Dr Liz Gordon: Ihumātao

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There was no police presence there on Friday afternoon, when I, my colleague Grant, and my injured leg (it has its own presence at the moment) set off across the enforced cordon sanitaire to visit with those staying on the land.

The presence was in the absence, as the long (from my leg’s perspective) walk along the country lane was imposed by the police.  Why they did this (either to act as a barrier to supporters coming in, or as a deliberate ‘distancing’ of the protest from the outer world), I do not know.

But, actually, it was a good thing.  That walk allows the peace of the area to fall upon you.  The beauty is enhanced by the quiet solitude. The water glistens in the near distance, the green hills roll around you, history is close to the surface. Just over the rise is the Stone Fields, where Māori engaged in creative farming practices to feed their people.

And frankly, the thought of four hundred houses being built on such beautiful land, in a city where ‘harbour view’ now means ‘expensive house prices’ rather than ‘a place to commune with the extraordinary natural beauty of Aotearoa’, is hard to swallow.

It is time once again to question our values.  That the effects of raupatu – land confiscation – are still with us.  That we are no better than our northern hemisphere mates in allowing over-building and the elimination of beauty in the name of profit (it is just that we have come later to this).  That our values are destroying much that is of beauty in this land. That the colonising values are still with us, 250 years after Cook arrived in Aotearoa and proceeded to demonstrate the so-called superior navigation skills of white people, making himself look very stupid in the process.

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Key among the grievances of those on the land is that the Prime Minister will not come to visit.  In normal practice, any Prime Minister will only front up when the settlement is reached, and it is now reasonably clear that one will be reached.

But Jacinda is no ordinary Prime Minister.  She is the recipient of international adulation for standing up for the people, for peace and for unity in the wake of the Christchurch bombings.  From my conversations with the people at Ihumātao, they are looking for the same treatment. They want Jacinda Ardern to stand beside them, to say we are all one together (kotahitanga) and to show that she understands the plight of the tangata whenua and their land.

She should also see for herself the beauty and peacefulness of the land, although I doubt she would be required to walk through the cordon sanitaire herself, even though she should.

Now that is a lot of shoulds.  And I know that people will be screaming in her ears that it is not safe, it is not politically wise, it is not sensible to go there now. They would do so to any politician.

Yet, internationally, many people have seen in Jacinda a person who will stand with the harmed, the oppressed, the powerless and the needy.  A Gandhi, if you like, a person who walks with the oppressed. In some senses this quality is over and above her role of Prime Minister, although it is the combination of her empathy and her good leadership that has made her so treasured among my international friends.

So, against all the security advice and conventional political wisdom, and as a person who sees immense value in our leader, I think Jacinda should visit that place as soon as possible.  It should be low key, not flanked by a huge posse of Ministers and advisors. And she should stand with those beautiful and gentle people who I met on Friday, and talk to them, and look and learn and hug and hongi.

To heal the harm and take a step on the long road towards a decolonised future.

Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society.  She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Absolutely true Liz, and you have expressed the common sentiment beautifully. It is in Jacinda’s hands to decide whether the Crown will play a constructive role in this dispute, or whether the people themselves will have to complete this journey to a freer and better life on their own two feet. The hikoi which Pania led from Ihumaatao to Jacinda’s electorate office – kaumatua and young whaea with babe’s in arms walking twenty kilometres through a sometimes howling gale – showed the strength, courage and determination of the kaitiaki of Ihumaatao.
    Jacinda cannot reverse the tide of history, but in seeing the will of the people, hearing their voices, and becoming at one with them she can show true political greatness – if she chooses.

    • The only role the crown has is to help facilitate talks, not impede it. The resolution is in the hands of Maori, where it should be and not the PM or the government.

  2. “Key among the grievances of those on the land is that the Prime Minister will not come to visit. In normal practice, any Prime Minister will only front up when the settlement is reached, and it is now reasonably clear that one will be reached.”

