Chris Trotter and the Kingitanga conference – when putsch comes to love


History will record that the Treaty of Waitangi was prone, like a rubbery string of sinew lodged in the teeth of Aotearoa long after the meal of New Zealand was digested. Both Maori and Pakeha at various moments have had turns trying to pick it out and each time the fingernail slides in it seems to wedge further in place. No one could find a toothpick. It stuck fast. The first and last evidence of a long and disagreeable meal. It doesn’t seem to affect anything much, except our self-confidence. It’s just we can feel it there and we can’t help playing with it with our tongue. Sometimes we play with it just to amuse ourselves. It will naturally dissolve of course, but the preference must be extracting it oneself for the satisfaction alone.

The Kingitanga’s Hui-a-Motu at Turangawaewae on Saturday (20/01/2024) – from observing the coverage – was as I expected, positive, energising and vague. It wasn’t going to be a “moanfest” of whinging as Shane Jones put it, and the “ominous” “shadow kingdom” showcased in Chris Trotter’s latest episode of Beware the Brown Bogeyman on the NZ Democracy Project isn’t going to ignite his yearned for civil war with “angry rangatahi.” If his columns from the last few years have a mission it is he dearly wants to precipitate that war, postulate it, will it into existence; and his real existential fear driving the enterprise seems to be he won’t live long enough to die chronicling it. Yes. He figures, with the confidence of the White Man with the whip hand that it will be Rorke’s Drift when it might well be… Zulu Dawn. Like the very disastrous engagement and result that befell that column, Trotter’s column seems just as desperate and equally doomed. His conception of the strong man saviour for the Pakeha in his malwhimsy is so close to Hitler that you wonder if his moustache has significantly shortened over time. Or is it white liberal naivete not to want Constand Viljoen to carpet bomb Ngaruawahia in the lead up to the Treaty bi-centenary?

Trotter’s bare logic on which he scripts The Third New Zealand War however is sound, it just not reasonable to think those conditions will ever arise, or rational to think the post-apocalyptic aftermath of it would be desirable or sustainable. On a material basis – of Pakeha lifestyle being dependent on stolen land – that land question dénouement would trigger a white out avalanche of Allan Titfords if it was ever properly remedied – sure. This question however has not been seriously proposed. It needs to be (and that’s what I am in favour of) but it is not being. Te Pati Maori haven’t seriously thought it through and the Greens have limited the scope to a fraction with their return policy. “Land Back!” has never in any of my readings came with a realistic how-to.

The superficiality of so much political and protest action, generated as it is by social media narcissism as much as by genuine grievance, and the capture of public discourse and administrative direction by the lawyers and academics and their self-interested parasitism on the state they claim they want to move beyond should fully abate Trotter’s paranoia. What are these people really capable of? Have you ever been to a demonstration recently? Is there any action at all? No one wants to dare risk arrest because their professional licences, their government funding, their mortgages, their name in the local paper’s courts page all matter more than the kaupapa. Unless it’s for the sake of likes on Facebook and Youtube views no one is prepared to sacrifice anything beyond an afternoon and petrol money. There is no mind or stomach for it.

Maori have been culturally assertive, but have been politically subsumed and assimilated into the smug complacency of the Pakeha mode of non-confrontation, incrementalism and the safety of judicial atrophy – have they not? Co-opted and copped out. The post-settlement entities foisted on the Iwi groups are now entrenched. The elites which Kingi Tuheitia made a somewhat ambivalent reference to in his concluding speech control the Iwi’s assets and suppress the Hapu’s Mana Motuhake and are now the primary block on decolonisation (as intended by the NZ Government). Tuheitia’s off the cuff remarks should be well heeded – they did it for the money – and by extension that is what they are all about:

“You know our post settlement entities – I think they’re government agencies, because you’ve got to sign their agreements to get the money and have this identity… I don’t want to hang our dirty laundry up. Our settlement… 28 years, and we’ve still got the same structure… I tried to restructure, but no one seems to want to change, they want to stay in this little huddle they’ve got…”

Colonial entities post-independence have more often than not left the land and the whips in white hands and nothing so far from anyone indicates a different scenario here.

The other strand of Trotter’s bellicose thesis is cultural. Again there is some logic to it, but again the reality he sketches is in crayon in an age of AI. The Pakeha ability to entertain “Maorification” is already a generational reality that neutralises the cultural anxiety which is of the Boomer’s immediate concern – outflanked by time it seems, the visceral hate and accompanying fear just does not exist to justify the requisite conditions for Amaorigeddon. Can you march to war without that beat?

