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Friday, June 24, 2005

Te Reo Maori for Public Servants

I heard on National Radio's 11am news this morning that the Maori Party want it to be compulsory for NZ public servants to learn Te Reo Maori. My mind boggles. Are they all going to be enrolled at Te Wananga, blowing out their rolls by 300,000? And why? Doesn't every Maori person in NZ know English?

Posted by Lucia Maria | 6/24/2005 11:17:00 AM

38 Comments:

Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

It's easy to have policies like this when you know there's no chance of them being implemented. Might take a few votes away from Winston though and that would not be a bad thing.

6/24/2005 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger GaryH said...

I remember, as a teenager in South Africa in 1976, the protests in Soweto which sparked the now well known Soweto Riots.

Protests in SA in the mid-seventies were quite rare as the police response could be extreme. But the Sowetans were brave enough to get out into the streets to protest the forced teaching of Afrikaans to their children in the schools. The repercussions from these riots were felt for decades, and probably played some role in the changes that took place 30 years later.

Force feeding language and culture is the sign of a huge cultural inferiority complex, and will always end in aggression and violence.

6/24/2005 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

It would shrink the bureaucracy something amazing.

6/24/2005 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

Teaching is for schools.

The South African correspondent is correct - and years of English-only/Pakeha-exclusive teaching is the context in which any discussion on Maori perspectives and language in education should be seen. This Govt. continues to operate Pakeha immersion schools as if they were for all the public and represent everything a child ought to know about their nation. Our schooling is well below par from what I understand to most European and Asian countries who learn multiple languages and a wide range of subjects. If we all learnt Maori in schools instead of just a few songs then we would not be having this sort of perrenial debate.

Those with no understanding of the "other" official language should be grandfathered over rather than "taught."

Ireland had the same issues as they made the transition from colony to independence. I understand that the Gaelic language was pushed very strongly (as one would expect) but at the expense of many who (through no fault of their own) could not speak it. It may have been used to get rid of British civil servants, I'm speculating.

6/24/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Right now we have compulsory Maori language in schools. I remember being taught Maori as a child and I remember being bored stiff. Probably because I'm not particularly interested in languages, and I never saw the point in learning Maori. I also hated going to Polish school every Saturday, but that was made easier in that I was already bi-lingual, Polish just taught reading and writing. If it wasn't for all the singing at the end, it wouldn't have been so bad. The singing was enough to drive me completely batty.

Strangely enough, I'm now interested enough to learn Polish again and have ordered a heap of stuff from Amazon.

What is my point .. oh yeah, languages ought not to be compulsory. We have one national language - English. Making Maori compulsory makes no sense, unless you are Maori. And even then it ought to be a choice. For those of us who have other cultural backgrounds, learning Maori and having our children learn Maori really grates. I would much rather my child, who is also learning German, learn learn some other more useful language, like French or Spanish.

6/24/2005 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

I suppose I should add that I don't think schooling ought to be compulsory.

6/24/2005 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Ashley Clarkson said...

There is something to be said for learning another language - we (speaking of monolingual New Zealanders) tend to assume that because Britain once ruled a quarter of the planet and English is the international language of commerce that we shouldn't bother to learn another language. We usually take the piss out of the French who are arrogant enough to demand everybody speaks French in their country (having learnt that garbled English for a year at College, I quite frankly wonder why they would bother with that language), but in some ways we can be almost the same. If we teach our kids another language (be it Maori, a European language, or even Mandarin) then we are broadening their horizons. And of course if they want to learn another language later on it can be easier for them.

Sadly, I remember very little of the Maori I was taught at primary school. It's my intention to get myself back up to (at least) reading fluency, if not fluency at speaking it. As an NZ History buff it broadens the horizons of available resources, to say the least if you have a command of Maori available to you.

6/24/2005 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

Lucyna:
"Making Maori compulsory makes no sense, unless you are Maori. And even then it ought to be a choice. For those of us who have other cultural backgrounds, learning Maori and having our children learn Maori really grates."

Two questions: Why does it "grate"? and are you saying Maori shouldn't learn English?

