Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Henry Armstrong: All cultures are important in New Zealand - not just one

Another Maori Language Week has come and gone and hopefully te Reo has been strengthened.  In the same week, the Maori Party declared that if elected, it will arbitrarily demand the country’s name be changed from New Zealand to Aotearoa, along with all other anglicised place names, to Maori place names.

However, the name “Aotearoa” is not a traditional, nor even an appropriate, alternative name for New Zealand, according to Distinguished Professor Kerry Howe whose seminal article “Aotearoa-What’s in a Name” appeared in MSN News on 19th September. It is by far the most erudite and well-researched article on this issue yet to be produced. All New Zealanders should read this.

But, it is high time we acknowledged all cultures in Nu Tirani (New Zealand)  in the face of continued  denial of other cultures  by bicultural activists.

Our amazing blend of some 120 different cultures provides a framework of huge interest and spectacle , with celebrations of Hogmanay, Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Christmas, Easter ,  and more recently, Matariki. Oh, and yes, Guy Fawkes too.

Nu Tirani is the Maori name given to New Zealand  in the preamble to the treaty of Waitangi of 1840. As is well documented, Maori at the time of the treaty did not comprise a national entity or polity or national identity as such, but comprised over 500 separate, individual iwi and hapu (tribes and sub-tribes), continually at war with each other. They did not have a collective name for this country. Further, other ethnicities in New Zealand today have their own unique name, the most prominent being the Samoan name of Niu Sila.

New Zealand (Nu Tirani/Niu Sila) in the 21st century must be the only country in the world which haughtily declares itself to be bicultural - that is, official recognition of just two cultures, that of our fist migrants, the Maori people who arrived in New Zealand around the 13th century from various points of the Pacific  and everyone else who  arrived subsequently. Whilst there were arguably just two cultures when Europeans first established themselves here in the late 18th century, today it apparently matters not that the other culture, “everyone else”, actually comprises over 120 different identifiable cultural identities, multiple ethnicities and languages and a host of separate  customs. The reality, then, is that New Zealand in the 21st century is actually a melting pot of multiple cultures, all of them  unique .

The utter illogicality, even stupidity, of claiming New Zealand to be bicultural, is a political construct without  rational, realistic or valid  foundation. The total  rejection of biculturalism by most  thinking New Zealanders  is  ignored  by  biculturalists in their assiduous, strident, almost religious, fervour to incorporate tikanga Maori (customs, protocols) into everyday life in New Zealand.

Note: for an excellent and comprehensive explanation of tikanga  Maori, see “Tikanga Maori: Living By Maori Values”, Hirini Moko Meads,  Huia publishers, 2003)

All government activities must now embrace tikanga, including karakia (prayers), blessings by Maori kaumatua (elders), departmental and place names in prominent  te Reo Maori; and an increasing requirement for a person of Maori descent  to be represented on every committee and board, especially in our universities and other educational institutions and local authorities. People in government-funded entities are now expected to use te Reo Maori  phrases in their correspondence, supplanting common  English usage phrases of introduction and sign off. The incongruity of commencing meetings with mihi,  waiata and prayers (karakia) in te Reo, when nobody of Maori descent is present, is common in our universities, not to mention staff with no Maori identity at all wearing multiple neck pendants of Maori design, greeting each other in te Reo. Some Maori academics see all of this as offensive tokenism and “cultural appropriation”. Others would have you believe that much more of the same is a “treaty obligation”.

But the purpose of the compulsory adoption of tikanga is not  confined to promoting te Reo.

The bicultural activists have the ultimate political goal of reclaiming New Zealand/Nu Tirani including shared political power (or co-governance of New Zealand), a goal clearly articulated by Maori in the Constitutional Review conducted in 2013 by the National-Maori Party coalition government. This co-governance proposal for two parliaments (Maori and The Rest) of equal authority, overseen by an upper chamber or “treaty House”, which would have the final say on all legislation, was initially promoted by Professor Whatarangi Winiata, supported by the then  Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves, to the Building The Constitution conference at Parliament in 2000.

