Colonisation In Action

30
2028

IHUMATAO is not about the law. The law is what makes the Ihumatao protest necessary. Ihumatao is not about colonisation. Ihumatao is colonisation in action.

What is happening right now at Ihumatao is about the New Zealand state not knowing how to deal with Maori. According to the State’s version of events Ihumatao is a done deal. It’s about private property and the rights of private property owners. It’s about all those institutions supposedly dedicated to protecting the rights of Maori saying: “It’s out of our hands. There’s nothing we can do. Everything that’s happening here is happening within the law.”

It’s always been this way. Go all the way back to 1863, when the Maori people who lived at Ihumatao were declared rebels and the colonial government sequestrated their land. That was within the law. And when their land was parcelled-up and distributed to Pakeha farmers? That, too, we are told, was within the law. And when their sacred mountain was quarried away until nothing was left of it but a hole in the ground? Also lawful. Because the law affirms that the Pakeha landowner had a perfect right to dispose of his property as he saw fit. Everything that has happened to the people of Ihumatao has happened in accordance with the laws of the New Zealand state. Except, of course, when a private business allowed thousands of litres of poisonous dye to flow into their sacred river. That, apparently, was not lawful. Not that declaring it illegal restored the river to health.

So what do you do? When the seizure of your lands, and the selling of them to strangers, and the destruction of your mountain, and the relentless impoverishment and marginalisation of your people, is all declared to be legal and above board? When there is nowhere to go, and no one to turn to, for protection. When even your elders have lost the will to go on fighting. What is there left for you to do?

This is how colonisation works. It changes your world. It changes the people in charge of your world. It affords you less and less space to move about freely in your world. It limits your right to make decisions affecting your world. And it goes on doing this until, bit by bit, year by year, your world disappears. That is the whole point of the colonising process. To replace one world: the world belonging to the people who were there first with another; the world belonging to the people who came later. This new world is the colonisers’ world, and it serves their needs – exclusively.

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The most important thing to bear in mind when you’re thinking about colonisation is that it hasn’t stopped. It can’t stop. It has to keep operating in the present just as forcefully as it operated in the past. The legal title to Ihumatao, determined in the 1860s, cannot be restored to the land’s original occupiers except by securing the intervention of the very same legal system that sanctioned its confiscation. And, surprise, surprise, we discover that no legal mechanisms currently exist for the Ihumatao protesters to secure that intervention.

Which still leaves the fundamental question – “ What is to be done?” – unanswered. Clearly, the solution does not lie in a courtroom. But when has it ever for the victims of colonisation?

What is taking place at Ihumatao is occurring in a political space that is, essentially, outside the law. What’s unfolding there is a ritual of challenge and response. The protesters are saying: “This development must not proceed.” Demonstrating its power, the state has sent in a hundred or so police officers, saying, effectively: “Or you’ll what?” The only practical answer of the protesters is the one they have already given: “Or, we’ll surround this place with so many people that you’ll have to call in hundreds of police and soldiers (just like you did at Bastion Point) to move us on. And the political consequences of applying that level of force will be devastating for the government.

It is only in this political realm: a place of power where the law is irrelevant, that the issue can be decided in favour of the protesters. The government and, to a lesser extent, the Police must, accordingly, be compelled to calculate the political consequences of using the force needed to permanently clear the Ihumatao site. They must contemplate the way in which the legal system that big developers (in this case, Fletchers) rely upon to make and keep their profits is likely to be used by the protesters. Persons arrested must be brought to trial, and trials can easily be transformed into embarrassing political theatre.

That’s where it rests. On the ability of the defenders of Ihumatao to muster sufficient on-the-ground support to make the government intervene. The story they have to tell, if related firmly and courageously, and without resort to violence, is utterly compelling. It is enough to ensure that, just for a moment, the colonisers are forced to gaze upon the world they have destroyed; and acknowledge the brutal injustices which that destruction entailed. To make this government understand that colonisation isn’t something that happened in the past, it’s something which is happening right now. The Ihumatao story is powerful enough to turn the age-old question around. To make it no longer “What can we do?”, but “What are they going to do?”

