Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mike Butler: Clarity on Maorified protocol

It takes a visiting Danish politician to bring a moment of clarity to the rent-a-powhiri madness that occurs at any official function. Marie Krarup, who was welcomed on to the navy’s Te Taua Moana Marae last month, decried the wero or challenge, objected to being welcomed by a “half-naked” man “shouting and screaming in Maori”, and objected to being forced to touch noses.

Maori grievance expert Ranginui Walker told NewstalkZB that Krarup's comments were the result of ignorance, adding "very often politicians are not as well educated as they ought to be, perhaps haven't studied history." But was Krarup ignorant, or was she telling it as it is in an “emperor has no clothes” moment? Few living in New Zealand appeared willing to voice agreement with Krarup out of fear of being called a racist.

According to, the word "wero" literally means - "to cast a spear". The purpose of the wero was to find out whether the visitors came in peace or in war. A warrior skilled in the use of weapons issues the wero.

This ritualised challenge all made sense in the chaotic society in New Zealand that preceded the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, when tribes lived in terror at the prospect that an enemy from up country may attack, kill, eat, and enslave the remainder while taking the village, land, and all resources.

If Krarup had studied history, she would have found this out and would have been doubly mystified why the government of a peaceful, unified country would use a challenge to find out whether visitors came in peace or war, a relic from a war-torn, savage age, to welcome guests from another friendly, peaceful country.

The only times I have directly encountered the welcoming challenge have been at Rotorua, where tourists are introduced to Maori culture, and at school or university prize-givings.

While the Rotorua shows are interesting and greatly enjoyed by the tourists who pay for the experience, the prize-giving welcome parties come over as an inappropriate timewaster.

While reflecting on the inappropriateness of ritualised challenges at every official event, I could not help but note the weapons training and culture of aggression that is conveyed through, not only the ritual welcomes, but through kapa haka teaching that takes place at schools.

The simple question is that if there is a culture of violence in the Maori community, why is the government sponsoring training in cultural violence through kapa haka? Besides, police regard the pukana, the wild dilated stare and eyeball rolling done by men and women when performing haka and waiata, as an offensive act when done outside of kapa haka for the purpose of intimidation.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. Sick of having Maori culture forced down our throats. I am not represented by a Maori welcome - I am not a Maori. I have lived in NZ all my life and am constantly embarrassed when I see foreign visitors greeted by a haka. It is grotesque and primitive and long since overdue that it was done away with.

Dr. Alastair MacKenzie said...

The article/ observations by Ms Krarup regarding the ridiculous 'cultural challenges' now de rigeur at any government 'event' are long overdue. I wrote to compliment her on her refreshing clarity of comment the like of which most NZ'ers are too afraid to make at the risk of being pilloried by the strident polynesian NZ lobby.

Allen said...

Rather than shoot the messenger we should be listening to the message.

Graeme said...

Apparently it also is gravely offensive to hover a helicopter over the summit of Mount Cook.

"In passing sentence, Judge Joanna Maze said the offence was “seen as one of sacrilege to those to whom Aoraki/Mt Cook is of central cultural importance”.

Is it any wonder that many New Zealanders are saying enough!

bill said...

we have the country we deserve as a 75 year old fourth generation New Zealander I have seen the gradual demise of any Guts we New Zealanders ever had. It is largely our generation which has allowed our Country to become a Nation led by treacherous, incompetent hippocritical, politicians
with no one responsible or accountable for anything.Until we stand up for what belongs to all of us we deserve all we get

Anonymous said...

I think the Haka is savage and holds no art or beauty.....I dont like Morris Dancing either and I defend my right to voice my opinion on either without being howled down and being called names.
If a Danish visitor doesnt like the Haka she is entitled to her opinion....I dont like it either and if you are offeneded, get councilling....

Anonymous said...

Why do Maori and others think this woman is ignorant? She has made a comment that actually represents what many think. We watched the initial news showing this powhiri and commented at home that this was excessive and not the sort of welcome visitors should be subjected to.
Visitors should be given a choice of participating in a powhiri. Pressing noses is another action that for many must be uncomfortable.
Having had many overseas students and families visit, not all are interested in Maori culture.One family refused to go to a cultural show. They were here to see nature.
It seems Maori can be offended but others cannot!

Anonymous said...

We have dispensed with prayers and hymns at school assemblies, even though Censuses show more New Zealanders claim to be Christian than Maori. If we are a truly secular society, then this should apply to traditions deriving from all spiritual and cultural beliefs - including those related to past Maori traditional societies.

Anonymous said...

What a load of old rubbish.
Speaking as a 50 year old fouth generation New Zealander all this Maori stuff has been done to death.
If we as a Nation want the rest of the world to beleive that we are a bunch of grass skirt wearing, spear chucking savages then let the current situation continue.
The major obstacle facing New Zealand as I see it is that for the last 25 years the Civil Service and most importantly our Educational Institutions have been indoctrinated into wrongly beleiving that the Maori people have been "ripped-off" and taken advantage of and are owed something by the rest of the population.
If the true version of events was taught in our schools we would not find ourselves in our current predicament.
I now note with concern that we currently have an unelected committee advising the Government on a "New Version" of our Constitution.

This will be the end of Democarcy and the beginning of Apartheid in New Zealand.



Anonymous said...

No official ceremony or academic prizegiving these days is complete without some ratty old kaumatua w*nking on interminable in Maori - when everyone present (including the aforementioned Maori w*nker) - speaks and understands English.

An act of cultural arrogance, pure and simple.

My daughter (at that time aged four) made me very proud when her grandmother accompanied her kindergarten class on a marae visit (aka indoctrination of preschoolers with the one country, two peoples mantra).

After heing harangued for over half an hour in incomprehensible Maori by the resident kaumatua, my daughter remarked loudly for all to hear, "Granny, I'm sick of all this Maori shit, i'm BORED!"

On leaving the meeting and being invited by the kaumatua to hongi, my daughter refused, saying, "I'm not rubbing noses with you! You're fat and you stink of cigarettes!"

Out of the mouths (Dad beams contentedly) ...

Dave said...

What other country in the world greats its visitors by a grunting, posturing, aggressive tongue poking tattooed idiot in a grass skirt.
Seriously I also agree that the Haka is also offensive, am I the only one who feels embarresed by this aggressive act (especially the throat slitting gesture) which to me is the opposite of what sport should be. But then maybe sadly it reflects what we have become.

Don said...

The first time I saw a haka was at a rugby game in Sydney - it reminded me of a game of indians and cowboys we played as children; a war dance. Maybe it was appropriate before the game but having now seen it many times I'm bored with it and think ,if it is to be used at all, it should be before clashes such as a test.

steve said...

!2 tribes signed the far we have settled with 34 of them.
Where the hell will this nonsense end.
More important why the hell has it not ended.

Tony R said...

Total AGREEMENT with ALL of the above!!!

Interesting this B/S that continues to go on and on

I did an Official Information Act request asking when a person would CEASE being Maori

ie 1/16th 1/32th 1/64 1/256th etc

Logic would suggest that it would SHOULD end at some point - wouldnt it?


we have to post the NZCPR links to all on our data base and wake the sheeple up - or if it goes in a way that i fear - Tonga sounds good - and they will have won...