Waatea News Column: National’s scream of segregation vs my Maori journey as a Pakeha


The National Party are attempting to race-bait by describing the Māori Health Authority as ‘segregation’.

That is an emotionally loaded historic term that is offensive in its misappropriation to this comparison.

For Māori by Māori social service provision is a solution to long-standing institutional racism, to describe that as ‘segregation’ is willful bigotry.

It’s not just the grossness of the conflation of that phrase with the self-agency of a Māori Health Authority that is insulting, it’s the mentality that there is nothing of value here.

I am someone who passionately believes that Pākehā culture has much to learn from Māori cultural values.

While I have no skills in Te Reo, I believed it was important for my Pākehā daughter to have access to this cultural treasure so she was enrolled in a Māori emersion class.

When she speaks Te Reo, it is the closest I ever feel to being a New Zealander. I have seen Māori educational and social values build her up as a human being.

Her class had every age group in it, not only was she responsible for completing her work, she had obligations to help the younger students and help resolve their issues as well.

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This has gifted her unique self-confidence that I don’t sense in mainstream educated children who seem nervous and in constant competition with one another.

There is so much Pākehā culture can learn from Māori, but that can’t progress if the arrogance of knowing what is best blinds you to new ideas.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. judith collins is like a benign wart on the end of ones nose. It only becomes a problem the moment it’s taken seriously.
    “There is so much Pākehā culture can learn from Māori, but that can’t progress if the arrogance of knowing what is best blinds you to new ideas.”
    Fabulous. Your daughter’s a very lucky kid.

  2. Good on you Martyn.

    I wonder how many Nat MPs and other political bubble people generally have ever been on a Marae or other Māori setting voluntarily–is fear of the new, and cultural anxiety, what drives some of their race hate? or are some of them just unreconstructed white supremacists.

    I was lucky to experience rural Māoridom in Northland growing up and a lot of adults did not speak the Reo then due to clumsy state assimilation and integration policy and the urban drift.

    I look at land features now and see forms and environments that will be here in hundreds of years regardless of what happens to humans. Many Pākehā just see baches, and sections they could buy and make a gain on.

  3. So true Martyn, and well put.
    What are some so frightened of – losing their ‘white’ privilege maybe?
    I’m drawn to the final lines of Amanda Gormans’s inaugural poem:
    “When day comes we step out of the shade,
    aflame and unafraid
    The new dawn blooms as we free it
    For there is always light,
    if only we’re brave enough to see it
    If only we’re brave enough to be it”

    Unfortunately some are not brave enough to ‘see it’ and wish to deny us all the opportunities it would bring.

  4. My daughter is 5th generation NZer and also immersed in Te Reo. But to some in this country she will always have a colonial invader and oppressor background.
    At what point is her families lineage to this country eventually recognized as tangata whenua?

    • As a 6th gen kiwi I feel the same way. That’s why I don’t buy into the white privelidge stuff designed to divide. I didn’t feel any different to my maori peers but when we started learning history at intermediate I was unaware of my early settlor history (as both parents born in England) that I felt like I didn’t belong.. I felt like an outsider. Until I learnt that my great great grandparents arrived here pre earthquake and built homes, learnt enough te reo to trade with local maori. This history is passed down by word of mouth now to my children and neices as some of the written accounts have been lost. I feel pride in that history

  5. Judith Collins actually knows what is the worst things for Maori ,,,, and goes ahead and does them anyway.

    National working for the drug industry when they used their trademark dirty politics to scuttle Alcohol reform makes her more involved in serious crimes and child abuse than anyone who has ever been sent to prison for these offenses ….

    Blame the victims and lock them up in Serco cesspits is her Political version of the wife beater who puts the blame on the woman ,,,

    She is a disgrace …

  6. Health is the much guarded, much guarded jewel of any nation and the rapid advances in tech make it a living, mutable process with probably way more flow of capital than the ponzi shares and futures markets which command screeds of diversionary fanfare and hype.
    John Tamihere says we already have a separist health system: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/300290195/john-tamihere-we-already-have-a-separatist-healthcare-system – he’s right- his explanation of the math works.
    My experience with the DHB which segregated mothers post -partum on grounds of ethnicity was a little weird because, not being a first time mum at that stage, I was wondering where all the care was.
    When my friend told me his mother was refused treatment at Waikato Hospital for goitre, which she died from, prematurely and horribly, I was still shocked and disgusted but had no reason to doubt him, “yep, they sent her home to die, refused to admit her,” she was only young.
    I have more horror stories to render from those vaults but I like it better, Martyn, that your child will become fluent in te Reo and altruism, I marvel at the astute 4 yr olds who can sit quietly and absorb a two hour wananga deep in thought, humour and understanding:- kia kaha, kia kaha, kia manawanui.

  7. …” I am someone who passionately believes that Pākehā culture has much to learn from Māori cultural values”….


    Its a two edged sword as there are no ‘ noble savages’. All human beings can be bastards, as all human beings can be angels. We are a mix. As such , – and here’s an interesting slant,… many of the earlier Maori elders advocated following in the British tradition to ensure their children didn’t dip out or were disadvantaged in the new era they were experiencing. They were forward looking and thought of the future generations like we all do.

    And so for the sake of their children’s chances they forwent many old tribal ways. The same happened with the Native Americans, the same happened with the Australian Aborigines. And they were, generally,… ripped off despite their efforts.

    And yet , here we all are, hundreds of years later in each respective culture,… living with the fall out of colonialism.

    I would suggest a mutual happiness, a heart felt joy and pleasure and respect at knowing and receiving the uniqueness of each others ways. It is called the ‘winning of hearts and minds ‘ in American military culture.

    Now I know it isn’t as simple as all this , but lets share and get along. Why do we allow the ‘ greedies’ ( ‘neo liberals’/ capitalists ) to dictate to us?

    Why cant we all just get along and prosper together? We are the majority, they are the minority. We outnumber them numerically.

    Dances with wolves | Coffee Scene

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