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Things are moving all right, but not in the right direction. Look at the Office of Maori-Crown Relations Treaty Settlement map. The colonial masters are filling in the country as undisputed Pakeha land – the confiscated land of which there can be no moral claim has been swallowed. All for a pittance. Locked into a legal framework the elite endorse there is no recourse now available for the landless peasants in whose names they took the money. Look at the NZ-UK FTA that came into effect last year: the preamble claims the New Zealand Crown “has now” succeeded to and assumed all rights and obligations of the Treaty from the British Crown! When did that happen exactly, what date? What Maori opposed this or even noticed it? The most significant acknowledgement of the Treaty by the actual partner, Britain, and not one of those complacent Iwi corporate drones, not one of those lawyer parasites even blinks! All the megaphone kids, silent. Not one protest! No money in it? Are these people who invoke and sanctify Te Tiriti credible when the UK and NZ governments can collude to abrogate it and they do nothing? Cretinous leadership.

None of the reports from the conference augured anything beyond conventional political engagement if we look through the rhetoric (none of which was fierce).  The same people, saying the same things were not going to devise a decolonisation template they have had fifty years to come up with and haven’t. Indeed, the Rangatahi forum, God bless them, wondered aloud in their final statement why we only come together as a reaction and not as a positive pursuit on a regular basis. The Kingitanga was a reaction itself to the establishment of the NZ parliament so perhaps it is not a wonder the movement is inherently reactive.

The momentum has begun in the heat sparked by NZ First and Act. Given the fuse that sits between them is a National Party dominated by the liberal wing (something I see John Campbell refused to acknowledge in his rather churlish piece for One News) there is only so much friction that can be tolerated before the moderation switch gets tripped. We shall see how the current generation can maintain the push within the paradox of dependence on their adversaries to shove them and their elders into meaningful action.


  1. Superb prose, as always, Tim.

    What you have failed to appreciate, however, is that I do not want civil war – I fear it. Because, as you rightly acknowledge, what would be left after the conflict would not be worth having.

    I do thank you, though, for recognising the logic of at least some of my analysis. Not least the maximalist nationalist programme, which you espouse and which the elites work so hard to temper.

    I guess that’s why the King’s hui was, in the end, so mild-mannered. The iwi leaders fear the Crown a great deal less than they fear the growing frustration of the poor and, most especially, the young.

    • Whos gonna start this civil war CT? Your followers on your site seem ready to start anything apart from having a meaningful conversation about race & how triggered they become when they’ve been called a pakeha.

      Free Aotearoa

    • People unemployed, underemployed, feeling hopeless. They still have their personal energy. A build up of energy can make an explosion, fire. But all that energy, what if it could be encouraged with national task forces, well paid, able to support home and family, no stand downs by petty, vicious government and contractors, agencies.

      I speet on such behaviour from admin. So-called welfare – Work and Income travesty. They would form in cohesive teams and travel within the country to where willing workers who had esprit de corps were needed and wanted. They would compete to be top team against the other, would enjoy building NZ with the same enthusiasm as competing in everyday sport?? Is that an idea or is that a great idea?

      Flip, from brooding problems mounting fearfully, to great spots of activity all round the country. By NZ/AO people for us all, and everybody wins. Nice scenario. All you negative thinkers can’t even start on something positive as a pilot; now give it a try. Monitor, adjust, facilitate, pay properly and cherish our young and unemployed, a resource more precious than oil and titanium.

    • Chris, appreciate your comments, as always. You once called me a controversialist and I think I can now, after almost 30 years, return the compliment!

      At the risk of fueling this further, may I recommend getting drunk one night, and listening to an end of times radio news bulletin envisaging something of what you have outlined (including the ominous silence from the security apparatus please note) that I made 8 years ago on Youtube ‘RNZ: the final broadcast’ of which there are 2 parts.
      It was something of a thought experiment, to consider what the collapse of the colony would look like in real time if it was an event rather than a process. What would that final status look like and what might get us there, how would it be done and what might be the counter reaction. Forgive the clicking – that’s the extra drama of the panicked Pakeha guy turning on his electric fence from stun to kill. The question is what would trigger all this? That is kept unclear, because who knows.

    • Without proper intellectual property and a protectionist economic base of our (Maori) own it is unauthentic pushing Maori into corporate capitalism. As an example Chinese can open up Chinese restaurant’s, italians can open Italian restaurant’s but without the intellectual property yknow the language and culture underpinning Maori capitalism it will always be unauthentic. Maori who open up restaurant’s or businesses of there own rip off the intellectual property of foreign nations we have no legally protected rights of our own it’s all colonial settler protections.

