Saturday 8 December 2018

Raining On The White Tribe’s Parade

Santa Who? What sort of woke, politically-correct bubble would you have to be living in to think this was a good idea? Certainly, it is hard to imagine someone with little brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces; someone who remembers mum or dad reading them The Night Before Christmas, or watching The Miracle On 34th Street – or even Bad Santa – being so insensitive, so utterly unaware of the trouble they were about to cause.

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? The people who decided it would be a good idea to take Santa out of the Nelson Santa Parade?

A South Island city (and a Wakefield settlement to boot!) filled with Pakeha New Zealanders. Who was it who decided that the Thomas Nast/Coca-Cola Santa-Claus, the one which the English-speaking world has taken to its heart for more than a century, could be replaced by a Maori chieftain in a crimson korowai, without pissing a huge number of people off?

The poor old Nelson City Council, which poured $16,000 of its rate-payers’ money into the parade, had no idea that Santa was about to be indigenised. Neither, if the outrage being expressed on talkback radio and across social media is any guide, were the thousands of Pakeha parents and grandparents whose diminutive charges wandered home with them disconsolately – having been denied their chance to cheer-on jolly old St Nick.

What sort of woke, politically-correct bubble would you have to be living in to think this was a good idea? Certainly, it is hard to imagine someone with little brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces; someone who remembers mum or dad reading them The Night Before Christmas, or watching The Miracle On 34th Street – or even Bad Santa – being so insensitive, so utterly unaware of the trouble they were about to cause.

No, it would have to be someone for whom the Christmas Season holds no precious memories of wonder and joy. Someone who had never read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – let alone the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John!

Such people are becoming more and more common in New Zealand as, with every passing census, the number of New Zealanders subscribing to Christianity – or even the Deity, himself – dwindles. Atheism is close to achieving majority status in this country and along with it the justification for purging New Zealand society of every officially recognised Pakeha religious and/or folk festival.

Not (God forbid!) the religious or folk festivals celebrated by New Zealand’s indigenous and immigrant communities. No woke atheist would dream of insulting the members of these communities by interpolating a figure from a completely different cultural milieu into their celebrations. No, it is only those unlucky enough to be born into the culture they (supposedly) share with these arrogant traducers of tradition who will find their special day out with the kids and grandkids ruined.

Perhaps the decision to introduce (unannounced and unauthorised) a Maori Santa Claus was conceived as some sort of payback for the A&P Show float featuring men and women in blackface which so outraged progressive metropolitan New Zealanders a fortnight or so ago?

“Let’s give these provincial deplorables a taste of their own medicine. See how they like it!” Was that the spirit in which the decision to disappoint thousands of eager children was taken? I hope not.

But, even if the decision to dispense with the traditional Santa Claus was taken with the most noble of progressive intentions. Even if it was undertaken as a means of giving the celebration of Christmas a uniquely New Zealand flavour, it nevertheless remains an act of the most aggressive racism.

Why? Because those who made it are guilty of either consciously or unconsciously rejecting the whole notion that the cherished traditions of a specific ethnic community should be considered sacrosanct and worthy of respect. Because the person, or persons, responsible for the decision arrogated to themselves the right to set aside the key cultural element by which a “Santa Parade” is defined: the beaming, white-haired and white-bearded old gentlemen clad in a red suit, edged with white fur, seated in a sleigh piled high with gifts and pulled through the air by flying reindeer. Absurd? Of course it’s absurd! But no more absurd than the Prophet Mohammed being carried to paradise on a flying horse. Or a god with the body of a human-being and the head of an elephant. Racism is no less racism because the contempt on display is being directed at members of one’s own tribe.

There will be consequences, of course. There always are when cultural traditions are traduced. How many little pairs of ears absorbed the angry, racially-charged comments that undoubtedly followed this indigenous interpolation of Santa Claus? How much of the good-will between Maori and Pakeha New Zealand was squandered? The metropolitan elites, who refuse to take what happened in Nelson seriously, are no doubt comforting themselves with the thought that the umbrage taken is a peculiarly “provincial” phenomenon. It is not. Pakeha racism is everywhere and those responsible for so arrogantly raining on Nelson’s Santa Parade have only made it worse.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 4 December 2018.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

Wow! So you're happy to associate yourself with Megyn Kelly. Santa is white... case closed then.Jesus too?

