CHRIS TROTTER:  The Pakeha Quest

  • 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”

Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup:  Our politicians are competent firefighters, but terrible builders

* Dr Bryce Edwards writes –

The Labour Government has once again proven itself to be very competent in a crisis. Cyclone Gabrielle has allowed Prime Minister Chris Hipkins to demonstrate his impressive disaster management communication.

Labour is very good with the political firefighting required to deal with such disasters – as they have shown in the past with their response to the Christchurch mosque attack, the Whakaari White Island eruption, and the initial stages of Covid.

And, in fact, the last National Government wasn’t too bad at crisis management either. John Key and Bill English received plaudits for the way they dealt with the global financial crisis, the Pike River disaster, and the Canterbury earthquakes.

And yet, both Labour and National have proven to be atrocious at longer-term planning and investment in the things that really matter. The big problems of society never get the attention they deserve and, slowly but surely, those problems mount up, unaddressed, and actually start producing more and more crises – such as the disasters of the last month – which politicians are then forced to react to. Continue reading “Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup:  Our politicians are competent firefighters, but terrible builders”

We might think we are all equal in Govt’s Trade for All Agenda – but Tirikatane reminds us what the Treaty is doing to this notion

Buzz from the Beehive

BusinessNZ has welcomed the latest of a string of disaster-related initiatives from the Government, this one related to work visas to bring in workers to help with the recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle.

The new Recovery Visa is intended to cover the mix of workers needed for clean-up and recovery, including construction workers.

The key features are –

  • It will provide additional specialist workers to support cyclone and flooding recovery;
  • Recovery Visa applications will be fast tracked, aim to be processed within seven days;
  • Application fees will be wiped for successful applicants, making it free for those who come here.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood said this recognises the need for experts such as insurance assessors, infrastructure and utilities engineers and technicians, heavy machinery operators and debris removal workers to support the experts we’ve already got in country, .

Applications will be open today and the visa will last for up to six months. Continue reading “We might think we are all equal in Govt’s Trade for All Agenda – but Tirikatane reminds us what the Treaty is doing to this notion”

Thomas Cranmer: Tūhoe – “co-governance is not our word”

Recently obtained board minutes from Te Urewera reveal a troubled relationship between the Board and Crown, a Board that rejects the term ‘co-governance’ and is wary of the court of public opinion.  THOMAS CRANMER writes –

Last week Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson admitted that the ship had sailed on explaining co-governance to the public, which is why he conceded that it needs to be reframed in a way it can be understood.

Jackson believes that he’s worked out the two areas the Government has gone wrong with explaining co-governance.

The first was the vacuum that was created because of Jackson and Mahuta being left to carry the load and second, he believes, is the way co-governance has been broadened out across a number of different areas “without defining it”.

Whilst Jackson believes that most New Zealanders understand co-governance from a Treaty of Waitangi and rights perspective, such as the settlements negotiated with iwi, Jackson says there’s a second type – social equity co-governance – that has been misunderstood.

Continue reading “Thomas Cranmer: Tūhoe – “co-governance is not our word””

First in English, then Mandarin, NZ’s apology was delivered to Chinese over poll tax – and now it has been issued in Cantonese

Buzz from the Beehive

Helen Clark, our Prime Minister at the time, issued a formal apology in 2002 to the early settler Chinese community who had been forced to pay a poll tax from 1881 until 1944 and to their descendants.

She and George Hawkins, Minister for Ethnic Affairs, had hosted a function at Parliament for members of the Chinese community to mark the Chinese New Year.

The apology for the poll tax and other discrimination imposed by statute marked the beginning of a “formal process of reconciliation with the Chinese community”.

It was accompanied by a government contribution of $5 million to establish a Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust to support community initiatives to preserve Chinese New Zealand customs and language.

This was the long-overdue consequence of New Zealand – along with Canada – following the Australian precedent of using a head or poll tax to restrict Chinese immigration. The tax was repealed by Canada in 1923 and by New Zealand in 1944. Continue reading “First in English, then Mandarin, NZ’s apology was delivered to Chinese over poll tax – and now it has been issued in Cantonese”

Tribute has been paid to Titewhai Harawira but Beehive has missed govt response to the CPI and Crown Accounts

Buzz from the Beehive

Hurrah.  Today we found something fresh on the Beehive website,, which claims to be the best place to find Government initiatives, policies and Ministerial information.

It wasn’t from Finance Minister Grant Robertson, whose reaction to the latest inflation figures would have been appreciated.

So, too, would have been his reaction to  the latest Crown financial statements.

But no.

The only statement posted on the Beehive website since January 19 came from  Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson, who paid tribute to Titewhai Harawira – Continue reading “Tribute has been paid to Titewhai Harawira but Beehive has missed govt response to the CPI and Crown Accounts”

You could dismiss co-governance critics as racist – or you could consult Thomas Cranmer (and see how it has worked for Tuhoe)

To challenge the Government’s promotion of co-governance, to share power between Maori and public authorities and agencies, is to invite accusations of racism.

An example: this article by Martyn Bradbury on The Daily Blog headed Luxon’s race baiting hypocrisy at Ratana.

The article was triggered by National leader Christopher Luxon, speaking on the Ratana marae, claiming the co-governance conversation has  become “divisive and immature”.

Bradbury counters: Continue reading “You could dismiss co-governance critics as racist – or you could consult Thomas Cranmer (and see how it has worked for Tuhoe)”

CHRIS TROTTER: Kaipara – a struggle for political legitimacy and cultural power.

The question dividing Kaipara’s electors, and the rest of New Zealand, is one of political legitimacy and cultural power. Whose protocols should prevail: the standing orders of the local council or the tikanga of the local iwi?

In strictly legal terms, the standing orders of the Kaipara District Council, as interpreted by the elected head of the council – Mayor Craig Jepson – must prevail. The order of business, and the manner in which that business is conducted, is for him – and for him alone – to determine.

Except, in the rolling maul that is New Zealand’s racial politics, the letter of the law no longer counts for very much. As events in Kaipara have proved, it’s all about who can mobilise the most outrage – especially in the news media and online.
On that score, the woman at the centre of the controversy, the woman representing the Te Moananui o Kaipara Māori Ward, Pera Paniora, is well ahead on points.
At the heart of the controversy lies Ms Paniora’s attempt to begin the first meeting of the newly-elected Kaipara District Council with a karakia, or prayer.
According to standing orders, it is the Mayor who has the responsibility for opening the Council’s inaugural meeting. This he was attempting to do when Ms Paniora interrupted the proceedings with a request to recite a karakia, and upon being refused permission, protested, and had to be brought to order by the Mayor.
Continue reading “CHRIS TROTTER: Kaipara – a struggle for political legitimacy and cultural power.”

Ardern wins world headlines again, but this time for being less than kindly with words enshrined on Hansard’s official record

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has once again won international headlines — but perhaps not in a way her colleagues would have  relished.   

Still,  the reports that raced around the globe have given foreigners a  fresh perspective of the NZ leader.

  As the NZ Herald reported, Ardern was heard calling the Act Party leader David Seymour an “arrogant prick” as she took her seat in Parliament yesterday afternoon, following questions in the House of Representatives.

Seymour told the media afterwards that the Prime Minister had apologised to him via text message.

The Herald referenced other reports.

The Guardian’s Eva Corlett called her “the latest leader to fall victim to a hot microphone” after US president Joe Biden and South Korea president Yoon Suk Yeol, who had also recently been caught out swearing on a live mic. Continue reading “Ardern wins world headlines again, but this time for being less than kindly with words enshrined on Hansard’s official record”