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?