Monday, September 21, 2020

Bruce Moon: Racial Privilege at Otago University

Ethnicity is not shaped in the womb but in the head.”
- David Miles, The Tribes of Britain, 2005, p.178  

The current active discussion on policy for selection of entrants to the University of Otago Medical School reveals much of the accelerating racism which blights our once fair democracy of New Zealand.  

That policy as it stands grants preferential entry to students who claim Maori or Pasifica ancestry and the first question that it raises is just what in fact that qualification may be?  

Who, in short, is a Maori?

I recall seeing in the fairly recent past a photograph of a group of Otago graduates in medicine at a special graduation ceremony for students of Maori descent. (Why they should have been granted this privilege by such a racist criterion is another question to address.)  All had names from the British Isles.  Several were blondes.  Typically Maori features were hard to distinguish in any of them.  That outcomes are better for people of more significant Maori descent from treatment by such practitioners rather than those with no Maori ancestry is at best, I suggest, a very dubious conclusion though no doubt there are people who claim it to be true.

Now race-based preferential entry inevitably implies that students’ other attributes are weaker to some extent than those of others competing for entry places.  The corollary must be – though I have no direct evidence to support it – that they remain amongst the weaker students proceeding through their course of study and ultimately graduating.  Who amongst us would consciously seek to consult a medical practitioner who was palpably not one of the best?   Moreover, if such be true, it is distinctly unfair to all other practitioners who possess some Maori descent but have achieved entry solely on their merits, who will be inevitably associated with them.

Professor Peter Crampton, prominent in these discussions,[i] “urges the university to act in good faith ... as part of Te Tiriti o Waitangi” and Race Relations Commissioner, Meng Foon chimes in with “the university to ensure the policy is tiriti-based.”[ii]  Peddling such nonsense with “Te Tiriti” allegedly promising almost anything one wants must immediately raise suspicions about the validity of their arguments.  In fact any such preference would be wholly contrary to Article third of the Treaty which conferred the same rights on Maoris as on other British subjects, a major point on which Messrs Crampton and Meng are evidently blatantly ignorant.

And again, supposing their arguments have some substance, why are not similar moves being made on behalf of other considerable minority groups – Indians and Chinese and other Asians who make up a substantial part of New Zealand’s population today but who do not have fake “tiriti-based” arguments to back their claims for consideration?  After all Jacinda Ardern[iii] in joining in this debate offers her opinion that the “diversity” of the medical profession must reflect that of the population as a whole.

A diverse range of medical practitioners will enable medicine, as a profession, to deliver the best it can to society.  We may recall the nor-so-distant past when to have women doctors was unheard of.  However diversity based on tokenism not related to ability and suitability will ultimately serve only to destroy confidence in the profession, a profound loss to all including those who do deliver outcomes with skill and dedication.

I myself have been treated in Vanuatu by a Papuan doctor and in India by medical practitioners there (of whom I formed a very high opinion) and in no instance was their – or my – ethnicity of any relevance.

My conclusion is that in this instance we have yet another example of the tide of Maori preference and similar racism which is sweeping the country with far-reaching consequences which the rest of us sooner or later may well have cause to regret.


I am myself a member of a family with medical graduates from the University of Otago in three generations.  A graduate myself, not in medicine, my undergraduate room-mate for three years was a lad of part-Maori descent, again not in medicine, who succeeded solely on his own merits with his Maori ancestry never a factor in it.

I report further that I am not unacquainted with the topic of predicting performance at university.  With my late colleague, W.E. Davis, I was able to show that the practice in 1976-9 of awarding bursaries to sixth form leavers on the basis of assessed university entrance grades was of dubious value at best.[iv]  The wisdom of Solomon would be a better guide.

[i]      Jody O’Callaghan,”stuff”, 11 September 2020

[ii]     Ibid.

[iii]    Thomas Coughlan, “stuff”, 4 September 2020

[iv]    W.E Davis and B.A.M.Moon, “The Performance of Sixth-From School Leavers at University”, NZJEdStud,14,2, November 1979, pp 164-171

Bruce Moon is a retired computer pioneer who wrote "Real Treaty; False Treaty - The True Waitangi Story".