    The PM needs to stay out of that dispute. The land is privately-owned: any government which intervenes – or acts in a manner that can be construed as intervening – risks setting in train a potential catastrophe in respect of everyone else’s private property rights. Please note: Maori included. Even the extent to which she has become involved so far is unwise and potentially risks the government being dragged further into the issue. See this, if you haven’t already:

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/ihum-tao-protest-movement-has-based-its-campaign-misinformation-iwi-advocate?fbclid=IwAR3UEmtxu2Yl6JHt1i5nOhurMKF8QfCKPRUIa_WmTl0TIcCldiF9Xn9usSE

    The best outcome here would be that Newton and her followers accept that they are in the wrong, and vacate the land, allowing the rightful owner to do with it as they’d planned. At present, said rightful owner is being bullied by activists, in an attempt to force them to give up their lawfully-acquired property.

    The second-best outcome is what Duncan Garner thinks is going to happen. See this:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/115246462/tainui-saves-the-government-from-a-seabed-and-foreshore-moment

    Maybe, maybe not. I’d prefer the first outcome, though. It would be safest for all of us in terms of the future.

    “Yet, internationally, many people have seen in Jacinda a person who will stand with the harmed, the oppressed, the powerless and the needy.”

    I’m an old lefty; certainly not a bleeding-heart liberal. In my view – and that of many others – she’s a show pony. That was my opinion when she became leader of the Labour party (a party for which I’ve voted for much of my adult life); I’ve seen nothing since to change my mind.

    Talk is cheap; so are photo ops making her look empathetic and whatever. I’d have some respect for her if she’d had the courage to substantively reverse the swingeing benefit cuts of the early 1990s. And also do something equally substantive to reverse the fall in state house numbers. And: stop referring to them as “social” housing: a truly infuriating characterisation. Instituting lunch programmes in schools and the like is simply treating the symptoms.

    I was unimpressed with aspects of her approach to the ChCh shootings. All that ridiculous headscarf nonsense: this is a secular society, and one which holds itself out as a champion of women’s rights and freedoms. What on earth was she thinking, wearing a symbol of female oppression? I’m astonished that NZ women generally didn’t protest vocally about it.

    Labour won’t be getting my vote again, unless and until we see it take some concrete measures designed to roll back the curse of neoliberalism. I’ve seen nothing so far.

    “That the colonising values are still with us, 250 years after Cook arrived in Aotearoa and proceeded to demonstrate the so-called superior navigation skills of white people, making himself look very stupid in the process.”

    What on earth does this mean? Cook was a very clever man and a superb mariner. This sounds suspiciously like an attack of white guilt; most unfortunate, as well as inaccurate.

    “To heal the harm and take a step on the long road towards a decolonised future.”

    And what does this mean? NZ hasn’t been a colony, de facto since its first government was established, de jure since the early 20th century. So: to you and others who talk about “decolonisation”: the onus is upon you to explain what you mean, and to describe what you see as being the process by which such a thing might happen. If you cannot do that, you need to stop talking about it as if it were a reality.

    • Except that Maori are the rightful owners because the land was taken from them illegally by the crown of which the PM is the top current dog

      • Unfortunately it was sold. its not a crown issue. As the PM and Maori Council said, this is between Maori and it needs to be resolved by Maori who are more than capable of reaching an agreement that everyone can live with.

      • Spikeyboy: “Except that Maori are the rightful owners because the land was taken from them illegally by the crown of which the PM is the top current dog”

        To which land do you refer? If it is Ihumatao, Louis is correct; the tragedy of that piece of land’s original confiscation cannot now be rectified. It was sold by the government in the 19th century, sold again not so long ago. Because it’s privately-owned, the government cannot intervene. The solution to that situation doesn’t rest – cannot rest – with the government.

        If you’re talking about NZ land in general, remember that much of it was sold by Maori to the NZ Company and settlers generally. It’s worth remembering that one of the reasons why the Treaty exists is the desire of Maori at that time to continue to trade with settlers – and further afield. They could see the benefits to their own society. But they wanted the British Empire to restrain the lawlessness of its settlers, and visiting traders and the like. If Maori back then had wanted the settlers gone, that was the time when they could have done it; they did not.

