|Secret Revolutionary? “I think the general public is not aware that we are going through huge revolutionary changes in the country and, in fact, we have taken that such a long way, there is no going back.” – Dame Claudia Orange|
SUPPOSE THEY MADE A REVOLUTION, and nobody noticed. Suppose the “Cabinet Office” ordered the nation’s public servants to implement an unmandated revolutionary transformation of New Zealand, and they complied. Suppose one of the leading authorities on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Dame Claudia Orange, confirmed that this revolution was, in fact, a done deal.
This is what Dame Claudia told the NZ Herald’s Audrey Young:
I think the general public is not aware that we are going through huge revolutionary changes in the country and, in fact, we have taken that such a long way, there is no going back.
Now, forgive me, but my understanding of revolutionary change is that it does not, and cannot, take place without the “general public” being aware. The active participation of the people in replacing a regime that has, in their eyes, lost all political legitimacy, is pretty much the definition of a revolution. The idea that not only could such a profound upheaval have taken place, but also gone past the point of no return, without the people either noticing it, or sanctioning it, is, quite simply, absurd.
So what should we call a programme initiated by the “Cabinet Office” (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet?) with the ultimate intention of transforming the nation’s constitutional arrangements in such a way that the “consent of the governed” need not be confirmed by democratic means?
Given that New Zealanders have lived through such a transformation before, when the programme of ruthless economic “reforms” known as “Rogernomics” was unleashed upon them without warning, and without an electoral mandate, between 1984 and 1987, then it seems only fitting that this latest attempt to impose transformational change from the top down be described in the same manner. What New Zealanders have been experiencing since 2019 is a “bureaucratic coup d’état”.
Indeed, the parallels between 1984 and the present are uncanny. In 1984, the incoming Labour Government, led by David Lange, was presented by its Treasury advisors with “Economic Management” – essentially a blueprint for Finance Minister Roger Douglas’s radical transformation of the New Zealand economy.
Prior to the 2020 general election, a similar transformational blueprint, “He Puapua” was handed to the Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta. Commissioned by the Minister in 2019 to envision a pathway to the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, “He Puapua” dovetailed neatly with the “Cabinet Office’s” instructions regarding Te Tiriti.
The parallels do not stop there. Three years after “Economic Management”, the Treasury presented the re-elected Labour Government with “Government Management” – a detailed blueprint for adapting the instruments of state administration to the needs of the new “free market”.
Three years after “He Puapua”, the re-elected Labour Government has been presented with two reports, “Ki te whaiao, ki te ao Mārama” and “Maranga Mai” both commissioned by the Human Rights Commission and reflecting the advice of some of the most radical Māori nationalists in New Zealand. Among a host of revolutionary recommendations, the “Maranga Mai” report concludes:
Reform of central and local government systems is also needed to reduce and eliminate institutional racism which cause inequities and inequalities for Māori in outcomes. This reform should uphold and align these systems with Te Tiriti o Waitangi, by following the foundational work and recommendations set out in Matike Mai Aotearoa and He Puapua reports.
Were the recommendations of “Matike Mai Aotearoa” and “He Puapua” to be followed, the manner in which New Zealanders are governed, and the rights and privileges they are heir to, would indeed be transformed – out of all recognition.
Race Relations Commissioner, Meng Foon, has responded to the reports by committing himself to the long-term goal of “Eliminat[ing] racism in Aotearoa in all forms, in all organisations whether it’s government, non-government organisations, businesses, amongst our communities.”
New Zealanders anxious to learn how this elimination might be accomplished – especially given the Human Rights Commission’s acceptance that racism and white supremacy are baked-in to New Zealand society – should probably study the “re-education” centres established by the Chinese Government in Xinxiang to eliminate radical Islamist ideology from all mosques, schools, organisations, businesses and communities of the Uighur people.
It is difficult to believe that Labour could be contemplating a bureaucratic coup-d’état even more destructive than Rogernomics. If they are, then – this time – they will provoke a real revolution.
This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 10 February 2023.
This makes me genuinely afraid for the future. We must elect a government that will stop and reverse this secret, elitist and profoundly racist agenda.
While not disagreeing with the broad thrust of the article I am surprised a wordsmith such as yourself would erroneously apply such a narrow definition to the word "revolutionary".
Indeed... "Were the recommendations of “Matike Mai Aotearoa” and “He Puapua” to be followed, the manner in which New Zealanders are governed, and the rights and privileges they are heir to, would indeed be transformed – out of all recognition."...could only be described as "revolutionary', as would the likely response be.
Chris, you need to take a long term break with some old mates in Wellington. Use the time to reconnect with another bunch of mates who retain links to the "bureaucracy and you will find that the "coup" is pretty much done and dusted.
What is now occurring is that private organisations are getting the "get on board or bugger off" message so are also succumbing to the new order.
Is it too late, well if the leader of the conservative National party is on board along with the bulk of hs caucus then I think we already know the answer.
It’s going to be very difficult to reverse. The schools and universities have been thoroughly infiltrated and are busy indoctrinating the next generations. Government departments are not only captured but implementing the new regime at the expense of their core responsibilities, and government procurement and employment opportunities are restricted to those who can demonstrate that they are committed to the dogma. It’s too late to stop this revolution; what we need is a new revolution to upend it.
Everything about the revolution seems to be predicated on this statement:
"Reform of central and local government systems is also needed to reduce and eliminate institutional racism which cause inequities and inequalities for Māori in outcomes."
First, what empirically verifiable evidence (other than repeating the mantra ad nauseum) exists which demonstrates that New Zealand has "institutional racism"?
