Friday 26 May 2023

Our Maori Future.

Shocking The Pakeha: An entirely forgivable impulse, some might say, given how easily so many Pakeha are shocked. Merely to suggest that Te Tiriti o Waitangi should be taken seriously is sufficient to set some Pakeha off. Others are shocked by the inclusion of more than a word or two of Māori in a news item, or the reciting of a karakia. The temptation to startle these fragile colonial creatures must be hard to resist.

ÉPATER LA BOURGEOISIE, or, in English, “shocking the middle-class” was something the decadent poets of La Belle Epoque worked at. Louche, promiscuous, absinthe-soaked and opium-addled, there was nothing Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud enjoyed more (apart from the aforementioned vices) than sticking their artistic needles into the stuffed shirts of France.

I sometimes wonder if some secret cultural connection exists linking these French provocateurs with Te Ao Māori. More and more these days, Māori leaders seem impelled to Épater la Pakeha.

An entirely forgivable impulse, some might say, given how easily so many Pakeha are shocked. Merely to suggest that Te Tiriti o Waitangi should be taken seriously is sufficient to set some Pakeha off. Others are shocked by the inclusion of more than a word or two of Māori in a news item, or the reciting of a karakia. The temptation to startle these fragile colonial creatures must be hard to resist.

Certainly the creatives who came up with the latest ad campaign for Te Whanau Ora – “Our Future Is Māori” – didn’t put up much of a fight. According to Stuff: “The ‘Our Future is Māori’ message will be visible on billboards, bus stops and televisions throughout Aotearoa, asserting that Māori must take control of their future.”

“Their” future? “Our” future? Pronouns are such tricky things these days. How many Pakeha, do you suppose, will read these ads as something other than an exhortation for Māori to take advantage of Te Whanau Ora (and its big dollop of Budget funding) to shape their own and their family’s destinies?

“Quite a few!” would probably be understating the Pakeha reaction.

And, to be fair to the colonisers’ descendants, the content and structure of the television ad do rather lend themselves to misinterpretation. Not least because they are challenging. “We have been separated,” declares the voice-over, “tikanga pulled from our arms, torn away from the whenua.” Pakeha do not care to be reminded of these truths. Nor are they made comfortable by the potent image of a Māori war canoe being driven through the water by a score of muscular paddlers. It is a troubling image of unstoppable momentum. “We carve our own path,” intones the voice-over, “a path for Māori, by Māori.”

Watching the ad, it is difficult to avoid adding the words: “So, you Pakeha better get out of our way.”

But then the imagery shifts. We see Māori health workers carrying the Covid vaccine to the rescue of their people – doing for themselves what the Ministry of Health had not only taken too long to do, but against which it had also raised legal barriers. Unbelievable? No. The “By Māori, For Māori” kaupapa has always had a revolutionary edge.

The ad shows more. Māori kids enjoying themselves in total immersion Māori schools. Rangatahi, back on their marae, helping to feed the people when the skies opened and the waters rose over Tai Rawhiti.

And, behind these images, a Māori choir singing the anthemic ‘Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi’. A solemn version, this one, performed to the slow beat of a drum – its rhythms matched by the paddlers of that unstoppable waka.

As the ad draws to a close, all the Māori we have seen, the paddlers, the health workers, the rangatahi, the whole cast, stands tall – offering their steadfast gaze to the audience. Not aggressively, not exactly, but definitely not passively or defensively. The voice-over concludes the ad with the words: “There is strength in our whakapapa.”

Was this particular Pakeha shocked? I was, yes, watching the ad for the first time. It confronted me with words and images that made me uncomfortable. That was, I am sure, part of its intention. Pakeha have been telling Māori what to do, and how to do it, for more than a century – seldom to their collective advantage. Now Māori are telling Pakeha to get out of their way. Now they are carving their own path.

In the end, however, the ad is not for us, or about us. That some Pakeha will bristle with indignation when they drive past a billboard declaring “Our Future Is Māori” is certain. As certain as Talkback Radio crackling with anger at Māori presumption.

Épater la Pakeha? You betcha. We’ve had it coming for a long time.

But not as long as the whakapapa of tangata whenua.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 26 May 2023.


  1. Chris: "In the end, however, the ad is not for us, or about us"

    Really? Not a deliberately divisive provocation aimed at "us"?

    Come on Chris, that is exactly what it is and that is how it will be perceived. Why else would anyone present Maori aspiration in that way, to deliberately incite mistrust and resentment and division.

    “If you can't understand why someone is doing something, look at the consequences of their actions, whatever they might be, and then infer the motivations from their consequences."

