GUEST BLOG: Willie Jackson – Calm down Duncan Garner


Calm down Duncan Garner. Attacking Nehe Milner-Skudder for calling out your race-baiting over the Māori Santa at the Nelson Santa Parade just makes you seem thin skinned. If you want to dish it out, you have to be prepared to take it and Nehe Milner-Skudder had every right to call out the terrible racism that has been triggered by a Māori Santa.

To be honest, I haven’t seen such hateful commentary by ordinary Kiwis in a long time, and that deeply concerns me as a New Zealander more than it does as a Māori because we have to find ways to accept one another and live together in this country.

The issue that should concern us all about the Nelson Santa parade is that Robert Herewini had to step in at the last minute to fill the role of Santa because the usual Santa couldn’t due to his involvement in a ‘Redneck’ Santa Parade the week earlier. Getting angry at a Māori Santa who stepped into replace a ‘Redneck’ Santa would be funny if the racism wasn’t so damaging. I get that when your cultural norms are challenged people get defensive, I’ve watched all my life as my culture gets denigrated and belittled, now the shoe happens to be on the other foot and we see hysterical reaction, led by someone who should know better, in Duncan Garner.

We have to look beyond our own wounded feelings and our own sense of cultural ownership to care, appreciate and accept our neighbours, because that’s the true measure of the Christmas season.Turning on one another and denigrating each other has no place in modern New Zealand, and it certainly has no place during the season of good will.

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Willie Jackson is the Minister for Employment  


  1. “we see hysterical reaction, led by someone who should know better, in Duncan Garner”

    Having read so called opinion pieces by Mr Garner over the years, I doubt very much that he does know better, and most likely never will.

  2. The MSM media never conveyed that the Maori Santa was steeping in, so I think that less worrying about the public reaction and more why MSM left that bit out to provoke a reaction is in order.

    Also public reaction (if there even was much of one) might not be about racism so much as an assault to traditionalism… but probably just fake news about the supposed public outrage anyway.

    Santa is a construct, so not worth making him a identity politics issue in my view. Bigger fish to fry and all that.

  3. Given the North Pole sleigh into winter Europe symbolism it’s a bit of a colonial era relic in any case.

    Maori should focus on the southern winter … Matariki.

  4. Stand Alone Complex I thought Willy Jackson was referring to Duncan Garner’s former wife, Maori & a brilliant broadcaster in her own right.

  5. Yep, forget banging on about the past, we’re all fucking victims of some degree or another. If we’re to move forward as a nation then solidarity & radical action is urgently required. We Kiwis are all in this together, we all face the same enormous existential challenges, so without unified resolve we’re going nowhere. Kia Kaha New Zealanders.

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