 

30 COMMENTS

  1. Yes and this whole situation had its early root in the colonial govts Governor Grey’s ambition to invade the Waikato for essentially the very same reasons, -profit. And the area in question was part of that land grab. The Kingite movement was of secondary concern to the invasion,… as they knew that confiscating the land would remove the power base and impoverish the people , – leading to dependence and hand outs from a patronizing colonial govt.

    In the year 2019 ,… to destroy that area with a sea of houses would be to deny New Zealanders an ancient historical reference point of a way of life that was there for 800 years, thus a heritage site and an archaeological one.

    With all the much publicized clamor surrounding the housing crisis, 450 houses, – which only the well off could afford , – is still just a drop in the bucket. Why destroy a heritage site for that?

    What sort of Philistine thinks like that?

    This is also the result of lazy , short term political footwork whereby none of them want to hold the can. Typical of the thinking that goes on in this country. Pandering to the well to do and to hell with the ‘peasants’. And yes, a continuation of the process of colonization. Whereby political and financial might and good connections between the well heeled wins out . Where justice is all too often only pursued for those with the means to do so. And where democracy is the plaything of the rich only.

    Just appalling.

    • Even resistance to colonisation has to be formulated in the English language and of course I will explode back. People even treat me as if English is my language. When you wonder where all the people who look like you have gone, I use to sit on One Tree Hill as a boy I wonder where everyone went and why couldn’t Māori have fancy bridges. That’s when you understand that colonisation has deprived you of something and then you are engaged in the economics of how to get your true identity back.

      What comes out of the Treaty relationship between Māori and the crown is oppression. Māori must hand over there language and culture for scientific and medical breakthroughs that are inevitably with held from Māori through stroked colonial testing regimes. Maori who try to reconnect with the past I think make coloniser very comfortable because all the profits are in future growth. The most condescending thing a coloniser can do is this fake respect. When a coloniser mines into the earth they do it brutaly. But when an indigenous mines into the earth they do it by asking permission from spirits and chanting and all that.

      So I think the correct reaction to colonisation is to treat them as if they are the dirty ones.

      • Sam: “People even treat me as if English is my language.”

        Unless you spoke te reo exclusively from babyhood until the age of about 4 or 5, English is your language. That’s the way all languages work.

        “Māori must hand over there language and culture for scientific and medical breakthroughs that are inevitably with held from Māori through stroked colonial testing regimes.”

        As I’m sure you know, that’s not so. Last I looked, Maori were struggling to retain their language, not handing it over to anybody. Although it seems that many Maori now want pakeha to learn their language; it’s a waste of time, of course, because it won’t save the language. Only Maori bringing their babies up to speak exclusively te reo will do that. And we’ll know that there’s been a language revival when a significant cohort of Maori 5 year olds turns up at school for the first time with no English.

        On the other hand, some universities are now requiring researchers to identify a Treaty dimension in their work. That looks suspiciously like pc nonsense: the last thing researchers need or ought to be doing.

        “When a coloniser mines into the earth they do it brutaly. But when an indigenous mines into the earth they do it by asking permission from spirits and chanting and all that.”

        What? A little borax-poking going on here, no? All that stuff about colonisers is just tosh, you know.

        “So I think the correct reaction to colonisation is to treat them as if they are the dirty ones.”

        What on earth are you talking about?

        • D’esterre: Unless you spoke te reo exclusively from babyhood until the age of about 4 or 5, English is your language. That’s the way all languages work.”

          Nope, I’m not that desperate as to hold on so tightly to Greate Britian.

          D’esterre: “As I’m sure you know, that’s not so. Last I looked, Maori were struggling to retain their language, not handing it over to anybody.”

          This contradicts your first personal opinion.

          D’esterre: “Although it seems that many Maori now want pakeha to learn their language; it’s a waste of time, of course, because it won’t save the language. Only Maori bringing their babies up to speak exclusively te reo will do that. And we’ll know that there’s been a language revival when a significant cohort of Maori 5 year olds turns up at school for the first time with no English.”

          Name one Māori who says pakeha should korero Māori e Nha wa katoua? Name one Māori because Iv certainly never condoned give Te Reo to people who screwed it up in the first place.