        There were indeed large-scale land confiscations, in Waikato and in Taranaki. Where land can be returned, it has been. Unfortunately, much of it has passed into private ownership; and those private owners will include Maori. The change to private ownership happened before any of us was born; it cannot now be reversed, without creating an equal injustice.

        Remember that the current government comprises MPs who were also not born when the injustices which rankle with contemporary Maori were committed. This government can do only so much to rectify what happened in the 19th and early 20th centuries; its remit in that regard doesn’t extend to creating fresh injustices.

    • Colonising is a process whereby people from another place come to a place already occupied by a local people in numbers and with arms sufficient to force the local people to give up their land,resources and culture. Decolonisation has not occurred or is still in process until the local population has regained control of their resources their culture is flourishing and they are able to confidently make laws regarding their culture and resources. What you have written above is proof positive that there is still a wee bit left on that journey. Not understanding what decolonisation is, is just willful ignorance. Of course if you dont look you wont see. When land is stolen by the crown and you then say that the crown should stay butted out because “private” you just continue the colonisation project. Of course I dont expect you to understand this because you are a bit thick, so to speak and therefore its hard for light to penetrate your density.

      • Spikeyboy: “Colonising is a process whereby people from another place come to a place already occupied by a local people in numbers and with arms sufficient to force the local people to give up their land,resources and culture.”

        Well well: that sounds like exactly what happened in much of Europe over millennia. As they moved north-west through Europe, the Celts displaced indigenes as they went. As a matter of interest, there are, in the names of many Bavarian towns and settlements, markers of those Celts as they migrated through that area. Bet you didn’t know that!

        Then there were all the succeeding migrations and invasions. That’s the story of humans; it’s purely luck that the first Polynesians arriving in NZ didn’t find people already living here. And if said Polynesians had fetched up in Australia instead of here, they’d have found people already living there. Had that been so, they’d have done the same as every other human group has done: overrun and supplanted them. No Treaties, you can bet your boots on that.

        “Decolonisation has not occurred or is still in process until the local population has regained control of their resources their culture is flourishing….”

        Last I looked, Maori culture is flourishing; though the language is in trouble. And the strategy to resurrect it needs to be the same as that which Ireland used, once it attained independence: create native speakers. That’s what Maori need to do. Teach it in schools by all means, if there are the resources; but those native speakers are critical to the survival of the language. None of the rest of us can help with that, no matter how supportive we are.

        “….and they are able to confidently make laws regarding their culture and resources.”

        Are you suggesting that Maori make separate laws, applying only to them? Is this your idea of decolonisation? It isn’t. Segregation, more like. Apartheid, even….The same thing, of course.

        But didn’t my generation fight to overturn that system worldwide? Successfully, in fact. Yet here you are, talking about resurrecting it.

        “When land is stolen by the crown and you then say that the crown should stay butted out because “private” you just continue the colonisation project.”

        Nonsense. The issue is not whether 19th century governments stole or confiscated the land; it is the land’s ownership status right now. The current government cannot intervene if the land is in private ownership, which is the case at Ihumatao. As part of Treaty settlements, successive governments have returned what was theirs to return. That doesn’t include land in private ownership. I point out further that much of that “private ownership” is also Maori. I’m guessing that you don’t want the government sticking its nose into that.

        “I dont expect you to understand this because you are a bit thick…”

        Ok. When commenters start with the insults, I conclude either that they’re all out of arguments, or I’ve annoyed them because they secretly know I’m right.

      • Spikeyboy: “Colonising is a process whereby people from another place come to a place already occupied by a local people in numbers and with arms sufficient to force the local people to give up their land,resources and culture.”

        Well well: that sounds like exactly what happened in much of Europe over millennia. As they moved north-west through Europe, the Celts displaced indigenes as they went. As a matter of interest, there are, in the names of many Bavarian towns and settlements, markers of those Celts as they migrated through that area. Bet you didn’t know that!