You seem to think that "other cultural backgrounds" means they should be given the Pakeha treatment. As if immigrants ought to be excluded from Maori things because they "grate." Why don't you like it? Why did you move here? If immigrants think they are coming to a generic white anglophone country they ought to move to Australia - they have the wrong country.

6/25/2005 03:42:00 AM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Tim, I was born here. When my parents moved here, NZ was an English speaking country. As far as many people are concerned it still is an English speaking country. We were invited to NZ, btw, after WW2.

Normally, no matter what country in the world you go to, the majority culture rules. That's just the way it is. Inflicting a minority culture and language on everyone else is wrong.

6/25/2005 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

I didn't actually answer your question.

1. Having to learn any language that is not the primary language of the country is wrong. I don't mind it being a choice - I do mind not having a choice.

2. Maori children can learn whatever languages they want. It's not up to me to decide what they should learn. But remember, I don't believe in compulsory schooling either.

6/25/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

There's something to be said for learning another language - agreed.

Compulsory Maori - No way.

Required for ALL public servants? Bloody stupid. Actually, not. An insidious piece of social engineering. There are other ways of preserving culture.

6/25/2005 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

NZ is often a sad place where the views, prejudices etc. of immigrants are given more weight than they should because of cultural insecurity on the part of the colonial inheritors of a colonial project. I think that line of affairs is counter to our development - being deeply regressive, insular and hostile towards local people.

I take your point, Lucyna, about the state compulsory education system and I interpret your views in that context. However, when you say things like:
"Normally, no matter what country in the world you go to, the majority culture rules. That's just the way it is. Inflicting a minority culture and language on everyone else is wrong." Then I wonder what problem you have with living in this country.

"Rules" versus "Inflicting". What is infliction if it is not a rule? What is a majority culture if it is not just a minority culture that has managed to inflict itself (esp. misusing the power of the state)? I am stating that some counter-"infliction" no matter how much it "grates" with people who detest the locals is exactly what the state should be doing: the objective being to remove that prejudice of the immigrants. If the state does not wish to turn immigrants into locals then it is a colony by definition, ie. the importation, establishment and rule of non-locals over and/or to the exclusion of the local/indigenous inhabitants. That is what you are arguing for when you say, as a child of immigrants, that you want nothing to do with trying to understand the locals. You feel happy living in a colony and the alternative "grates". Is this not a fair analysis?

In my experience the "grate" and the "infliction" of which you speak is the attitude of the parents when they discover that their child is enthusiastically telling their parents all the Maori words they learnt that day in school. Then the parents start off on a tirade about Maori and so starts the antagonism from one generation to another. Very sad. And also very true. What do you tell your kids? - the same thing your parents told you?

To live in a country and not even want tounderstand the place names? Our immigration policy and the governments on which it has based it's co-dependency have been munted almost from the beginning. You are a product of that, as am I. It's time to change.

6/25/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Tim, who said anything about not wanting to understand the place names? You don't need to learn an entire language in order to understand place names.

My older child does not enthiastically tell me all the Maori words he has learned. But he has been enthusiatic about German words. I have been completely non-judgemental about the languages he is learning. And believe me, I could be far more judgemental about him learning German. But, I think that learning any language other than your own is valuable exercise. My parents, like-wise said nothing to me about Maori language, it was a non-issue.

In using the power of the state to enforce a minority culture on the majority, Maori risk a massive backlash. Now, if you are calling Maori "locals" and everyone else "immigrants", then the problem is worse than I thought.

6/25/2005 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

"To live in a country and not even want to understand the place names?"

YOu are passing judgement on the way I live my life. You are reading your own set of beliefs into other peoples actions and your solution of forcing a culture down my throat is disturbing.

"Then the parents start off on a tirade about Maori and so starts the antagonism from one generation to another. "

What dangerous assumptions you make. I find it slightly offensive.

Your little plot to force every Kiwi to embrace the Maori culture in full, seemingly to the point we are all fluent, rub noses and tell women to get out of the meeting room might not be working, so start looking for targets to blame.