          D’esterre: “On the other hand, some universities are now requiring researchers to identify a Treaty dimension in their work. That looks suspiciously like pc nonsense: the last thing researchers need or ought to be doing.”

          If researchers have the data and present the data, then they should be allowed to. Those who attempt to control the data and cancel, de platform, fire, suspend or what ever. Those that have no valid reason for denying the data should be treated the same as plaguerism and kicked off campus but that’s up to universities.

          D’esterre: “What? A little borax-poking going on here, no? All that stuff about colonisers is just tosh, you know.”

          Māori have there own culture and traditions, Y’know. Māori have very little in common with Western Europe.

          D’esterre: “What on earth are you talking about?”

          I could ask myself the same question – what am I on about?- get asked these ridiculous question by an internaly incoherent and contradictory avatar posting anonously on the Internet. My reply I guess is – fuck off.

          • Sam: “This contradicts your first personal opinion.”

            Nope. No contradiction. My comments about language are consistent with the evidence.

            “Name one Māori who says pakeha should korero Māori e Nha wa katoua? Name one Māori because Iv certainly never condoned give Te Reo to people who screwed it up in the first place.”

            Well, you may not, of course, but right now there are people wanting the teaching of te reo in schools to be made compulsory, so that pakeha children can learn it. In Wellington, the mayor wants the city to be bilingual by a target date (forget what it is). RNZ has all of its presenters using (with mixed success, it must be said) a few words of te reo. Then there’s all of the big institutions and companies, which have a Maori translation of their name.

            Early last year, there was in the blogosphere a considerable amount of debate about the language. In one of those comment threads, somebody told me that, even though she’s a pakeha, she’d been encouraged by Maori she knew to learn te reo, and that Maori did want pakeha to learn. It won’t save the language, of course, but even so….

            Pakeha didn’t “screw up” the language, you know. Maori in former times did that, all by themselves. The means to preserve the language was always in their hands: teach the babies to speak only te reo from birth to about age 4 or 5. In the 1970s, when I learned te reo, there were many native speakers; that’s what’s needed for language preservation.

            Also early last year, you and I had the discussion about the TKR movement, and its failure to preserve and revive the language, despite that being its aim. Since the establishment of the TKR movement in 1980, the language has fallen off a cliff, at least with regard to native speakers.

            “Māori have there own culture and traditions, Y’know.”

            No kidding….

            “….an internaly incoherent and contradictory avatar posting anonously on the Internet. My reply I guess is – fuck off.”

            Hmm….you didn’t think I was an internally incoherent and contradictory avatar when we discussed TKR last year. Nor did you tell me to fuck off then. Go back and look at those comments: I have.

            However. When you resort to insult and ad hom, I conclude that you’ve run out of arguments.

            One last thing: “When a coloniser mines into the earth they do it brutaly. But when an indigenous mines into the earth they do it by asking permission from spirits and chanting and all that.”

            I relayed the above to a family member, who asks: did your ancestors ask permission from the spirits before they torched the South Island forests, centuries ago? A fair question, I think…

          • D’esterre:”Nope. No contradiction. My comments about language are consistent with the evidence.”

            Then don’t tell me which language de longs to me. I will inform you which l language is “mine.”

            D’esterre:”Well, you may not, of course, but right now there are people wanting the teaching of te reo in schools to be made compulsory, so that pakeha children can learn it. In Wellington, the mayor wants the city to be bilingual by a target date (forget what it is). RNZ has all of its presenters using (with mixed success, it must be said) a few words of te reo. Then there’s all of the big institutions and companies, which have a Maori translation of their name.

            Early last year, there was in the blogosphere a considerable amount of debate about the language. In one of those comment threads, somebody told me that, even though she’s a pakeha, she’d been encouraged by Maori she knew to learn te reo, and that Maori did want pakeha to learn. It won’t save the language, of course, but even so….

            Pakeha didn’t “screw up” the language, you know. Maori in former times did that, all by themselves. The means to preserve the language was always in their hands: teach the babies to speak only te reo from birth to about age 4 or 5. In the 1970s, when I learned te reo, there were many native speakers; that’s what’s needed for language preservation.