        Then there were all the succeeding migrations and invasions. That’s the story of humans; it’s purely luck that the first Polynesians arriving in NZ didn’t find people already living here. And if said Polynesians had fetched up in Australia instead of here, they’d have found people already living there. Had that been so, they’d have done the same as every other human group has done: overrun and supplanted them. No Treaties, you can bet your boots on that.

        “Decolonisation has not occurred or is still in process until the local population has regained control of their resources their culture is flourishing….”

        Last I looked, Maori culture is flourishing; though the language is in trouble. And the strategy to resurrect it needs to be the same as that which Ireland used, once it attained independence: create native speakers. That’s what Maori need to do. Teach it in schools by all means, if there are the resources; but those native speakers are critical to the survival of the language. None of the rest of us can help with that, no matter how supportive we are.

        “….and they are able to confidently make laws regarding their culture and resources.”

        Are you suggesting that Maori make separate laws, applying only to them? Is this your idea of decolonisation? It isn’t. Segregation, more like. Apartheid, even….The same thing, of course.

        But didn’t my generation fight to overturn that system worldwide? Successfully, in fact. Yet here you are, talking about resurrecting it.

        “When land is stolen by the crown and you then say that the crown should stay butted out because “private” you just continue the colonisation project.”

        Nonsense. The issue is not whether 19th century governments stole or confiscated the land; it is the land’s ownership status right now. The current government cannot intervene if the land is in private ownership, which is the case at Ihumatao. As part of Treaty settlements, successive governments have returned what was theirs to return. That doesn’t include land in private ownership. I point out further that much of that “private ownership” is also Maori. I’m guessing that you don’t want the government sticking its nose into that.

        “I dont expect you to understand this because you are a bit thick…”

        Ok. When commenters start with the insults, I conclude either that they’re all out of arguments, or I’ve annoyed them because they secretly know I’m right.

    • Wonder if Labour really ever had your vote with that diatribe of sour grapes. Many NZ women, even police women stood with PM Jacinda wearing head scarves out of respect for those murdered and wounded by a terrorist. “I’ve seen nothing so far” rubbish, there’s been a lot of good being done to see. Welfare overhaul will be in stages. People do have more money in their pockets than when National were in power. Did what National said couldn’t be done and banned non resident foreign property speculators. “More than 2000 families have a place to call home thanks to the extra 2178 public houses delivered by the Government this year – the biggest increase in the number of public houses in approximately 20 years”
      https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/biggest-increase-public-housing-nearly-20-years

      • Louis: “Wonder if Labour really ever had your vote…”

        Except for the dark years of Rogernomics, I’ve voted Labour since – I’m guessing – long before you were born.

        “Many NZ women, even police women stood with PM Jacinda wearing head scarves out of respect for those murdered and wounded by a terrorist.”

        Respect, my foot. It bespeaks ignorance about the headscarf, which has nothing to do with Islam; millions of Muslim women worldwide don’t cover their heads. This was commented on at the time (by said Muslim non-wearers of the headscarf), but the bleeding heart liberals were too busy congratulating themselves on their open-mindedness to take notice.

        I reiterate: NZ is supposed to be a secular polity which champions the rights and freedoms of women. It’s bizarre and wrongheaded that a female PM – of all people – would wear something that is a historical symbol of the repression of women. Both it and the burqa predate the rise of Islam; in past centuries, Christian women were obliged to dress similarly, though eventually they were able to free themselves from that sort of restrictive clobber.

        “…there’s been a lot of good being done to see.”

        Pfft…. Not on the critically important things. This government hasn’t so far had the cajones to act on the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s recommendation to raise the level of benefits – by as much as 50%, I think. Now that would make a real difference. And it’s had 2 years in which to either do it, or signal that it would do it and when it would happen.

        In addition, both the Education and Health sectors are egregiously underfunded; have been since I worked in healthcare many years ago. The government needs to put megabucks into both: the situation is dire. And it ought to signal when that will happen; pretty much every DHB is in the red, and amalgamating them isn’t nearly enough.