I fully support the preservation of Maori culture, but that task is largely up to the Maori. I can understand the value of making it part of the school curriculum, to the point of bringing a favourable awareness of Maori Culture and NZ History in the minds of our children.

But moves using compulsion to learn Maori, to become Maori I do not agree with. Let people find their own path.

Moves to target immigrants and first generation NZ'ers as being "problems" that need re-education smack of the same sort of prejudice that holds us back from being better people.

"Trying to understand the locals" How insulting. I am a local. Its getting to the point that, by implication, a second or third generation kiwi is not a local, just an outsider.

From one kiwi to another - don't tell me what I have to read, and what I have to say, and I wont shove it back down your throat.

6/25/2005 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

testing rego

6/25/2005 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Is it necessary to be polite in here? Otherwise I'd like to tell t selwyn where to shove his ideas about compulsory learning of Maori language.
"..
the objective being to remove that prejudice of the immigrants."
You mean the immigrants who arrived in canoes or those who arrived by Boeing 747 Selwyn? We're all immigrants. And as for removing the prejudice, I'd suggest that Maoris and their sympathisers stop trying to ram their stone-age culture down other people's throats as a good start.

6/25/2005 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Mellie said...

2c:

I've studied German through school and uni and the german kids have to learn English as well as German [sorry, 'as well as'? duh]. They come out of school bilingual. If we accept that the German language is part of their cultural heritage AND that by virtue of living in New Zealand, Maori language is part of our cultural heritage, THEN there is a reasonable argument that we should teach Maori in school.

Hmm. A bit garbled. But:

Maori is a national language, isn't it? I think we would have to abandon all Maori language [with public support] (ie. remove it's status as a national language) in order to justify the scrapping of teaching Maori in school. Here, I'm talking primarily about language. I agree with Zentiger but I'm probably going half way in that I think having kids know how to speak Maori is enough in it self, and cultural awareness can be dealt with separately. Of course that will not satisfy those who want to go further in terms of incoroporating Maori cultural awareness in the curriculum.

Being a linguist *nervous cough*, I think there is a lot of value in getting kids out of school bilingual in our national languages. At least then all the powhiri[s] would make sense. Seriously though, I daresay the smarter kids will pick up French, German or Mandarin without any trouble. I personally hold the humanities (ie. languages and social sciences etc) quite valuable so I don't have any trouble with two languages in the curriculum. Also, I can't help but think that anything less is still tokenism towards Maori. But that's just me.

6/25/2005 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mellie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/25/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mellie said...

ZenTiger, it's quite interesting - I've taken almost a diagonally opposite view to you - I feel that cultural knowledge isn't really valuable without a knowledge of the language (eg. trying to understand the powhiri) but when you learn the language, you get an appreciation of the culture on the side.

But as far as compulsory Te Reo for public servants? Bad idea. Not all of them will be linguists. All they need is a workshop on the cultural aspects. Forcing them to learn a language is not healthy - stressful and frankly, not startlingly necessary. No one is asking for policy advice in Maori.

6/25/2005 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

No Mellie, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with that. Actually, I've been considering learning Maori language out of interest.

My son is learning at school. I don't have a problem with this.

The element of compulsion is what I am on about - and the justifications used are sounding like prejudiced reasoning to force the culture down peoples throats. Extending this to the legislation and to a requirement for holding a job is disturbing.

This is a good way to create spilts in society and artifical barriers. All seemingly for the "greater good." When its with this approach, that is usually a smokescreen.

6/25/2005 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

If Maori is a National language, then what you seem to be saying is that it ought to be enforced (ie taught to children). My point of view is more that if Maori is a national language, then everyone would speak it without being forced to, therefore it being taught in schools would be a natural outcome. Right now English is a definate national language because everyone speaks it. If you don't speak English in NZ, you cannot communicate with other New Zealanders.

6/25/2005 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Therefore every other language ought to be a choice.

6/25/2005 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Mellie said...

ZenTiger: I'm with you on that one.

