Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mike Butler: Maori TV ambushes blogger Ansell

Native Affairs tried to host a debate on Monday night on the Littlewood Treaty, on New Zealand’s “alternative history” and on groups critical of the treaty industry. What this state-funded television service delivered was a two-on-one ambush featuring Mana Party candidate Annette Sykes and Maori TV presenter Mihingarangi Forbes against Treatygate blogger John Ansell.

If the debate was an attempt to show that Maori TV was making a genuine effort to present other viewpoints, as is required in broadcasting, staff there need some guidance. The two-on-one harangue was framed by an anti-Titford tirade by Reading the Maps blogger Scott Hamilton plus a repeat of comments by grievance specialist Ranginui Walker, who spoke on the previous week’s feature on the same subject titled “What lies beneath”.

Forbes’ goal appeared to be to get Ansell to apologise to Te Roroa, the group that occupied Northland farmer Allan Titford’s land in from 1987 and forced the government to buy his farm and give part of it to them, for accusing them of burning down the Titford family home. No apology was forthcoming.

The debate enabled Ansell to say on air that the previous week he gave Native Affairs evidence of a deathbed confession by Titford’s father-in-law to burning down the Titford house, which would have “a huge bearing on Allan Titford’s guilt. Reporter Iulia Leilua ignored that evidence.

Forbes said: “what that says is that someone from the Titford clan burned down the house but it wasn’t Te Roroa”. Ansell pointed out that it was a father-in-law, not a Titford.

The televised debate, titled “Tall Tales”, continued the theme captured in the previous week’s title “What lies beneath”, and repeated by blogger Hamilton, that Titford supporters are “pakeha New Zealanders living in rural areas” who are “insecure about their identity and ownership of the soil” who are “pushing to re-write New Zealand’s history and reject Maori claims as tangata whenua” and push an “alternative version of the treaty known as the Littlewood Treaty”.

Sykes said such people “really need to confront their racism” adding that “the Waitangi Tribunal will assist them. If they cared to read the reports, and there’s voluminous reports, they will see that there has been careful analysis of these documents and a reconciliation in the outcomes recorded in that history”.

The bad news for Sykes is that the tribunal reports are not history. The seven reports that I have read weave the details of history around treaty principles to create persuasive arguments that carefully justify whatever is claimed. As Ansell told the debate, “the Waitangi Tribunal kangaroo court . . . always finds in favour of their own people”.

Since Sykes presents herself as a treaty lawyer it was interesting to see her describe the Littlewood Treaty as a document that “emerged on the 17th of February ” despite being confirmed as handwritten by British Resident James Busby dated February 4, 1840, and that it may have been an “interpretive aid” for United States consul to help Pomare II find out “the English interpretation of the treaty”.

But when Ansell agreed that the Maori-language Te Tiriti was the only treaty that had any credence, and when he added that “if you want to know what the Maori text says you look at the Busby February 4 document”, Sykes snapped “No you don’t. You look at the English version, and you look at what was said by Maori at the time, then you look at what commentators said at the time”.

Sykes probably has never read the Busby document or compared it to Te Tiriti for if she had she would have seen only four differences between the two texts -- two in the preamble, one in article three, and the date at the bottom. With few fluent in Maori it is in the treatyists’ interests that the Maori text remains a mystery because it is easier for new self-serving meanings to be breathed into it.

If Sykes had seen the first part of the feature, she would have seen researcher Martin Doutre say of the Littlewood treaty:
You ask any of our leading academics and they will say that the final draft of the treaty in English went missing in February 1840. But it was definitely found again in 1989 by the Littlewood family in Pukekohe. This document of unification, this great gift that has been given to us got turned into a document of apartheid after 1975 by all of this interference with it and all this reinterpretation which has led on to the reinvention of a lot of our history as well.
Forbes did say that four other people who either appeared or were mentioned in the previous week’s programme were invited to appear on the debate but all declined. The heavily biased intro to this debate, talking over Ansell while he was making a point, and hectoring him into apologizing to Te Roroa when he has never said anything against them illustrates what those who declined to appear already knew – that they would never get a fair hearing on Maori TV.


Cpt747 said...

....on target Mike. Yes, another example of a'neo-maori tribal HQ' in the form of a taxpayer funded TV Channel..."Time for Total Demolition"...

Lindsay Mitchell said...

John is immensely brave. And he fronts your cause with dignity, sincerity and a preparedness to listen and engage. Which is more than he encounters.

Karen Bridgman said...

John is incredibly knowledgable on this subject and handles each encounter very professionally and in a balanced, thoughtful way. He is the right person in NZ to be fronting this campaign.

John Ansell said...

Just bloody-minded Lindsay - my contempt for con artists who think they can take over the country my forefathers built is a powerful fuel.

