Sep 19, 2011

Sad stuff

There is a chain email floating around at the moment and the content is, on the one hand, repugnant, and on the other hand, deeply sad.

I have been wondering about why only Whites are racists, but no other race is......

Nope, think Margaret Mutu. She’s been labelled a racist, a Maori supremacist and god knows what else. Think of all the other Maori who have been labelled racist – Hone Harawira, Ranginui Walker, Tame Iti. 

so I got to thinking Maori call me a ‘Pakeha’, [Pa = village, keha = flea, vermin ]

That is an outright lie. There is now linguistic or etymological support to this claim. It is sometimes said that Pakeha means white pig. Again, this is a lie. In Te Reo you cannot derive pa from Poaka (pig). My understanding is that puruhi means flea – not keha.

'Whitey’, ‘Honky’ and ‘Redneck’ and that's OK, but if I call you Hori, you call me a racist.

The terms whitey, honkey, redneck and so on do not carry the same repugnant connotations as Hori Maori, rangi Maori, nigger, black and so on. These terms carry with them notions of historical oppression. They come with a great deal of historical and contemporary baggage. In our Eurocentric society it is a compliment to be a “whitey”, but a put down of the most narcissistic and patronising kind to call someone “black”.

(I was told "Pakeha" as an entire word means "stranger"!Not white man).

You’ve just told us that Pakeha means village flea, now you tell me it means stranger? Tauiwi, which is not a derogatory term, is usually used to mean stranger or other.  

You have a race based Maori Political party

We have a kaupapa Maori party – anyone can join. You don’t need a Pakeha party because you already have many. They’re called National, Labour, the Greens, ACT, the Progressives, United Future – parties for and by Pakeha. You have Pakeha TV – it’s called TVNZ, TV3, C4, FOUR – the list goes on. These are institutions which reflect the dominant culture i.e. western culture. They reflect your values and project your culture onto the rest of us. We cannot escape Pakeha culture. The Maori Party and the Mana Party are one of the few bastions of our culture in a monocultural society.  

special Maori only  parliamentary seats and Maori can stand as a candidate in any parliamentary electorate in New Zealand but white people cannot stand for a Maori seat or be on the Maori roll or a member of the Maori Party.

Pakeha can stand in Maori seats. Kelvyn Alp, a Pakeha, stood in the recent Te Tai Tokerau byelection in fact. Membership of the Maori Party is open to all as well. The Maori seats were created to limit Maori power in Parliament. It is one of the great ironies that the seats are now a source of power.  

You have ‘3 bites at the same electoral cherry’. White people have only one and yet you still say you are dis-advantaged.

I love arguments in isolation. They satisfy simple minds. Every registered voter has two votes. Maori have one party vote and one electorate vote. If you are enrolled on the Maori roll you forego your right to vote in general seats. Therefore, Maori votes mean as much as Pakeha votes.

If I complain you call me a red neck racist.

I call you a redneck racist when you spread this sort of racist rubbish.

You have a race based Maori caucus in parliament which includes the Maori members from all parties. It concerns itself with protecting and advancing Maori values, not party political values.

Another outright lie. Such a caucus does not exist and never has.  

If whites or any other ethnic group had a multi party parliamentary caucus that dealt with the advancement of its own race or for whites only, and not politics we would be called racist.

You do – it’s called the National Party/Act Party alliance.

You also want to appoint your own representation on Local bodies and demand the granting of special seats or privilege.

Maori are a special interest group. For example, the ward system is used to acknowledge special interests groups or areas of interest (e.g. localities). Maori have a special interest in the use of resources etc… therefore, we need systems to ensure our interests are heard. Often times Maori interests are relegated at local government level.

If there were seats on any local body that were just for whites only there would be great cries of racism.

Again, they’re called general seats and 99% of the time Pakeha hold these seats.

You have a flag of your own, which you insist be recognised and flown alongside the flag of our country.

Of “our” country. Are you implying this country isn’t my country too? New Zealand was built on the back of the oppression of Maori. New Zealand would not be in the same position if it wasn’t for previous governments stealing Maori land, exploiting Maori labour, sending us off to fight dubious wars and so on and so on. What is wrong with having a Maori flag anyway? Where is the harm and/or the offence? Either perceived or real?

This illustrates your separateness and division from the rest of New Zealanders.