A recent and complimentary proposal now finding traction within the legal profession is to incorporate tikanga into New Zealand’s laws which would require  judges to consider their judgements not on purely objective and impartial grounds but also according due emphasis to te Ao Maori (the Maori world view), even when the judge and the defendant have no Maori connection at all. Other aspects of tikanga, such as rahui, appear to be illegal, yet find their way into everyday life. Incorporating similar elements from other cultures would, I am sure, be totally unacceptable.

The prestigious Royal Society of New Zealand, that bastion of scientific excellence, now fully  incorporates  tikanga  in all of it’s affairs. So too, our universities have adopted significant Maori protocols in academic courses, research programmes and administrative management. In one university, students must pass  at least eight papers incorporating tikanga, before they are permitted to graduate, irrespective of their subject areas and majors. In another, all staff are monitored and measured on their capability in and commitment to, tikanga and the treaty. The traditional academic hymn “Gaudeamus Igitur”, sung at all university graduations from medieval times, has been replaced instead at Massey University with a waiata- without any input from staff and students.

The outside observer might well be highly impressed by this cultural sea-change, assuming that this  tsunami  of social engineering is the wish of the majority of the country’s citizens?

But that is not the case at all. There is NO legislative or regulatory authority which underpins, authorises or legitimises  this bicultural movement. Indeed, research reveals that bicultural practices are the result of bureaucratic  activism, undertaken by departments at the insistence of politicians, with no public discussion at all. There is no formal framework whatsoever-a clear example of political pressure on public servants.

In fact, the compulsory imposition of cultural, religious and other requirements on people is illegal in New Zealand, under the Bill of Rights and Human Rights Acts.

There have been very few cases of individuals objecting to  enforced acculturation. The first was nursing student Anna Penn of Christchurch Polytechnic in 1993. She was expelled from her nursing course and had to move to Australia to complete. The second more recent case in 2003 was Corrections Officer Josie Bullock who refused to be re-seated at the rear of a Maori ceremony, being a woman, and having been originally seated at the front. The Human Rights Tribunal dismissed her case. Both are worth Googling.

So how has this bicultural tsunami come about? There has certainly been no public debate or discussion about adopting tikanga across the social and cultural landscape of New Zealand. Why have there not been more cases of individuals objecting to enforced acculturation?

The answer to this question is, in a word, COERCION, both implicit and explicit. People are frankly too bloody  scared to challenge the forceful adoption of tikanga, for fear of being publicly branded as a racist. Or, alternatively, they could not care less - not really all that interested.

Successive governments, rather than openly direct organisations or the public to  adopt  tikanga in our everyday lives, (which would clearly be in breach of the Acts mentioned above) and in their haste to appease the strident demands of the bicultural activists for equal  bicultural recognition, have devolved all decisions regarding the adoption of tikanga within institutions to the governing bodies of those institutions-boards, councils, local authorities.

Institutions which in any way depend on government funding (and there are many), must provide a Charter or Statement of Corporate Intent which, inter alia, must include a statement of undertaking setting out how the organisation intends to “give effect” to the treaty of Waitangi of 1840, today  falsely claimed to be a “partnership”, which it is not. The Treaty of Waitangi is NOT a legal document, either. This continual claim that the treaty is a partnership, is a classical example of an “argumentum ad nauseam”, repeated so often it becomes considered to be a fact. So, in their haste to acknowledge and  give recognition to Maori culture, falsely defended using  a revisionist and presentist re-interpretation of the 1840 treaty, our government overrules the human rights of the rest of New Zealand (84%).

Government organisations and institutions consider  enforced acculturation to now be the norm - to require employees to adopt tikanga and to be bound by it’s rules. The employees  of such organisations become in turn , bound to honour and abide by the statements of their Charter. Simple. Central government can then say ”It is not our problem - go and talk to the board or council of the institution or organisation - it is their decision, not ours.” Thus the potential illegality of compulsory acculturation is neatly side-stepped by central government. Quite a brilliant strategy. The same rationale is being used to appoint Maori representatives onto local authorities, resulting in unelected and unaccountable members of councils having full voting rights - but no responsibility!

