Anyone who has lived and worked with while benefitting from the company of the Maori people, as l have done for over 40 years, should be well qualified to offer a considered opinion regarding the factors limiting Maoridom’s progress towards greater self determination - assuming of course that this path is the one most suited to the tangata whenua who are currently claiming extraordinary rights to citizenship in this country.
In my humble opinion, the two most obvious “sea anchors” that are limiting progress are “leadership” and the influence of “tribalism” on the ability to work together in a common cause.
Before my many critics jump on my neck in an attempt to silence my contribution to this universal race based debate, l would add that my comments are merely observations developed while working at the coalface. They should not be be taken as a deliberate act aimed at inflaming this already controversial area of conversation. Nor should it be assumed that l have some ulterior motive designed to hamstring the movement of Maori towards assuming their rightful place in New Zealand society.
I don’t have words that adequately describe my respect for the people who have granted me Kaumatua status in my local community.
That is an honour you have to earn.
I simply want to offer constructive criticism of a society that has the ability to do things so much better without any help from anybody else.
They are like most of the rest of us “ their own worst enemy.”
In general (there are obvious exceptions), current Maori political leadership are misrepresenting the true nature of their people’s aspirational goals and as such, are doing the Maori race a huge disservice.
Most of those occupying positions of authority across virtually all sectors of society (particularly academia, in social and health services) are characterised by a revisionist view of our combined heritage and an ideological persuasion that promotes a status of racially determined under resourcing.
Of course that view is not supported by the facts.
If it were true, in my area on the East Coast, where you would expect to see large groups of impoverished families struggling to make ends meet, you would not encounter scenes suggesting a different reality.
In fact, the children enjoy the same, if not better access to health providers of all kinds, free school lunches plus educational facilities that rival the majority in the larger metropolitan areas.
Add to that, the local council’s determination to ensure local infrastructure is well maintained all add up to a position of relative strength for those living in this otherwise beautiful section of paradise.
To infer that Maoridom in general suffers in comparison to its Pakeha cousins in these vital areas is a lie.
The opportunities available to Maori in this country are the same as those offered and accessible to all Kiwis, no matter what their racial status, religious or sexual preference or position on the social ladder.
You only need to talk to or read about those who have taken advantage of those rights of citizenship in this country to know that the populace is being fed a load of bollocks.
Actually, for those who doubt my version of the truth, just come and visit our community which l suggest is a microcosm of provincial New Zealand. You will be amazed at how different reality is to the version being promoted by those who have usurped the positions of leadership that used to be dominated by Kaumatua and Kuia who truly understood that real leadership was a vocational act of self sacrifice and service that becomes ineffective once tainted by self preservation.
Sad to say, the modern leaders are different.
They are (in the main) self serving. It is a tragedy.
The second limiting factor to continued Maori ascendancy is the institutional version of the first. It manifests itself in the structural restrictions associated with tribalism.
If l could name one item that time and again limits progress across all parts of Maori society, it would be the distrust of or inability to work with other tribes.
I have seen this problem influencing decisions involving hapu, iwi and more importantly between runanga. It appears to be a carry over from the pre treaty days when “might was right” and all that mattered.
One might have expected that an intelligent race with so many excellent credentials would have seen this for themselves and made moves to stamp out this antiquated view of a progressive community within a sustainable society.
It won’t work.
Yet it persists and the only people who suffer are those who the modern system is designed to help.
It makes no sense.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.