    ― Jordan B. Peterson

    Regardless, it's probably not a great strategy (politically) from a left perspective - this will be seen as more confirmation for many that TMP/Green/Labour are hell bent on division, that they couldn't care less about non Maori.

  2. Shocking the bourgeoisie, or inflaming an already tense situation? Chris, you wrote about what we're now seeing, many years ago, and (in your depiction) it ended in civil war. Some days you appear to remember this, but other days you seem to forget!

  3. I have no objection to the implementation of the Treaty. I do object to the constant re-interpretations which change the long-accepted intent, an intent that was satisfactory to Sir Apirana Ngata, who was, after all, much closer to the time of the signing and to people more in touch with the feelings of the people who were around at the time of the signing.
    I have no objections to Maori words used in Maori sentences. I do object when they are used to obfuscate. The manufactured names of so many government departments and agencies are a case in point.

  4. Why is Te Tiriti o Waitangi of 1840 only considered
    As part of New Zealand’s history?

    Why is the 1835 Declaration of Independence
    Omitted from our discussions?

    What is the difference between the two documents?

    New Zealand is referred to as Nu Tirene

    If people are going to manufacture our history
    Please do so with facts

  5. Some of your missives themselves seem to be more provocative these days Chris.
    OK. "Pakeha had better get out of the way." Is this promoting future harmony in our country? I've always wanted to know what TPM's ultimate vision is. They never verbalise it and just seems separatist.
    "For Maori, by Maori" always leaves out "paid by the taxpayer."
    You swap between articles the terms "non-Maori" and "pakeha", in this case the latter. I think our Asian community are just as alarmed as pakeha at the aggressive, perhaps hate-filled stance of the Maori Party and have as much electoral stake as anybody.
    Regardless, your perspective on this issue is still appreciated.

  6. I wonder how an advertising campaign around "The Future is Pakeha" would go down? Given that many Maori elite appear to yearn for their tribal past, I'm not sure there is any "future". Whatever, it's clear that Labour continue to pursue their ethnonationalist agenda, and voters should take note and act accordingly.

  7. Interesting piece of journalism on Stuff today, about the "Bowling club" bubble. Makes some cogent points. The major question is however not answered. Is the bowling club bubble big enough to swing an election? They may well be relatively few in number, but you only have to go to MSN to see that they are very, very noisy. And of course being old, they tend to vote. In this country unfortunately, noisy people tend to get their own way far too often.

  8. Video on human culture shows the difference in how human toddlers and chimps learn.
    For humans it is monkey see; monkey do. For chimps it is just figure it out on the spot.
    Humans have twice the capacity of a chimp and we learn by copying. We accumulate knowledge (the Earth moves around the sun). So was tikanga actually "pulled from our arms" or did it give way to an ending of isolation?

    I see the justification is (partly)
    “Māori continue to bear the brunt of inequity, inequities highlighted even more so over the last three challenging years,” she said.

    that's also the great philosopher Steve Maharey's position (Pundit/Don Brash).
    Should this have been stopped at the university. Maori Studies is just childish (but for Post-Modernism).

  9. I think both Maori and Pakeha are disappointed with our current government, and Maori wish for self-determination is understandable.

  10. So fearful are the commenters here. Instead of watching to see how serious the diatribe is - from another tribe it may be just provocative - a whoopee cushion under po-faced masters of the universe.

    Icaught up with a thinker who would do this quite often:

    “The plain working truth is that it is not only good for people to be shocked occasionally, but absolutely necessary to the progress of society that they should be shocked pretty often.”

    ― George Bernard Shaw, The Quintessence of Ibsenism

  11. If we allow ourselves to ignore the slavery imposed on Maori by force by a great many Iwi. We condemn ourselves to being pushed around by whomever shrieks the loudest. Mahi, Mahi screamed the slaver Iwi at the slaves, who on fear of death worked and submitted to unimaginable cruelty. After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, the British Crown took steps to eliminate the illegal practice of keeping slaves by some Maori tribes in New Zealand. Despite the Crown's efforts, many iwi continued to keep slaves even after the signing of the treaty, leading to ongoing mistreatment of slave descendants. The Crown's failure to engage with, and provide means by which descendants of enslaved Maori can engage with, the Crown exacerbated the negative impact of slavery on Maori society.

    In order to address the widespread practice of slavery in Maori society, the Crown introduced a series of laws, rules, and acts of parliament aimed at eliminating the practice and providing alternatives to it. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, which had been enacted in Britain, was extended to New Zealand in 1840. It made it illegal to own or trade slaves and provided for the release of all existing slaves. The Crown enforced this law through the appointment of colonial officials, who had the authority to investigate and prosecute cases of slavery.