No, it illustrates our pride and our rejuvenation and your fear. If that threatens you, then that is due to your own insecurities. I hate the argument that we are all one people. We are not. Maori will always be Maori. We don’t want to adopt your culture and assimilate. We are Maori first and New Zealanders second. If you can’t live with that, tough.  

If a white person flew and demanded recognition of a competitive flag for New Zealand, it would be tantamount to Treason.

Incorrect. Many New Zealanders believe the current New Zealand flag is outdated and due to be replaced. We seem to have a robust debate about changing the flag every year and the debate is never labelled treasonous. Just think of the All Blacks flag and the Black Silver Fern flag. Both are more popular at sport matches than the current flag.  

There are a number of openly proclaimed Maori schools and Colleges in New Zealand. Maori colleges and high schools specifically for Maori students.

Kura Kaupapa Maori are open to all New Zealanders. The difference is that the curriculum is taught in Maori. How can these schools be specifically for Maori when they are open to everyone and the same western curriculum is delivered (only the medium is different).

Yet if there were 'Whites Only colleges', they would be racist colleges.

This is an unfair analogy because there are no such thing as Maori only schools. But anywho, think of St Cuthberts, Kings College, Christs College and Carmel College – these are just a few of hundreds of schools that are, for all intents and purposes, by Pakeha for Pakeha.

If whites had scholarships, college funds and Trusts that only gave white students  Scholarships, you know they’d be racists.

Pakeha do have scholarships, college funds and trusts they can dip into. They may not be exclusive, but the opportunity is still there. Now I have never heard of a Maori college fund (I doubt they even exist), but I do know of Maori Trusts that give out money to beneficiaries. Again, they are not exclusively Maori. If a Pakeha beneficiary is registered on the Trusts beneficiaries list then they too can apply for grants. Maori Turst grants exist thanks to the foresight and generosity of our tipuna. Where Pakeha Trusts usually exist for the benefit of an individual or a small grouping, Maori Trusts exist for the collective benefit of the hapu and the Iwi. These Trusts are not creatures of the State – they are by Maori for Maori, but not exclusively Maori, Pakeha can receive benefits too (provided they are registered to the Trust). Maori scholarships, the state funded ones, are a form of positive discrimination. They exist to correct the disadvantage Maori face. Pakeha don’t need them because they are not affected by historical and contemporary disadvantage (I will accept that working class Pakeha face a disadvantage though).   

You expect whites and other New Zealanders to ignore your special tax payer funded educational institutions and when we complain or say you should teach your language and culture in the home as other races do you call us racists.

Teaching in the home isn’t an option because your ancestors suppressed and stolen our culture.

Who pays for the running of Maori colleges?

Maori pay tax too, dipshit.

You have Government funded race based Kohango Reo’s [pre-schools] to teach your race your own language and even have transport to pick the children up.

Te Kohanga Reo are open to all. Pakeha have government funded preschools to teach Pakeha children te reo Pakeha and they are so numerous that there are several within walking distance of most Pakeha homes.

You have Maori Health Services. Special organisations within the taxpayer funded public health system which are run by Maori for only Maori. If whites asked for such special and separatist privileges from the health services they would be racists.

Yes, this has more to do with practicalities than anything else. Maori are more comfortable been treated in a culturally appropriate setting (as are Pakeha e.g. surveys find that people are more comfortable with health professionals of their own race). If the health system wants to tackle Maori health problems then the best way is to do so is to create systems where Maori feel comfortable utilising services. It is a preventative measure. Better to get Maori into primary health care than wait until they need treatment in the emergency room.

You have a Maori TV channel funded by the New Zealander taxpayer. If there was a Whites only TV or if whites said Maori should fund their own TV, they would be called racists.

Take the example of TV3. The faces are Pakeha, the language is Pakeha, the culture is Pakeha, everything about TV3 (and every other mainstream channel) is Pakeha. TV exists for Pakeha and by Pakeha.

If we consider that an over representation of a language that the rest of us don’t want to learn, we are called racists.

If we had any organisations, schools, trusts, and governmental groups TV stations, etc for whites only to advance OUR lives, we'd be racists. A white woman cannot be Maori sportswoman of the year, but any race can be New Zealand sportswoman of the year. A white person cannot be in the Maori All blacks or any Maori sporting team, but any colour can be in the All Blacks or any New Zealand sports team. This separatism is decidedly racist but if a white person comments on it they are labelled racist...

