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Waatea News Column: ‘How Santa Parades became a flash point for racism’

By   /  December 13, 2018  /  5 Comments

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I’ve always felt, as a Pakeha, that just below the surface of the civility of New Zealand culture, there bubbles something pretty bitter in the soul of many white Kiwis.

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I’ve always felt, as a Pakeha, that just below the surface of the civility of New Zealand culture, there bubbles something pretty bitter in the soul of many white Kiwis.

I believe that there is a deep settler guilt at the way the Treaty didn’t live up to its promises and when many Pakeha hear Māori grievance, they respond aggressively defensive the way a domestic abusing partner responds when their actions get called out.

Add to this guilt a crippling level of poverty because of neoliberalism and many poor white NZers look at anything Māori receive in terms of reparation for past wrongs with the jealously the working poor eye welfare cheques to solo mothers.

Jealousy and guilt are an ugly combination of cultural emotions that when combined can become maliciously toxic very quickly.

I think we’ve seen those tensions erupt recently at the most innocuous of cultural events, the Santa parade.

There were gender arguments over whether Santa could be a woman, there was black face at Hawera, there was red neck santa floats complete with confederate flags, and then there was splendid looking Māori Santa at the Nelson parade that sparked a social media backlash that would make your average member of the KKK blush.

The funniest thing about the whole reason there was a Māori Santa at the Nelson parade at all was because the usual Santa had to pull out because the week earlier he had been a ‘red neck’ Santa and had received so much negative social media attention he didn’t want to do the Nelson Santa.

So a Māori Santa had to step into replace a redneck Santa and it’s the Māori Santa that people decided to have a problem with?

What this entire fiasco and dreadful tsunami of racism on social media shows us is just how incredibly far we still have to go in trying to learn and live together as one people on these shaky isles.


Waatea News

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  1. esoteric pineapples says:

    I think life has moved on a lot from what was considered typical New Zealand society in the 1970s and 1980s, but it hasn’t taken a lot of white New Zealanders with it. While some, like me, have journeyed through to a different perspective on Maori, the Treaty and bi-culturalism, an awful lot of white New Zealanders haven’t. They were brought up on the notion of “one New Zealand” and were taught such fallacies as the Maori came to New Zealand and killed off all the Moriori (which I still have to correct people my age on, occasionally). Go into any shop in any provincial town where the radio station they listen to plays solid gold hits from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and you will immediately enter that world.

  2. RED BUZZARD says:

    He is a postmodern Father Christmas who looks like Tangaroa just arrived out of the Sea!

    Lets face it most NZers who are church going Christians are Traditionalists…and many of us were brought up this way (not necessarily racists)

    ….the traditionalists should still have their traditional Father Christmas’s dressed up for the Northern Hemisphere snows…a la ‘The Polar Express’


    ….but hey lets have some FUN!…in the Spirit of Christmas lets have some additional summer Southern Hemisphere Father Christmas’s

    …this new Father Christmas looks fantastic! LOVE HIM!

  3. Nitrium Nitrium says:

    All of this stuff surrounding fucking Christmas (historically a time of good cheer, ‘member when it was that? Well I ‘member), is looking increasingly like yet another event in “Oppression Olympics”, easily the fastest growing sport from keyboard athletes. There is nothing that SJWs, who truly must have the most empty and bitter lives imaginable, will not try and subvert to “help” their agenda (the irony is it always does it more harm than good among normal people that exhibit common sense).

  4. Denny Paoa says:

    Maybe Ngai Tahu had better open up “Reach Out Services” in the redneck centres of Te Waipounamu for them underprivileged folks?

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