Second, once this first proposition has been established, what empirically verifiable evidence (other than repeating the mantra ad nauseum) exists which demonstrates that such institutional racism CAUSES inequities and inequalities for Māori in outcomes?
The best argument against this dogma of "institutional racism" (and one the rests on a firm foundation if data) is that Asians so often are at the top of so many metrics in New Zealand (for example, wealth and education achievement), thereby doing much better than European New Zealanders. Moreover, many Maori too are very successful due to their own efforts. Both of these facts fly in the face of the argument for systemic racism.
I attended an address by Christopher Luxon in Tauranga yesterday. He clearly stated that race-based entities would not be permitted under National. Co-governance of natural resources such as rivers and local delivery of services, particularly health and education, would be permitted but no national bodies such as a Maori Health Agency..
One must speak for a struggle for a new culture, that is, for a new moral life that cannot but be intimately connected to a new intuition of life, until it becomes a new way of feeling and seeing reality
Hegemony has often been referred to as passive revolution. As I referred to in a previous post, Maori custodians of matauranga have been consistent since 1840 as to the interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi, Ruth Ross wrote in the NZJH in 1972, The Treaty of Waitangi act was in 1975, Williamson J. ruled on Te Weehi v Regional Fisheries Officer in 1986, Claudia Orange published in 1987, Robin Cooke - later Baron Cooke of Thorndon - ruled on the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986 leading to the Government adopting the Principles of the Treaty in 1989.
I am presuming that the percentage of those in NZ born after 1990 or immigrated to NZ since 1990 far out numbers those in the other column.
If there has been a revolution then it has been a passive revolution over a long period creating a hegemony within NZ. It is no longer acceptable to present the term New Zealander in a manner to overlook those of Maori heritage, Pasifika or Asian. All those have variation in the views of ToW, but those have been developed in a different context and time that many of those presented as 'New Zealanders', the same can be said of those that grew up during and after the events cited above.
The Government is obliged to work through Treaty issues and to be connected within the hegemony of the nation. We have international and national commitments and it would be negligent not to do so. As I have stated many times in this blog, we are in an interesting time of nation building. There should be greater debate. On this I am in total agreement with Chris. This government has naturalized some concepts and direction before ensuring all parts of our society are aware of the reasoning. This is mismanagement. However, it is not wrong to be openly exploring ways of nation building in line with Treaty obligations and the demographic directions.
The development and understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi has been enhanced over the last several generations. There may never be consensus, but there is reasonable alignment now of law, government, culture and history.
To tell the truth is revolutionary.
Agree with Gary. We run business servicing the Wellington PTB, every time we contract for work we are required to extend Te Tiriti type requirements even further.
So far to win business, we have had to partner with a Māori organisation (so 'cut them in' on everything) and have run cultural sensitivity training for all senior staff. Recently for a big contract, they asked the Māori partner if she spoke Te Reo (she does) and what she was going to do to ensure all the staff were reflecting treaty issues in their work so had to give a commitment on wider cultural training and monitoring of Tiriti aims.
All this in 2+ years. On top of this, every govt institution has Te Tiriti and cultural norms embedded in every policy and procedure. Meng and Paul have got their hands down into many, many organisations and State Services is in it up to their necks as well.
After 3 years of pushing out experienced people on the basis of age, race, gender or wokeness level (dinosaurism) and selecting on identity, many departments are in a shambles. The horse has bolted and was last seen North of Kaihohe.
We have been calling it a quiet coup for a while. And the problem is where to from here? It will be almost impossible to remove without an Act of Parliament overruling all references to race, gender etc and preferential treatment and I doubt anyone has the guts to do this.
On the bright side, at least my husband can now deliver a mean Karakia when called to.
Rogernomics/Ruthanasia can be viewed as responses to the reckless economic behaviour of the previous Muldoon government. The real parallel response for these times may well be that of the government elected in October to the reckless, unmandated social engineering of the present government.
Meng Foon claims that New Zealand is institutionally racist (as an Asian, his own institutional position would seem to contradict this claim). You quote his stated goal as being:
“Eliminat[ing] racism in Aotearoa in all forms, in all organisations whether it’s government, non-government organisations, businesses, amongst our communities.”
Consider the logical implications here: If White people are inherently racist (which is the implicit, or often explicit, claim), then what does "eliminating racism" logically entail? That's correct, eliminating White people. Many people in this country are unwittingly cheering on their own ruin.
It is entirely appropriate that The Barron (Social Democrat ;) quotes Antonio Gramsci, the communist who rejected Marx's primitive view that Western capitalism would be destroyed by class warfare and instead insisted that instead the hammer of culture would do the trick.
Gramsci's successors have come much closer than those of Marx to their goal, but the end result will be the same; a new bourgeoisie elite who will say all the correct words, speak the correct language and impose the correct cultural hegemony using the correct ideology - but who will still love power and money.
Some will call it capitalism but it will actually be a techno-feudalism and this new revolution will, like all the others, like Saturn, devour its own children.
This used to be a left wing blog. What happened to Chris. It must be that Waitaha are completely integrated in Otakou.
If you lived north of the mainland you would know that mana whenua have indigenous rights as first footers. Nothing radical about it. Te Tiriti gave us 2nd footers rights that do not extinguish Māori rights.
See Paul Spoonley calling out racism and saying that we need to get onto eliminating racism and offering Māori recompense
Looks like yet another 'revolution from above' that gets visited upon this country from time to time (and sometimes the world as a whole). Who benefits? Not the ordinary Jo or Joe, that's plain.
To take up 'Barron's comment that it is 'no longer acceptable to present the term NZer to overlook those of Maori, Pacific, or Asian' heritage: regrettably, Asians are still highly overlooked ! And for this reason, there is actually NO 'reasonable alignment of govt, culture and history' with respect to the ToW.
