Mandy Hager reports: ‘Last night I stood at the entrance to Lindale and watched as the gatekeepers racially profiled who they’d allow through to attend Julian Batchelor’s anti-co-goverance meeting, the second in around a month.
Young or Māori? No entry. Old and Pākehā? Drive on up.
Oh, the irony, given those who support Batchelor’s racist world-view talk of co-goverance as apartheid.
What I saw was a lot of elderly Pākehā driving in, unable to meet our eyes, and I felt a) ashamed that there are people in my community who would buy Batchelor’s overtly racist fearmongering, and b)sad for them, because his misinformation is just that, designed to frighten them into thinking their whole world will crumble if Māori are allowed to share the power and wealth that has been systematically stolen from them since the time of European settlement here.
I had a realisation, too: that Batchelor’s rhetoric is exactly the same as other racist rhetoric across the centuries.
His inflated, inflaming claims about some secret Māori elite who plan to take over the
country and rob Pākehā of their rights, is simply a reinvention of the same trope that has hounded people of colour forever: ‘how dare those uppity darkies demand the same rights and riches as us.’
I attended Julian’s first meeting here, allowed in on the basis I’m Pākehā and old. He began by talking up the idea of a race war, and his lies just kept pouring out from there.
Everything he said was twisted to provoke the most extreme responses, to drive a wedge between us.
It was so one-sided and sickening that I had to leave, one of at least a dozen who were marched out for daring to counter his claims.
Let’s look at Julian a bit more closely.
Who is he? His LinkedIn page declares he is ‘Director at Evangelism Strategies International’ and his introduction to himself includes a reflection on why the numbers of those who actively practice Christianity have dropped.
In essence, he says the reasons boil down to ‘a device of the enemy’, going on to say:
A careful study of the word ‘”device” in the lexicon reveals that “devices” aim to change people’s minds, perceptions, and thoughts about something . . .
The reason the people in your church don’t do evangelism is that the devil has infiltrated their thoughts, perceptions and minds – without them even knowing. More irony, then.
He is travelling around the country with the aim to change people’s minds, perceptions, and thoughts about something, only in this case it’s to remove Māoridom’s (small) hard-fought gains.
According to an RNZ article 1 , he said at a meeting in Dargaville, ‘ “Co-governance has got to be expunged, which means like taking every bit of cancer out of our body. It’s got to go” . . . he claimed
Co-governance was part of a war between “tribal representatives or elite Māori, and the rest of New Zealand” [and] said “elite Māori treatyists” were a distinct group, and if they did not stop NewZealand was headed to becoming the “Zimbabwe of the South Pacific”.
Batchelor described policies specifically supporting Māori as treaty partners as “apartheid”.’
What Julian won’t tell you is that his stance was spurred by self-interest. It is reported that ‘a property dispute in 2015 in the Northland community of Rawhiti found Batchelor at odds with local iwi over his plans to develop the site.
Local iwi said his property was sacred.
In Batchelor’s view the local iwi were attempting to use co-governance measures through the consent process to take control of his property
2 .’ In other words, he had a hissy fit because he didn’t get his way — and has
now developed his grievance into a whole roadshow of anti-Māori sledging that’s being swallowed by those who want a return to the ‘glory days’ of their power; people whose privilege has never been challenged before; people who don’t understand that the world they grew up in (based on all its colonial prejudices) has moved on.
And he’s not fussy about who he makes friends with, so long as they share his racist ideals.
At his rally in Christchurch recently, ‘among the security staff was far-right activist Kyle Chapman, whilemembers of Destiny Church and controversial street preacher Lincoln Russ also attended.’
3 And,inside his first meeting here in Kāpiti , he empowered one particularly aggressive man to stand over those of us who did not agree in order to goad us, entering our personal space (while threatening to have us marrested if we pushed back), using insulting slurs and demeaning women.
Mention must also be made of the owner of Lindale, who apparently had no qualms about trespassing those who went to voice their opposition — and who played an active part in permitting or refusing entry.
I, for one, will never go there again and will encourage visitors to boycott it.
Anyone so willing to support the stirring up of hatred does not deserve community support.
1 https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/485876/ngapuhi-parents-take-Julian-Batchelor-to-task-after- his-calls-for-co-governance-to-be-expunged