I don’t know much about history … Joel Maxwell
Born again Maori
By Roger Childs
The Dominion Post reporter seems to have rediscovered a little bit of Polynesian ancestry and is writing as if he came out in one of the first four waka.
Headlines like 100 million for the Cup but Maori youth get nothing and this week Pakeha – the thieving neighbours from hell do get attention.
Is it a case of just wanting to be provocative and get people’s backs up, or is he deadly serious?
Tossing out pakeha
… given a chance, Maori would ship them back to wherever they or their ancestors came from.
Pakeha is a rather meaningless term and by definition generally means white people of European ancestry.
The problem for Joel’s “shipping out” suggestion is that some of his forbears were of European ancestry, and in fact all Maori today are in fact part-Maori.
All New Zealanders have mixed ancestry and their forbears came to New Zealand as immigrants.
People voted against special treatment
His article this week centred on the rejection in some places, of special Maori wards in local government. Unfortunately he didn’t examine the issue of why one group should get a separate allocation.
Basically in rejecting special wards the majority of voters were basically saying let’s treat everyone equally, regardless of their ethnicity. That’s what the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which New Zealand has signed up to, says.
Article 1 states: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Learning from history
But history only works if you are honest. Joel has got that right, but as the quote at the top indicates, his knowledge of New Zealand’s history is not great.
This shows up in his highly inaccurate statement referring to the theft and alienation of an entire people’s (Maori) home… that happened over decades of confiscations and battles …
Joel should read about
- the early 19th century inter-tribal wars that killed more than 40,000 Maori
- the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi which ended those wars, brought in the rule of law and outlawed cannibalism and slavery
- the process of Maori freely selling land
- the benefits that colonisation brought for Maori.
Does he know, for example, that all Maori men had the right to vote before all non-Maori men?
All New Zealanders
The DomPost journalist need to appreciate the obvious, that all of us in the country are equal citizens, whatever our origins or claimed ethnicity.
We all use shops, roads, television sets, modern technology, public transport, eating places, banks, libraries and other local facilities within New Zealand, and have our interests in family, friends, sport and culture.
We may identify with a particular ethnic organisation: the Irish Society, the Pacific Island Church, the local marae, the Chinese Association whatever, however if we are citizens of the nation we are all equal Kiwis.
Who is the racist?
Am I a racist, as Joel and his fans might conclude?
Sadly the designation slips too easily off the tongue and pen. It actually means to treat people differently, often in a negative way, on the basis of their origins and ethnicity.
If I fit the definition, then Joel has some conclusions.
I think racists are smart enough to know we should at least try to understand the shared lesson of our history, our society, our biology, our consciousness, our world, and our universe. But they inevitably blow it. They are, after all, still pretty dumb.