Jasper said...

Them Mowreees are trying to take over the place and change the way we live our lives and our culture too! Who do they think they are!

Tom Hunter said...

This really has little to do with promoting Maori culture - it would be a wierd way to do it - and more about simply destroying whatever stupid culture was imported by Europeans.

Harvard law professor, Mark Tushnet, summed up the cultural situation in the USA pretty well a couple of years ago, and it applies equally well here in New Zealand - sorry, Aotearoa:

For liberals, the question now is how to deal with the losers in the culture wars. That’s mostly a question of tactics. My own judgment is that taking a hard line (“You lost, live with it”) is better than trying to accommodate the losers, who – remember – defended, and are defending, positions that liberals regard as having no normative pull at all. Trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War, nor after Brown. (And taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.)

I should note that LGBT activists in particular seem to have settled on the hard-line approach, while some liberal academics defend more accommodating approaches. When specific battles in the culture wars were being fought, it might have made sense to try to be accommodating after a local victory, because other related fights were going on, and a hard line might have stiffened the opposition in those fights.

But the war’s over, and we won.

John Hurley said...

It doesn't matter who plays Santa although he is usually a middle aged male - can be Chinese Maori or whatever, but the story is the story: he comes from the South Pole where elves make toys in his factory etc etc.
I have noticed some on the left (Martyn Bradbery, "Mickey Savage" and a Rhodes Scholar in the ODT) arguing that it is all o.k "the kids will get over it!". It seems to me they are deluded enough to think they can just dismiss with tradition in the interests of "Nation building". This is a case similar to the Christchurch Public Library being dominated by the Maori imagery and language. It isn't Maori's fault but left-wings and activists (Colonel Sander's Protestor Pack.

John Hurley said...

Should add that it isn't clear that (in this case) the Maori man is guilty of anything other than accepting the role?

John Hurley said...

Jasper said...
Them Mowreees are trying to take over the place and change the way we live our lives and our culture too! Who do they think they are!
Read Recalling Aotearoa by Paul Spoonley and Aggie Fleras:

Aotearoa/New Zealand, should-recognising (and ’recalling’) the facts of past and present-remodel itself as both a bicultural and a multicultural society. It should also re-constitute itself as a bi-national polity in which Maori, as the indigenous nation of the land, become true partners with Pakeha ’at the level of official languages, national images and symbols, prevailing agendas, and institutional frameworks’

Nick J said...

GS Trump and Russians eh, Chris and Kelly, you are so full of bovine.

And Jasper, is it about time the haka was led by a guy in a Morris dancers uniform? I'm hoping cultural respect and sense prevails.

Sean OConnor said...

Nailed it. There would have been zero complaints about a Maori Santa. Removing Santa, on the other hand, was proof that there is now no piece of my NZ European culture that is not seen as alien and unwelcome by the woke Left.

I love my culture and have had enough of the unjustified hatred towards it. People who think it somehow helps Maori to do this sort of thing should contemplate how government suppression of a culture worked out last time in this country.

Don't complain when you yearn for the days of the National Party when some hardcore right-populist party arises; I'll vote for them, as will countless others who feel the same way. Sorry Mr Trotter, you are the voice of reason on the Left, but reason can no longer reach the insane woke culture warriors.

greywarbler said...

Good on you Chris for not rolling over and saying that everything enjoyed in NZ might be thrown out at some bright spark's whim. Already some groups can't celebrate Christmas because it could upset other cultures. Apparently it would not be right to have our own traditions based on our own culture.

Why not have our well-loved Santa AND stylish, funky Maori Santa. What a great Christmas parade. It might have stretched the budget of the organisers but worth it. What we don't want today is to have everything that we have had erased by The Bright Young Things who just want to do away with the past and its approaches.

