Forest & Bird
Thank you for your recent mailing with advice that my membership
is due for annual renewal.
Sadly, after more than 40 years of membership of Forest
& Bird, I must advise that I can no longer remain as a member.
This is not because of straightened circumstances, nor because of any lessening in my concern for the protection of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna.
Rather, it is because of an apparent decision to use the
organisation in the cause of undermining our nation’s democracy.
This development became obvious a year ago when your CEO,
Kevin Hague, chose to express Christmas and New Year greetings to members and supporters in Maori. I wrote to Kevin expressing my concern at
this, and have yet to receive the courtesy of even an acknowledgement. The practice has continued this year, the
result being so contrived as to be farcical.
Christmas is one of the two essential festivals in the
Christian faith. Its celebration is a
pivotal event in European culture and heritage, with the Nativity and Madonna and Child
being dominant subjects of Renaissance art. Christianity and the associated
celebration of Christmas was introduced to this country by French and British
missionaries, being no part of traditional Maori culture. To suggest by choice of language that
Christmas is an essentially Maori tradition is a deliberate act aimed at
suppressing people’s awareness of and pride in their Western heritage. As such, it is culturally offensive.
Maori tradition is to celebrate New Year via Matariki not on
1 January. To suggest via the choice
of language that the celebration of New Year on 1 January has suddenly acquired an essentially Maori dimension is
Beyond the obvious inappropriateness and silliness of this
behaviour lies a more sinister intent. As George Orwell observed in his novel “1984”, he/she who controls
language, controls the mind. The
intrusive use of the Maori language in circumstances that have nothing to do
with Maori culture or heritage is an
essential feature of a wider agenda aimed at the establishment
of Maori as a default cultural setting for our entire society, this being but a means to the end of creating a climate
of acceptance of apartheid in New Zealand.
Apartheid arises when a race-based minority manages to impose its cultural and political
will on the majority. Iwi leaders
now openly advance their goal of controlling at least half of government at all
levels, and their unelected roles in local and regional government go largely
unchallenged. When iwi leaders, in
the name of 15% of the population aim at control of no less than 50% of
government, that signals the end of the democracy that underpins our free
That this intention goes largely unchallenged is because the media, government, private and
charitable agencies all, via their choice of language, reinforce the notion that te ao maori should permeate all things. Once the public accept that notion, it is
but a short step to accepting that unelected iwi nominees will exercise
authority over us In the name of “partnership”.
As an example of this, I mention but one of countless recent
developments. Early last year, a Local
Bill was presented to the House by Rino Tirikatene aimed at empowering Ngai
Tahu to nominate two unelected members to the Canterbury Regional Council; thanks to NZ First, the Bill was
defeated. Were the same or a similar
Bill introduced today, it would be
carried. While direct unelected appointment of iwi nominees onto local/regional councils
is not yet a reality, what is a reality is the practice of allowing unelected
iwi nominees to act as full voting members of council standing committees. This is a first step in the undermining of
As an individual, I cannot have any effect on this
undermining of our democratic institutions, any more than people who saw the
way things were trending in Germany in the 1930’s could stand against
Nazism. However, I do not accept the
undermining of our democracy, and I am certainly not continuing to make
financial contributions to organisations which choose to aid and abet the
The endless insertion of Maori terminology into our daily language at the expense of established social and/or cultural expressions may not seem sinister in itself, but the creation of a climate of acceptance of race-based political authority and attacks on our democracy certainly is.
John Bell is a former secondary teacher with grass-roots political experience including in the National Party and PPTA.