Lucyna: That's interesting because it then promotes the question: why is Maori a national language if it's not necessary for daily life? If there is another compelling reason for its status, why is it not taught in all schools?

I don't follow what you say about being taught in schools as a natural outcome - wouldn't it be the other way round: teaching in schools making [it easier for] people speak it without being forced to?

But yes certainly by your reasoning every other language ought therefore to be a choice. Te Reo is admittedly separate from other languages because of its attachment to Maori culture [duh] and the [I would say] present-day influence on New Zealand English and Kiwi life.

That's another argument however as to whether its current status and neccessity justifies it being taught in schools.

6/25/2005 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Ashley Clarkson said...

I suppose you could reasonably argue on the basis of learning a national language that all the kids in school should be learning NZ Sign Language, since that is apparently also a national language now (thank you Glorious Leader). I'm definitely favourable towards kids learning a bit of Maori in primary school - not a ramrod effort, but enough to whet their appetites (if they go for that sort of thing) and be able to at least understand some of the associated culture and custom behind it. I'm not so favourably inclined towards indoctrinating every kid into Maui etc. though.

I agree that there is no reason for public servants to be fluent in Maori. An understanding of the customs, yes, but not fluency in a language they are highly unlikely to ever need.

6/25/2005 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Mellie, culture comes from the people, from what people do in their everyday lives. If culture has to be learned in school, then it's an imposition, it's unnatural, no matter what language it is.

For Maori to be a real national language, we ought to hear it when we go out to the shopping malls etc. We ought to be picking it up by osmosis. I'm not against teaching it in schools as such, but I am against it being compulsory, which is what it is now. It's being imposed by the few on the many.

Not everyone likes learning languages. As a child, I hated it, and never chose to learn French at highschool which was the only available option - because I really couldn't see the point. I even changed schools in my teens even though I'd earned a scholarship that year, because they wouldn't let me do two subjects that I really wanted (it was either Physics or History, not both).

It all comes down to the state vs the individual here. What right does the state have to enforce accepted languages on the population if those languages are not normally spoken? Even to the point of enforcing English on Maori students - that too is wrong. Now to get by in modern NZ, you need to know English, but that ought to still be a choice as well.

6/25/2005 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mellie said...

If we go back to the Germany example, Germans speak German to each other and will transfer to English if the situation requires.

In NZ we don't speak Maori to each other. We speak primarily in English. Question as to why Maori is a national language.

Two things: we're not hearing it in shopping malls because we're not hearing it in playground: it's never going to make it to the malls if kids aren't taught it and are able to carry it there.

Yes it is few on the many, BUT I think that isn't enough in itself. I think that the wider question of the value of Te Reo has to be answered in order to accept or reject that premiss (ie. whether or not we want Maori culture at all). If it's not compulsory (and taught properly) then it'll never make it to the shoppping malls. If it's not in the shopping malls and not available via osmosis then it has to be taught in schools. The question that still remains is the normative debate over Maori culture and Te Reo.

Two. enforcing English on Maori students: wrong in terms of too interventionist? I'm not sure what the connection is there because you say 'languages not normally spoken' - English is, isn't it?

What about the responsibilities of the education system to assist in preparing children for life as adults? I reckon the state would be negligent to ensure that the dominant language is not taught to every student. I disagree that it should be a choice. Esp. in NZ, how is someone supposed to get by if they only know Maori?

They become alienated due to the fact that few other people in everyday New Zealand speak fluent Maori. It doesn't matter whether they stay on the marae all their life - do they stay out of choice or fear?

Also, to make it feasible to allow genuine choices when it comes to language learning (and education) you then have to make every teacher learn Maori (even in sciences etc). You would have to make a Physics teacher able to teach in Maori or every Maori teacher able to teach everything else (sciences, maths, history etc). The latter impossible, the former unrealistic.

Not trying to get at you but I'm just getting excited. (chill, mellie)

6/25/2005 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mellie said...

ahem. "I reckon the state would be negligent not to ensure that the dominant language is taught to every student."

6/25/2005 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Mellie, you said: "Yes it is few on the many, BUT I think that isn't enough in itself."

