WAATEA NEWS: How should we respond to Don Brash’s criticism of Te Reo on Radio NZ?


Don Brash has reared his angry voice last week to attack the use of Te Reo on Radio New Zealand. His criticism follows businessman Sir William Gallagher’s description of the Treaty as a ‘farce’ and Dave Witherow’s recent ODT opinion piece claiming that the entire country being forced to listen to Te Reo was ‘contemptuous’.

What’s up with all these angry old white rich men suddenly denouncing Maoridom and how best should people who believe in progressive change and true Treaty partnership best respond to such naked ignorance?

The first thing to note is how important it is for these opinions to be platformed in the first place. There is an argument that says we shouldn’t allow these people any media space, because doing so only gives them attention.

I disagree.

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Giving opinions as backward as this oxygen allows them to be challenged in the open and it allows others to see how ridiculous their positions really are.

We can’t respond to the bigotry that hides and we can’t counter it if it’s always censored. That intellectual repression becomes far more dangerous than allowing it to trip over itself in public discourse.

But how should we respond?

While the language used is purposely inflammatory, I think attacking them as racist only hardens positions and makes those who have equally ignorant positions feel insulted.

Some might say, ‘good, they should feel insulted for being racist’, but that mindset is what is fuelling the culture wars in America that have polarised politics so much so that the entire process has grid locked.

I think we need to look at these angry white rich old men with pity. Pity requires an element of compassion and that is a better starting place than angrily forcing people into their corners where they defensively shut down.

Look at Don Brash’s interview on Radio NZ with Kim Hill when he simply could not see any beauty in a language as rich and deep as Te Reo. His sad grey view of the world was truly depressing and the fact he could not see the treasure that the language is should gain our sympathy rather than hated.

What we are hearing from Brash, Gallagher and Witherow are the roars of dinosaurs who don’t know their ideas are extinct yet.

Aroha is how you eliminate the Don Brash’s of NZ, they simply don’t deserve our energy for outrage.

First Published on Waatea News



  1. I found out yesterday that one of the councils where I live only had two Maori elected as councillors from 1877 to 1986. Facts like these speak volumes about the partnership between Maori and non-Maori. In other words, there has been room for only one partner in this partnership.

  2. First of all, a petition could be started to request that the Chinese bank that Brash is the director of fire him.

  3. Gallagher sprayed and walked away. He was given an opportunity to come on RNZ to talk about his position yet he choose not to why ? What was he scared of ? Yet he had no problem venting in the forum he was in.
    He is a silly old fool whose family benefitted like many other pakeha settler families from discriminative and racist policy where huge tracts of my whanau land was confiscated. They couldn’t defeat our people in battle so they used the power of the pen(legislation) As for Brash well he will make the most of all opportunities and many NZers have already shown him the door.

  4. • We remind him that the ex-leader of a failed .01% party does not speak for 98% of NZers as he claims. We could also point out that someone with as solipsistic a view on numbers as he should never have been RBNZ Governor.

    • We suggest that as the Chief Spokesman for ‘personal responsibility’ that if he doesn’t understand any Reo, he might rectify that at his own behest.

    • We inform him that RNZ is not a vehicle to advance the economic interests of the Corporate Classes, but a voice of and for the people of Aotearoa/NZ. As such it has no responsibility to promote economically ‘advantageous’ languages, notwithstanding the huge amount of airtime the finance/business segments get.

    • We laugh the ignorant old shit into the gutter where the irrelevant and nationally rejected bastard belongs (my personal favourite).

  5. Brash comes from a generation and class of males who were used to entitlement and privilege

    …they are on the back foot when it comes to learning Maori and are out of their depth when it comes to putting themselves out and learning Maori culture

    …they don’t like this…they would rather use their abilities and education to argue …and they are good at it…but they are old dinosaurs and they are dying out

    …personally I find Brash an amusing old nerd…i have an uncle just like him…once he would have enraged me but now i am more tolerant…he does have his good points and he makes some good points …but he lacks perspective

    …he should go back to eating bran and sultanas for breakfast and making sure his digestion and bowels are clean

  6. How should we respond to the likes of Don Brash? Let’s try Whuck off, for starters.

    People like him are tiresome as well as irritating.

  7. The more people express their fury and hate for the man on social media and on blogs, the more those that like to hear what Brash goes on about feel ‘confirmed’, and will thus join the ranks of those that want to ‘keep Maori in their place’.

    I sense there are a fair few in NZ Aotearoa who also felt sympathetic with Trump and his supporters, they just love such talk that comes from Brash. But Brash is too brash, he lacks charisma, hence he is no real threat. Once a person with some charisma steps up, and takes the same approach, that is when we have to worry.

    So perhaps the best medicine is to ignore that ignorant, overly opinionated, narrow minded old man. Starve him off the oxygen.

  8. why is don given so much coverage when many others don’t have the same privilege. As for the people that come out every 3 years ( election time) and they got beaten in the recent election under an MMP system. The ones that put the nasty, greedy , selfish gnats who pretend they care in power for 3 terms. Now we them moaning about our electoral system why cause their party lost. Sour grapes, bad losers.

  9. An excellent and very wise post.
    In a New Zealand where former trade minister Tim Groser called for Te Reo to be compulsory in schools because he believed it is so important for everyone to learn a second language they can practice outside the classroom in everyday interactions – in order to understand their first language better, and as a step towards learning a third or fourth – Don Brash’s views are well outside the mainstream of serious people on the political right.

  10. Our poor long suffering tangata whenua brothers and sisters. We all bleed red blood. No my friend, aroha isn’t how you get rid of the Don Brashes of this world. The Don Brashes of this world are how you get rid of the Don Brashes of this world.

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