to employment that really want to work and have been trying to get it.

Unfortunately, the welfare system is geared in such a way that adults with children can hitch a free ride on the backs of their children's needs, and many families can live more comfortably on welfare than if the adults worked. However, it is impossible for a single adult to live independently with any dignity even with the maximum allowances. Singles must live with family or in the worst shared accommodation, irrespective of suitability, while those who procreate at the State's expense know that the State will seek to ensure a minimum standard of living for the children, at least if the adults stay clear of booze, drugs and gambling.

Fortunately, at least for Maori, there seems to be an increasing flow of Maori achievers both in the employed workforce and in self-employment, whether their pursuits are cultural. creative, in business, or elsewhere. If some Maori outside of the elites can do it, most others can, too.

Anonymous said...

Waitangi Day, a celebration of hypocrisy.
Holmes is right, and I support his comments.
I am not ashamed to publish my name:
Dot Parsons

Anonymous said...

A little truth about how maori lived prior to the treaty, and how they took land as often as they could by subterfuge, and brute force, gives insite into why they wanted it(the treaty). Their treatment of each other was far more disgusting than what Harawira accuses "white men" of perpetrating against maori, so the treaty brought huge improvement in what happened in their lives. See this in :

Anonymous said...

This is what maori are saying. I tried to put an alternative view on their site, and they won't moderate it! They don't like free speach...............
This what I said:
Slaughter in Taranaki was not uncommon, by Maori upon Maori See these records. (maybe they are biased white man records?)The slaughter, torture and cannabalism make it rival Rwanda for horror. This is the culture to which I and my family do not want to go back to. My ancestors may have been involved, but that hardly taints me, so why do we taint present day white kiwis with their ancestors “colonial” history. Time to move on.