This is why. The current Asian popn of the nation is 16%, which is slightly less than the Maori population but more than the PI. Maori demographics in the future will be mainly determined by natural increase, ie, births. The same applies to the PI popn, with an additional increment from chain migration. The growth in the national Asian popn is not just from births and chain migration, but critically, points-based migration. The current massive NZ labour shortage is NOT going to be solved by suddenly finding qualified Maori or PI; these will be solved by migration, principally from nations whose per capita income is lower than NZ, ie Asia. [ China produces circa 35000 PhD-level engineers a year.] Besides, readers may be aware of the steady decline in NZ school achievement measured via PISA tests. The less employable the future NZ workforce due to dumbing down NZ educational standards , esp in STEM subjects, for instance through the industrial-strength Mataraunga Maori school curriculum, the more the migration of skilled people to make up for educational shortfalls, esp in STEM + healthcare.
Therefore, one will get a greater, and more educated NZ Asian popn in the next 50 years+, without any necessary improvement in the skills-set of Maori. So, how will Maori get into restricted entry university courses, for instance? Through extra assertion of ToW 'rights' leading to affirmative action quota entry. Even now, in 2020-2021, a Maori or PI student to enter Otago Medical school needed a minimum of 74% in 1st year subjects, while an Asian NZer needed no less than 94% in 1st year uni marks to enter med school!
Therefore , how can there be a 'reasonable alignment of government, culture and history' with respect to the ToW when the govt says to Asian NZers like me, 'Dear Asians, suck it up. Your kids need 90+ % at Year 13 or first year uni to enter these favoured courses, but because we White people oppressed Maori, you have to accept a Maori, including folks who look White but who found a Maori in their family tree several generations ago and are therefore now 'maori' for affirmative action purposes, get in with 20% less score than your Asian progeny'? There is NO social consent from the nation's growing Asian populace for such blatant anti-Asianness under the guise of 'decolonising the country'.
The more you have affirmative action which egregiously disfavours the 16+ % of the NZ Asian population, you have a ticking demographic time bomb. Dame Oranges Are Not the Only Fruitcake hasn't worked this out, since Asians like me are invisible to her Postcolonial guilt. Dame Oranges is blissfully unaware that it is NOT the prerogative of White people to spend Asian taxpayer or ratepayer money on Maori initiatives. We want Our Asian $ to help our Asian NZers, thank you very much.
And incidentally, this is why I am at this very moment successfully 'suing' via the Human Rights Commission [ complaint # 201170 ] Auckland Council, the Auckland Arts Festival, and Auckland Art Gallery for anti-Asian actions and anti-Asian attitudes. In 2021, Auckland Arts festival had 23 events that principally featured Maori or PI artists or themes, but only TWO Asian events, even though the Auckland popn that is Maori/PI was 27%, while the Akd Asian popn was 28% in 2018. This is how anti-Asian the arts scene has become since Ardern anointed herself Minister for the Arts.
TBF, for Mahuta and company it's not about the ideology of some Italian commie but the same old story of Royal Power and Chiefly Privilege triumphing over one's blood enemies.
Ah, The Barron: more misrepresentation of New Zealand history, with intellectual pretensions (i.e. Gramsci).
You write that "Maori custodians of matauranga have been consistent since 1840 as to the interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi". But the currently dominant interpretation of the Treaty— hat Māori never ceded sovereignty—is radically different from that held by most Māori leaders in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Leaders such as Sir Āpirana Ngata, Te Rangihiroa, Māui Pōmare had no doubt that the rangatira who signed the Treaty had ceded the power to make laws to the Crown.
Perhaps you think that these men were mere “Uncle Toms”. But then what about someone like Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, who came from the other end of the educational spectrum, He shared their understanding of the Treaty.
Yes, there were a few who continued to dream of “mana motuhake” (Māori independence). Ngata refers to such people in his 1922 booklet. I guess these are the people you call “the custodians of mātauranga”. But they were hardly in the majority. In any case, many of them thought that mana motuhake meant a rejection of the Treaty. It was not (in their view) what the Treaty meant.
You also mention Ruth Ross, whose 1972 article has been so influential. But she ended that article by writing: "However good intentions may have been, a close study of events shows that the Treaty of Waitangi was hastily and inexpertly drawn up, ambiguous and contradictory in content, chaotic in its execution. To persist in postulating that this was a 'sacred compact' is sheer hypocrisy."
That’s hardly an endorsement of any interpretation of the Treaty, let alone the currently dominant one.
So it's not that there is a long-standing consensus on the view of the Treaty that is shaping the "revolution" about which Chris is writing. On the contrary, it is a highly contentious view of the Treaty (even among Māori) that is being imposed on the country as a kind of quasi-religious orthodoxy.
Thanks Thomas, good points.
It seems to me that a hundred a fifty years of de facto acceptance of national (rather than tribal) sovereignty largely nullifies the claim that it was all a misunderstanding in the first place. Of course the current wannabe rangatira class have their own motivations for the demolition of universal, national and individual sovereignty. That they and their useful idiots (fools, frauds and firebrands as Roger Scruton would likely have call them) have so much traction isn't down to the validity of their argument but a reflection of the toxic state of our public discourse. Witness Waititi's "racist" labeling of any counter arguments.
I hope the truth, and what is right, will win out in the end. How long, destructive and bloody the path to that end is the question.
On further reflection, perhaps The Barron was right to quote Gramsci. What's happening may well be a Gramscian "war of position". My worry is not only that it's dividing the country on racial lines (which will end badly), but that it seriously misrepresents our history, as I've argued above.