      Fighting constitutional battles in the high court is always the wrong fight for Maori to get into. One reason for that is because only a central government can defeat another central government and in the case of Maori we can not form a central government of our own. One reason is because we are a collection of independent tribes and two the treaty intrenches those boundaries.

      30 years of the treaty infrastructure and none of the iwi leaders can give me simple capital gains calculations. Or a simple trading calculation or investment calculation because elite Maori capitalists are unauthentic. Money is not for them. They shouldn’t have settled for cash yet here we are. Forced to digest things we are not intellectually or biologically designed to digest and our great and wonderful planners haven’t figured out how to prepare more than one meal.

      The treaty has opened up the world of science and commerce to Maori and in return we have to sacrifice our dialects so that an homogeneous Maori language and culture can be distributed to the world and finally generate authentic elite Maori capitalist. But that’s just me. After 40 years I’ve been unable to convince enough Maori that there is a promise land out there because they’re scared of progress.

      They want a Maori Renaissance paid for by the government. One that promotes equality and the destruction of the family unity. Even if they don’t know it themselves destroying the atomic family is there goal and how do you do that you promote promiscuity.

      And how do you promote promiscuity well you promote homosexuality.

      And how do you promote homosexuality well you demonise male figures. The end result is a feminist ideology and weak male figures.

      Having weak male figures is another reason why Maori can not even imagine beating the crown on any level imaginable. I mean they can try just like Winston and Seemore is trying on the other end but non of them actually have it in them to destroy or even create an economy from scratch.

      No I think anything that will be attempted in this area eill get watered down. One, two or maybe even three more rate hikes will entrench the wealth gap far beyond the vast majority of Maori at a rate of total maori economic output divided by price making these constitutional arguments rather annoying.

      I just wachted the Maori king address the audience and was like is that the best we’ve got? Some slogans and court papers?

      First of all Maori have to provide alternatives to financial innovation, research, development. A lot of other devices including bail outs. Spending hard won money on slogans and court papers is unimaginative and poor leadership. The goal is to keep the Maori culture viable.

      There are alternatives which is traditional gender roles that have been beaten out of the heads of Maori which is men work and woman do nurturing duties which has been true of every single Renaissance, revolution or whatever. And there has to be a lot of journalism expressing a common view of Maori that those who work the fields should own them which is a view that terrifies settler colonialists.

      The idea that I’m getting all twisted in knots about is that wage slavery has to be temporary and it used to be the Position of Winston Peter’s old National Party. These ideas would have been easily recognised by Muldoon. There us nothing honourable about renting ones self so those are some alternatives. Alliances between the Crown and Maori are perfectly feasible Jim Bolger did the most to construct the Treaty infrastructure. There’s no economic or politically theory that conflicts with the structure of the treaty infrastructure except for those that conflict with existing operators extracting Maori wealth. There for the existing education system and cultural centres have to drive economic development out of your minds and make Maori aspirations seem insane or theft or some type of degenerate behaviour and unthinkable.

      But there’s nothing to say that Maori can not move towards a progressive platform. There are tens of billions of dollars under iwi management combined with the cheapest land values available to New Zealand could produce the scale of development that New Zealand badly needs. It’s not a law of nature that we have to import all of our energy requirements or that we have to get cheap railway infrastructure from China. Those aren’t laws of nature those are social, economic and political decisions that require a certain minimum amount of imagination.

      • And how do you promote homosexuality well you demonise male figures. The end result is a feminist ideology and weak male figures.

        Such a romantic in a world of enlightenment.

  2. Meh…10,000 out of what, NZ maori population of 900,000 or so.

    1% is hardly newsworthy. More people turn up every weekend to watch a sports match.

      • Read it correctly Tess Tickles. Im right is not saying 1% of the population, they’re saying 10,000 is 1% of 900,000 (approximately) … 10,000 watch a sports match regularly.

        • Both were using exaggeration for the sake of making a point. Good that you picked up on that Glenno. But don’t miss the message behind the facts. Anyway all people looking for stable facts should regard percentages with some doubt, so flexible their meaning, like stepping on river-wet stones covered with didymo.

        • Okay.

          So how many sports matches had an attendance of 10,000 last weekend? And did matches with an attendance rate lower than 0.2% prevent the media from deeming them newsworthy?

    • So tell me what was the percentage of votes for Act that made them think they had a mandate from all of Aotearoa ,hardly newsworthy??