    The Native Rights Act of 1847 recognized the equal rights of all Maori and prohibited the buying and selling of slaves. It was aimed at protecting the rights of Maori, who had been disenfranchised by the arrival of Europeans and their legal systems. The Native Reserves Act of 1856 provided for the establishment of reserves for the benefit of Maori communities, including those who had been affected by slavery. It was aimed at protecting the interests of Maori by giving them access to land and resources.

    The New Zealand Settlements Act of 1863 was passed during the New Zealand Wars and provided for the confiscation of Maori land as punishment for rebellion against the Crown. While it was controversial and led to further conflict, it had the effect of reducing the number of Maori who were at risk of being enslaved. The Native Schools Act of 1867 established a system of schools for Maori children, aimed at providing them with a basic education. It was seen as a way to provide alternatives to slavery by giving Maori access to education and a pathway to a better future.

    Lastly, the Old Age Pensions Act of 1901 provided pensions for the elderly, including Maori, and was seen as a way to provide financial security for those who had been affected by slavery and other injustices. Despite these efforts, the Crown's ongoing failure to engage with, and provide means by which descendants of enslaved Maori can engage with, the Crown has perpetuated the ongoing marginalization of these individuals and communities. Therefore, we demand a full and independent investigation into the impact of slavery on the people of New Zealand and the Crown's ongoing failure to provide redress for those affected by slavery.

  12. I have to laugh when you use the phraase
    Ancestors of our Colonizers.

    Probably 90%+ of self identified Māori are descendants of our Colonizers.

    Just check their English Names.
    Love the Examples
    Wily Jackson
    and of course Tipene Oregan
    Actually Stephen Gerard O'Regan
    Mother Rena Bradshaw (this is the Maori Link)
    Father Rolland Oregan.

    I love it when Maori of mixed decent say OUR people.
    Like asking them which ""our people"" are they talking about given their ancestry.

    Of course the Maorification is all about money & power.
    Otherwise, other than a few radicalized youngsters
    I suspect most of the Maorification would be kept on the Marae.

    The same as the Hindus/ Muslims/Chinese etc keep their beliefs to their temples and meeting places

  13. But they aren't carving their own future – they are guilt-tripping Europeans using a utopian view of Maori culture and Maori history into paying for their own displacement out of their own pockets. It would be one thing if Maori were taking over utilitsing their own skill, wit and resourcefulness. You could at the very least respect that. But they aren't. They are almost completely parasitic and, for some reason, have a large cohort of self-loathing and short-sighted White people giving them every assistance.

    I don't know what these propagandised Europeans think a "Maori future" will look like – something like pre-colonial New Zealand, would be my guess. Maori didn't have it together back then, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that they still can't cope in so many aspects of life. We have all of the empirical evidence we need, in the form of the historical record, to anticipate what a Maorified land would look like, and dysfunction and antagonism are two core features.

    I really couldn't care less about Maori, about Maori culture or about any real or imagined grievance they may have against me or my ancestors (the latter also being the ancestors of contemporary Maori as well) – I am not Maori, so I have nothing to gain and everything to lose from a "Maori future."

  14. As a white immigrant to NZ, I am part of the great diaspora. Being of Scottish descent my marae, my ancestral turangawaewae is somewhere on the banks on the River Spey. My chances of returning to it to claim whakapapa are worse than Lottoesque. In the words of the great academic Rolfe ... What? So what? Now what? It is the "now what" that concerns me deeply.

  15. "Probably 90%+ of self identified Māori are descendants of our Colonizers."

    So we are back to the "blood quantum"? If it's so bad to identify as Maori when you are somewhat removed from being "full-blooded" – why is it that people of Scottish descent never get criticised when they are less than full-blooded Scots for attending the Highland games?
    Don't get me started on other examples, I'm tired of having my ear bent on the virtues of being Irish, or Croatian, or Dutch, from people who never even seen their "ancestral" countries.

  16. Lloyd Burr off drive on today fm described Chris Finlaysons rate of treaty Settlements as alarming just so the shift to Right Wing comments in the media in general.

  17. I didn't have access to my ontological vocation too become more fully human until I went to university and now I know what my real job or true career should be.We didn't have a private collection of books but relied on the local library.When the public is private we all lose out.Recently I sold my own collection of books as an adult and received one hundred dollars for over three hundred books.

  18. It's sometimes wrongly imagined that cosmologists and evolutionists must be serenely unconcerned about next year next week and tomorrow. I conclude with a cosmic perspective which actually strengthens my own concerns. The stupendous timespans of the evolutionary past are now part of common culture. But most people regard humans as the apex. Our sun formed four and a half billion years ago but it's got six billion more before the fuel runs out. Any creatures witnessing the sun's demise then won't be as human. Not one living species will transmit it's unaltered likeness to a distant futurity the present century may be a defining moment as it's the first time in our planet history where one species ours has Earth's future in it's hands.