Yes Tom it is "the same old story of Royal Power and Chiefly Privilege". It's not as if they're even trying to hide it, the luvvies still can't see.
“if you cannot understand why someone did something, look at the consequences—and infer the motivation.”
― Jordan Peterson.
"Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution." - George Orwell.
It was not that long ago that we had a whites-only immigration policy. You should count yourself lucky to be living in an Anglo-Celtic democracy instead of an asian kleptocracy/pseudo-democracy, like India.
New Zealand has been flooded by people from dodgy asian countries for over 30 years. One of the legacies of the Douglas-Richardson years.
In 1986 we had 15,810 ethnic Indians and 26,906 ethnic Chinese.These numbers have exploded to 250,000 and 240,000 respectively.
This is the biggest demographic change in New Zealand since the mid-19th century, and it was done without Labour or National asking the electorate.
Migrants from shady countries, like India and China, thrive when they move to a Western country, largely because they do not have to deal with the endless corruption that plagues their homelands.
Migrants from China and India get free education,healthcare,old age pension, and a highly desirable passport. They also cost $90,000 each for infrastructure.
New Zealanders get chow mein and butter chicken. It is not much of a deal.
Indians and Chinese are some of the most skin colour obsessed people on Earth. I have seen skin whitening cream in Indian owned shops. So do not bitch to me about racism in New Zealand, Mr Nair.
I will be blunt: I do not welcome the Indian or Chinese diaspora. I see them as opportunists fleeing the all around shittiness of their corrupt and environmentally degraded homelands.
Mass migration from shady countries, combined with our low wage agriculture and tourism based economy, is going to see New Zealand slowly, but surely, turn into Fiji with frost.
Anti-racism means Anti-whitism. It is the real pervasive racism. And yes, if it continues, there will be a real revolution. The organisers of that revolution met this time last year on Parliament's forecourt.
We are witnessing a religious revolution led by the 'secular state'.
This is how it works. Everyone has an inbuilt sense of what is fair, reasonable, just and good. Racism is bad, victimising any people group is bad, we intuitively understand this.
Into the vacuum left by the decline of Christianity in the public square steps the new religion of Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) or as a friend describes it, DIE. Those afflicted with white guilt embrace DEI as a pathway to righteousness, justification and redemption. Others in Government departments who are less convinced, embrace the narrative just to ‘go along to get along’.
It is entirely inappropriate for Government to do business with racist contractors. Therefore, it is up to businesses to demonstrate their religious orthodoxy by equally embracing DEI and by reciting the catechism on demand.
Only racists and bigots refuse to comply.
So far it is proving to be an effective evangelism strategy, perhaps not too dissimilar to radical Islam in its approach.
There is no bias towards competency in DEI. As Government and business begin to make managerial appointments based upon their DEI / race quotas to meet their internal KPI’s, with at best a cursory nod towards competency the effects of the revolution begin to manifest in entirely predictable ways.
We see political parties embracing this strategy. Note Luxon’s influence in a recent by-election after being bullied by mainstream media ‘enforcers’ for insufficient diversity in his team.
Labour has been selecting candidates using the DEI formula for years, and the current crop of Labour MP’s and Cabinet minsters are the fruit of this ideology. 10/10 for DEI but perhaps just 2/10 for competency?
You don’t have to be Einstein to predict how this will end.
Thank you Tom, I would style myself a social democrat. I find Gramsci provides a great intellectual framework, rather than classify myself as a firm Gramscian. Part of that framework is the idea that revolution can be passive and more gradual. Incremental change is sometimes better than no change, although I am also in support of radical change when it is justified. I agree with Chris' wider view that this current government failed to inform and take the electorate with it on some of their game-changing programs but differ from Chris in not disagreeing with the substance (not always the detail) of some of those programs.
Thank you Ramesh. Few recognize that 'sepoys' and 'lascars' were with most of the 18th century French and English voyages to NZ. Kai Tahu oral history lines up with some written history to suggest that escaped lascars in Otago were NZ's first non-Maori settlers. That said, my primary point was that -
"Those of Maori heritage, Pasifika or Asian. All those have variation in the views of ToW, but those have been developed in a different context and time that many of those presented as 'New Zealanders'"
In this, I hope I acknowledged that Asia New Zealanders may have diverse views on the Treaty, but for most of those Asian New Zealanders, these views have been developed in a different context and timeline than late middle-age Pakeha New Zealanders. The Asian community is diverse and views on the Treaty will also be diverse but we are not developing as a nation if we are not listening to these views and working though the issues of those communities.
Thomas More, the Waitangi Tribunal's stage 1 report of Te Paparahi o Te Raki (Great Land of the North) concluded that Nga Puhi never conceded sovereignty nor ever accepted sovereignty was conceded. This is reflected from Hone Heke (the first to sign Te Tiriti) chopping town British flagstaffs as it was against his sovereignty of Kororāreka (and right to tax foreign vessels).
Those of 'The Young Maori Party' you cite had a particular view and plan for Maori renaissance and development. A reading of "He Tipua: The Life and Times of Sir Apirana Ngata - Ranginui Walker  presents a complex relationship of Ngata to the Treaty and the issue of sovereignty. He saw the 'Crown' as an expression of traditional Maori leadership and that the Treaty enabled Maori to use the British and New Zealand law to reclaim rights and property. In may ways an acceptance of the power relations of the day and the urgency of Maori to work with government to advance Maori interest. I take your point as to whether this rebuke continuous views of Maori regarding the ceding of sovereignty, but for the YMP it was a matter of 'needs must' in raising Maori welfare with the government. As the Nga Puhi (and I believe the recent Ngati Maniapoto report) shows is that when the issue of sovereignty is explore by the Tribunal lawyers and historians, the conclusion has been uninterrupted claims that rangatiratanga was not yielded.
