As MPs we often get email from people expressing their opinion on one subject or another. I got one from ‘Denis’ obviously with an axe to grind about Maori issues. I share it below, sorry it’s a bit long but I’m interested in opinion on both Denis’ perspective and mine.
Subject: Our Nation is Becoming Unhinged
A group of students climbed to the top of Mount Egmont for an ‘epic barbecue’ and also cleared rubbish from the mountain – they were denounced by Maori groups and by DOC for ‘trampling on Maori dignity’. Since when have state institutions been given the mandate to uphold Maori spiritual values and practices? Officially, our secular state has no place for imposing religious or cultural practices on us. One Maori leader claims there are ‘cultural values’ all around the country that should be protected, including all mountain peaks – that people should not even go near the summit of a mountain! Incredible. The bi-cultural movement in New Zealand is subverting democracy, erecting ethnic boundaries between Maori and non-Maori and promoting a cultural elite within Maoridom. Supported by you with policy and finances, it has led to a rapid increase in the rights of Maori over the rest of NZers plus a mountain of race-based policies. You people continue to promote the Maori separatist movement at huge cost for all NZers in terms of loss of assets and resources. This concerns all of us Kiwis. The foreshore and seabed is next with more property and asset takeover down the track. It’s time you folk put the brakes on and governed justly for ALL New Zealanders.
So you’re telling me your world view should prevail over the Maori world view. Don’t you think your attitude is as exclusive as the ones you criticize? For as long as you hold the views you do some Maori will hold the views they do. You are part of the problem, but none of the solution. You won’t be able to see that though.
Kelvin Davis MP
Kelvin … Excuse me but that sounds like a stock answer.
This is not about being exclusive it’s about being inclusive. I cannot see the logic of your argument that if one person holds a point of view that the others will also. It does not follow logically. I believe that we all you need to be under the same laws as one nation.
Laws based on one ethnic groups religion, whether European on Maori, cannot be applied to everybody.
Your response seems unreasonably prejudiced. I have many Maori friends and we are good mates.
Maybe you need to grow a more universal view of the whole of New Zealand as one nation.
Thanks for your response - Denis
On reflection about your response to my email I would like to make a comment -
I wrote to you (as a supporter of the National party) expressing what I believe are legitimate concerns concerning National party leadership decisions.
I would expect from a man of your position: a reasoned response to my concerns answering these – maybe giving a different opinion for me to consider.
If you disagree with my concerns please say so and say why …
I am surprised and concerned that instead of a reasoned response:
1. you made a scathing attack on my opinion and my person.
2. You accuse me of being part of the problem.
3. You give the opinion that I ‘will not see that’ – a real put down.
Kelvin I believe you are appointed to a high office in our country’s leadership — we pay you well — and we expect a more reasonable and helpful response — not a scathing, vindictive personal attack on me.
Think about it man — you can do a lot better than that.
Taranaki is an ancestral mountain – to Maori it is extremely tapu. Cooked food is extremely ‘noa’ the opposite of tapu. What they did was desecrate an ancestor of the Taranaki people. At my marae up in the Bay of Islands we rub bread on our hands when we leave our cemetery after funerals to completely remove tapu from ourselves and our clothing. For us it is not a ‘cultural belief’ it is just the way of life.
We take our shoes off before entering our meeting house so that we don’t carry dirt into the body of our ancestor. If those same kids walked into our meeting house with their shoes on they’d be asked to take them off. Are you saying they should be allowed to do this, or DoC officers should be allowed to walk into our marae with shoes on because government agencies shouldn’t have to uphold cultural beliefs?
If something had have happened to that group on the mountain or copycat groups, those Taranaki people would have felt responsible.
What would the reaction be if they had set up their barbecue on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, cooked some sausages, spilt some sauce, sat around laughing and joking, then picked up some rubbish?
I think people would see that as desecration despite their best intentions. Government agencies such as the police would be expected to act not be criticized for acting.
But most telling is that this christian youth group wouldn’t even dream of doing this because they understand the sacredness and respect all New Zealanders have for the Unknown Soldier, who is very much like an ancestor of us all. It’s not actually a kiwi cultural belief, but just the way things are, just like the way things are with my hapu and the bread at our cemetery, taking our shoes off at the meeting house and Taranaki iwi beliefs about their mountain.
But non-Maori just don’t have that intrinsic understanding or feeling for the Maori world and pour scorn on us for upholding what is precious to us.
People such as yourself accuse us of being separatist. If us trying to uphold our way of life by telling people when they offend us is separatism then so be it.
Why can’t you and others like you simply accept there are two world views and embrace them both and celebrate the diversity.
What annoys me about your original message is the implication the Maori world view is irrelevant.
NZ is like a river. On one bank is the Maori world and on the other bank is the pakeha world. The Treaty of Waitangi is a bridge that connects the two worlds.
The trouble is Maori have crossed the bridge into the pakeha world and taken up the language, culture and laws. Almost no pakeha have crossed over into the Maori world and understand our language, culture and lores.
The ignorance almost entirely lies with pakeha, but Maori are accused of being the problem.
While the Maori world view continues to be ignored we will continue to have conflict.
If you don’t understand the Maori perspective you are part of the problem but none of the solution.
It is your ignorance that has erected ethnic boundaries. It is your ignorance that has you sitting comfortably in your own ethnic and cultural enclave while throwing stones at Maori who are able to stand tall in both worlds.
I challenge you to look long and hard at yourself.
Before I post Denis’ latest reply I want to hear other’s views.