Yes it is. It most certainly is. So, is the agenda finally out in the open? All people will learn and speak fluent Maori and follow the cultural practices of the Maori or be punished for it?

You sound like you want to tell me how to live my life, what to read, what to learn. What books are bad for me, which books might make me think twice about NZ culture. If that's not working, then its alright to take my kids and "re-educate" them. That's where this is heading.

Its up to Maori to preserve their culture, and entice fellow New Zelanders to embrace it and become interested in it. But the solution is not to enforce Maori speaking throughout society. Next you'll be lining up an official religion for me to learn. One that is popular with 10% of the population I suppose.

Recently, 6 young Maori died in a car accident. They were not wearing seatbelts. A Maori elder said "We've spent so much time chasing land claims, we've forgotten to teach our children"

At first I thought to myself that was a sensible thing to say. Then I thought, hey, I often work 60 hour weeks, plus blog, plus continue my education, plus spend time with my kids, plus do the odd bit of housework. But I still find the time, each and every time, I get in the car with the kids to "teach them" to put seatbelts on. They now tell me if I'm too slow. They have got it.

What was this women expecting? A weekly Marae meeting to run through selt belt learning? A government sponsored program at Te Wananga to teach kids how to belt up? A special school program? For God's sake, what about good old fashioned parenting? Or is this another cultural divide I'm supposed to understand?

My point here is you are going on about the responsibility of the Education Department to educate every-one properly. You then turned Lucyna's point around about making language choice optional. Parents can teach Maori if its that important to them, and they can organise Maori schools if its that important to them. I'm sure the government would provide the same funds to such a school.

If the Parents have any sense, they will ensure their children learn English, and learn it well, even at such a school. It might not be easy, but they aren't the only group of people that have things tough. Forcing Maori on every-one to help them out is not the way to do it.

6/26/2005 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

Zen:
You are seeing all sorts of agendas that don't exist. That last comment was right off the deep end. It is not just an insecure stance, but given the overwhelming stats and history in favour of English and European culture it is paranoid. We've been talking about language and you're going on about "re-education" and forcing culture down people's throats etc. I agree that education is important and that (as you seem to be saying) encouragement is acceptable - I would go further and say they must preceed any attempt to "enforce" it in a required way. Ideally nothing would need to be enforced but that isn't realistic is it. Immigrants (contrary to what Lucyna seems to be saying?) should not be given the "option" of not learning English - it should be compulsory for them along with some basic Maori. But we can't ask more of an immigrant than we do of ourselves as far as language goes.

You say that Te Reo as part of the curriculum is OK but nothing more. The more bit follows anyway just as French students learn aspects of French culture etc. Nothing wrong with that is there? Shouldn't people learn how to lay a hangi, Marae protocol, concepts and values etc.? Why do you see it as a threat - if indeed you really do?

No one here has said that those poor, overworked civil servants should be forced to learn the language. Although I would be interested to hear about the Irish example and any other place where a language not of the majority has been imposed on government employees. East Timor?

As for the immigrant comments. If a person arrives as an immigrant and retains almost every aspect of their home culture and carries that on through the generations then there is precious little actual difference between an immigrant and an x generation immigrant if their outlooks, culture and enmity towards the indigenous people are unchanged. Northern Ireland may be an example of that - they insist they are British even if the actual "mainland" British don't want a bar of them.

They see their mission objective as permanent displacement and cultural and political hegemony over the indigenous people. They do not view their country (Province in Ulster's case) as a joint enterprise with "the locals" or a matter of becoming locals themselves but as a colonial enterprise of rivalry where exclusion of "them" promotes "us." This is the thinking that pervades, and the sinister unspoken undercurrent, of much Pakeha criticism of Maori. Why else would so much open hostility exist? If it's not "our" country then is it "theirs"?