Ruth Ross' sign off is aligned with a time when Crown adherence to the Treaty was seen as fraudulent. This is why through the '70s, Matiu Rata set about legal and social promotion of the Treaty. It is important to note, the Treaty was rushed, ambiguous and chaotic. We should also note New Zealand exceptionalism did not exist. This was very much in line with other extra-territorial treaties that the British made with indigenous people around the globe. Almost all of these were negotiating protectorates with rights for British within their land. All were later renegotiated or broken. Little of this is relevant as it remains as an international treaty of cession which favours the understanding of the party ceding and that the Treaty has some standing in our legal framework.
So - what can we do? I'm itching to do a little civil disobedience, but I'm so civilised I don't know how to do it.
Just heard Dame Margaret Mutu (sure to have got that wrong) on the RNZ midday Maori programme. Understandable literal return to the Treaty from her. Rogernomics was a renewed persecution of Maori after-all. But I now see the issue of co-governance you raised several years ago which I didn't get and have avoided.
I am angry at us leaving behind the neediest, it is institutional to the 84 regime. Given the neediest are mostly Maori, that needs to be addressed first off. You can't disallow co-governance unless you agree to take the neediest with us, 'once again'.
Whether they do that or not co-governance is a loser for Labour unless it's kept below the title line. But I just can't see the party of Roge not following the focus groups equally about this. It crept up on them for the same reasons they went off into all these diversionary matters, as you pointed out. They're not willing to confront the main things.
Continuing to think through it, co-governance was never more than a paper dragon; paper, like Labour's promised salvation of the poor. Equal shite.
It can all be gotten away with momentarily -- a political party's time-frame. Just not longer and certainly not in the last years to save our species.
So your going on about co-governance was ... unnecessarily alarming.
Brendon: "Into the vacuum left by the decline of Christianity in the public square steps the new religion of Diversity Equity and Inclusion".
Yes, the spiritual and moral vacuum is being filled, but with what?
Here's another great essay from Paul Kingsnorth, Saints of the Greenwood.
"In many ways I see the world pretty much as I saw it when I wrote my first book two decades ago this year. But the one big difference is what I now believe the core of the crisis to be. Back then I thought the crisis was about politics: the systems that governed us didn’t work. Intertwined with that was the idea that it was all about economics: capitalism was bad. Later, as I read more and lived more, I decided that the crisis was actually about culture: our values were wrong, and our relationships - with each other and with the rest of nature - were skewed.
I still believe most of those things, but in the writing of these essays I have come to believe something else: that in fact the root of the crisis, beyond and beneath all of this, is spiritual.
‘Post-Christian Western civilisation,’ writes Milbank, ‘is increasingly unable to articulate what it believes in, ever more subservient to its direst foes and rivals, able to find moral purpose only in deconstructing its own ideals and achievements.’ He’s spot on. That ‘Christian civilisation’, though, is not coming back any time soon: so where does that leave us? And what of the faith that founded it, which so often today seems exhausted, corrupted or simply irrelevant? How should a Christian respond to the dangerous spiritual vacuum of the times?"
It's a good point you make, Ramesh, about just how multicultural New Zealand has become and I was sorry to read (and sorry you've had to read) Shane's rather bitter anti-Asian comments. I, for one, welcome the increased cultural diversity that immigrants bring.
Thank you to The Barron for a thoughtful response to my (slightly dismissive) post. (Sorry, I was grumpy!) Yes, I've read (some of) the Waitangi Tribunal's report on the Northland claim. I'm just not convinced by their historiography, which has long been criticized by professional historians. (See Bill Oliver's remarks about their history as a "retrospective utopia".) One can, for instance, see Hōne Heke's chopping down of the flagpole as a rejection of the Treaty he had signed, rather than an expression of its meaning.
But even if the Waitangi Tribunal were right (and what they say is only about Ngāpuhi!), there can be a de facto acceptance of Crown sovereignty (a point made in these comments by David George and argued in some detail by Jock Brookfield some years ago). So what was intended on 6 Feb. 1840 doesn't settle the sovereignty question (a point acknowledged, and then effectively ignored, by the Waitangi Tribunal).
As for Āpirana Ngata, his explanation (in Māori, for a Māori audience) of article one was that the rangatira ceded their "chiefly authority" (mana rangatira), that is to say, "the Government of the Maori people", to the Governor as a representative of the Queen. That seems pretty unambiguous to me. He saw article two as about land and property, not about "chiefly authority".
In any case, these are precisely the discussions we ought to be having. The problem is that we're not. A particular (and contestable) view is being regarded as a kind of orthodoxy. Brendan is not the first to notice the quasi-religious character of these "anti-racism" campaigns. (John McWhorter, the African-American writer, is good on this.)
My quote from Ruth Ross was not, in fact, the end of her article. Her article actually ends: "If Waitangi 1840 held any real promise for the future, it was perhaps in Hobson's few words of halting Maori to each man as he signed: He iwi tahi tatou, 'We are one people'."
I agree with that. Sadly, she was persuaded by an editor to remove the following sentence: "Can we ever be one people till the Maori language is taught in schools to all our children?"
I agree with that too.
Meng Foon is a fascist, racist extremist himself. He's made a mockery of his office. Conciliation is not in his vocabulary.
"Into the vacuum left by the decline of Christianity in the public square steps the new religion of Diversity Equity and Inclusion"
1. You say that as if it's a bad thing.
2. You haven't made the case that there is a causal connection between the two statements.
3. Given the penchant for Christianity to be authoritarian (as are many other religions), it tends to attract people who are either uncomfortable with democracy, or who want authority over – particularly women and children – in order to abuse them. So I'd rather people weren't appointed to government positions on the basis of how Christian they are.