No, they want The Future, The Now, and as that will vanish and become the Past in the next few minutes, they are being very profligate with their lives. They might find too soon they are becoming anomic, adrift in their own minds' inner space, for want of anything definite left in the short period left for their present culture.

I was just reading the summary for The World in Winter John Christopher's book about a sudden Ice Age change in the UK. These science fiction books are maybe closer to science faction in reality. Soon we may have real snow and ice and no Santa. Then we'll be sorry for giving him the thumbs down, even for a moment!

Larry Mitchell said...

Has/Have the Einstein(s) who dream't up this mischief,explained "What she/they were thinking of"?

If so, I have not espied it. I would prefer a clear exposition of 'their thinking" to your rather abstruse thesis Chris ... of convoluted 'Pakeha racism'. Huh?

JanM said...

Do we have any evidence at all that the children minded, or is that just a construct that adults have placed on the story to justify their tantrums?

pat said...

Chris, I fear you erroneously apply logic and reason to that which has none

John Hurley said...

Jan M
"Mitre 10 Mega marketing co-ordinator Murray Leaning, who was the parade MC, said he had no idea about the Santa switch until he saw the float himself on the day.

"It was unreal," he said.

"The kids were just confused, their little faces were just crumpling, there were kids crying, kids pointing and talking to their parents."

Leaning said he got "lots of pretty raw emotion" from parents on the day, and said he was disappointed at being "blindsided" by the change.

John Hurley said...

Get a look at the secong photo here

John Hurley said...

Underlying the processes we are observing today (“Maorification”) are assumptions found in Professor Paul Spoonley's Recalling Aotearoa: that we invaded someone else's country and must restore the culture living as two people's (two nations but now bicultural leading multi-cultural). Most people would see it somewhat differently.

In the alternative view New Zealand and it's inhabitants were “discovered”; they were found to be living in the stone age. Europe was going through an industrial revolution.
The detail of culture doesn't matter so much but the main point is that in pre-industrial societies people lived in thick nature and a social setting composed of mainly kin. Industrial society requires a division of labour but it also hierarchical in that it awards the most competent and productive. Yet that is what it takes to support large populations.

Benjamin Franklin noted that when white children were abducted by Native Americans

when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived a while among them, tho’ ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them.

In other words the Utopian socialists have their paradigms in a twist.

John Hurley said...

Another suggestion as to what is going on today is this:

Tod Niall
You mentioned Pacifica. Is that going to be a challenge for Auckland: the place of Pacifica and the place of Maori in an increasingly diverse society.

Julie Zhu
I don’t want to conflate the two. I think for me what is more significant about the next 38 days or the next few years whenever it happens, is not the point where Pakeha become a minority but the point when Asians overtake Maori as the next biggest minority. I think that’s very significant for the implications that could have for Maori bicultural kind of state. Apparently we don’t sown the foundations for people to understand why the Treaty of Waitangi is so important why the role of tangata whenua here is so important. And i think that will get invalidated even more as theyre overtaken by a different minority.

Tod Niall
Because I would argue it has taken Maori a long time to get to a place where they are not yet where they feel they should be.

Is there a new dynamic here that we have to worry about Paul?

Paul Spoonley
Well there is and I mean, in terms of Auckland it has already happened. So the Asian community is considerably larger than the Maori community of Auckland and yet Auckland is the largest Maori community in the country. So I think Auckland is the test case or laboritory in which we get to play around and decide how we do politics and in this case recognition of diversity and we started to day by talking about the council and the wards you know we are far from getting that right so we need to ask the question right around the community “are there difference between people who are tangatawhenua in terms of recognition as opposed to those who are immigrants and their decendants?” My answer is yes! I mean I think the conversation should be a very different conversation. And so i react quite strongly and quite negatively when people say , you know, there’s me, Im Pakeha and there’s others who are diffferent. No there are not they are not all the same.

Julie Zhu
"but that kind of positioning sort of positioning of Pakeha and everyone else. I always try to think of the ideal as Maori and everyone else because Maori are kind of the only unique aspect of NZ that really needs to be upheld if we are to move forward and I think there just needs to be solidarity."