            Also early last year, you and I had the discussion about the TKR movement, and its failure to preserve and revive the language, despite that being its aim. Since the establishment of the TKR movement in 1980, the language has fallen off a cliff, at least with regard to native speakers.”

            Tl;dr. Cool story bro. Just, skim reading it. You got a whole bunch off your chest. You sound like a has been Don Brash. Y’know righteous, liberal, academic, woke. That’s quite an achievement being simultaneously hard left and hard right.

            D’sterre: “Hmm….you didn’t think I was an internally incoherent and contradictory avatar when we discussed TKR last year. Nor did you tell me to fuck off then. Go back and look at those comments: I have.

            However. When you resort to insult and ad hom, I conclude that you’ve run out of arguments.

            One last thing: “When a coloniser mines into the earth they do it brutaly. But when an indigenous mines into the earth they do it by asking permission from spirits and chanting and all that.”

            I relayed the above to a family member, who asks: did your ancestors ask permission from the spirits before they torched the South Island forests, centuries ago? A fair question, I think…”

            Not only that I dismissed your entire staments, grievances and arguments the moment you assumed the English language belongs to me. As I stated the Māori language and culture is mine. English is just a forign language. Perhaps we would have had a different conversation if you hadn’t adopted Don Brashs ideology. That makes you suspect.

            • Sam: “… the moment you assumed the English language belongs to me.”

              Here’s what you said in your original comment: “People even treat me as if English is my language.”

              If it’s the first language you learned, it is your language. You may not like this fact, but there it is. You may well have learned te reo since, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that you’re a native speaker of English, if it’s the language you first spoke. It matters not what you think about this: it simply is the way language works everywhere.

              Had I been born in, say, Japan, and my parents were Japanese-speaking, I’d have been a native speaker of Japanese, unless they’d put considerable effort into speaking only English to me, and making sure that I wasn’t exposed to Japanese language until I started school.

              This is the way the world of language acquisition works. By all means claim te reo and Maori culture as your own: they are yours, after all. But – as I’ve said more than once – unless your very first language was te reo, and that’s all you spoke until you started school, English is your native language.

              I have extended family members who are of Maori descent. They are bilingual (well, I think that one of them is), but because they also learned and spoke English as babies and toddlers, they aren’t native speakers of te reo.

              Don’t blame me for this: it’s the biology of language acquisition.

              I’d add that attempting to preserve and revive te reo for political reasons likely won’t end well. The Irish have found this out. Languages survive and thrive because of their utility: that is, people want to use them and do use them in everyday discourse. If a language is seen solely as something precious to a culture, its chances of survival are remote; it’s likely to end up like Latin.

              And – as I’ve pointed out before – Latin is a dead language, preserved because it’s one of the languages Classics scholars must know if they’re to study ancient literature. It’s more than a millennium since there were native speakers of Latin. I’m sure that you’d want a less ignominious end for te reo – as would many of us, incidentally. That being so, you all need to bring up your babies to be native speakers.

              “… if you hadn’t adopted Don Brashs ideology.”

              Regarding language, I’m saying nothing different to you now from what I was saying early last year. And you didn’t then so accuse me.

              Enough with the hostility; it serves no purpose, and just blinds you to the realities.

            • You’re using those bizarre Don Brash concepts again and wonder why I’m telling you to fuck off. The crown never saw Māori as apart of New Zealand.

              They very much don’t.

              Also you keep supposing English language is a monolith. Maori did not really see attacking settlers as something to be done because there was no cord instead effort from a central government controlled by Māori, it was something done to Māori because the plunder was good and because Māori were relatively soft.

              When the landwars happened, there was a lot of talk by the uneducated colonials about a war of faith and such – the reality was that the colonialist had an alliance with other Māori that tended to fight each other way more than they did colonials ever did.

              So again, you are against people argumenting that only Māori ruined the joint, yet you happily reduce colonialist, a far complex aggressor with various vices and attitudes, to a simplistic “English language is my language and it belongs to me!” nonsense.

              Māori traded land for the safety and protection of British citizenship, and that was reneged on almost straight away. The Crown never wanted to govern or administer Māori affairs. It was just a con. You, are just a con-artist.