        “”More than 2000 families have a place to call home thanks to the extra 2178 public houses delivered by the Government this year – the biggest increase in the number of public houses in approximately 20 years””

        Heh! Whoever wrote that isn’t aware that for those of my generation, a “public house” isn’t somewhere that anyone – or anyone much – lives. State house, folks: state house.

        Moreover, that’s just a drop in the bucket of housing need. Kiwibuild has been a disaster. I’m well aware that there’s a lot of catching up to do, but the current government has over-promised and under-delivered.

  3. “Prime Minister will only front up when the settlement is reached, and it is now reasonably clear that one will be reached”

    You said it yourself, you know why she cannot go until the relevant parties reach an agreement, it is in their hands, not hers.

  4. plus 100 spikey boy the crown gained the land from Queen Victoria to say they have nothing to do with it is bullshit they confiscated most of Tainui land leaving them almost destitute and landless all because they would not bend the knee to the Queen and now the crown tries to distance themselves from the significant part the British royal family played in the taking of land and the laws implemented and used to obtain the land as they could not win the physical battle it was costing them too much so they reached for the pen. And with a few strokes Tainui land was gone.

  5. Louis wrote: “As the PM and Maori Council said, this is between Maori and it needs to be resolved by Maori” and other words to the same effect.
    The implication is that this raruraru is a domestic between Maori, and that Maori should be left to sort it out themselves. Even if the premise was true (it is not) the conclusion would be amoral at best. Ihumaatao raises questions of justice and the public good. Questions of concern not just to Maori, but to Pakeha and all other peoples of the land. The PM is giving non-Maori licence to evade their responsibilities at the same time as she is denying them their right to take a part in the political process around the Ihumaatao dispute.
    The Prime Minister is very, very wrong. Non-Maori can and must have a voice. They also, like Maori, have a duty to act. To make Aotearoa a better, fairer, happier and more beautiful place. They can do that by supporting the struggle at Ihumaatao. To sit on their hands doing nothing would be inexcusable in the present situation. The same applies to the Prime Minister and the government as a whole.

    • The PM is doing no such thing and she is not denying anyone their rights.

      Statement from the New Zealand Maori Council “would also strongly urge all parties who are not Maori to stop interfering in Maori Affairs – our people are more than capable of resolving these types of issues in the right environment – kanohi ki te kanohi”
      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1907/S00298/ihumatao-statement-from-the-new-zealand-maori-council.htm

      Nanaia Mahuta calls out National and Māori Party over rezoning of Ihumātao
      “The Special Housing Area legislation was put forward under National and supported by the Māori Party, but Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First voted against it. She says the rezoning of Ihumātao “didn’t go through consultation process you would expect”
      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/shows/2019/08/nanaia-mahuta-calls-out-national-and-m-ori-party-over-rezoning-of-ihum-tao.html

      • The New Zealand Maori Council urged “all parties who are not Maori to stop interfering” at Ihumaatao. I don’t accept their position, if by “stop interfering” they mean “take no interest”. Everyone needs to take a stand. Ethnicity is irrelevant.
        However, having said that we should note that first and foremost the NZMC wants the NZ Police to “stop interfering” at Ihumaatao. If the Crown was to first withdraw from Ihumaatao there would be no call for patriotic Pakeha and other peoples to support the kaitiaki.

        • Does it matter what you want? It wasn’t the crown that sent in the police in the first place. The Maori council said “our people are more than capable of resolving these types of issues in the right environment” Between Maori by Maori. The PM respects that, so should others.

      • Let me re-phrase the implications of the Prime Minister’s statement. If the dispute is “between Maori” and “must be resolved by Maori” then there is no place for Pakeha and other non-Maori to take a position.
        That is not to legally deny Pakeha their rights and duties in the matter, but any Pakeha who was swayed by the Prime Minister would feel that it was not right to actively support the kaitiaki.
        So on the one side we have the Prime Minister and the Crown trying to divide people along race lines, and on the other hand we have the kaitiaki of Ihumaatao saying that it is about justice, people and the environment which means that people of every iwi should be able to express an informed opinion.
        We need to move out of the colonial era of divide and rule which has not served us well. Every New Zealander should get involved at Ihumaatao. It is an issue for Maori, but it is also an issue for every single one of us regardless of our ethnicity.