Anonymous said...

Great article. Those who promote ‘diversity’ and ‘equality of outcome’ as the ‘solution’ to racism never admit the obvious. That ‘diversity’ and ‘equality’ can only be implemented with the help of racism and sexism! In other words, the real racists and sexists are those who cry diversity and equality and interestingly almost all racism today is directed against the white Anglo Saxon Celtic people and this same tactic is happening throughout all Western nations.

‘Diversity’ and ‘equality’ etc are merely Trojan horses being used by the global power elite to overthrow the Western nations. They’re using doublespeak language to trick us into freely giving up our all freedoms, liberties and wealth while fooling us into accepting fascism and communism (two sides of the same coin).

It’s time we remembered our the God (YHWH) of our forefathers, our history, heritage, origins and incredible accomplishments. Start valuing who we are and what we have. Acknowledge we were founded as Christian nations with a rule of law and values that most aspire to.

We are not the racists, but a generous and kind people who love justice, fair play and equality of opportunity for all. That’s why people’s of every creed and race immigrate to our nations every year because they know this too.

Let’s no longer be silent and take a stand against the true racism in our country. One law for all where every one is judged according to their character, choices, actions and hard work.

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

This kind of social engineering creates an entitlement culture among the beneficiaries. There is also a very real danger of standards being lowered to get political appointees who would not otherwise have qualified through - go on, deny it. Instances of incompetence are likely to be met with cover-ups and of course calling the accuser racist.
Now if some joker is going to take a scalpel to me I want to know that he had to meet the same performance criteria as anyone else...... don't you?

Peter van der Stam, Napier said...

Hello Bruce,

I am scared stiff by this denigration of admission standards.
I am even seeking to leave NZ for the sake of not getting angryer overtime
I am reading your book NZ the fair colony. A history of NZ
Problem is: the younger generation is already so indoctrinated, that the reversal to the truth will not be possible.

Regards Peter

Anonymous said...

Lowering standards based upon race leaves the population with the only option of concluding people are less qualified to perform a function according to their race. This is the essence of racism. I am entitled to assume a Maori doctor is less able to treat me and therefore can demand one sufficient for my treatment based up in the colour of their skin.
I have never before believed ability is racially based but Otago University is forcing me to accept this to be so.

KP said...

There is nothing unusual, insightful, profoundly disturbing or exotic in this article at all! In fact it is plain common sense, no-one would want to go to some second-rater who got a degree they aren't worthy of, and no-one of his race who didn't play the race card wants their degree devalued because they're maori.

The terrible thing about NZ these days is that plain common sense is just not there! Have my fellow emigrants to Aussie left the country bereft of a brain?

If you want a diversity of race and culture in medicine, are you going to allow Indian traditional medicine, or Chinese traditional medicine, or try to cram your diverse students into the mono-cultural officially-approved colonial Western medical system??

Anonymous said...

The problem is that statistical representation (as if sampling from a wider population) has a very different meaning from agency representation. If diversity was so good, then should not places be allocated to other 'representative samples' of society - such as those with intellectual disabilities, mental health issues or drug additions? It may be that someone from those communities would prefer to be treated by a practitioner that is "like them" too? The bottom line has to be that the profession is best served by allocating the places to those with the best credentials across the skills required for the profession.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your enlightening comments. I will now read your book.

lee said...

While different races have trouble entering university. The curriculum needs to enable a different perspective to succeed. Why do we only graduate the best - possibly wealthy - and in so doing restrict the number of Graduates. This is a created shortage which enables Doctors from anywhere to come and work here with dubious abilities. Possibly our educational institutions should be asked to show that all pupils succeed in life or the curriculum must get changed. Certainly doctors should come out with Grades. Ok for the cities the rest of us get average and do reasonably well. Take for instance the Vet School. Only A + students are allowed through and then only if they repeat the year.