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 simply silly.
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 society.
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 our democracy.
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 process.
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.