      • Exactly and Greywarbler too.
        The hui of unity showed again the goodwill, patience and hospitality which Māori usually, are prepared to offer.
        Again, they showed that they will wait patiently until people realise of their own volition, what value they bring to the table.
        The main requirement is goodwill. So far, the crown hasn’t shown much, for a very long time.

        The only reason this business has surfaced is because a handful of people saw they could use it to manipulate themselves into power.
        It’s a divide and rule situation.

  3. Meh – the treaty is massively over-egged. England signed an essentially similar boiler plate deal with the sovereign of Singapore around the same time, without it creating a permanent Brahmin class paid to invent new fantasies about it.

    There can be no progress for our society based on fatuous lies. Redress of Maori grievances lies in their rights as British subjects that were ignored or overridden with gay abandon by the corrupt settler governments.

  4. The article touches on part of the problem Maori have ie that of the elite lawyers and fund managers and committe goers who have learnt to live off the tax payers teat and whose sole motivation is that and that alone. It is they who come up with a new definition of the treaty every month as that fuels tribunal claims and that makes fees. The tribunal committe is subsumed by this thinking too instead of trying to close out treaty issues so everyone can move on. Blame the white man all you like but it’s the minority of elites that benefit knowing they can stir up ordinary Maori to come to a hui and party a bit without any benefit to those ordinary Maori at all. Think what could be done with the money if it wasn’t sucked up by the few.

  5. I don’t understand Trotter lately. He’s always been afraid of Maori activism – but he’s getting a bit hysterical about it lately. Apparently it’s “identity politics” which is a BAD THING. Never mind that class politics does nothing for Maori language and culture.
    But then he’s also allowing nutty conspiracy theorists to spout their bullshit on his site as well. Things going from bad to worse.

  6. Pakeha claiming that they’re the victims of Maori aspirations is just laughable and deserves comedian comedy award of the century. The audacity for Pakeha to make out that they’ve become the victims of Treaty revisionism when we have Pakeha meticulously recording their shenanigans, majority pakeha historians recording their findings from these records.

    This binding referendum proposed by ACT to a majority of NZers that haven’t a clue about our country’s history is disingenuous and downright threatening to our countries peaceful existence that has work successfully even under enormous pressure form right wing Maori haters.

    Maori nationalism has existed since the late 18th century when french explorers encroached on Maori customs in the Bay of Islands in 1776 and throughout the 19th century and was reflected at Turangawaewae Marae during the weekend. If pakeha think that the first ‘New Zealanders’ are just suddenly gonna forget their heritage and deep ideological connection to this country than you haven’t been paying attention even what’s happening globally with nationalism being the hot topic in international affairs.

    Free Aotearoa

  7. Perhaps the iwi elites have considered what a de-colonised Aotearoa would be like?

    Would parliamentary sovereignty still reign? Would there be a separation between the judiciary and the executive? What role would democracy and elections still have? Would an independent police force remain?

    Would that Aotearoa look like Jamaica or Zimbabwe. Or Papua New Guinea, or Fiji but with a temperate climate?

    • Parliament is not sovereign in the Realm of New Zealand. King Charles is. That is why Parliament is required to give allegiance to King Charles. That would change under rangatiratanga, mana motuhake and te whakaminenga because the people would become sovereign under Ihoa o nga mano.
      There would be continuous election, meaning that every day would be election day.
      Police forces are a strange innovation of post-democratic western society with no equivalent in historic democracies or rangatiratanga. If there was to be a police force it would be much smaller than the present excessively large force, and it would not be in the service of King Charles.
      Strange to say Aotearoa would look like Aotearoa, with a climate that would depend on the actions of crazy colonialists who having done their best to stuff up the colonized nations of the world are now prepared to destroy the entire planet.

  8. I think the Maori of 180 years ago would have found it odd to think that a government would not be able to house its people because the land was too damned expensive. The notion that land could be a commodity which could be bought and sold was probably foreign to them. And they probably had no concept of pollution either.
    Perhaps land should be returned, not to the Maori, but to the Crown, who would govern its use for the benefit of everybody. Perhaps this is really the the main point of the treaty, and perhaps this concept should be included in any constitution that we might draw up.

      • Landowners will not give up their land willingly, so nationalizing land would need Charles, or his local representative, to make some sort of declaration. Would he do this?
        He might if this is what the Maori need:. after all the treaty is one between Crown and Maori, so if Maori have experienced problems through loss of land he may well see this as something inconsistent with the treaty, and that state, or Crown, ownership could be a solution.

