Regrettably, I have been coerced and have selected Pakeha or European rather than make a new category under “Other” and hand write in “New Zealander” or “Kiwi”.
I find it unacceptable that despite our feedback over several decades, the government are still coercing the Pakeha identity on New Zealanders with European ancestry and am sure other ethnic groups have a similar frustration.
“In 2013 the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study carried out by the University of Auckland found no evidence that the word (Pakeha) was widely considered to be derogatory; however, only 12 per cent of New Zealanders of European descent actively chose to be identified by the term, with the remainder preferring "New Zealander" (53 per cent), "New Zealand European" (25 per cent) and/or "Kiwi" (17 per cent)”. (Wikipedia. 2022).
That’s 88% who didn’t want to be identified as Pakeha, are they completely deaf? That’s a massively overwhelming poll result that should have been acted on.
And in the 1996 census, 36,000 people crossed out all the options they were given and hand wrote “New Zealander”.
In this day and age where a boy is permitted to change his gender identity to female on the way to school at a whim, why are we being forced to assign to an identity we clearly don’t want?
The truth is that no one else’s opinion matters regarding our identity, we don’t need anyone’s permission, we don’t need a team of language experts, we don’t need a hui, it’s 100% our choice so all we need to do is to make a decision and then demand that our rights are respected.
The more I have considered my identity as a New Zealander who happens to have European ancestry, the more I understand why I don’t relate to the name Pakeha.
I have also come to realise that the Pakeha label is also causing harm to us and to New Zealand as there are subconscious connotations attached to every label and for Pakeha, they are negative and that label is derogatory and divisive.
The Pakeha label falsely links us with historic crimes against Māori as many still associate that name with the theft or illegal confiscation of some of their lands in the 1800’s so it is not a name we want as it has negative connotations attached to it.
As Jacinda’s spin team would say “They are not us”, I had nothing to do with the confiscation or theft of Māori lands, obviously I was not even a twinkle in Dad’s eye or he in his father’s, I am 100% innocent of that crime and anything that connects me to it is erroneous and harmful but not just to me, to Māori also.
It is little wonder many Māori are stuck in the past and can’t move forward, our identification as Pakeha is continuously connecting us to divisive history, that’s wrong on two accounts, firstly we had no part in it and secondly, it’s a painful history that we all are struggling to move past so it is divisive to keep dredging it up, it’s like constantly rubbing a wound so it can’t heal.
As a young man, I was approached by a Māori man on the town street where I lived and he asked me for a cigarette, so I gave him one and lit it, then he said:” You took our land, we’ll take your cigarettes”.
I didn’t take his land and technically he didn’t take the cigarette, I gave it to him but the point is, all he saw when he looked at me was a Pakeha, and he imposed on me the sins of those who took Māori land illegally 180 years ago just because of my colour.
As long as we allow ourselves to be called Pakeha we will forever be connected to crimes against Māori and that is a significant obstacle to us all becoming “One People”.
This association of today’s non-Māori New Zealanders via the Pakeha label to the British colonisers in the 1800’s just because of our colour is racial profiling. It’s what drives the He Puapua supremacists to hate us despite our innocence and that historic division is what they want the Māori people to focus on to gain support for their racist agenda. Their agenda is toxic for all New Zealanders so we need to stop acting like sheep being led to the slaughter and take that hate generating weapon out of their hands by refusing that label.
Our history is too complicated and messy to explain in-depth here and also very hard to summarise but as I see it, the Musket wars read badly for Māori, and the Land wars and early British governance reads badly for the early Europeans in New Zealand. So, there really aren’t any truly innocent people in that history apart from the Morori whose pacifism in the face of their slaughter was truly remarkable.
However, we can’t bring back the dead, we can’t return the same ground taken illegally if it’s got a town on it, but we can still provide appropriate compensation and we can still offer apologies for the wrongs of the past, i.e., Iwi to Iwi, The Crown to Māori, the Māori to Morori etc. I would rather we spend money on that compensation to help put that history in the rear vision mirror and move forward together in unity than waste it on separate health systems, 3 waters, Te Pukenga and all the other misguided and racist policies of this Labour government.
The only positive option left for New Zealanders is to move forward by finishing the treaty grievance process and becoming “One People” as was the main point of the Treaty. Again, to simplify it, Māori agreed to become British citizens with equal rights and in turn, they agreed to sell land to the British agents before offering it to other nations such as the French.
There will always be those who will throw out their hate anchors to stop New Zealand from healing and moving forward but we can’t let them divide us further with their racist policies in the guise of indigenous rights.
Anything that undermines every New Zealander’s right to be treated equally or gives extra rights based on ethnicity is racist, it’s wrong and will have bad consequences. Don’t be fooled by the twisted use of the equity philosophy employed by those who want to justify their special privilege, only equality can be the foundation of our rights and freedoms. If the UN thinks the answer to divisive history is to elevate the rights of one ethnic group above the others, then they are just meddling fools that should be ignored as that undermines the foundation of equality which in turn undermines the rights and freedoms that are built on it.