This entire argument relies on us buying into the argument that mainstream institutions do not further the dominant culture. The reality is that all these institutions reflect and perpetuate the dominant culture which is western culture. Pakeha culture.  

You rob us, convert our cars, rape our women and bash our elderly. But, if a white police officer shoots a  Maori or a Maori gang member, or assaults a Maori criminal running from the law and posing a threat to society, you scream racism.

This person holds a lot of hate.

You are proud to be Maori and you're not afraid to announce it, even though you may not be full Maori, but part Maori, or even only ‘trace element’ Maori, but when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.

Measuring Maori identity in blood quantity is flawed and inconsistent with notions of Maori identity. Your whakapapa makes you Maori. Even if the tipuna is distant, if you can point towards your whakapapa then you can claim Maori identity – no matter what. It doesn’t matter if the tipuna appears far away in your family tree – if the tipuna is there you can claim your identity as a Maori. You can announce your “white” pride whenever you want too. No one is ever chastised for announcing there pride in, for example, their Scottish heritage. In fact, it is encouraged. Everyone should have pride in where they come from – Maori know this and practise this and, therefore, do not hold it against anyone.    

Why is it that only whites can be racists? There is nothing improper about this e-mail. It’s all true.

Another lie. This email is filled with inaccuracies, misrepresentations, lies and poison.

The great gravy train, a.k.a the Waitangi grievance Industry, has hopefully nearly finished it's work of judging events of 160 years ago through today’s eyes and making compensation awards in today’s money so now is the time to stop and ask:   Do we want a privileged group enjoying special favour for no rational reason, or do we want racial equality in New Zealand with fairness and equal privilege for all.

Treaty Settlements are about making right the wrong, much like the criminal justice system. It is about ensuring equality – levelling the playing field if you will.

There is nothing improper about this e-mail.........

And you’re not a racist, yeah right.

so let's see which of you care enough to send it on. Think about this ... If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone – THEN YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM! It's not a crime to be white YET.. but it's getting very close!

It is a privilege to be “White” in our biased and monocultural society.

It’s sad that attitudes like this exist. However, in a free thinking society there is no way of stopping this sort of rubbish. The most depressing thing about this chain email is that the sentiments expressed are, in my opinion, held by a huge segment of the population. New Zealand is a deeply ignorant society. Having said that, New Zealanders are rarely racist on a personal level, most New Zealanders won’t prejudge you because you’re Maori, but they will judge your people as a whole. New Zealanders are fair, but stupid. 

This email plays on people's base fears and is, therefore, wildly effective. The messages are carefully aimed and given without context. It is all face value stuff that does not require thought, only acknowledgement. It one thing scares Pakeha it is the thought that Maori progress threatens their place in society. In reality Maori progress will benefit Pakeha, but some Pakeha want to keep their privilege closed. Sad.  


  1. It is quite funny how the main stream try to place themselves as victims. They promote their hatred with the poor me cries.
    good post by the way.

  2. Yes, good post. The sort of nonsense exposed in the email is fear- and ignorance-based. I'm pakeha, and agree that most of us simply don't understand how much we dominate and control everything that happens in NZ, or how monocultural our thinking and actions are.

  3. This person is clearly another white right-wing 'victim' who has no understanding of the history of this country. It is a disgrace that this person exists, and that he probably makes sense to a lot of Kiwis. Hopefully I am wrong about that.

    You did make an interesting point yourself though Morgan:
    "I hate the argument that we are all one people. We are not. Maori will always be Maori. We don’t want to adopt your culture and assimilate. We are Maori first and New Zealanders second. If you can’t live with that, tough."

    Why do you feel this way? I am Pakeha but I want to share in Maori culture, just as I want Maori to share in the good aspects of mine. I do see us all as New Zealanders, some Maori, some Pakeha, some from different groups completely, but all united as brothers and sisters in the appreciation we have for the good parts of our society and land.

    I don't want to put words in your mouth, but are you saying you value Maori culture about a united New Zealand culture (a truly united one, not the Pakeha-dominant culture we see today)? Could this ever lead to a situation where you favoured Maori interests to the detriment of all other, and see this as justifiable due to your identification as Maori?