  2. The problem isn’t following the law, the problem is that the law is based totally on the rights of private property owners

  3. “IHUMATAO is not about the law. The law is what makes the Ihumatao protest necessary. Ihumatao is not about colonisation. Ihumatao is colonisation in action.”

    I think Ihumatao is about the law. New Zealand, as it became reinvented by European colonisation, is based on the preeminent rights of private ownership over everything else, especially when it comes to the land. The law protects private property more than anything else in New Zealand. It is a capitalist system imported from Britain in the mid-nineteenth century which by that time had allowed small private property owners into the club. New Zealand was to be sliced up and divided into little parcels for these petit capitalists all to own a part of. Those immigrants who didn’t own any capital were promised that by working hard once they got here, they too would become part of the private property owning class. Of course, the land component of this private property had to come from somewhere and where it came from is pretty obvious.

    And so we come to the present day situation where property owners have the right to cut down 200 year old Kauri trees in Auckland with the court making protestors pay the cost of their protests, the attitude of property owners that it is there right not to pay tax on income from investment properties, Ihumatao, fishing species to extinction, any number of issues relating to polluting rivers, etc, etc

    In an alternative historical universe, perhaps Europeans arrived in New Zealand and looked at the way Maori legal system worked and a hybrid legal system evolved where the law gave equal recognition to the collective good as private rights.

    While I think it is important to respect the law, Parliament is the highest court in the land and has the power to change any law it wants to. So maybe we need to start moving away from laws that are based on the paramount right of private property ownership for laws that are bit more balanced.

    Of course, this would lead to a massive backlash from New Zealand’s petit capitalist land owning class. If they can’t handle a capital gains tax, they certainly aren’t going to quietly let their right to do anything they want to on their property be impinged. I mean, farmers can’t even be legally required to wear helmets on their quad bikes even though it kills and injures a number of them and their workers every year.

    On the other hand 50 percent of New Zealanders who will never own a property may feel differently, especially as they get squeezed between low wages and high accommodation costs.

    • Esoteric Pineapples: “The law protects private property more than anything else in New Zealand. It is a capitalist system imported from Britain in the mid-nineteenth century…”

      Private property rights were a particularly important protection against potentially rapacious aristocrats and monarchs. So naturally the concept came with the settlers. And on balance it’s worked reasonably well here. For Maori as well, of course.

      “…property owners have the right to cut down 200 year old Kauri trees in Auckland with the court making protestors pay the cost of their protests, the attitude of property owners that it is there right not to pay tax on income from investment properties, Ihumatao, fishing species to extinction, any number of issues relating to polluting rivers, etc, etc”

      I’m a property owner. Such freedoms as you adduce come as a surprise to me; clearly you haven’t been obliged to deal with the local authorities of which we’ve had experience. Freedom to do anything one feels like? Freedom to breach the conditions of the district plan? Fat chance….

      “So maybe we need to start moving away from laws that are based on the paramount right of private property ownership….”

      Er – no. I don’t think so.

  4. Those who are locked into agreements or compromise position with developers, will have a voice, but if they use their position of some form tribal representative or “elder”, then that should not carry any more authority than any other party who have compomised their mana by negotiating with a developer who has bought stolen land.

    The principle here is much bigger than petty compliance with bad law.

    • So if the kaumatua disagree with your (Pākehā) position their mana will be ignored and Maori tikanga will be set aside. Now that has a colonial tinge to it.
      Not saying i have the answer or even all the right questions.

      • My position is that confiscation is wrong and unjust under both Maori, Pakeha or any other culture.
        I don’t agree that opposing the acceptance of confiscation lowers anyone’s mana nor compromises getting the best deal for the iwi.
        Tikanga is ongoing.

  5. Good piece Chris, the law is indeed unlikely to turn on itself! It looks like this one will come down to grass roots organisation “uniting all who can be united” after all. If there are any more than one or even two members of the Labour Caucus that have the barest glimmer of a class analysis, it would be a surprise.

    Having been involved in supporting three Ngati Kahu land issues in the Far North in the late 90s, and mid 2000s, it is typical to see efforts to buy support from key people, to separate them from the mass, but developers often pick the wrong horse!