  9. “Never argue with fools. They’ll drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.”
    Mark Twain knew a thing or two judging from some of the comments above.
    @ Im Right for example? Just what the fuck is that? It needs to be gagged and tied to a distant strainer post.
    The cold harsh reality is this:
    We all live on a yellow submarine. No, we don’t. Just making sure you’re paying attention but if you really do think we do then God bless, enjoy yourself while you can.
    We AO/NZ’ers live on the last paradise. Australia’s cooking people with temps close to 50c. ‘Merica ” God Bless! Fuck Yeah now pass the ammunition!? ” is so fucked on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin. Europe is closer than at any time in history to becoming a gigantic Chernobyl. Thanks to God Bless Merica, China has it’s little prick out and it’s wagging it at Taiwan while North Korea has Kim Jong Un what ever that is, but what ever it is, it’s nuclear war capable. The UK and Western Europe are simply worn out. Poor old King Charles has a swollen prostate, Germany etc has a new waves of old failures in freakish fascists proving Einstein correct when he was quoted as saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same things while expecting different outcomes.
    In short, and I’m not that short, is that I think things, generally, are a bit fucked.
    Except here. We’re unique, we Kiwis, we AO/NZ’ers. We’re away the fuck down and over here while they, are not. Yet. But they will come and while we scrap it out they will move in and over.
    @ Maori are lovely people. Let’s be clear on that. Maori are lovely, kind and brilliant people. If they were not, we’d be at it like Palestinians / Jews / Houthi / Arabs / Turks / Martians / Those terrifying Fish people in Stingray. Instead, we live in relative peace despite we white fucks arrogantly coming here and clumping around on a land area that we were SECOND to coming to. NOT first. but second. A shit second. A weak *weaselly, pathetic, greedy, exploitative second.
    This is what’s happening. We Maori and non Maori AO/NZ’ers are being taunted into becoming antagonistic towards each other which will mean we’ll be weakened thus disadvantaged thus easier to subdue.
    Sun Tzu’s Art of War 101.
    * 2 a deceitful or treacherous person:

  10. So Chris Trotter “fears” that a “maximalist nationalist programme” will lead to civil war which he claims he “does not want”. So what is this maximalist programme? Seems it is being articulated by Tim Selwyn more or less on his own and consists of the suggestion that all confiscated land in New Zealand should be returned to its original collective owners. For administrative reasons alone, that is an unlikely scenario, but it is not impossible, and if was to happen it might not provoke the kind of reaction that Mr Trotter expects. New Zealand is now a predominantly urban society in which increasing numbers of Maori, Pakeha, Pasifika and other city dwellers own no land and have no hope of owning land. Rural land not in Maori title is increasingly falling into the hands of corporate or foreign owners, and a similar phenomenon may be occurring in urban residential and commercial property. The classic family farm is often in hock to the Aussie bank, and hence as good as owned by the bank, while Pakeha families that have been generations on the land often find that through past matrimonial arrangements technically speaking they qualify as Maori. So if all confiscated lands were returned to iwi administration who would have reason to object? Obviously the corporate and foreign capitalists, but a huge number of residential tenants and working farmers would just be curious to see whether the iwi would be kinder to them than an Aussie bank or a Remuera landlord. Even homeowners caught in the grip of volatile house prices and soaring mortgage rates might be happy to have the iwi take that burden off their shoulders. Things in New Zealand are not what they were fifty years ago. Because the colonialist dream has emphatically and miserably failed, anything becomes possible. A “maximalist nationalist programme” may be welcomed by all sorts of folk – not just Maori.
    Then there is the political and constitutional aspect. The Westminster political system has brought itself into justifiable contempt, and non-Maori will start looking at the governance of the marae, the principles of rangatiratanga and mana motuhake to discover whether there is something there that caters to the needs and aspirations of the ordinary New Zealander rather better than King Charles and the 123 MPs who have been coerced into pledging him their solemn allegiance.
    A word of comfort to both Chris Trotter and Tim Selwyn. Things are changing out of the sight and hearing of the political class, and although progress is slow, as it must be if it is to be more than a transient phenomenon, it is inexorable.

  11. Poor Chris, we are so far away from civil war. All of us olds with power still speak pure egalitarian, though the essence has long evaporated.

  12. Visit to Gisborne supermarket. Really quite international. Our fair talk, after the essence has gone, keeps us rolling along. Thanks Micky and John B. Heart gored out but our social culture keeps society together.


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