Sunday, October 2, 2022

Lindsay Mitchell: Stoush between collectivist and individualist Māori

A stoush between collectivist and individualist Māori is long overdue. It has simmered for a long time but this week boiled over when Kelvin Davis exposed his thinking for all and sundry to examine. He confirmed that a Māori world with its own set of values exists, and that anyone with even a smidgen of Māori heritage should get themselves into it. It wasn't a kindly suggestion. It was a command. The cost of not complying? Derision and ostracism. It's reminiscent of the treatment handed out to those who don't want to be part of the Gloriavale commune.

The tribe is a communistic unit. The tribe takes precedence. It owns you. Its culture is all-encompassing. It provides strength in numbers, security and identity. But it is also stultifying and limiting depending on which lens it is viewed through. Ultimately, inevitably, whether at the micro or macro level, the question must be answered. Is your allegiance to the tribe, or is it to yourself and your chosen group of family and friends.

If the two overlap, all well and good.

But in New Zealand (and Australia), for tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of Māori, they don't. Mixed partnerships are more common than those with the same ethnicity. And each of these partnerships - many producing children - will face issues of concurrent cultures.

Increasingly, through media and public services, through health, justice and education, the Māori culture is being prioritised. To the point of being romanticized and lionized. Long-standing rules about the state being secular are broken to accommodate Māori spiritualism. Te reo - or knowledge of te ao - is de facto compulsory inasmuch as, if you don't have it there are now careers that are barred to you. The Māori 'team' propelling this are on a roll. They are in ascendancy. They have gathered non-Māori into their tribe with astonishing success and seeming ease, though reflecting on the creeping compulsion maybe 'ease' is the wrong word. As far back as the nineties you wouldn't progress through a public service job interview if unable to demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the Treaty.

Prior to this compulsory cultural renaissance people managed their own conflicts. Where they had a foot in both camps - the tribe and the alternative - they made their own decisions. Some stayed, some divided their time, some rejected. In the middle of last century sociologists observed Pakeha men who married Māori women tended to move into the tribe; Māori men who married non-Māori moved into the non-tribal society. Tension would have existed always but so did the freedom to choose.

What kind of society wants to remove that freedom? One in which the collective trumps the individual.

Forget all the hoo-ha about culture, values and Māori mysticism. Colonisation, oppression and racism. They are only trinkets to tempt followers of fashion.

What is happening is a clash between philosophies. Politics is the practical expression of philosophy.

So it isn't surprising that the strong-arming to get with the Māori worldview programme is coming from the left (the Labour Māori caucus, Green and Māori Party MPs). And those resisting are coming from the right (National and ACT). What played out in parliament this week, and is still reverberating with non-politicians now entering the fray, is the age-old stoush between collectivism and individualism. It's New Zealand's cold war.

If we are going to be forced to take a side, and mounting evidence points to this eventuality no matter your ethnicity, think of the conflict in these terms.

Do you want to own your own life?

Lindsay Mitchell is a welfare commentator who blogs HERE


DeeM said...

Excellent article, Lindsay.
Providing insight into the tribal culture and thought processes of our Maori elite, who now find themselves with real power and influence to change things for their own betterment, to the detriment of the rest of us.

Tribes are by definition self-interested and concerned with their own well-being to the exclusion of everyone else.
Every Maori policy demonstrates this. Special rights and privileges...and money!

The truth is that there is no Maori tribe anymore. Everyone is interbred with another ethnicity. The tribe is purely a vehicle to ensure our PART-Maori elite can grab as much power and wealth as possible.

Anonymous said...

I think the covid " pandemic" was the initual test to see if the pubic would give up individual thought and freedoms. Right from the beginning it said on the govt health website ' this is a mild illness for most." Yet most nzers accepted one of the most draconian lockdowns in the world. I think that was the test, the green light to an authoritarian leaning govt that we will collectively accept nonsense, so it's a clear road ahead for this racial division nonsense also.

Anna Mouse said...

On top of that is the fact that becasue Maoridom are Iwi tribalised they are unable to be an homogenous group.
Many, many NZ Maori leave NZ and move to Australia (and elsewhere).
In Australia they seem to become far more successful both socially and economically than their respective relatives left in NZ.
Could this be because in Australia they are set free from the tribal/whanau restrictions and find their own identities and individuality?
IMO the answer is clear to that question.

Anonymous said...

no matter how much 'indigenous' cultures are romanticised, all are inherently tribalistic by design. of course, that was the most suitable option during primitive times. exposure to prosperity based on one's own initiative is the only way to get people to break away from this mindset...

Robert Arthur said...

Some activists identify pro but non trace maori as te tiritirists. In addition to very many woke, most public service and council employees, teachers, and nurses, also seems to include near all Pacific islanders. Now very conveniently we have clearly definend vanilla maoris, regarded by activist maori as inferior even to the remaining all embracing category; colonists. Some latter now 8th generation or beyond. Some are 63/64 colonist but recognised as "maori" neverthelss .. and qualify for all the handout favours.