- Chris Trotter writes –
A New Beginning: Edward Gibbon Wakefield and his New Zealand Company may have dreamed of replicating Mother England, and all her proud injustices, in the South Pacific, but the story of Pakeha New Zealand is the story of the seekers, dreamers and political campaigners who constructed what foreigners would come to call (with a mixture of admiration and surprise) “the social laboratory of the world”. Artwork: “The Last of England” by Ford Madox Brown 1855.
THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT the words “Pakeha theologian” that causes my hackles to rise. Not because I am averse to discussing theology – far from it – but because today’s Pakeha theologians almost never talk about the God of the Old and New Testaments. Their deity is te Tiriti o Waitangi. A god from whom all Pakeha New Zealanders are expected seek absolution for the colonial sins of their fathers.
In an article entitled “Pakeha Identity And The Treaty”, posted on the E Tangata website, “Pakeha theologian” Alastair Reese argues that those New Zealanders who are not tangata whenua can put an end to their “Pakeha existential dilemma” by acknowledging themselves tangata Tiriti – people of the Treaty.
Reece contends that:
“Pākehā are gifted an identity in the Treaty, along with associated rights and responsibilities. Māori identity is affirmed in the Treaty, as are their rights and responsibilities.”
Did you spot the not-so-subtle distinction in Reese’s formula? Māori identity is “affirmed”, but the identity of Pakeha is “gifted”. Whatever the nature of the relationship Reese sees emerging from the Treaty “covenant” may be, it is not a partnership of equals. Continue reading “CHRIS TROTTER: The Pakeha Quest”