    Perhaps I have misinterpreted your point, or you didn't express it as well as you could have, but I would be interested in your response.

  4. Hi anon,

    Unfortunately, I expressed my view within some very narrow parametres. What I am attempting to express is the feeling that Maori are Maori first and New Zealanders second. This does not mean that I, or other Maori for that matter, are not interested in sharing our two cultures (Maori culture and kiwi culture) nor does it imply that when push comes to shove we, or I, would advance Maori interests at the expense of others. This is not acceptable.

    Maori are both Maori and New Zealanders, but one identity (Maori) defines us more than the other. Then again, it is a matter of context. In an international setting many Maori may choose to identify as New Zealanders rather than Maori, but on our home soil we are Maori.

    Maori have our own distinct culture, therefore we are less likely to want to adopt another. Given that many Pakeha do not realise they have their own culture they seem to want to assimilate others in an attempt to find some security in their identity. On a sub-conscious level many Pakeha seem to view Maori culture as a threat to their identity.

    For Maori, being "one people" means being Pakeha and this, for most, is not acceptable. Becoming one people means adopting the dominant culture. Maori culture is in a fragile state and the last thing we want to do is take steps to losing it.

  5. Morgan,
    I always find the use of the word Pakeha, to be quite interesting, as it is the only example that I can think of an indigenous communitties name for the coloniser has been adopted by some in a similar fashion to "nigger" for african americans though, but I would question though Morgan is it ok for Maori to call non-Maori NZers Pakeha if they take exception to being called that name. I remember reading a debate from 1957 Tow Act, between Tiritatene and Algie when Algie took exception to being called Pakeha because he thought it meant fairy, Tiritatene replied and Im paraphrasing here, I call you that but cause that is what I have always called you, but if you dont want to be called that than fine.
    I guess the point I am making is that Maori take exception to "Hori Maori, rangi Maori, nigger, black " which is fine but there are some NZers that take exception to being called Pakeha so is it ok for you to call them that?

  6. Interesting. I guess if some Pakeha, Whites, Caucasians etc object to the term then it would not be inappropriate to apply the term. However, the word Pakeha is, in my experience, never used in a derogatory manner. The term does not carry connotations of historical oppression or racism. It is simply a noun.

  7. You make some excellent points above, but sadly, just as the author of the original email presented false and emotive justifications, you are, as a minimum, guilty of applying emotion with the potential to be misleading.

    You mention “…sending us off to fight dubious wars and so on and so on.”. Which wars are you referring to?

    When conscription was introduced during World War One, Maori were initially excluded. It was as a result of the political efforts of Maui Pomare that conscription was extended. Prior to that point all Maori who enlisted were volunteers. All Maori in the Boer War were volunteers.

    During World War Two Maori enlistment was voluntary. Pakeha were subject to conscription.

    Vietnam was a volunteer force.

    Maori have served bravely and with sacrifice abroad, as have Pakeha. But “sent off” implies an absence of choice. For the great majority, Maori had more choice in the matter than Pakeha.

    You name certain private schools, and then say “these are just a few of hundreds of schools that are, for all intents and purposes, by Pakeha for Pakeha.”

    Really? Hundreds? The schools you name are limited to fee paying students or those on scholarships. This shuts out the majority of New Zealanders – irrespective of race. To assert that they are “for all intents and purposes” Pakeha is much the same argument as the email author used in stating that Maori seats are Maori only. We can have a separate conversation about why few Maori are in the economic position to send their children to these schools – that merits discussion. We can also have a discussion about the chances of success a Pakeha has in a Maori seat. But meeting false argument with false argument is not a winning tactic.

    Weaknesses aside, I enjoyed your post. It is generally well argued.

  8. Good post, thanks! One thing, though - not all Pakeha are the same. Not even a little.

    So, for example, from your post:

    "It one thing scares Pakeha it is the thought that Maori progress threatens their place in society. In reality Maori progress will benefit Pakeha, but some Pakeha want to keep their privilege closed. Sad."

    Could that not, perhaps, be 'some Pakeha'? I'm (predominantly) white, and I've gotta say I'm not racist, terrified of Maori progress and nor do I share the same culture of many other white people, at least in some regards. You'll likely find this to be true of many non-Maori people :)



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