In most  cases, the ratepaying communities are not even consulted, let alone given the opportunity via referenda, to accept or reject such proposals.

Enforced acculturation in tikanga Maori involves three levels of coercion :

1.A person is invited to participate in bicultural activities. To decline is considered to be racist - a subtle but effective form of coercion.

2. A person is expected to participate in bicultural activities, by their organisation. To object or to absent oneself from the cultural activity will be considered racist and illustrate an unwillingness to abide by the cultural standards to which the organisation is now committed.

3. A person is required to participate in bicultural activities as a condition (often unstated and unwritten) of their employment within the organisation. Failure to do so incurs significant penalties.

Enforced acculturation also requires people to accept a range of cultural attributes which could well be quite foreign and quite unacceptable to those of European heritage.

A  classic example is the equal position of women in modern-day Western society, which is totally contrary to the tikanga  of some iwi. Another is the suppression of individualism. (see Mead, pp 115-6 and elsewhere).

Demands that aspects of Maori culture be accorded equal usage with Western European/English culture in everyday life is particularly vocal in our universities, along the lines that the so-called treaty “partnership” accords it such equality. But these stupid, shallow academics fail to understand that according Maori culture due respect and status, (which in my opinion is a noble objective), is quite a different issue to demanding it’s everyday usage (often very badly) by 84% of the population to which it is quite foreign. This is beginning to look and feel  ridiculous.

Should New Zealanders be concerned about being  compelled  to adopt and practice tikanga Maori in their everyday activities? Does it really matter in the fullness of life? Indeed, in doing so, will Pakeha then be accused by Maori of tokenism, or even “cultural appropriation”? How do Maori feel about manuhiri (the rest of us) engaging in tikanga, often badly?  

Enforced acculturation  is not building empathy-it is building significant and increasing resentment.

Let us for a moment imagine a totally different scenario, where participation in tikanga Maori is entirely voluntary and enthusiastically embraced by Pakeha . Imagine the goodwill and empathy which could be generated by a non-compulsory invitation to engage in various forms of tikanga?

But this approach is absolutely rejected  by the bicultural activists who see compulsory adoption as their primary goal. Besides, forced compliance is associated with mana (prestige). Blaming “the colonisers” for every failing of our society, attracts huge  political and media attention. I, and I am sure many others, totally reject this opinion:  it is not a factual, evidenced-based claim at all, but a politicised opinion trotted out regularly by the bicultural activists and some prominent  Maori (who should know better) - yet another  classic case of “argumentum ad nauseam”.

The majority of New Zealanders (some 70+ %) are of European descent. A further 15% are of Asian descent. We cannot change or deny this fact, though some may choose not to identify as such.  Our Asian migrants (Chinese and Indian) for example, bring many desirable traits - respect for elders; a passionate belief in hard work;  absolute value of education; and comparatively few end up as social beneficiaries or in our criminal justice system. Yet they bear the brunt of sometimes vicious racist behaviour by others, including some Labour and NZ First politicians and other ethnic minorities.  

The early missionaries brought religion, literacy, and significant medical and technological knowledge. European culture provided our earliest inhabitants with an introduction to the world as it then was, which was unknown to them. And of course, te Ao Maori was equally unknown to the rest of the world. Captain Cook, for all his claimed faults, recorded a New Zealand unknown elsewhere. Maori enthusiastically embraced many of these new  developments, especially the  technology  of tools and firearms.

New Zealand has given us all, the opportunity to become whatever we wish to be and the highest offices of the land have been or are held by extremely competent persons of all cultures and ethnicities, including Maori.

We have, as a people, together worked, wept, served and died for New Zealand and intermarried in increasing numbers.

But the bicultural activists  would have us believe that  our cultures are irrevocably separate and opposed: and that, according to John Tamihere, co-leader of the Maori Party, all Pakeha are racist colonisers. I say Bunkum and Bulldust to them.

