On a regular basis someone has a go at some aspect of Māoridom that they can't get their heads around. Unsurprisingly it is often the same areas that get criticized and pōwhiri is one of the regulars. Many, many pōwhiri have been performed over all of the years yet the meaning and understanding of this is still lost to most. Why is that? Simple - the Government has a responsibility to help all citizens understand and comprehend aspects of Māoridom as guaranteed within The Treaty of Waitangi via equality, but like everything about that agreement, they have not performed their duty and have deliberately not helped their citizens to understand and comprehend even the most basic aspects of their treaty partner. They haven't done it because they have preferred division within society and the othering of Māori. Why? Just makes business easier I suspect.
Onto today's example, Labour MP Annette King is not happy , why?
While Youth MPs were sworn into parliament today, Labour’s Annette King showed outrage over a gender segregated Powhiri.
Labour MP Annette King said she was not comfortable with the “segregated nature” of the welcoming.
“In no way would this have happened during Helen Clark’s day,” she said.
Ms King said she would strive for gender equality for future Powhiri’s so that they could “accurately reflect” the House of Representatives.
“A change is long overdue, in my opinion,” she said.Pathetic from that long standing member of Parliament and rubbish too - how many pōwhiri have been done whilst she has been in Parliament do you think? Well she got elected in 1984, had a term out of Parliament and came back in in 1993 - so let's be generous and say over 25 years in Parliament and now she is suddenly 'not comfortable' after hundreds of pōwhiri - and just how many pōwhiri during the Helen Clark 9 years in Government, by the same iwi? Still hundreds imo.
The fact that this person is now telling Māori what to do and what is acceptable in cultural activities is disgusting and shows what a waste of space King is. This Member of Parliament had ample opportunity to positively work to support a greater understanding of Māori culture for all people in this land - what did she do? The answer via her own dim comments is nothing - like just about every other colleague she has had on both sides of the house.
Update - this is a comment I put on The Standard regarding the 'gender segregation' in response to pops - it covers a bit of ground.
But it sounds like you’re saying Maori tikanga is dead and static. I always understood it to be adaptive and evolving – you know, a living culture. I don’t know many Maori under the age of 35-40 who would still buy into that gender segregation crap.me
Of course it is a living culture and continually evolving – you know that and you know I think that. It isn’t gender segregation – bloody hell why does everything have to be filtered through your particular worldview. The debate is there within Māoridom with strong advocates on all sides. Have you actually considered any of those views? Have you considered for instance that, as some argue, the whole debate about who gets to speak is based on a context where male behaviour is used as the norm against which female behaviour is judged. Or how about the idea that within an oral culture there are many ways to speak not just the obvious one and that women speak in many ways throughout pōwhiri and within a Māori cultural context – but oh it doesn’t fit the ‘right’ way to speak which is based upon an imposed western cultural system which is assumed to be the best way. Anyway there are many other angles and points around this other than the knee-jerk – oh look at the gender segregation. A living culture is able, entitled and obligated to evolve within its own parameters and worldview without interference from those who assume a superiority that isn’t deserved or matched with the realities they create in the world they dominate.