Sunday, July 5, 2009

we have nothing to fear

The quote of the week in the Dominion on Saturday is from Pita Sharples and he says, “Yay, we have won access for the pakeha to the beach.”

If the Foreshore and Seabed Act is repealed and if maori then get the right to challenge in the court – where have we actually got to? I think we will still be below the line. Maori will have received the same rights as everyone else – but is that good enough? Sure any future challenge in the courts, assuming the above happens, might be won and that could vest rights with maori.

Michael laws in Sunday's SST says, “There is little point having a right unless one can exert and utilise it.”

That is correct and it will be interesting to see how this area pans out after the Government comes back with it's response to the report.

Much of the opposition to maori being given their rights is based upon the fear that maori would stop kiwis going to the beach. It still seems to be the major fear. Certainly that was how TV1 led their news after the report was released. What is the deeper articulation of that fear?

From michael laws in the SST on Sunday again, ”It remains one of lifes mysteries as to why those migrants who scrambled onto New Zealand's shores first are provided a status that exaults their citizenship above all others. This is a nation built by many waves of migrants – maori, European, Pacific Islander, Asian, South African. That one has precedence is ridiculous and racist.

Indeed, there has already been too much liberal bending on this matter. all that has occurred, as a consequence, is that every new concession has just delivered a new quest. The ultimate aim of the Maori Party and others being the development of a seperate Maori state and/or recognition of Maori as supercitizens.”

The problem with michaels analysis that maori are just the first migrant group, is, that if maori are told to bugger off to where they came from, where would they go? Compare that to everyone else that lives here. Maori are the indigenous people of this land, it is self evident and endorsed by michael himself in his statement. The only discussion is around the term 'migrant' and what that means in relation to first peoples.

In terms of the michaels point about the ultimate aim of the maori party and others – I hope he's right! That would be a good place to reach for the development of the potential of this country. We must build this country on truth, trust and fairness not the illusions we have today. And those qualities won't manifest until we accept maori as the indigenous people of this land: the tangata whenua. When that happens and michaels fears are realised, then we will be able to begin the process of rebuilding this country into its full potential.

Michaels real concern is that if maori were given their super citizenship, they would treat him the way that they have been treated. But they wouldn't. Maori are not like you michael, they think with a different worldview. And vengence, much against popular racist mythology, is not the overriding driver for maori.

The fear of being left out and not considered, is strong, we are a social animal and I can well understand where michael is coming from, but the maori worldview is inclusive not exclusive. Non-maori have nothing to fear from a maori reinvigoration, and they have everything to gain.

As Pita Sharples so aptly put it, “Yay, we have won access for the pakeha to the beach.”

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