Partnership is well established; we are emphatically two people divided by race.
- Dr John Robinson
The original apartheid
The policy of apartheid (an Afrikaans word meaning “apartness” or “separation”) became official in South Africa with the election of the Nationalist Party to power in 1948. However policies in the country, based along racial lines, dated back to the early 20th century. The successive governments of the Union of South Africa passed many laws giving preference to the white minority – under 20% of the population – and discriminating against other groupings – Blacks, Asians and Coloureds. However from 1948 onwards apartheid was fine-tuned to base life in South Africa on the principles of “separate development”.
The Population Registration Act was in Prime Minister Daniel Malan’s words the basis for the whole policy of apartheid. Fundamentally people were classified by race/ethnicity. However, the legislation that followed essentially divided the people into two broad categories - WHITES and NON-WHITES. These laws separated the groups in the use of amenities, marriage and sexual relations, where people could live, go to work or school etc.. Historian David Harrison in his book The White Tribe of Africa observed that apartheid was designed to enforce separation in every sphere of life from buses to bed. The bottom line was to keep the minority whites in firm control of government and the economy.
Strengthening the separation
Successive South African administrations continued adding bricks to the apartheid wall, such as the -
- Native Resettlement Act
- Bantu Education Act
- Native Laws Amendment Act
- Extension of Universities Education Act
- Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act
- The Native Labour Act
- Native Abolition of Passes and Coordination of Documents Act.
Apartheid would last until 1990 when President F W de Klerk announced the abandonment of the policy. In 1994, in its first democratic election ever, the African National Congress swept to power and Nelson Mandela became president.
New Zealand’s road to apartheid – ignoring Treaty realities
Our brand of apartheid is both more subtle and more blatant. Most of the public are probably unaware that there are more than 100 pieces of legislation making special provision for Maori rights and culture.
(The mainstream media are no help in objectively educating the public, as the two biggest organisations – NZME and Stuff - are dependent on government handouts and will not bite the hand that feeds them.)
Favouritism for Maori started with the 1974 Maori Affairs Amendment Act which changed the definition of Maori to include part-Maori with any degree of Maori ancestry. A key feature of subsequent laws was that they were related to the imagined principles of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) and to the so-called partnership established between the Crown and Maori. For example the 1986 State-Owned Enterprise Act includes the statement - Nothing in the Act shall be inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The partnership aspect is often expressed in the phrase: Special regard for values, customs and beliefs of Maori people, as in the 1989 Oranga Tamariki Act. An extension of this partnership principle was the need to consult with Maori as in the 1993 Biosecurity Act – “The Minister must consult with tangata whenua when making biosecurity plans”.
No need to talk with Chinese, Samoan, Irish or any other group of New Zealanders. Separatism – the favoured Maori and the rest - was well underway by the early 1990s.
However, on the face of it, there was a big problem which has continued to be ignored - neither partnership nor principles were mentioned in the Treaty. In the 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi -
- Maori chiefs ceded the entire sovereignty of New Zealand (Nu Tirani) to Queen Victoria.
- The Queen guaranteed the possession of their lands, dwellings and all their property (taonga) to the chiefs and tribes, and all the people of New Zealand.
- All New Zealanders were guaranteed the rights and privileges of British subjects.
This is the only valid Treaty - the 1840 Freeman and 1989 Kawharu treaties are fakes. Te Tiriti provided for equality for all natives and settlers, and there was not a principle in sight. No partnership featured either for the obvious reason that the Crown cannot constitutionally enter into a partnership with a particular group of its people be they Welsh, Australian Aboriginals or Maori.
Hobson famously said We are now one people to each signatory at Waitangi on February 6 1840, and Jacinda Ardern said something similar after the mosque attacks in 2019. However, the reality is that we are increasing becoming two people – Maori and the rest.
Two United Nations declarations
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. New Zealand immediately signed up to it and there was no dissent in the country. There are two articles of particular relevance related to equality.
Article 1 - All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Article 7 - All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.
Sadly in present-day New Zealand, Maori, like the pigs in Animal Farm, are now more equal than others.
The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007.