Many comments from "Kiwis" are every bit as ignorant and prejudiced towards Maori as British arriving now. They have not successfully made the transition. As I said before if the white immigrant is after a generic anglophone country to settle in then go to Australia and save us the grief. If you don't like Maori people then leave. This country would be better if those people left. Why do Maori have to put up with being insulted in their own country? Every immigrant, English speaking or taught English only, with an expectation of a Southern white homeland, socialised into a Pakeha society and normalised anti-Maori sentiments has built up through the years with the same expectations. Many settlers bought their settlement and prosperity with the blood of Maori. Some of the most vehement racists today are the benefactors of that injustice. They know they live on stolen land and still see their mission as defending it. These are the people who would fancy themselves as "locals," forgetting that their community ethnically cleansed the locals. These are just some of the many people, let's call them "new" (ie. post 1840) immigrants who resist each, even small, attempt to legitimate, acknowledge, understand and incorporate Maori culture.

Our history is awash with their same xenophobic backlashes and virtriol down the generations. You people are merely repeating them: we don't have to like them, they should mind their own business, when will they stop?, we've given them enough already, this is supposed to be an English country, my forefathers didn't come here to speak Maori...ra ra ra

To put the discussion of Te Reo use in a wider context let me just say this: Are we running this show for the immigrants and the immigrants yet to come? We have so far, and the locals have suffered. Freehold land can be bought and sold freely by foreigners let alone immigrants: that is one of the pillars of the New Zealand colonial project along with ruthless centralised government controlled by property holders, high levels of immigration and the assimilation of natives through the active destruction of their institutions and ability to self-manage.

English is forced down peoples throat from the second the parent has to fill out an English form for a birth certificate right through to the death certificate. Any advancement of Maori language through the education system is really a minimal effort.

6/26/2005 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Mellie said...

ZenTiger, I don't disagree with most of what you have said, couple of things though.

The question still remains as to whether it is a good thing that people learn Te Reo. That's a debate in itself that one would hope can be satisfied through the political process. I think it is not enough as it is - if Maori is to remain a national language then we should be hearing it in the malls.

And far from it, I don't want to tell you what books to read or how to live your life. The question of what the government enforces or sets in the curriculum is a political question that ultimately has to be answered through the election process.

In terms of the level of government intervention, I don't think that my argument suggests that this should change. I'm coming from the view that IF Maori is supposed to be a national language, then it should have the necessary support in the curriculum. I'm not trying to get involved in the IF argument.

And no, the next step is not a religion. That's a fallacy to suggest so.

6/26/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

PS: I have heard Te Reo spoken in the supermarket before (Grey Lynn [... yeah, yeah AL/Zen/Lucyna retort here]) but so far no news from malls.

6/26/2005 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

T Selwyn:

"No one here has said that those poor, overworked civil servants should be forced to learn the language."

Well, that was the point of the post. Some-one did say it. Some-one from the Maori party. The implications of that are what we are discussing.

Therefore, as I extrapolate, to label any thoughts typically xenophobic are to miss the point that I was merely providing an equal and opposite reaction to a policy position that has serious ramifications.

As you and Mellie have noted, I'm not as anti as I sound, but I do want to state there is a tipping point where certain methods become unacceptable to me. For both Maori and European NZ.

You go on to declare any non-Maori living here is living illegally, and we all know where that attitude leads.

European countries have changed borders more times than mori-ori could be slaughtered. Of course, there proved to be a finite supply of those.

Once you've named all of the white culprits, lets work out which Maori killed which in the years preceding, as food became scarce and inter-tribal wars erupted. We might find a couple of tribes locked up for that, and land returned to other tribes.

Its history. Get over it. We've got the land tribunal claims sorting the mess out as best we can, and any Maori group suggesting exporting all non-Maori (or turning them into a slave class) will only trigger a civil war where politics will be decided the only reliable way man knows how - through force.

Your point that "The more bit follows anyway just as French students learn aspects of French culture etc. Nothing wrong with that is there?"

No there is not, and there-in lies the way forward I expect.

But cultural shifts need to happen in both directions. As we find more people watching Maori TV; celebrate at a Hungi; perform the Haka at international sporting events; and have Marae meetings; Maori need to start dropping the "all women to the back" nonsense and grow up. Seems like seatbelts are not the only lessons being missed.