It's amazing how sensitive these guys are about the Littlewood draft. Did you see sulky Sykes go off on an incoherent rant about Clendon to divert attention from my inconvenient details?

That's because the whole Treaty gravy train relies on perverting the meaning of three phrases:

1. "All the people" in Article 2. They desperately need this to mean "all the Maori people" or they have no more rights than the rest of us. Unfortunately the final draft makes it clear that Article 2 includes "all the people", not just the natives. (When Hobson wanted to say "all the Maori people" in Article 3, he said just that: "all the Maori people".)

2. "Their taonga". They need this to mean, not "all the land we live and work on, plus all our personal possessions (or "property procured by the spear" as chief Hongi Hika defined it for the Maori dictionary current in 1840), but "all of the above, plus all the vacant, unused land between us and the next tribe, and any invention or discovery of the Pakeha that we or our descendants or part-descendants take a shine to". Under this wacky definition, they will be able to claim anything produced by the sun for an hour a day in summer, on the basis that Maui slowed the sun's journey across the sky and thus invented daylight saving. (Note: Maui also double-crossed his own mother, creating the excuse for Maori to condone treachery in battle - and TV debates!)

3. "Kawanatanga". They can't afford to acknowledge the obvious: that the chiefs knew that this meant sovereignty, even though a) numerous chiefs made it abundantly clear in their speeches at Waitangi that they either did or didn't want to surrender control to the Queen or her Governor, b) yet more chiefs expressed gratitude for the benefits of British rule at the Kohimarama Conference in 1860, and c) Maoridom's greatest statesman, Sir Apirana Ngata, defined it as such in his classic explanation of the Treaty in 1922. The con artists would have us believe that their forebears engaged the British Empire on a sort of management contract which gave them (the chiefs) the best of both worlds and the Queen nothing. Yeah right.

I urge all those who saw the alabaster-skinned Maori of convenience Forbes' disgraceful performance to lodge a complaint with the Broadcasting Standards Authority, as Mike Butler and others are planning to do. That will teach the one-eyed state broadcaster a healthy lesson about courtesy and truth.

And Sykes did see Martin say his piece, Mike. We were watching the video as it screened.

Sam Esler said...

There be an old saying that my granmother taught me "if you sling enough mud, you only end up losing ground" To my mind is exactly what the indigenous population of Aotearoa will have happen them. Especially if what some economists predict will happen this world in the near future actually comes to fruition.

Anonymous said...

I have asked Iulia Leilua, the
Maori TV Current Affairs reporter who organised the program, "Why are Maori so afraid of the Littlewood document, the final draft".

I still await her reply.

Ross Baker.

Amy Brooke, said...

In "New Zealand;s Forgotten Man -First Biography of Busby of Waitangi" by Eric Ramsden, published by A.H. and A W. Reed Ltd,the evidence can be plainly found that the constant mischief-making by Maori radicalism (by no means representative of the majority of part-Maori)to the effect that Maori chiefs retained a form of sovereignty in partnership with the Crown is a complete fabrication.

"The fact that Busby actually framed the treaty has never been accredited to him... Hobson in his day was more generous...When it became necessary to draw up the treaty, Hobson was so ill that he was unable to leave the ship..."

A highly detailed and fascinating first-hand account of all the circumstances surrounding the signing of the treaty makes it quite plain precisely what the intent was, and what the treaty quite specifically spelt out.

There was never any question of partnership - or anything approaching the reinventions of the terms of the treaty now apparently peddled by Maori media.

The fact that these distortions of our co- history are supported by taxpayer funding suggests that it is high time that government answered, to the people of New Zealand, why the ongoing promotion of separatism, special privilege and undemocratic preference is now peddled as official policy.

We are indebted to John Ansell for his courage in standing up to what now amounts to virtual bullying directed at those concerned at the damaging and divisive directions into which our politicians have taken this country.

Brian said...

Oh Dear!

paul scott said...

yes thanks Mike , you will see we are herein the next election brother

Anonymous said...

Ansell came across very well however. He stayed calm and considered whereas the 2 women came across as thoroughly nasty.

Anonymous said...

John is a great guy for fronting this issue so boldly but sadly he is not the right guy.

He has become a lightning rod and the media as hopeless and self interested as they are know very well how to assassinate a character rendering his opinion almost worthless. John has been assassinated over several years since the Iwi Kiwi days so its game over.

Its time for a politician to take up the cause but at this point I do not see one that has the spine to be staunch for unity in NZ, dignified and sincere as the bombs are going off. It is a tragic reflection on those going into politics these days but they are whip whores.

Maybe this election it might be different with two new party leaders but I wont hold my breath.

One thing is for sure it will not be a National or Labour party politician. They created this separatist nation and certainly will not be owning up to it.