Prime Minster Helen Clark wouldn’t have a bar of it, but the devious and manipulative John Key, being dependent on Maori Party support to stay in power, “sold his soul” and allowed Pita Sharples to scuttle off to New York to secretly sign the country up to the Declaration in 2010. Our country should have been declared ineligible because Maori are indigenous to eastern Polynesia but not New Zealand.
Like the rest of us, the Polynesian ancestors of today’s part-Maori were immigrants and there were people already living here when they arrived.
New Zealand’s version of apartheid is evolving
As in apartheid South Africa, New Zealand classifies its people by ethnicity. Despite my best efforts to claim I am a New Zealander, I am often lumped for official purposes as European even though I have no ancestry from that continent.
Readers will be very familiar with the constant use of ethnic statistics in New Zealand so essentially we have an unwritten Population Registration Act. Ironically if our part-Maori people – about 16% of the population - had been living in South Africa in the apartheid era they would have been classified as “Coloureds”.
As mentioned above, Maori get favoured treatment in most of our legislation and they have seven special seats in parliament which cannot be justified. Even if you accept that part-Maori should be specially represented, they currently have over 20% of the seats. There is also a separate ministry for Maori and in the present government a fifth of the cabinet led by Nanaia Mahuta are Maori. Furthermore, in every budget there are always large allocations for Maori organisations and services.
In university education there are special places set aside for Maori and recently the Marlborough District Health Board advertised many positions for which they very obviously wanted Maori applicants. (Surely a breach of advertising standards?) In local body politics, Councils have been encouraged to have special wards for unelected Maori, and they are required to consult and work with local iwi – so-called “Treaty partners” - on all issues.
He Puapua rears its ugly head
Now the He Puapua document, based around the non-binding requirements of the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights, has come to light, having been kept secret for two years. It sets out a blueprint for progressively giving more and more control of natural resources and infrastructure to Maori, and setting up various separate Maori authorities on the road to joint Crown-Maori government by 2040.
Despite unconvincing bleatings that this is not government policy some of its provisions have already been implemented or are in the pipeline -
- Denying cities, districts and regions the right to have referenda on separate Maori wards.
- Pushing ahead with establishing a separate Maori Health Authority.
- Publishing a compulsory New Zealand History Curriculum for years 1 to 10 which is clearly designed to indoctrinate children in Maori history, heritage, beliefs and values.
- Plans to give Maori a key role in deciding issues related to water resources and land use.
Separatism the basis for New Zealand apartheid
Currently we do not have the more extreme policies that the South African governments implemented in the apartheid era and there are no pakustans where “European” New Zealanders are required to live.
However more and more the part-Maori minority is being favoured, and as their power increases the rest of us are losing some of our democratic rights. One gets the strong impression that the vast majority of people with some Maori blood just want to get on with their lives and get their fair share, but no more, of government services. The drive for increased separatism is led by a small, vocal minority consisting of iwi leaders, Maori politicians and ivory-tower Maori academics who represent “Maori privilege”, as well as non-Maori fellow-travellers.
There is no question that many part-Maori at the bottom end of the socio-economic ladder have significant needs, like a smaller percentage of other ethnic groups. However as National deputy leader, part-Maori Shane Reti has observed, health services should be provided on the basis of need and not race. This is definitely the right road to greater equity for those who are currently struggling.
However, the current Labour administration is dominated by the Maori caucus led by Nanaia Mahuta and Willie Jackson and they are the stroke paddlers in the He Puapua canoe. It is amazing that in the lead up to last year’s election the Maori master plan flew under the radar of New Zealand First intelligence. Was Winston Peters too preoccupied with concerns over information leaks, the donations scandal, court cases and his responsibilities as Deputy Prime Minister? If he had got to know, we would currently not have a stand-alone Labour government and the implementation of Maori separatist policies which are steadily undermining New Zealand’s democracy.
So long as the activists have power and influence in government, Maori separatism will increase and apartheid in New Zealand will intensify based on the myth of Crown-Maori partnership.
Roger Childs is a retired teacher who taught History, Social Studies and Geography for 40 years.