John Hurley said...

People might wonder what the heck "biculturalism" did/does but what it appears to do is what cancer does. It attaches blood vessels to difference: it funds academics a bureaucrats who cultivate culture and it essentialises individuals as group A or Group B.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Excuse me for a minute, but the storm has just slopped some of the tea out of my teacup. I fail to understand why a tradition based on a Turkish saint(are Turks considered to be white?) – largely abandoned for hundreds of years until the 19th century, with an idealised Santa developed from the 1860s onwards, with his suit tweaked by Coca-Cola, should have such a hold on the sort of people who regularly categorise the all-black Haka as "barbarian, and regularly promote its demise.
Why on earth can't you relax about something that's a bit of fun, with someone dressed a little more appropriately for the height of summer. It's interesting that with all the problems we have in this country, people have conniptions about something that really in the scheme of things doesn't matter. And also interestingly they suddenly develop a deep love for their 'culture'which for most of the rest of the year they ignore entirely. Don't see too many people out there doing morris dancing for instance. First footing seems to have died the death. Dutch New Zealanders don't in the general scheme of things dress up in blackface at Christmas. We don't burn a yule log or the ashen fagott because for Christ's sake it's the middle of summer.We don't sit around the fire at Xmas telling ghost stories anymore.The Latin Mass has dropped by the wayside. And when you let off fireworks on November 5, I bet very few people are thinking about Guy Fawkes and how we narrowly escaped the reversion to Catholicism. So what's so special about this one? Why so threatened?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Incidentally if "the story is the story" he comes from the North Pole. Just sayin'.

Plugger said...

What really blew the pakeha mind was James K Baxter's 'The Maori Jesus'.

A Maori Santa is small fry.

Jays said...

I think you are over reaching yet again Chris.
Was this Maori Santa an absolutely stupid idea? You bet!
Insensitive? Maybe, maybe not. Depending on the intent.
Likewise with regards to racism.

Yes, the idiot that made this call is yet another clueless woke idiot and may also be racist. But not necessarily.

Unknown said...

Yep. Whoever thought Hanata Kore was a good idea was clearly having a brain fart. Might have got away with it in Ruatoria but not lilly-white Nelson.

Mind you, the idea of having the All Blacks doing a Morris dance instead of Te Rauparaha's haka has some merit.

And it should be compulsory for all All Black players , not just Pacifika, to kiss their forefinger and point to Jesus everytime they get a try.

Anonymous said...

No issue with a Maori Santa, but would it have killed them to stick a Santa hat and beard on him? That's what the kids were there to see, and ultimately, that's what matters.

greywarbler said...

Shane McDowall
Don't take advantage of the Christmas parade discussion to add some put-downs with a racist approach and inflating it with silly comments about All Blacks and haka. It can be acknowledged however that Nelson voted against having a Maori ward on the City Council some years ago; the Council does have Maori advice.

This is what Nelson City Council have on their website about Maori input:

Guerilla Surgeon said...

You know what? This whole thing stinks from top to bottom. The column stinks, from "what were they thinking?" To the end, saved only by the bit about pakeha racism being everywhere. And we know that because we see it every week in the comments here. Let alone that bullshit bloody whale oil. Most of the comments stink.
What were they thinking? They certainly weren't pandering to Maori, because there pretty much aren't any in Nelson. I've holidayed there often, and I can actually remember how many Polynesian faces I've seen. Three, one of them could have been Italian or Greek. I think I can guarantee – that Nelson being the whitest place in the country, all they were thinking was – "Wouldn't it be a bit of fun to have a Maori Santa?" And it should have been. But as usual we get this typical Kiwi small town, small-minded, petty uproar. It's nasty, it's completely at odds with the spirit of Christmas, and for those of you who count yourself as such it's not very fucking Christian.

Anonymous said...

The definition of Hanata Kore doesn't even come up in a web search. So you have to guess what it means just as the children had to guess what the supplanted Santa was.........