 I absolutely support the rights of others to practice their own cultural customs, but equally, I reserve the right to engage in and practice my own cultural norms and values without having someone else’s cultural norms imposed upon me- unless I absolutely and freely agree to adopt them of my own volition. In spite of all this, there is much to celebrate and enjoy when New Zealand’s various cultures interact. Let’s make tikanga  voluntary, not compulsory and threatening? And if we aspire to engage in it, that we do it properly? Let us enjoy Morris Dancing, Dragon Dancing and the haka! All are equally unique.

Henry Armstrong is retired, follows politics, and writes.


Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

I am a member of the largest European immigrant group in NZ (Dutch).
How about a Dutch Language Week?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Henry for outlining this so eloquently, I couldn't agree more. Where are all the comments? Are people too afraid? I and my children cling to the hope that there is a huge silent-majority out there who think like this - but I suspect there isn't or that the numbers are rapidly dwindling. Our apathy is allowing this to happen and the infiltration and indoctrination occurring in our schooling is accelerating false "biculturalism".

Unknown said...

thank you for putting into words exactly how I have been feeling for years now.
I am 78 years old, have worked in both private and public sectors and also not for profit organisations. This rubbish was perpetuated through every government funded agency as part of their funding arrangement - our bi-cultural training consisted of a Maori guy coming in once a week and singing Maori songs to us, 10 people sitting in a room listening because we had no choice, attend or you lose your job. What a waste of time and money. This was a well known charity organisation who was funded by the Government. Goes on throughout the country and has been for years. It needs to be exposed for what it is, bullying and co-ersion by a minority group who happened to arrive in New Zealand first. The bowing and scraping of our Politians and so-called academics, most have of whom have been brainwashed as part of their application to come and work and live in New Zealand is sickening.
My ancesters have been here since the early 1880s, no Maori blood in my family at all so my grandchildren will be penalized because nobody hopped into bed with a Maori..... how is that right or fair??

Unknown said...

This is a very well said piece. I applaud you for laying out this issue so clearly and succinctly. I too believe That this compulsion to force biculturalism on the public is more Destructive to inclusiveness then bringing people along willingly. When will it stop?

Geoffrey said...

Perhaps the anglicised spelling of Niu Tirani would be New Tyranny?

Margaret Jones said...

I totally agree. This article has put into words what I and my family have always felt and believed. New Zealand is a multicultural society and all cultures need to be acknowledged and celebrated.

Rod K said...

I am thrilled to read such a succinct and appropriate coverage of the biculturalism crap being foisted upon us, every which way you look. As Henry so aptly states, "Enforced acculturation is not building empathy-it is building significant and increasing resentment.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, our politicians, both central and local, appear to be completely oblivious of the widespread negative attitudes to the creeping biculturalism pervading our society. There is no justification and nor can there be, but any 'Polly(s)' smart and brave enough to act on this premise, will surely flourish. We can live in hope!


Dave Menzies said...

What a shame that there is proven archeological proof that people
were living here over 2000 years ago!!! Some evidence has mysteriously been disappeared though, very convenient for some peoples who are doing their best to re-write NZ;s true history.

Even the chinese were here in the early 1400's.

Moldie are just immigrants like the rest of us. They annihilated the Patupiarehe,
kahupungapunga,Turehu,Ngati Hotu & Waitaha people who were well established in NZ
when the moldies arrived VERY late in the piece. I wonder who the people were who's bones were ground up for fertilser ( found in the Mangere area in the early 1900's). Local moldies stated that they were " NOT of our people", so who were they & how did they get into one big burial of 6000 people's worth of skeletons?????

Answer THAT you re-writers of NZ history!!!!!

Bryan Johnson said...

In 1951 I served in the R.N.Z.N, for the United Nations Forces defending the South Koreans against the communist invaders from North Korea. Now as a former teacher at 90 years of age I find that the democratic rights and freedom I sought for the South Koreans are denied me in my native land by a racially compliant government, egregiously acquisitive part-Maori, a Woke media unwilling to promote objective reportage and the pathetically apathetic mass referred to as the Silent Majority

Mervyn said...