  19. Grant Lilly (Iraq Invasion) is right about Saddam being in the wests goodbooks with the gas at Al anfal halabja when thousands of kurds were killed.He also put down an uprising by the shir after the first gulf war."Taking Out" the genocidal psychopath however was just as ghastly.

  20. The dichotomy of binary opposition between men and women is rendered redundant by Incel Ideology.Transgender groups will not be unfamiliar with neutering the opposite sex.Voluntary celibacy may be construed as violent rejection of the opposite sex as well.

  21. "shocked by the inclusion of more than a word or two of Māori" is obviously overstating the objections but, yes, there are good reasons why it's a bad idea to gratuitously mix up languages. It's generally (or was) considered reasonable/excusable to use words or phrases from a different language when there is no suitable equivalent, "marae" for example. But that is not what is happening.

    The assistant police chap recently referred to crime "across the motu", I have to assume he meant "across the nation". Motu means "island", there's apparently no maori word for nation so why use an inadequate substitute, a word that's not widely understood and misleading and inaccurate, ambiguous at best? A virtue signaling affectation?

    Yes Chris I suspect that, for some, that it annoys people is a feature not a bug. That the government and it's minions have decided to go down that road raises more than a few questions in my mind.

  22. The research is beginning to compile after 70 years of denial: Left-wing authoritarianism, psychopathy, and narcissism: here's an interesting study just out proving the huge correlation between left activism and the personality trait of antagonistic narcissism. Sounds like the Maori party to a tee.

    "The results of multiple regression analyses showed that a strong ideological view, according to which a violent revolution against existing societal structures is legitimate (i.e., anti-hierarchical aggression), was associated with antagonistic narcissism (Study 1) and psychopathy (Study 2). However, neither dispositional altruism nor social justice commitment was related to left-wing anti-hierarchical aggression. Considering these results, we assume that some leftist political activists do not actually strive for social justice and equality but rather use political activism to endorse or exercise violence against others to satisfy their own ego-focused needs. We discuss these results in relation to the dark-ego-vehicle principle."

    Understanding left wing activism:

  23. 1974 the census, and therefore NZ Government statistics, removed blood quotum as an identifier, and replaced it with the instruction that if you are descended from a NZ Maori and identify as a NZ Maori, you are a NZ Maori. This is of course in line with Polynesian ontology, that if you can whakapapa to any line of ancestors you belong to that hapu, and the wider identity as Maori.

    The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on one side by the British Crown, this gave rights to those that came to NZ by under the auspice of the Crown and the successor NZ Government. The other side of the Tiriti was signed by hapu on behalf of their descendants. NZ courts later extended this to the descendants of non-signatory Maori hapu from 1840. If you can trace descent from the migrants who arrived under British or NZ Crown you derive rights incorporated from Article One. If you are a descendant of the hapu, you maintain rights form Article Two. If you trace ancestry from both lines (as most NZ Maori do) you have both.

    This is not anything any intelligent person could not tell you in 1974. It is a concern that many of the correspondents to this blog have maintain an in status knowledge base for 49 years. I wonder if next year they will celebrate their golden anniversary of ignorance?

  24. Geez David – you are getting desperate aren't you? Drawing a very long bow there, and ignoring some of the suggestions in the article that the whole thing is a little more complicated than you would like it to be. I notice you don't quote anything from their analysis of the BLM demonstrations for instance.

    I don't think anyone here has ever denied that there is left-wing authoritarianism. If there wasn't we wouldn't have had Stalin, or Mao Tse-tung. But I suspect they are fewer in number than right-wing authoritarians. All over Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, and in certain parts of the US, right-wing authoritarianism is waging war on democracy – and yet you don't seem to care. Just another moral panic about left-wing authoritarianism which as far as I can see, has taken root in very few places at the moment. Certainly nowhere in the developed world.

    Here is a slightly more balanced study which suggests that authoritarianism is a personality type, rather than having anything to do with political ideology as such, however desperate you might want to believe it is.,conformist%20in%20thought%20and%20behavior.

  25. That study I linked to also shows that "authoritarianism is a personality type" GS, did you read it?
    That study is, unusually, specific to left authoritarianism/activism for a good reason. People don't have any problem almost expecting right wing authoritarian/activists to be narcissistic/aggressive so it's quite revealing if you've ever wondered why people preaching love and inclusion are so enthusiastic about bashing old ladies - for example