Monday, August 28, 2023

Damien Grant: When Te Pāti Māori tell us what they stand for we should believe them

American poet Maya Angelou is credited with the statement; “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.”

Angelou was a prolific author and penned seven autobiographies, so the statement could have been a marketing polemic as much as a deep philosophical insight.

Still. It is wise advice. Let’s apply it to politics current bad-boy Rawiri Waititi.

Waititi got into hot water this week because he used the sacred right of parliamentarians to unrestricted freedom of speech to breach a court-ordered suppression order. We reserve to members of parliament this exceptional freedom as a foil against tyranny. It is unfortunate to see this being abused in this manner but Waititi’s willingness to engage in such behaviour is informative.

Maiden speeches are a useful insight into the thinking of newly elected parliamentarians and Waititi’s is outstanding. Looking back at the Treaty he compares Pākeha to sharks, the indigenous peoples as kahawai.

“The great white shark said to the kahawai, ‘Should we form a partnership?’ The kahawai replied, ‘Yes, that sounds like a fantastic idea.’ The great white shark then ate the kahawai and said, ‘Now we are one.’”

I’ll be honest, making my living in the swamp that is insolvency, this would not be the first time I have been compared to a shark, but this sort of language isn’t conductive to building bridges; but reconciliation isn’t the vibe Waititi is chasing.

The co-leader then refers to Stuff’s apology for its historical coverage of Māori issues, and then asks; “When will the Crown do the same?”

It is a shame that Waititi’s historical awareness is not as impressive as his rhetorical skills. According to his bio Waititi has a genealogical link to an impressive nine iwi.

Eight of them had received settlements and apologies at the time of his speech.

Te Whakatōhea, to be fair, did not get their apology until May this year but, if you are looking for Crown apologies there is no shortage to choose from.

Waititi does not lack for ambition. “We want Māori proprietary rights recognised when it comes to water. Māori own the water,” he thundered; and this isn’t a throwaway line.

Te Pati Māori president John Tamihere has made the same claim. “We reject co-governance because we want to have the appropriate conversation about the elephant in the room: how did Pākeha get to the table on a 100% Māori-owned asset?”

You have to admire the chutzpah.

Although, there is one aspect of Waititi’s maiden speech that did warm my libertarian heart; “It is time for Māori to look after Māori, as we know what is best for us. Covid-19 lockdown showed how Māori can look after themselves without Government support or intervention.”

Sadly, however, I suspect Waititi’s interpretation of self-determination without government support would not match my own.

The party’s scope is far-reaching. Their declared policy is to strip all non-Maori place names from these islands; from Kaitaia to Stewart Island our colonial heritage would be extinguished.

Good riddance, some might think, but their policies do not stop at removing Gore and Fendalton from the maps.

The stated policy is to: “Require all Primary Schools to incorporate Te Reo Māori into 25% of their curriculum by 2026 and 50% by 2030.”

This is certainly a bold agenda. Courageous even. It is obviously unworkable; there are simply not enough teachers competent in Te Reo to implement such madness and, presumably, Te Pāti Māori knows it will never fly; but that isn’t the point.

We cannot repair the wrongs of yesterday by creating fresh grievances. That is not a path towards reconciliation nor towards partnership.

New Zealand has made many mistakes, but we have an exceptional record in confronting the failures and sins of past administrations and have instituted a regime of addressing these wrongs.

The Waitangi Tribunal is imperfect but given the complexities of our past, the mixed genealogy of our population and the willingness of people of good-will on all sides to find a resolution for the past and to forge a common future; it has been a powerful instrument for progress.

The approach of Te Pāti Māori, which includes a policy to “Abolish ‘full and final’ settlements…” is one that scraps generations of goodwill, undermines the existing settlement process, and wilfully seeks an interpretation of the Treaty that is inconsistent with any reasonable assessment.........The full article is published HERE

Damien Grant is an Auckland business owner, a member of the Taxpayers’ Union and a regular opinion contributor for Stuff, writing from a libertarian perspective


Anna Mouse said...

Waititi's language isn’t conductive to building bridges nor is it for reconciliation.

His speech is purely based upon race theory and designed to speak to the extremist (and fringe) elements of his voter base.

He is purely and simply a man of yesterday shouting at history like it can be changed with his will.
The sadder part is that some people, most media and some politicians listen.

Humans are faced with many challenges in their lives but Waititi adds to his with every word he speaks like his reality differs from everyone elses.

When he goes about making threats to political collegues, threats to caucasions on twitter and breaks many political conduct codes but is never held to account then it is clearly a political moral inbalance he brings.

One wonders what sort of world New Zealand would be in if his dreams ever came true?

Robert Arthur said...

The msm do not rip into his absurd utterances. his attitude as with most maori today seems shaped by the "imagine decolonisation"' mantra preached by ultra glib Moana Jackson and fellow rebels. I can only assume that the faintly rational maori who have defected to the party as mps or propsective have done so in the hope of repalcing Waititi by someone less farcical.

DeeM said...

Waititi's a massive hypocrite and a racist to boot.

He lauds Maori this and Maori that, but turns up to parliament wearing a stetson! A hat invented by USA westerners.
He wears a suit and fancy shoes - other western items.

I bet he lives in a very nice western house too. Not a whare or a marae.

He's a shit-stirrer because he can see how much money he could personally make from his separatist rants. But most of all he's an entitled racist who's too bitter and twisted to acknowledge all the things he takes for granted in his cushy modern western lifestyle and contrast this with his own part-Maori history which is a long tale of violence, conflict and other unsavoury practices.

Anonymous said...

That is why free speech is so important. You need the idiots to be allowed to speak their minds so that the rest of us know what their intentions are.

Jos said...

Maori looking after their own. Certainly they can and some are, but generally?
Look at TVNZ Sunday program on Anthony Hoete (From the ground up).
(very good)
Mōtītī Island, 10 square km. Half European owned, half Maori owned.
European owned half - very productive.
Maori owned half - nothing, but did not used to be that way - the story did not go into it and Antony's father is clearly a clever man, but he is a builder not a farmer. So we don't know why the land is left idle, but the fact is that it is idle - Maori leadership are not all looking after there won people.

Grumpy said...

Waititi appears to be another clown who is busy perfecting his performance in the racist circus he works in.
He may have intentions to become the Ringmaster, but I don't like his chances.
That 'Good Old Boy' JB stetson hat is he so loves is just a symbol of his confused bigotry.

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