Thursday, October 24, 2019

Clive Bibby: An historic month in Tairawhiti

For what it is worth, the following is my reflection on the last month of iconic events in Tairawhiti that included the tri annual local body elections and the first of the Tuia 250 commemorations.

I have mixed feelings about the results of these proceedings but in the case of the local body elections, accept the results as demonstrably fair.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the outcome of the votes for Council and the Health Board had a predictable ring to them - almost without exception, those candidates with the highest profiles received the most votes. Whether they will be able to deliver on their promises remains to be seen but l wish them the best of luck. They have earned the right to try.

The Tuia 250 commemorations are a different matter entirely, although sadly, just as predictable.

During the last year of the lead up to the event, l repeatedly sought assurances from the organising committee that the stories being promoted to the world would represent a balanced view of our history (colonial or otherwise) including nothing that could be misinterpreted as anything but the unadulterated truth.

l, like the general public, was lead to believe and consequently genuinely hoped that all accounts of events from those distant times would be given equal status in the modern presentations. This we were told was going to be a time for putting the record straight, allowing for justifiable long held grievances concerning mistreatment of ancestors to be acknowledged and re-entered on the timeline of our history in their rightful context.

Most of us with a sense of fair play were encouraged by this affirmation of the organising committee's intent.

Unfortunately, what we got was a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the tragic events of so long ago to the extent that truth became collateral damage of allowing the radical revisionists complete domination of proceedings.

Not only were these partisan warriors allowed free range to say what they liked, even to the extent of telling blatant lies about Cook and his crew but worse - all this claptrap was given the impression of official sanction while knowing that it would do nothing to ensure the future partnerships this community so desperately needs.

In other words, this high-jacking of the events particularly during those organised in Turanganui-a-kiwa can only be seen as a pre-determined act of historical engineering we should all be ashamed of. It should not have happened.

Thankfully, l am not the only one who found this unfortunate rejection of an opportunity to come together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, a tragic outcome.

I note a number of letters to the editor from non Tairawhiti resident readers of the respected Listener magazine who agree almost exclusively that it could have been handled so much better.

It would seem that New Zealanders in general are still able to recognise fraud when it's staring them in the face. Just a pity our local leaders don't appear to share their concerns.

Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.


Robert Mann said...

I feel much as Mr Bibby.
Author G Lay has a good letter in the current Lessener, and is to be interviewed on Radio NZ Sun a.m

Here's a latter sent yesterday to the Human Rights Commr email address, which seems to be as directly as one can approach Mr Foon

Meng Foon
Race Relations Commissioner

Dear Sir
I heard you say on RNZ morning report Oct 2 that the first person killed {Te Maro} upon arrival of HMb Endeavour was murdered. Standard accounts of this killing describe self-defence which no reasonable person would call murder. Having been previously mayor of Gisborne for a decade you are presumably familiar with PC scholar A. Salmond (Two Worlds p.125) who suggests Te Maro’s detachment may have been only posturing, but even this biased racist admits the seamen could have had no such idea and were right to think they were imminently to be speared. Salmon does not try on the ‘murder’ lie.
Te Maro led a group of 4 armed warriors who charged a similar number of boys guarding key boats. Warning shots overhead were understandably ignored; only when Te Maro was about to launch a spear at short range was he shot. You deny this was self-defence.
The title Race Relations Conciliator so admirably established by Sir Guy Powles has evidently been superseded. You announce in your Wikipedia entry that racist exclusion from beaches is OK at least for a region where those excluded will be a mere non-Maadi minority. And then within a week after you took up your appointment you broadcast to the nation this mischievous falsehood fanning the flames of the neoracism of the Harawira gang, the Jackson Five, the Nairns, etc.

You have amply shown yourself unfit, and should therefore resign the position which you have already betrayed.

Yours truly

L R B Mann

Anonymous said...

The propaganda, activism and deficit of quality journalism around the Tuia 250 commemorations have been an insult to the people of New Zealand (past and present). Our PM also lost further credibility by making herself scarce when the Endeavour arrived at Gisborne.