Anyway, after you say that learning the language helps learn the culture, by osmosis, you then ignore that logic
when speaking of immigrants.

Immigrants and their children will pick up the cultural values of NZ. Many I have met do it out of interest in their new home. So your comment "and enmity towards the indigenous people are unchanged. reveals you for being as prejudiced as the baseless accusations you are making against immigrants.

You said of me: "You are seeing all sorts of agendas that don't exist"

Remember then that this post was about making Maori mandatory for civil servants.

Remember then your statement: "This is the thinking that pervades, and the sinister unspoken undercurrent, of much Pakeha criticism of Maori."

Remember then your assertion: These are the people who would fancy themselves as "locals," talking about all "new" settlers from post 1840. Ie. Me, my father and my father's father.

I'm not being xenophobic. I am open to the strengthening of Maori culture. I think it is vital and important. But to stand up to such assertions as what you are suggesting, and then be labelled xenophobic is to misunderstand the nature between taking an extreme position on one side and being surprised at the result.

6/26/2005 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Mellie, I'm not suggesting the next step is religion, I'm suggesting it will take legislation and stronger action to enforce Maori as a language, and that same process, those same legal tools, sets up things like religion to be enforced in the same way.

I wasn't trying to get involved in the *if* part of the question either, but that appears to be what is being added to the agenda.

Was it Manukau council who have recently suggested the creation of three dedicated Maori Council seats, with special powers and representation?

if, as you say, its a "political question that ultimately has to be answered through the election process", I'm very interested to see how the election process is slowly being skewed to set up results that may not be a fair reflection of the ways and means to move forward.

6/26/2005 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mellie said...

ZT: I hadn't thought of that with regards to the legal tools and religion. Interesting.

6/26/2005 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Theprophet said...

Tim - You might want to look up indigenous in a dictionary too before bandying it around to much.

Your happily indigenous mate
The Prophet

Allah protect us.

6/26/2005 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

OK: Some policies are out there and they do constitute a sort of agenda. Point taken. But I think these policies are rather tokenistic in practise and are just the usual kite-flying positions one should expect. Like getting rid of the Waitangi Tribunal on the other side.

The mori-ori comment was great and will definitely go in the file with the others:
"Its history. Get over it." - It's not an historical injustice it is a current injustice. The affected parties have been protesting - to the point of being murdered and the destruction of entire villages in some examples - from day one of each injustice. So if the government stole your family's land and kept refusing to give it back you would just accept that and move on? or would you accept a 1% average per annum payment not directly to you but for people who supposedly represent you and only after vast litigation and threats to end even that process unless you "settle". No New Zealander should ever accept that blackmail by the government, especially not when they are singling out specific groups for this harsh treatment. A local would understand those principles would they not?
"Maori need to start dropping the "all women to the back" nonsense and grow up." The Men's only (and perhaps whites only?) private clubs made women members only in the last 10-20 years. When your traditions are perhaps as old as Maori traditions then maybe you would understand how it lags up to 10 years behind. But cling to that by all means. You forgot "spiritual mumbo-jumbo" by the way.
"Lets work out which Maori killed which" - The one's after Maori agreed to live in peace with each other under the Crown (1840) have almost all been agents or victims of the Crown's agents.
"We've got the land tribunal claims sorting the mess out as best we can" - I love it! "We" being Pakeha, correct? Yes?! OK, We, Pakeha have it as "best" we can. This is the best!? That's the whole problem - you are happy with the way it is going. Which is the way it has always gone: 1% of the Crown budget on Maori restitution per annum max. with options to confiscate Maori property to be exercised at any time for anything by the Crown on a no-debate basis PLUS tokenism and selective bribery just enough to stop Maori asking questions about why a permanent, durable, credible solution to the current injustices esp. land, is never on the agenda. Correct?