4. As far as competence goes, we have the perfect laboratory in the US. In general the more Christian a state is, the further behind it is on the various metrics like healthcare and education.😇
New Zealand was also at crisis with liberalism a century ago. In February 1923, McCombs (Lyttelton) quite rightly observed "Parliamentary Government is definitely on its trial, when Parliament ceases to represent the will of the people from whom parliament is supposed to derive its mandate and authority to govern.
Most of us grew up under McCombs' notion that democratic governments derived authority from the informed consent of electors. The coup d'état of our democratic system by Lange / Douglas and the others who went on to become Labour's grandees of today, was never recanted. We now have an entire generation of MPs that have never been troubled by the idea of mandate.
The Executive's use of power in pushing radical, unmandated and deeply unpopular legislation onto the population has been a hallmark of New Zealand's government for decades now. Was Richard Prebble's crowing over the sale of Telecom really any different to Helen Clark's & Sue Bradford's unabashed "anti-smacking" legislation? Why would the current generation of politicians feel any less entitlement to ram through their own pet projects without the consent of the governed?
Three waters and the current liberal agenda considers the private control of our essential resources righteous while dismissing the need of democratic consent for this project. Behind the facade, the modern Labour party demonstrates it’s the child of the neoliberal 80's, neither committed to "public ownership of national utilities" nor committed to any principles of democracy.
Why it's almost as if they put the former President of the International Socialist Youth in the Prime Ministerial position to much rapturous applause and expected said person not to take advantage of the situation to promote an internationalist agenda right beneath our noses.....
Perhaps it's just the God of the Christians being dispensed with. Others acclaimed and officially endorsed - Gaia, Matariki, Tangaroa, Tāwhirimātea and the pantheon of pagan gods, ghosts and goblins.
Even our government owned Met service are now putting out warnings like this: "All you need to know about what Tāwhirimātea [god of the weather] has in store for us over the next few days" and "Tangaroa [god of the seas] says the moana will be unpredictable with big seas and undercurrents". And here's me thinking they relied on science - not anymore apparently.
Meanwhile Stuff are telling us that "Maori and Pasifika communities brace for cyclone Gabrielle". That's all we need, even the weather's racist.
On knowing for sure, psychology and revolution. What do we know acshually:
...As is often the case with psychological studies, the whole setup was a put-on [analysing suicide notes as true or false]. Though half the notes were indeed genuine—they’d been obtained from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office—the scores were fictitious. The students who’d been told they were almost always right were, on average, no more discerning than those who had been told they were mostly wrong.
In the second phase of the study, the deception was revealed. The students were told that the real point of the experiment was to gauge their responses to thinking they were right or wrong. (This, it turned out, was also a deception.) Finally, the students were asked to estimate how many suicide notes they had actually categorized correctly, and how many they thought an average student would get right. At this point, something curious happened. The students in the high-score group said that they thought they had, in fact, done quite well—significantly better than the average student—even though, as they’d just been told, they had zero grounds for believing this. Conversely, those who’d been assigned to the low-score group said that they thought they had done significantly worse than the average student—a conclusion that was equally unfounded.... https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27why-facts-dont-change-our-minds
Dame Margaret Utu!
Too many comments TLDR - I think too many from various Doubting Thomases. All so knowledgable and ineffective - if you were so good we wouldn't be in the situation confronting us this late in the 21st century. Time for a song from My Fair Lady - Talk, talk - Show Me
Crown Research Institute Landcare Research Manaaki whenua (ex DSIR and Forest Research Institute in part) has already signed a co governance agreement - many new appointments follow.
Given the neediest are mostly Maori, that needs to be addressed first off.
Most poor people in New Zealand are Pakeha. Quite apart from the issue of dirt-poor Pacific Islanders.
Hear hear, thank you Ramesh, and I agree with you.
We reject this myopic "white guilt" rubbish.
Nobody is crying over other cultures' loss of culture as our forebears "successfully" integrated to NZ English culture. We just did as we were expected.
Great article, and an interesting range of comments here.
I would have thought "Asian" economic migration was a product of several free trade agreements.
We would have liked to see a broader ethnic mix of skilled Europeans, Americans, etc.
The acceptance of low skilled migrants is what worries us. An influx of taxi drivers and cheap eats. As our younger skilled citizens emigrate.
I would have thought "Asian" economic migration was a product of several free trade agreements.
We would have liked to see a broader ethnic mix of skilled Europeans, Americans, etc.
The acceptance of low skilled migrants is what worries us. An influx of taxi drivers and cheap eats. As our younger skilled citizens emigrate.
God help us David, a bit of fun with Maori names for stuff and all of a sudden the weather is "racist". You guys scream racist at the slightest opportunity. And yet you accuse others of doing the same. As the saying goes, every conservative accusation is a confession. Incidentally, wasn't it you people that invented the term "snowflake"?
"Stop Co Governance" is currently touring NZ. Volunteering for that in your area could be a starting point.
The growth in the national Asian popn is not just from births and chain migration, but critically, points-based migration. The current massive NZ labour shortage is NOT going to be solved by suddenly finding qualified Maori or PI; these will be solved by migration, principally from nations whose per capita income is lower than NZ, ie Asia. [ China produces circa 35000 PhD-level engineers a year.]
That doesn't mean productivity increases. What drives the economy under points based migration is the spending a wealthy middle class brings.However livibilty suffers: "National and Labour are standing together to say YES to housing in our back yards" - Yuk!