        • The Prime Minister and the Crown are doing no such thing. They are respectfully giving space for Kiingitanga and mana whenua to resolve the dispute, as they should do.

        • Geoff Fischer: “Every New Zealander should get involved at Ihumaatao. It is an issue for Maori, but it is also an issue for every single one of us regardless of our ethnicity.”

          No. Except insofar as both pakeha and Maori are involved to some extent, the heart of the issue is, as Louis has pointed out, a dispute between two groups of Maori over an agreement one of those groups made with Fletcher, the lawful owner of the land in question.

          It has nothing whatsoever to do with the rest of us, Maori or not, unless said Maori are members of the groups in dispute.

      • Louis: “The PM is doing no such thing and she is not denying anyone their rights.”

        Exactly. You’re correct; Geoff Fischer is not.

        “…..New Zealand Maori Council “would also strongly urge all parties who are not Maori to stop interfering in Maori Affairs….”

        It appears that the Maori Council has a handle on the situation; it knows how best it can be sorted. I’m guessing that Fletcher being the owner is quite enough pakeha involvement to be going on with!

        Although, given that it’s a dispute over privately-owned land, the ethnicity of the owner is irrelevant.

        • As I have said, I don’t accept the Maori Council position on Ihumaatao, which I regard as impractical, unrealistic and ultimately divisive, but if “Louis” and “D’Esterre” genuinely supported the Maori Council then they would be demanding, as the Council does, that “all” non-Maori, specifically including the New Zealand Police and by implication including Fletcher Residential Ltd, withdraw from Ihumaatao.
          If the Crown withdraws its forces, leaving the ground to Maori, the dispute will be over.
          But I don’t believe that “Louis” and “D’Esterre” really want that.
          I suggest that they are faking respect for the Maori Council in order to promote the colonialist agenda.
          They must know what the word “all” means. They must have read the full text of the Maori Council statement.
          They just pretend that they have a right to read into that statement whatever suits their purpose. That has always been the way of the colonizers of New Zealand, but it will no longer work.
          The struggle will continue at Ihumaatao until such time as there can be an honest dialogue with the Crown, and this wahi tapu which is the birthplace of our nation is fully returned to its people.

  6. D’esterre:

    “Private property rights” are not absolute. They depend on historical and social circumstances, particularly in the case of colonial societies in which the existing distribution of property has been determined by imperial conquest and confiscation.
    In colonial society, each case must be decided on its merits. At Ihumaatao the property owner Fletcher Residential Ltd has no historical or sentimental attachment to the land. It is merely seeking to develop land which it has recently acquired land in order to sell it for profit. In such a case expropriation with appropriate compensation is entirely fair and reasonable for all parties. Other cases will be different of course, but it is the case of FCL and Ihumaatao which is in contention here.

    You write that “NZ hasn’t been a colony, de facto since its first government was established…”.
    In fact New Zealand has been a “self-governing colony” for much of its history, but it has never ceased to be a colony, socially, politically, economically and militarily. Michael Joseph Savage declared “Where Britain goes, we go…” and Keith Holyoake acclaimed “the New Zealanader Edmund Hillary’s conquest of Everest” as “a triumph of the British race”. Nothing has substantially changed in this century.
    The British monarch is head of the New Zealand state. The Realm’s legislators and security forces swear allegiance to her, and the state itself exists to serve the military, political and economic interests of foreign powers. Colonialism is deeply ingrained.
    In answer to your question, decolonization will end all that. The British monarch will be replaced by a democratically elected indigenous head of state. The race and class based social system which came with British rule and which is to this day symbolized in the British monarchy will also go. So will ethno-nationalist military alliances such as the Five Eyes. British political institutions will be superseded by genuinely democratic indigenous institutions. New Zealand history will finally be taught in New Zealand schools. The changes brought about through decolonization will be far-reaching, positive and liberating. A far cry from the status quo.