We need to purge New Zealand of this Labour government hellbent on social engineering and pushing their socialist agendas at any cost. We need to stop these He Puapua supremacists and their racist agenda to elevate their rights significantly above other New Zealanders who would then become 2nd class citizens. One of the ways we will achieve that is by removing the deceitful devices they use to justify their claims for extra rights and privilege, like the equity deception and tools they use to feed hate like the Pakeha label knowing how divisive it is.
Regardless of how we view New Zealand’s messy history and assign blame, we can all agree that many Māori still have historic anger for a group of people they called Pakeha, many Māori have even been taught to hate Pakeha from childhood and so many spit that name out of their mouths when they speak it because of that association and conditioning.
Therefore, when considering the label Pakeha, the actual meaning of the word is irrelevant, the exact assigning of blame for the wars is also irrelevant as the truth is that Pakeha will always be a derogatory and a divisive name because of its association with some ugly history, that name has been tainted and should never be applied to any 21st century Kiwis as it’s a racist slur.
Whilst I am proud of my European ancestry, even the label New Zealand European is incorrect for me as I am not European, I have never even set foot in Europe.
I have no citizenship rights or status in Europe whatsoever because my ancestors arrived in New Zealand over 150 years ago, my great grandfather was born here so I am a Kiwi and New Zealand is my only home and the primary source of my identity.
Earlier this century my ancestors fought alongside Europeans and other Kiwis including Māori against the Nazis who were also Europeans. European is such a broad term that it can describe both your allies and your enemies. The British group includes, the Irish and the Scots and they both fought England back in the day so it’s complicated. But ultimately, I don’t relate to being identified as European, it implies that I am from Europe and can return there when I am not and I can’t.
When the All Blacks take the field with that unique blend of Kiwis that makes us so effective and we beat the European teams, I’m a proud Kiwi, and despite my distant ancestry, supporting the Irish against the All Blacks is not a consideration, no I’m not European and definitely not Pakeha, I’m a Kiwi.
The label pakeha was the name Māori assigned to the Europeans who first came to New Zealand in the 18th century, however, because I am not European and I live in the 21st century, it’s not a label that remotely reflects who I am.
Also having my identity defined by a Māori word with indistinct origins is not an appropriate choice, it confuses my identity and it creates an identity crisis as every people should be described by a name they understand and relate to.
Over the years there has been a bit of debate as to the origins of the word Pakeha, the Encyclopaedia of NZ (1966) defines it below.
“Pakeha, which is a Māori term for the white inhabitants of New Zealand, was in vogue even prior to 1815. Its original meaning and origin are obscure, but the following are possible origins, the first being the most probable:
pakepakeha: imaginary beings resembling men.
- From pakehakeha: one of the sea gods.
- From keha: a flea- From poaka: a pig.”
As you can see, one of the options is Pig which may be responsible for some of the rumours I heard when growing up but that doesn’t look logical, and the term “pakepakeha” is by far the most likely source and it doesn’t appear to be inherently derogatory.
However, even if we accept that Pakeha is not a derogatory title in itself, and we also ignore the divisive historical connection, it’s still vague, it’s from a different time and is a definition from a different ethnic group so it’s a bad fit.
I am not Māori and my culture is different to theirs, mum didn’t swing poi, I don’t feel the urge to hongi or do the haka and I don’t really like hangi food or boil-ups, I prefer BBQ but that’s OK as we don’t have to be the same to respect each other.
Māori have been part of my life since I was a child and still are, I have several Māori friends who are wonderful people, I just don’t want my identity defined by another culture whether that’s Māori or Chinese or whatever, our identity needs to be defined by 21st century Kiwis, not 18th century Māori.
In New Zealand we have Kiwis of many flavours and significant populations of Māori, Pacifica, Chinese, Indians and those of European ancestry and each needs to define their own identity. Some of us will identify closely with our ethnic roots, others like me identify as a New Zealander first and my ethnic roots are secondary.
The Pakeha label should not be forced on me when I don’t want it and it simply doesn’t fit with my identity, instead, it confuses and diminishes it, I believe it’s divisive and it is derogatory, and I don’t want it and that choice needs to be respected.
The N-word started as a word one ethnic group used to define another ethnic group with dark skin, i.e., black in Latin is niger. Whilst a relatively benign word to describe a colour, it was used in a derogatorily way and become a racist insult so people of African descent rightly rejected it, and their right to choose has been respected and it is not acceptable to use that term anymore. Pakeha is also a word to describe the appearance of one ethnic group by another and is currently used in New Zealand in a similar derogatory way by haters of white-skinned people and should suffer a similar fate.
Imagine if every ethnic group in New Zealand ignored the ethnic labels in official forms and wrote “Kiwi” or “New Zealander” in the “Other” option instead, wouldn’t that send a powerful unifying message to our government and deliver a blow to those who would divide us into ethnic groups and then elevate the rights of one group above all the others?
I prefer Kiwi as my identity because it has become the affectionate and inclusive nickname for all New Zealanders when abroad, it’s obviously of Māori origin which is fitting but it’s also the name all New Zealanders use to describe a unique and well-loved bird that is a native of New Zealand which is also fitting as all of us who are born in New Zealand are natives.
