Buzz from the Beehive: Pathway is renamed to honour our Head of State (so how will that go down with the Māori Party?)

We await the Māori Party’s response to the PM’s announcement of a walk on Rakiura/Stewart Island being renamed in honour of the Platinum Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth II.

Just a day or so earlier, a petition launched by that party was presented to Parliament. It calls for New Zealand’s official name to be changed to Aotearoa and the official restoration of the te reo Māori names for all towns, cities, and place names.

“This is not about getting rid of anything or changing who we are. It’s about reinstating the original names of this land and strengthening who we are as a nation” said co-leader Rawiri Waititi.”

His party in February called for a “divorce” from the monarchy and for “constitutional transformation “that restores the tino rangatiratanga of Tangata Whenua in this country”.

The PM’s announcement was posted on the Beehive website along with news of:-

  • The Government’s intention to establish an Inspector-General of Defence “to provide independent oversight of the New Zealand Defence Force”.  But shouldn’t the oversight of our Defence Force be a matter for the Minister of Defence who is accountable to the public and to our elected representatives in Parliament?
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta buttressing our relationships with the Pacific, confirming that New Zealand is providing further economic support to the region to strengthen economic resilience in response to the impact of COVID-19.“Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to keep working in partnership with Pacific nations on economic resilience. I am pleased to confirm that up to NZ$75 million in additional economic support is provided in Budget 2022.”

The PM issued more than one press release.   She also launched the Centre of Research Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, He Whenua Taurikura.

This has got off to a splendid start thanks to the appointment of Professor Joanna Kidman as one of the centre’s two directors.  

But wait.  Martyn Bradbury seems to have some reservations, reflected in an article on his blog  headed Ummmm, isn’t Professor Joanne Kidman the worst person to appoint to an extremism taskforce?

He recalls:

The good professor was the one who called out and started the woke cancellation of Dress Maker Trelise Cooper for a dress called the ‘Trail of Tiers’ which Kidman argued was a play on the ‘Trial of Tears’, the genocidal forced march of 46,000 Native Americans between 1830 and 1850 by the United States federal government.

Hands up who thinks for one second that Trelise Cooper had any idea whatsoever what the Trail of Tears was or intended to culturally appropriate a genocidal forced march?

Kidman wanted Cooper cancelled for a dress, that’s her threshold for hate and extremism, a dress maker who had no idea of an indigenous atrocity.

That’s the person in charge of an Academy on Extremism? Someone who is triggered by a dress and who used their platform to start a woke Lynch mob?

We imagine Karl du Fresne will be dipping into his files, too, to dig up something he wrote almost two years ago about attacks on free speech and freedom of thought (“since that’s what the enemies of free speech ultimately want to control”).    

Headed Another Dismal Setback for Intellectual Freedom, this article was triggered by the denunciations heaped on seven University of Auckland professors who had written a letter to The Listener challenging the notion that matauranga Maori – which can be defined as the traditional body of Maori knowledge – should be accorded the status of science, as proposed by an NCEA working group preparing a new school curriculum.

He wrote:

Special mention should be made of Victoria University professor Joanna Kidman’s impeccably thoughtful, mature contribution to the debate. In a sneering tweet reproduced (with implied approval) by RNZ, Kidman referred to the Listener letter signatories and asked, “Where do these shuffling zombies come from? Is it something in the water?” It was accompanied by a video clip from a zombie movie.

Now there’s intellectual engagement for you. If you ever wondered why the once honourable title of professor no longer commands the respect it once did, there’s your answer, right there.

Is it fair to suppose (we wonder) that calling someone a zombie does not amount to hate speech?

In her announcement of a popular short walk on Rakiura/Stewart Island being renamed, the PM  said:

“To honour Her Majesty’s long reign, the track to Observation Rock from the settlement of Oban, will be formally renamed the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Path’ and known as the ‘Platinum Path’ for short,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The 58-metre track was previously known not by a te reo name but as Observation Rock.

The short track, which follows through rata forest, will be signposted by the Department of Conservation from the entrance off Excelsior Road. Longer term, signage down in Halfmoon Bay will also be changed to reflect the new name.

The viewing area at Observation Rock is also being upgraded. This is a multi-agency and iwi project with work due to start shortly for completion by early 2023.

“The Queen supports conservation initiatives, particularly sustainable planting, so to mark the Jubilee, we are also embarking on a national tree planting project for 100,000 native trees across 14 native restoration projects around New Zealand. These plantings will improve existing projects, accelerate the rate of restoration, and enhance carbon storage,” Jacinda Ardern said.

But the Māori Party voted against a motion in Parliament to congratulate Queen Elizabeth II on her 70-year reign.

Labour, National, ACT and the Greens all voted to support the motion but co-leader Rawiri Waititi said the Māori Party “absolutely refute” it and:

“We were disappointed when the Prime Minister acknowledged the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Waitangi Day. We believe it was tone deaf and colourblind to the degradation of the rights of tangata whenua for 182 years.”

Newshub-Reid Research poll has found 48 per cent of respondents said no when asked:

“When Queen Elizabeth is no longer Queen, should New Zealand break away from the Commonwealth and become a republic?”.

Of those surveyed, 36.4 per cent said yes, and 15.6 per cent didn’t know.

The petition to officially change the country’s name to Aotearoa collected 70,047 signatures.

““People are hungry for change. There is a new generation of Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti who want to see themselves reflected in our country’s identity. Who recognise that the status quo is no longer consistent with who we are as a nation” said co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer?

The petition was mounted by a party which has the support of around 2% of the population and was signed by 1.4 per cent of the population.

That’s a curious sign of a nation “hungry for change” .

Latest from the Beehive

3 JUNE 2022

Rakiura pathway renamed to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee

A popular short walk on Rakiura/Stewart Island has been renamed in honour of the Platinum Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

Centre for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism officially open

The Centre of Research Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, He Whenua Taurikura, was officially launched today by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Appointment round for Queen’s Counsel

Attorney-General David Parker announced today that an appointment round for Queen’s Counsel will take place in 2022.

NZ commits further economic support to Pacific

Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta has confirmed Aotearaoa New Zealand is providing further economic support to the Pacific to strengthen economic resilience in response to the impact of COVID-19.

Inspector-General of Defence to be established

The Government will establish an Inspector-General of Defence to provide independent oversight of the New Zealand Defence Force.

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