I've commented on the later post about using terms such as local and new immigrants as if they were exclusive groups - I'm speaking about mind-sets and views here. As in an immigrant way of thinking as opposed to a local way of thinking. If one is moving around the country, internally that is, all one's life with no real settlement more permanent than a single generation (let alone changing house an average of once every 7 years - is that true?!) are you ever a local - or are you just a general citizen of no fixed location? The Germans I think have a word, Lucyna, I'm sure you'll know it: Heimat. By that definition Maori who are dislocated and uneducated as to their origin perhaps are also not "locals,"- it would certainly explain the racism I hear from people claiming some distant Maori whakapapa.

The "enmity" includes many of the precious gems on this blog as well as conversations all round the country by many people - some I have observed. That observation does not make me prejudiced.

6/27/2005 03:32:00 AM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

TS: You confuse enmity with uncertainty. The uncertainty is generated when I see agendas that want to move outside a democratic process.

Why are you so prepared to draw a line at 1840, rather than tribal warfare before that time? How convenient, and how selective.

To some extent it disregards the pressures faced by Maori with the potential of the French moving in (and have a look at the deals French colonies around the world have got) and the inter-tribal wars that were interrupted by the arrival of French and British.

My point about borders changing in Europe still applies. People there have lost land and lives, on a regular basis, for hundreds and hundreds of years.

But you ask if I would move on if the government stole my land. That's a different question than asking if I would move on if it applied to my ancestors. Do you believe you are owed what your ancestors might or might not have owned? Do you believe therefore you should be punished for their sins? If it is discovered your grandfather 10 generations ago murdered some-one, and got away with it, is it fair your home be taken back from you and your family put on the streets?

Am I capable of moving on? I have been screwed in business deals, which have cost me and my family dearly. Big time actually. However, I didn't have the funds to get the money back. I moved on. That's THIS lifetime matey, not 10 generations ago.

But that is not to say I am suggesting Maori people give up on their land claims, give up seeking justice. They have been achieving that. If they are unhappy with the results, and the progress then I support them in continuing to find justice. It has to be an all-inclusive justice that doesn't create a fresh set of injustices for today's people.

One of the aims of the Treaty of Waitangi was to find a way for Maori and European to live together, given the lawlessness and depravity that existed up to 1840. There were people on both sides that saw the value in that, just as there were people on both sides determined to ignore and undermine that overriding concept.

I think the typical Kiwi (sorry - I find your device of "local" and not local divisive and easily misconstrued) would like to see a way forward that helps protect Maori culture, makes amends, but overall carries forward a notion of people being New Zealanders first and whatever second.

In making out New Zealanders to be uncaring immigrants if they do not fit your view of "all things Maori" you do more to hinder this than assist it.

But from snippets I see coming from the Maori party and you, it seems like that is not actually the goal, and apartheid seems the preferred option. This is why I'd like to see clear Maori Party Policy - it will end the uncertainty that you so readily read as enmity.

6/27/2005 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger t selwyn said...

Zen, I was almost with you till your "apartheid" comment. We were getting pretty close there for a while.

If I may address your "Why are you so prepared to draw a line at 1840" comment briefly:
1840 - Almost every Maori political entity agreed (with each other in effect) to put themselves under the protection of the British Crown. It is as much a peace treaty between Maori as a deal with the UK in a Maori sense (as you mention by way of the ending of inter-tribal warfare). That is why the line is there and why it is anything but arbitrary. That is the time the law became operative on a consent basis and therefore legitimately. Without that there would have been no settled peace.

The problem is it has never been properly revisited and further rounds of ratification have never taken place. It is after all only principles rather than a detailed document. How could it be anything more given the timeframe of it's genesis, discussion, revision and ratification. Which is why I have some sympathy with the Treaty Principles Deletion Bill that Winston tried on. The text is so short and general in nature with a few specifics that the whole thing is a set of principles. By putting off the debate, consultation and the Crown pursuing an agenda contrary to the interests of the groups which made their existence possible, perpetuating injustices to lock in as much advantage for the interests they represent we have what we have now: us arguing about our future by trying to figure out how the hell to resolve the past so that some sense of general stability, cultural validation and continuity of legitimacy is maintained.

6/27/2005 01:27:00 PM  

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