New Zealand is the official name of our country and Māori don’t have a word for New Zealand, Aotearoa was their name for the north island. It is possible for us to claim our identity as “New Zealanders” only to have it become obsolete if a pressure group is successful in changing our nation’s name in the future, so Kiwi has a permanence about it that I also like.
We are all immigrants to New Zealand and the Māori have their own story of immigration as we all do, however, the Māori supremacists act like they are the only natives of New Zealand and the rest of us are just foreigners and they refuse to acknowledge our status as fellow New Zealanders with equal rights.
They don’t want to acknowledge that their distant ancestors weren’t born in New Zealand just like ours weren’t and they certainly don’t want to discuss the oral traditions that suggest that there were people already here when they arrived. David Rankin | (wordpress.com).
"Pākehā should stay away from using the term 'discrimination', especially when it comes to Māori seeking equality when it comes to representation in their own country."
Rawiri Waititi said this about David Parker’s objection to proposed legislation that would give Māori extra voting power in a local council, Parker rightly said it would discriminate against non-Māori.
This two-line sentence from Waititi speaks volumes about the Māori Supremacist beliefs, note the use of Pakeha to attach a negative connotation to Parker as if he needs to apologise for his ethnicity, note the reference to New Zealand being Māori’s “own country” as if it’s not anyone else’s, note the inference that its only discrimination if Pakeha does it, when Māori discriminate its equality. Also, note the ridiculous contradiction about seeking equality when trying to get double the voting power of non-Māori, that is another example where the corrupted equity philosophy is applied for personal gain at the expense of others.
The fact that a member of parliament can spew such ridiculously self-contradicting and bigoted comments in public and not be censored for it is truly shocking and it’s a clear example of what’s to come if supremacists like Waititi and his ilk get control of New Zealand. I believe in free speech but he is clearly motivated and blinded by hate and he should be roundly condemned as a racist - that’s also free speech and we need to call these racists out and reduce their ability to feed their hate to others.
I am very disappointed to see the supremacists abusing the indigenous title to elevate their rights above other Kiwis, being the first immigrants or even just the most dominant of the early immigrants to New Zealand does not negate the right of all citizens to be equal. I hope the descent Māori people are not buying into the supremacist agenda and can see equality for all as the only way forward, as I would hate to see the divide between Māori and non-Māori get bigger because fundamentally good people let racists represent them.
I get the feeling that if the supremacists are successful, there will be quite a few pale Māori coming out of the woodwork, after all, there is no threshold, it appears the difference between a Māori and a Pakeha is a single drop of Māori blood, a person with 99% non-Māori ancestry can be identified as Māori which is illogical.
It’s probably a good idea to buy shares in DNA blood screening companies now as everyone is going to want to find out if great uncle Harry was 100th Māori so they too can get on the indigenous gravy train and reap all those extra privileges and rights. Then the government will be forced to demand DNA proof as the cost of that privilege will continue to rise, higher taxes will be required to offset that expense and that money will ultimately come from our pay packets.
What a mess, let’s not go there and you know the Iwi elite will take the lion’s share of that money, not the Māori people or those DNA opportunists.
Also, if this Labour government and the supremacists are successful in creating a 2nd class people in New Zealand, a lot of those newly minted 2nd class Kiwis who have a viable option to leave will exercise that option. You can’t blame them, can you imagine a New Zealand run by Waititi and his racist Supremacists with help from Jacinda and her comrades? It is absolutely imperative that all citizens are equal, as that’s the only foundation for a just society.
The Pakeha label should be relegated to the distant past from whence it came, it has no place in New Zealand’s future if we are to be united. I believe that the more people reject the ethnicity-based labels and officially identify as “Kiwis”, the more united New Zealand will become.
Perhaps if we are going to become “One People”, we will need an inclusive name that all New Zealanders can relate to, maybe that’s “Kiwi”. I can see an identity that every New Zealander can claim regardless of their ethnic roots could be the best way to unite this nation.
If you were born in New Zealand then you’re a native Kiwi, and your ethnic roots are irrelevant, if you were born overseas or just identify strongly with your ethnic roots, you may prefer a hyphenated identity like New Zealand-Dutch or New Zealand-Chinese or even New Zealand Māori etc.
Alternatively, you may just want to be called a “Kiwi” or “New Zealander” as you identify with New Zealand first and foremost and think this preoccupation with ethnicity is holding us back.
The point is, define yourself and don’t be defined by someone else’s racist stereotype of your ethnic roots, especially when they intend to use that definition to degrade your rights and turn you into a 2nd class citizen.
My ambition is to see all New Zealanders unite in life as we do in sports, so I am rejecting the divisive Pakeha label, I’m a Kiwi, who are you?
Most of us can’t do a lot, we can only do a little, identifying as Kiwi is a little act from one person in isolation but done by millions, it’s significant.
As a wise man once said. “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little”.
John Franklin – another person who can only do a little.