It may for the author to bone up on "Critical Race Theory" which is gain ining considerable momentum in Western academia and is colonising the the judicial, educational and administrative institutions of the English speaking world.Critical Race THeory is founded upon the notion that "individualism" ( free expression , freedom of association and right to the ownership of ones labour-private property and hence capitalism) are "White Privelege" constructs that subjugate all other races and to achieve racial equity need be replacing by "collectivism"
In the NZ context this means the Treaty of Waitangi rooted in individualism is a document of "White Supremacy" subjugating Maori collectivist culture. Hence we have the construct of biculturallism, Maori as one block victim of everyone else, mirroring the position in America of blacks being descended from slavery the victims of everyone else.. Expect to hear more about "Whiteness" as a problem in our institutions, Maori language being pushed in our schools to provide a wooden horse for promoting the idea of Maori victimhood , white colonial injustice and the moral baggage white people need to apologise for by bowing to evey Maori cultural demands in our institutions.
Expect also that nothing will suffice.

KP said...

It is why the calls of "Kiwi come home" falls on deaf ears for the million of us living overseas. The NZ I left no longer exists, and I would be stuck in a permanent rage in the strange Alice-in-Wonderland that has replaced it.

Tony Sayers said...

Congratulations Henry Armstrong. You have displayed the intelligence and courage that I had hoped other Kiwis would display following my post on the NZCPR website in 2015 entitled "The Tail Wagging The Dog".( Comment rules do not permit me to include a link to the article, but you can Google it).

We share the same concerns, and it is encouraging to see another Kiwi put their head above the parapet to wake up the great numbers of non-Maori who are sleep-walking into a future that has dire consequences for their children, if the current trend towards biculturalism and Treaty Partnership is not opposed.

For those too scared to openly oppose this Social & Political Engineering, you can still have an affect via the ballot box.
We have witnessed the damage done by both National and Labour, who have pursued the Maori votes. Don't be sucked in again!

Tony Sayers.

terry handcock said...

i would just like to say that all this bs is not for the benefit of maori but is aimed to divide the country and is working very well. it is just part of the communist agenda to bring this country down.

Kerry Hart said...

Henry has expressed exactly how I feel, justifying the views that I have expressed to family and friends about the subtle attack on us whities. I have been pilloried for my views, accused of being a dreadful racist who needs to examine himself. The woke media bombards us with maori words intermingled with English that I don't understand. I've almost given up on listening to commercial-free radio (funded by the taxpayer) and TVNZ is also heading in the same direction.

I keep hoping that the majority won't get sucked into the lie that the Treaty is a partnership but the government is likely to push the tikanga principles into law if Labour is re-elected. I'm proud of what my ancestors from England and Denmark accomplished when they arrived in this country and will vehemently oppose any attempt to diminish that value, which all NZers currently enjoy.
I am really concerned that my grandkids and great grandkids are now getting sucked into this "social engineering tsunami".

I've been forbidden by her indoors to enlighten them, which is sad because I have grave fears for their future.

Jack said...

This recalls some years ago when I did a Polytech course in jade and other stone carving.
The young Maori tutor who took the Maori aspects of the course - supposedly including the spiritual aspects of pounamu - persued a blatant approach of Maori right/Pakeha wrong until the lecture when he stated (and I quote) "some of you won't be around when my kids are running this country". At this point I withdrew from his lectures as a silent protest.
I also recall the start-of-year Polytech welcoming ceremony to students conducted mostly in Maori when obviously very few present understood what was being said.
Having shared my love of music with Maori musicians over the years I find the political agendas behind the enforced acceptance of bi-culturalism to be very unfortunate when we should all be enjoying each others' talents and enthusiasms.

Russ said...

I was reading this with much interest until I got to the word pakeha...this very word promotes the divisiveness and bi-culturalism that you are disdainful about. A more appropriate journalistic way of saying the p work is "New Zealander's who don't identify as Maori". The word pakeha is not indifferent to the word nigger.