…. as there are no full-blooded Māoris in existence it indisputably follows that had it not been for migrants, mainly Brits, not a single Māori alive today … would have existed. —Robert Jones

Defining people by race

By Roger Childs

Bob JonesAn article by Bob Jones in 2018 in the National Business Review (NBR) about a “Gratitude Day” caused offence in many quarters. Some said he should be stripped of his knighthood. However, in the statement quoted above from that satirical piece, he spoke the truth.

In answer to a question from Raumati resident, Andy Oakley, when he lodged his Te Pakeha claim, the Waitangi Tribunal defined a Maori as being a person of the Maori race of New Zealand. That is what the 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act says. 

But there are problems: just one: anthropologists reject the concept of race. As people who seek out their DNA background discover, all humans are physiologically the same regardless of their origins, and in terms of ancestry we are all essentially mongrels!

Part-Maori ethnicity

A couple of years ago, media reports on the possibility of expanding our prison capacity mentioned that more than half the inmates were Maori. But what does that mean?  Tipene (Steve) O’Regan, for example, is one sixteenth Ngai Tahu.

Let’s look at two hypothetical prisoners sharing a cell — on the top bunk is George whose forebears are New Zealand born and back over the generations, English, Irish and Dalmatian.

On the bottom bunk is Fred. His ancestors are New Zealand born and back over the generations, English, Irish and Dalmatian; however he has a Maori great, great grandmother. So in the official statistics on the prison population Fred is classified as Maori. 

Shouldn’t it be part-Maori if Fred wants to be called that?

Classifying people can be discriminatory

Classifications of population can be misleading and disastrous, and in the past have been used to serve the political ends of the rulers. 

The Jewish pogroms in Russia, Hitler’s treatment of the Jews, discrimination against African Americans in the USA and ignoring Aboriginal rights in Australia until the 1970s are some of many appalling examples. Back in 1950 South Africa’s Population Registration Act was designed to exclude all non-Whites from voting and other basic civil rights.

It is ironic to note that if all Maori living today had been in South Africa in the apartheid era, they would have been classified as Coloureds.

Doing the last census

According to the Mainstream Media, Simon Bridges is National’s first Maori leader.  He is in fact three sixteenths Maori, two up on Steve. 

It would be interesting to know how he classified himself in question 14 of the last census.  Will the 82% of his ancestors who are non-Maori have taken precedence?

Obviously, people are entitled to call themselves what they like, and Statistics New Zealand is keen to classify people by ethnicity. As readers know, they certainly made a right mess of the overall counting process.

Unity in diversity

Today we have a very cosmopolitan population and folk from China, India, Korea, Samoa, Tonga — to name but a few — are nearly all far more than 50% ethnically Chinese, Indian, Korean, Samoan etc…  But if you ask those who have taken out citizenship, they normally see themselves as New Zealanders, while taking pride in their cultural roots.

However, the majority of people who call themselves Maori have less than 50% Maori blood. 

Bob Jones exercising freedom of speech

Bob is suing a part-Maori lady for defamation over her vociferous objections to his piece of satire in the NBR. She wants him stripped of his knighthood, among other things.

We have to be able to laugh at ourselves and cartoonists are doing it all the time. 

Billy T JamesThe legendary Billy T. James did wonderful send-ups of Maori “culture” and behaviour late last century. Would he be allowed on television if he was alive today, or would our Politically Correct Mainstream Media ban him? 

Bob Jones is currently arguing his case in court (if he can find his hearing aids!), and good on him. He is merely exercising his right to free speech and long may people be able to do this, whether or not others like the sentiments expressed.