GUEST BLOG: Lizzie Cook – Answer to ‘Mr’ Mono-Lingual White ‘Man’, Member of the White New Zealand Clan

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I wish to address an ongoing attitude from those who feel a sense of righteousness about their white identity.

Yet again, (NZ Herald, 27 April, 2016) we read the insinuation that Māori are ‘the problem’ for being approximately 14% of the population of Aotearoa and approximately 51% of the prison population. These comments are shared by the general non-Māori public, academics, talkback radio participants and certain TV and radio presenters.

Yet, there is the possibility of self-reflection for some. Imagine how different life might be for that 51% of Māori and their families if we (yes, us, the white people) were to actually value Māori and Māori ideas.

To this end, we can:-

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  • Learn Te Reo Māori
  • Become literate in marae protocol
  • Be able to perform kapahaka confidently
  • Know who the famous people are in the Māori world, and why?
  • Know Māori songs, hymns and chants
  • Know important events for Māori in the history of Aotearoa
  • Be proud to stand alongside Māori (because we are able to)

I claim that it is our (The White Clan) lack of pride in and knowledge of Māori tikanga and also our lack of knowledge about the history of our own country that contribute to social failure in Aotearoa. The issue is the mana of Tangata Whenua and Tangata Whenua being understood by our dominant White Settler culture. By being inclusive, we (The White Clan) need to implement our responsibilities for our side of the bargain, as part of the bicultural agreement, Te Tiriti.

In the film, The Price of Peace by Kim Webby which is a documentary about the ‘Urewera Four’, we see yet another court scene in the history of Aotearoa that punishes Māori, demonstrating yet again, the cruelty of power and white hegemony in this country.

We are the ones who need to change, not Māori.

 

Lizzie Cook is a PhD (Sociology) student at the University of Canterbury, singer/songwriter, teacher of Drama and Te Reo Maori.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I think you may benefit from looking into the attitudes of white and non-white migrants, male and female, towards Maori and Te Reo. Out of interest, are you aware that Don Brash is the Director of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Aotearoa?

    • Brash is stiff, inflexible and sad person who doesn’t appreciate the indigenous peoples and culture. There is so much for him to learn.

  2. Thank you Lizzie. We need to flip the tables. New Zealand whites are predominantly moncultural and due to socialisation believe that they are superior so don’t need to learn nor appreciate site anyone’s else’s culture, practices and traditions. Very correct in that white New Zealanders will become far more rich and even more solid in who they are when they learn more from the indigenous culture…there s so much to learn. Cheers.

  3. Lizzie, thanks for that short article – it certainly got me thinking!

    In response I suggest, yes Maori should maybe adopt and respect more Maori cultural values. But more than that I suggest they adopt cultural values *that work* regardless of their origin.

    As an Englishman (originally) there is no requirement for me to become a fan of Morris Dancing or like maypoles in order to have self esteem and stay out of prison. The fact that I like Italian and Asian cuisine doesn’t mean I’m a traitor to my culture. I just do what works for me. I am an individual, not a member of a tribe.

    The corollary to this is that Maori (and others: this is NOT a race issue in my opinion) need to stop adopting aspects of failed cultures. A prime example is the mimicking African American gangster culture. This is not a way forward for them! or anyone else!

    • Exhibit A: The white English dude relates his own cultural dislocation to that experienced by Maori. Lol.

      “The corollary to this is that Maori (and others: this is NOT a race issue in my opinion) need to stop adopting aspects of failed cultures. A prime example is the mimicking African American gangster culture.”

      What an absurd thing to say. Can you give us an example? Are you talking about that evil rap music? Lol, again.

      • You missed the point Fatty – Andrew clearly feels no cultural dislocation caused by his dislike of morris dancing. Are you saying African American “gangstas” are good role models?

        • “You missed the point Fatty – Andrew clearly feels no cultural dislocation caused by his dislike of morris dancing”

          I know Andrew was saying he feels no cultural dislocation caused by his dislike of morris dancing. My point is that’s a ridiculous comparison to colonized people. The experiences of an English immigrant to NZ should not be compared to the experiences of colonization. It’s so absurd that I hope Andrew is trolling – and you too.

          “Are you saying African American “gangstas” are good role models?”

          Depends…who are you labeling a gangsta? (That’s why I asked for examples – can you provide any?)
          Most liberal white middle class people would call Huey P Newton a ‘gangsta’. Or the musical artist Bambu would be called a gangsta. Or BLM activists could be labeled gangstas. All of those are role models for me, and I’d hope they’re role models for Maori activists.

          I pretty skeptical of the label ‘gangsta’. It’s usually a dogwhistle

    • A prime example is the mimicking African American gangster culture

      Which, ironically, is promoted and profited by White Men In Suits running multi-national music/entertainment corporations (mostly American)…

      But thankfully we have Kapa Haka, which does promote Maori music and dance.

    • “I just do what works for me. I am an individual, not a member of a tribe.”

      Reminds me of Maggie Thatcher and her comment, “there is no society, only the Individual and Family”.

      The creed of the selfish libertarian. And where has it gotten us?

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