    “Cook was a very clever man and a superb mariner”. On that I have to agree. Dr Gordon got it wrong. We can honour Polynesian navigators without unfairly disparaging their European counterparts.

    • Geoff Fischer: “Private property rights” are not absolute”

      While NZ doesn’t have formal constitutional protection of property rights, nevertheless it has a highly effective state guarantee of private titles. It also has a strong and well-developed law of compensation for the taking of land for public works, notwithstanding the absence of formal constitutional protection of property rights. As it happens, central and local governments generally don’t nowadays take land under the Public Works Act, preferring to negotiate with landowners if land is needed.

      “They depend on historical and social circumstances…colonial societies in which the existing distribution of property has been determined by imperial conquest and confiscation.”

      The alienation and confiscation of property in colonised societies is a tragedy that cannot always be remedied without the creation of further injustices. This appears to be something that you do not want to acknowledge. Although I daresay you’d accept it quickly enough, were it your property that had been alienated or confiscated in the past, and the descendants of the original owners wanted it back.

      ” At Ihumaatao the property owner Fletcher Residential Ltd has no historical or sentimental attachment to the land….”

      This is irrelevant; Fletcher has bought the land under the contemporary legal system, and thus has the right to do with it whatever is allowed by Auckland City. It isn’t Fletcher’s fault that the land was confiscated in the 19th century: the tragedy of confiscation cannot now be remedied, without creating another injustice.

      “….expropriation with appropriate compensation is entirely fair and reasonable for all parties.”

      No. The reality of the situation is that if the land is expropriated, one injustice has been replaced with another, compensation notwithstanding. It may be that Fletcher has been successfully bullied into relinquishing the land; it is important to be blunt about this. Were the boot on the other foot, you’d recognise the injustice of it.

      “In fact New Zealand has been a “self-governing colony” for much of its history, but it has never ceased to be a colony, socially, politically, economically and militarily.”

      This isn’t so. While its antecedents were that of the colony, NZ is a polity in its own right, and has been since its first government was established. Remember: iacta aula est. What’s done is done, and cannot now be undone. Robert Mugabe found that out, to the cost of the unfortunate citizens of Zimbabwe.

      “…Michael Joseph Savage declared “Where Britain goes, we go…” and Keith Holyoake acclaimed “the New Zealanader Edmund Hillary’s conquest of Everest” as “a triumph of the British race”.”

      Oh good grief! Such people harked back to their antecedents: so what? Last I looked, Maori whakapapa back to their ancestors; as do all the other people who came here. I’m quite sure that you also do the same, in respect of your pakeha ancestors; Maori haven’t cornered the market in regarding genealogy as important, you know. My grandparents’ generation used to refer to the old country as “home”. Nothing at all wrong with that: they felt a connection that, by the time of my parents, had been transferred to NZ instead.

      “The British monarch is head of the New Zealand state.”

      Well, she would be, wouldn’t she. This country is part of the British Commonwealth.

      “…the state itself exists to serve the military, political and economic interests of foreign powers.”

      Haha! That’ll come as a surprise to the government and also to NZ citizens. What foreign powers did you have in mind? The US? China? Australia, even…. well, who knew?

      “Colonialism is deeply ingrained.”

      No. It is not. What we have here are some political and legal arrangements peculiar to NZ, some which have come from overseas. Some of that we inherit from the UK, some we have in common with other parts of the world. Aspects of western culture have been brought here; we have made them our own. If you’ve been to the UK lately, you’ll be aware that it is utterly different culturally from NZ; even the language has diverged, in both usage and – notably – accent. In that regard, we have our own specialty here.

      “…..decolonization will end all that. The British monarch will be replaced by a democratically elected indigenous head of state.”