    Labour are en route to a hiding here if they cannot abandon the old methods and “mandates” as Andrew Little is finding out with Nga Puhi.

  6. Ihumatou, it appears to me is symptomatic of a widespread desire for change rather than something so definitive as colonisation as you have expressed it.
    All round the world there is an abundance of demands for change, frequently with no clear goal or destination and often contradictory…faith in the system is unravelling and sadly that which follows is likely to be worse than that railed against as failed states demonstrate…but on one point I do agree, once started it is unstoppable.

    • Frank are you referring to the class war exacerbated by neo-liberal driven drive for the few to take even more.

      That is the present order and complying with i will see Chaos as a natural consequence in the longer term.

      There are so many things wrong with what the colonial process has brought so expect a wide spectrum of dissatisfaction.

      • Even more fundamental than class John, though I do agree it has been exacerbated by the neo-liberal revolution we would have arrived here under social democracy or even communism.though less quickly…colonisation is only as relevant any other example of human development(?)….we have reached the limits and whether consciously or not it is understood and is playing out.

  7. Great article Chris

    I also see in this the government’s determination to deal with corporate Maori entities – not corporate like Microsoft but combined iwi and hapu – which inevitably leads to dissension within the group as happened up north. It’s happening in the Waikato as well with Waikato-Tainui representing hapu on the west coast who are completely seperate and have different needs and interests. Is it designed to be this unwieldy I wonder?

  8. I adore simplicity. It has a divine beauty about it. Simple lines, simple yet elegant clothes, simple yet beautiful cars… The other thing about simplicity is that there are less cracks and crevices in simplicity within which bullshit can hide.
    The solution to the Ihumatao ‘issue’ is simple. The government should pull out the police, make amends to those whom might be financially slighted by that action ( A word on fletchers. FUCK fletchers! ) and apologise to Maori and their allies for causing such a fuss.
    The problem is solved. The government would be seen to be doing its job and they’d pick up the Maori vote for years to come. Ihumatao is, in fact, a gift to those within Labour who are not part of a cadre of fawning apologists to a failed neo liberal cluster fuck who still cling to Labour like poisoned ticks too scared to let go. ( phil goff? I mean to say…)
    The other element to this absurd and unnecessary situation is that greater, off-shore beasties will be watching to see how our government copes/deals with dissent from us locals. Do you really think, that in these heady times of record breaking weather events and a terrible bought of looming and explosive financial diarrhoea doesn’t mask frightful, more evil and bigger ticks looking for something safer to suck on?
    These days? I trust no one. ( But for my female human specials cuddles person and my dog. ) I’m not ashamed to admit that. Every seemingly idiotic action or unnecessary angst causing situation coming out of our government says to me ” Look out!”
    Allow Maori to have their Ihumatao and tell those whom fletchers have already sold it off to, to fuck off.
    And a word on colonisation. The most dangerous and disastrous colonisers are the banks. They’re inhuman. They have no conscience. They don’t care about humanity. They don’t care about the climate issues they caused. Their vile algorithms tell them what they must do and that is to make a profit by any means.
    I think most people do truly underestimate the extreme danger the banks present to us. Their tentacles extend into our pockets via the likes of fletchers and no doubt after they detour through our very government offices. Jonky is umbilically plugged into the anz? Y’know? That should be a clue, right?
    Every able bodied AO/NZ’er who can be, should be down at Ihumatao to protect and defend our Maori whanau.

    • Doc Horrorday: Please. Stop doing this already; make a comment like other people do. Post a link by all means, but comment first, if you would be so good.

  9. You either want houses built or you don’t. If any of these protesters live in state houses or receive a benefit, such state assistance should be cut immediately. Let them live on and work their land going forward. Otherwise built some bloody houses.

    Totally pathetic!! I’m with Act on this one.

    • Zack Brando:

      “You either want houses built or you don’t.”

      It appears that the protesters don’t. But on the other hand, Hone Harawira was on the radio this morning saying that houses could indeed be built on the land. So I cannot see why Fletcher cannot just go ahead and build them.