Geoff Fischer said...

Maori adapted European technology, agricultural systems, music, language, religion, law and customs to their own purposes and to fit their own culture and natural environment. The Ringatu and Ratana faiths are examples of Maori adaptation, as is the tikanga Maori branch of te Hahi Mihinare.
So who is shocked by the Maori Christ of St Faith's church at Ohinemutu, apart religious fundamentalists and those who do not understand the truly universal nature of the Christ?
The furore over the "Maori Santa" is an example of how some Europeans struggle to relate to other cultures, and fail to come to grips with the true meaning and purpose of their own traditions.
Too much has been made of this event, which could be seen as a tentative experiment in cultural adaptation. It may not have been particularly successful, and it may not be particularly important, but there is no cause for outrage on either side.

Monique Watson said...

Nothing much enlightening to contribute except for: “Bring back the sexy Maori Santa. Jayzus Joseph and Mary. The float rocks though.
If I were the parade organizers who suck at PR or it wouldn’t have caused a controversy I’d have totally owned the narrative by having the Maori Santa in the sleigh and pulling along a waka with whitey Santa.
And where the fuck is Rudolph in all this? How do they Maori up the mythical beast with the traditional version?
If you go to any country they spit and polish the “traditional story. It’s all good as long as the children believe. I hope the naysayers get lumps of coal in their gumboots for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

You know what? This whole thing stinks from top to bottom. The column stinks, from "what were they thinking?" To the end, saved only by the bit about pakeha racism being everywhere.

Let me translate it for you:

- People take their kids out to see Santa parade.
- They don't see Santa at the parade.
- They see (rightly or wrongly) an agenda-driven hijacking of an annual day out.
- They (rightly or wrongly) get angry at the agenda-driven hijacking.

As the column points out, the people responsible should have connected the dots before this nonsense happened.

greywarbler said...

Lovely rant. OTT but they are the best ones. Santa is a lovely family tradition that we have adopted in NZ and with so many things de-normalised by machines and devices (social IED's) it is nice, yes nice, to plan and look forward to our regular ritual.

I go to the marae where there is a powhiri at the gate, and take my shoes off before entering the whare. I know Maori people here, who smile and greet me hello, kia ora, ata marie. And there is a marae here, built despite of pakeha indifference and it is a hub and hive of activity, an important part of the city. Maori here might not be very noticeable, not noticeably in grass skirts except when they want to be for kapa haka, but they are everywhere and busy as. So don't be too quick to 'eave 'alf a brick.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"- People take their kids out to see Santa parade.
-̶T̶h̶e̶y̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶'̶t̶ ̶s̶e̶e̶ ̶S̶a̶n̶t̶a̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶a̶d̶e̶.̶ they see a Maori Santa at the parade

- They see (r̶i̶g̶h̶t̶l̶y̶ or wrongly) an agenda-driven hijacking of an annual day out.
- They (r̶i̶g̶h̶t̶l̶y̶ or wrongly) get angry at t̶h̶e̶ a̶g̶e̶n̶d̶a̶-̶d̶r̶i̶v̶e̶n̶ ̶h̶i̶j̶a̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶.̶"̶ what should have been a bit of fun.

John Hurley said...

The Guardian - Fake News

A Māori Father Christmas who was subject to racist boos and jeers after appearing in a parade dressed in a traditional Korowai cloak has received a wave of public support in New Zealand and is to appear in a much larger Christmas parade in the country’s capital.

Unknown said...

Culture is fluid. Kids are extremely flexible and open. My two girls, aged 4 and 9, understood that 'Maori santa' is Santa. The idea that kids were distraught at this is fanciful. NZ is simply a racist place and full of racist people.

sumsuch said...

Atmospherics get 30 comments. Haze. Realistics, 7. We're not really up to gristle and bone anymore. It's near enough to almost touch those who were, our grandparents. Almost.

Do enjoy your lyricality. The blood sings. All we've had to rely on these 3 decades. When a friend of the rich does that I'll go over (I'm a bachelor so the cash option doesn't come into it).