DS, yes, most poor are not Maori. Thought about that in my sleepy time.
sumsuch ... It's not the absolute numbers of poor that matters when comparing two groups, so much as the proportions.
David, you should know 1 Corinthians 8.4. There was a debate regarding the position on buying or eating meat that had been sacrificed to other deities. Paul's view was the pagan idol was nothing at all in the world. If you do not believe in other deities, it is irrelevant the meat was killed to those God's. Meat is meat.
In other words if someone suggests the weather is of Tawhirimatea, if you you don't believe in her / him (many believe a female deity) then weather is weather.
It is no small thing to have public officials in a so called 'secular state' routinely acknowledge foreign deities in their daily communications. This is not limited to the weather forecasters, but we see it from our Reserve Bank Governor in his establishment of the Māori Tree god Tane Mahuta and paying almost $400,000.00 of tax payers money to place an image of this god in the Reserve Bank building.
Conversely, Psalm 33:12 says “Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord…”
We have removed any and all references to our Christian heritance from the public square, and replaced them with god’s that are not God. Perhaps this matters little, maybe it matters a lot.
I accept what you say and I, like most people, am happy for others to hold their various religious beliefs. I'm quite happy for Brian Tamaki to believe, and say, that an earthquake is a manifestation of the wrath of God. Or the greenies similar belief in the wrath of Gaia. I just don't think that it's something that the state owned Met Service should be promoting, for the sake of their own credibility as much as anything, and particularly when there's a serious weather event happening.
I was hoping Simon Cohen would call me racist for my above post?
The he would have to explain why?
"Foreign deities"??? I think your geographically and historically confused as to indigenous beliefs.
Still, I hope you are as eager condemn if a cyclone us referred to as "an act of God"
Interesting choice of Psalm, Brendan. 33.12 is usually translated "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance".
This references Deuteronomy 32;9 where El Elyon, the God most high, divides the nation's amongst his children. Yahweh's inheritance is Israel.
Hebrew belief wasn't monotheistic when this was written, but it is clear Yahweh was the local God of Israel (not Judea but the Samaritan northern Kingdom) and limited to there.
Anyway, you were saying about "foreign deities'...
The problem is Brendan that Christians seem to think that they're entitled to impose their morality on everyone else unfortunately. I've never had a Maori God tell me what to do, yet Christians do it all the time. Maori gods may well have the rules and regulations, but they don't seem to want to impose them on me. If only you could learn to mind your own damn business, particularly about what people do with their bodies, the world will be a much better place.
David I don't think somehow that the Met service actually believes in the gods that you claim they are promoting. It's just a bit of fun for crying out loud David – where's your sense of humour? I don't think anyone's going to lose confidence in and just because of a few Maori words. Except maybe people like you who seem to get upset every time the Maori language is used.
"It's just a bit of fun". Really? Have a look what they're doing with the education of our children:
"Since the 1877 Education Act, the purpose of education has been to build our nation upon the accumulated knowledge of humanity.... The intended benefits of this universal education system are numerous. Six generations of New Zealanders are educated; a robust economy is developed; stable democracy is secured through secular institutions – all enabling the social cohesion of a multi-ethnic population with different backgrounds but united in its commitment to our nation.
... the democratic idea of the universal human being upon which the education system was founded is replaced with a localised system that classifies children into racialised groups .....
The ‘Kaupapa Statement’ that guided the Curriculum Refresh development makes this revolutionary new purpose perfectly clear:
"We are refreshing the New Zealand Curriculum (the NZC) to better reflect the aspirations and expectations of all New Zealanders. The refresh will adorn our ākonga with a 3-strand whenu (cord). This korowai will be layered with huruhuru (feathers) representing who they are, who they can be, their whakapapa, and their connection to our whenua (lands). The whenu tying it together is made up of whānau (family), ākonga, and kaiako (teachers) working as partners to use and localise the NZC. The refresh will ensure that the NZC reflects diverse ways of being, understanding, knowing, and doing. It helps us inclusively respond to the needs of individual ākonga, who are at the centre of all we do. Ākonga will be able to see their languages, cultures, identities, and strengths in what they learn at school. This will empower ākonga to go boldly into an ever-changing future and contribute to local, national, and global communities. This vision will primarily be realised by kaiako and school leaders, in partnership with iwi and their school communities. However, it will be important for all New Zealanders to be part of this journey and help create multiple pathways towards equity and success for all ākonga." (Our emphasis.)
A racialised curriculum
After classifying children racially, the Curriculum Refresh embeds this identity categorisation. We are to be recognised in the education system as either Māori or not. Yet the reality is that modern individuals choose which identity matters to them, a choice informed by personalities, capacities, interests, goals, family, communities and heritages, and likely to change during the lifespan as circumstances change. At school we share the identity of pupil and student.
In contrast, the culturalist ideology now informing education policy places our identity as an ethnic one, a view that risks perpetuating fixed racial stereotypes. More seriously, it links culture to race, a link justified by the belief that how individuals think, behave, and relate to others is pre-determined by their genetic ancestry.
This race-culture link is seen in the Kaupapa Statement that ‘Ākonga will be able to see their languages, cultures, identities, and strengths in what they learn at school’. It is a pre-modern race ideology that will destroy our modern future-oriented education system and should be seen for the revolution it is."
"It is undemocratic to engineer a revolutionary constitutional change through the educational curriculum. We ask for the restoration of an academic curriculum and qualification system based on the democratic principles of universalism and secularism; a system that enabled generations of New Zealanders to acquire the universal knowledge of humanity. It was the reason for the nation’s successful education system that has lasted nearly one hundred and fifty years. The transformative Curriculum Refresh will undo the principles and practices that made such success possible with dire consequences for New Zealand’s future."