      Since this isn’t a colony, it cannot be decolonised. It’s certainly possible that NZ may become a republic at some point in the future, and elect its head of state. Though I must say that I’d got the impression that the election of the incumbent POTUS may have caused many NZers to rethink the wisdom of having an elected head of state. When you say “indigenous”, that would be somebody born in NZ; not just somebody Maori. Though if you do mean somebody Maori as head of state, that’s an egregious piece of ethno-nationalism, right there.

      “The race and class based social system which came with British rule and which is to this day symbolized in the British monarchy will also go.”

      NZ doesn’t have a race-based system: look around you. Of course the early settlers were white: they came from the UK. As to class: the British class system didn’t come here. Which is not to say that some aristocrats didn’t come here in the 19th century, but not in any numbers. The ordinary people who made up the majority of the settlers were trying to get away from the dreaded class system (rapacious nobles were one of the reasons private property rights were so important to the settlers), and did not wish to re-establish anything like it here. We certainly have class here, but it’s defined largely by income. Thus there is quite a bit of mobility from class to class.

      “So will ethno-nationalist military alliances such as the Five Eyes.”

      You decry Five Eyes as ethno-nationalist, yet you want to replace it with…what exactly? Another ethno-nationalist arrangement? You do see the incoherence in this, don’t you?

      “British political institutions will be superseded by genuinely democratic indigenous institutions.”

      We have no British political institutions; the first settlers brought with them the notion of the rule of law (which I understand contemporary Maori were very keen to have) and the Westminster style of government, along with various societal arrangements. All of these imports have, in the years since, evolved into uniquely (or almost uniquely) NZ institutions. Just go look, some time. Moreover our existing political institutions are already genuinely democratic.

      ” New Zealand history will finally be taught in New Zealand schools.”

      Where have you been? It is already offered in NZ schools; trouble is, the school students aren’t overly keen on studying it. What do you think that anyone can do about that? Force them to study it? Attempt to cut them off from other history worldwide? Good luck with that, in the age of the internet.

      “The changes brought about through decolonization will be far-reaching, positive and liberating.”

      Again: NZ cannot be decolonised because it isn’t now a colony, hasn’t been since the middle of the 19th century. If you’re thinking about societal changes, perhaps you have in mind what Pol Pot did; or the aforementioned Robert Mugabe. That sounds to me like dystopia, rather then the utopia of which you appear to be dreaming. I do not think that you’d like it; I’m pretty certain nobody else would , either, Maori included.

  7. Has Jacinda stated publicly or reportedly her position and strategy to support the righting of this wrong of raupatu either in principal or solution in this specific case.
    We may have something to learn rather than just blame jacinda.

    • John W: “Has Jacinda stated publicly or reportedly her position and strategy to support the righting of this wrong of raupatu…”

      It is none of the PM’s business; as others have pointed out here, the dispute is between two groups of Maori. She must stay out of it; just as must the rest of us who aren’t part of those two groups.

  8. D’Esterre’s pseudonymous comment is duplicitous. Among many other things he writes “You decry Five Eyes as ethno-nationalist, yet you want to replace it with…what exactly? Another ethno-nationalist arrangement? You do see the incoherence in this, don’t you?”
    He knows that the insinuation is untrue, he knows I am not racist, yet he chooses to make the allegation anyway. This is not an anomalous aberration on the part of the person who goes by the name of D’Esterre. It has been his modus operandi throughout this discussion.
    Lies and deceit are the stock in trade of the colonial regime, of which it has an almost inexhaustible supply. After all, there is no limit to the number of lies which can be told about anything or anyone.
    So how should we respond?
    Should we attempt to combat the lies, verse by verse, chapter by chapter and volume by volume?
    I believe we should not, and I will not.
    We should be open to dialogue with honest adversaries, but we should not waste our time and energies on those who dispense deceit. It is not part of our God-given task to clean up the colonial regime’s vomit.
    Our one priority is to care for and protect our land and our people. That will be my response to D’Esterre’s deceitful colonialist diatribe.

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