      Whatever the protesters are saying to the contrary, Harawira has let the cat out of the bag. It’s an attempt at a land grab. Whatever we all may think about its provenance, the land in question is privately-owned, so it isn’t available for Treaty settlements. Maori are trying to get the land back, by means almost as nefarious as those which saw it confiscated in the first place. And two wrongs don’t make a right – as our mothers told us repeatedly, all those years ago.

  10. This shouldn’t even be a Maori vs government issue at all. The Ōtuataua stonefields are an area of immense historical and scientific importance for the nation. It doesn’t matter if you are Maori or European, it should be recognised that this area is an important place for understanding how our nation came to be. That fact alone should be enough to get this area the maximum level of protection by government.The fact that the area IS ALSO of high spiritual significance to Maori only makes it even more important. And the fact it was wrongfully confiscated from the local Iwi even more so!

    I am so super sick of government not giving a shit about protecting and promoting New Zealand culture and heritage.

    I’ve said this before, by New Zealander’s have a general apathy and don’t see NZ as having a culture worth preserving. This isn’t true. NZ has a vibrant culture and history that is absolutely unique to these islands. We really need to start teaching NZ history in schools. Only then can we build a sense of national pride. Then people might be a little more interested in protecting heritage sites, and righting old wrongs.

  11. “IHUMATAO is not about the law. The law is what makes the Ihumatao protest necessary. Ihumatao is not about colonisation. Ihumatao is colonisation in action.

    Ihumatao is about the law; the land is privately-owned and the law protects private property rights. The fact of it having originally been confiscated in the 19th century is a tragedy, but that can’t be undone; the die was cast on the ownership issue long before any of us was born.

    I’d add that the government ought not to intervene; were it to do so, it puts at risk the private property rights of all NZ citizens, Maori included. Thus the sort of intervention many people evidently want – for the state to buy the land from Fletcher and then to gift it to – whom? – the descendants of the original owners, presumably – undermines all citizens’ private property rights. Next time Maori want a piece of land returned, even if it’s in private hands, all they need to do is to occupy it for long enough, or make a big enough fuss, until the government gives in and offers compensation to the rightful owners, who will be expected to accept said compensation and bugger off. Ergo: one injustice solved, but another injustice created.

    I remind you: nobody now alive is responsible for the land seizures and confiscations in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s deeply unjust to blame contemporary citizens for the actions of the past: it isn’t our fault, any of it.

    Colonisation my foot! We are far past that as a society. This country hasn’t been a colony since it became self-governing. We’ve had a parliament here since 1854.

    What’s happening now – broadly speaking – is the workings of neoliberalism. And what’s happening at Ihumatao is, at least in part, a consequence of that. As Alex Birchall points out:

    “The Ihumātao situation is – or should be – a watershed moment for Māori politics. It demonstrates the potentially explosive nature of the looming conflict between a growing self-interested class of moneyed iwi leaders, and those Māori who are working-class or poor and utterly destitute who have not benefited in any way whatsoever from treaty settlements.”

    http://tolerantleftist.blogspot.com/2019/07/ihumatao-class-conflict-in-maori.html

    In my view, he’s right; the growing class divide in Maori society has been obvious for quite some time. It goes a considerable way to explaining the lack of Maori success in education so often complained about, along with poorer health statistics. And, of course, the disproportionate impact of drugs and the resulting mental health issues, violence and crime on Maori society. Many of us have noticed the fact that the benefits of Treaty settlements haven’t percolated down to the poorest Maori.

    This is what’s happening now. Diatribes about colonisation are pointless and futile, because that isn’t the problem. Therefore, attempts at decolonisation – even if anybody knew what the hell that means – will fail to fix what ails Maori society.

  12. Firstly, I would burn the Office of Treaty Settlements “Red Book” of rules. Thats the shackling device. Secondly, a condition needs to be put in place in legislation that the Crown needs to purchase from private landowners the whenua that was confiscated. And then, Compensation shall start at the gross valuation and not discounted by 99%!
    Do that, Maori will more than likely not be the main feature of every peice of data and overachieving for worst health outcomes, poor crime stats, lowest and no possibility of owning their own home, low take up of a good education.
    Do that, and there would be more of a chance that this history won’t keep on repeating itself.

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