In my reading of the Gospels, Jesus never imposed himself upon anyone, typically people sought him out for dinner dates, healing, deliverance, teaching and well yes, sometimes just for the food.
If Christians behave contrary to that model then maybe they are not following Jesus example?
Thank you for quoting the full text of Pslam 33:12, Hebrew belief was indeed monotheistic, but the apostate worshiped Baal and other local dieties which resulted in judgement, captivity and exile.
New Zealand is not in a covenant relationship with God in the same way Israel was, but we are founded upon a Judeo/Christian faith tradition, which has resulted in unmerited blessing. Transferring our alegence to other gods (who are not God) is a dubious proposition at best. I'm sure the met office and media do this in ignorance, but all the same...
February 14, 2023 at 12:33 pm
As an Asian living in Keyaurastan [ aka New Zealand ], I am not too worried about the future education of NZ Asian children. In Auckland, I live within 3 km of five schools with disproportionately high Asian student numbers : Auckland Grammar, St Cuthberts, Epsom Girls Grammar, Diocesan, and Kings prep. All score highly in school exam results. The girls’ schools here ie St Cuthbert’s, EGGS, have well-attended Maori language and culture school classes, but these mainly cater to Whites and strategic Maori. [ That is, well-off middle class White females whose families have ransacked their family trees to find enough Maori so their progeny can qualify for affirmative action. Readers may not be surprised to find out there is no benefit to a NZ family having ethnic Chinese goldminer ancestors from the 19th C, even though Chinese were officially more oppressed than Maori back then.]
The Asian children in NZ largely study the same subjects as their peers would in N America and Western Europe. What will probably happen is that the Maorification of NZ schools will lead to a bifurcation of local education, such that those with high middle class Asian attendance will become ‘Asian’ in terms of school curriculum [ aka as ‘Western’ ], and the White/Maori/PI schools will go down the PISA test gurgler. That is OK. NZ is a free country, and Asians like me have no problem with White students dumbing down. NZ is highly dependent on skills-based migration, so the less numerate and literate in English prose the White and Maori/PI workforce becomes, the more Asians will be imported to fill STEMM jobs.
What a load of BS
As George Megalogenis said
They land at the top
the system is driven by external demand (they are escaping overcrowding and a degraded environment)
the spending "keeps GDP ticking over" (those Chinese sounding names etc)
It is "offshore growth" seen as house building, infrastructure etc. The benefits are concentrated; the costs dispersed.
Livability suffers. I recall the simple lives the freezing workers and bus drivers lead; retiring to Selwyn Hutts or Moeraki.
We just don't have the opportunities of countries closer to large populations so they end up in tourism and hospitality.
Brendan, there is interesting debate as to when the Hebrews (Judea and the northern kingdom of Israel)actually became monotheistic. As stated, that passage from Deuteronomy 32:9 shows polytheism late into the complication of Old Testament. There was a Jewish military contingent on the island of Elephantine in the Nile. It is clear they were in contact with Jewish and Samaritan temples and were polytheist well into the Hellenized era in Palestine. This is contemporary with the composition of the Septuagint, the Greek language Hebrew bible. This predates any text in Hebrew or Aramaic.
A recent book by Yonatan Adler has shown his study that there is no evidence of Jewish dietary or religious practice, as prescribed in stricture, until the Hellenistic period and no widespread practice until the Maccabean period.
It is likely that when some elites returned from the Babylon exile they brought with them Zoroastrian influence in the 6th century BCE. Indeed, it may well be that Ezra and Nehemiah are concerned with the Babylonians imposing aspects of Zoroastrianism over local beliefs. It is likely that Deuteronomy 32:9 reflects when there remained wide belief in a Devine Council, headed by El Elyon with lesser Gods like Yahweh being assigned to the 40 nations. Theologian, Margaret Barker sees a continued differentiation between El Elyon and Yahweh which is literally lost in translation.
The reasonable conclusion is that monotheism was not prevalent until the 3rd or even 2nd century BCE.
A final point Brendan. Both Yahweh and Baal were within the Canaanite pantheon, although Baal also shows in Phoenician belief (Israelis and Judean were of course Canaanite settlement in the high country). As mentioned above, each city state or kingdom had its chief deity. Both Yahweh and Baal were storm gods, as the Hebrew nations grew in influence, many Baal stories and practices were incorporated and assigned to Yahweh. A careful reading of text or geographic names show how Baal was absorbed into Yahweh.
Hope this is of help. I am off to dance around my golden calf...
Thank you for taking the time to share your insights into the religious practices of the children of Israel. We are probably drifting somewhat off the main topic of Chris's blog post, and I'm reluctant to presume upon his willingness to facilitate this debate much longer.
Suffice to say I am inclined to take a high view of Scripture, which would support your thesis that Israel was less than faithful to Yahweh most of the time, and worshiped other gods. This doesn't make them polytheistic however, it just makes them rebellious.
Rebellion leads to idolatry.
Which is where we have landed presently in New Zealand with the Reserve Bank and other Government departments. I don't want to be a Jeremiah, but this cannot end well.
Brendan. Jesus was not a Christian. He was an observant Jew. Christianity was essentially invented by Paul, who was crazy as a loon. I shouldn't have to educate you in the history of your own church. Perhaps I'm more theologically literate than you thought.
And I'm sorry but the "no true Scotsman" defence is getting a little tired. Every time a Christian does something wrong that's the instant response. They're using your book Brendan take some responsibility – you're supposed to be in favour of responsibility right?
And your statement about New Zealand being founded in some sort of Judaeo-Christian tradition is about almost as inaccurate as conservatives claiming that the US was founded as a Christian nation.
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