By Roger Childs
In the month of August there have been two developments further increasing division in our society along racial lines. One relates to local government and the other to sport. The Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Act will allow the tribe to appoint two members to the elected Council. There are no special seats for Asian, Pasifika or any other non-Maori people.
In sport, concern about the lack of Maori involved in sport has the government throwing over a million dollars at it.
Ngai Tahu happy
Yes indeed! Its passing was met with acclaim by Ngai Tahu representatives including Sir Stephen (‘Tipene’) O’Regan, proclaimed Luke Malpass, political editor of Stuff. O’Regan formerly Stephen, who is just one-sixteenth Maori, started agitating for the southern tribe later in life.
What possible justification is there for this special representation? The bill sponsor, Rino Tirikatene, MP for Te Tai Tonga (pictured below) unsurprisingly linked it to the Treaty: The bill is about the evolution of our Treaty partnership and representation of Maori, of iwi, at the local government level… Ngai Tahu are entitled to this representation because of the promise of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and this is a modern day expression of that promise.
Tirikatene provided no evidence to back up his claim because it does not exist, and Malpass did not challenge what he said. A quick reading of Te Tiriti would have shown up the MP’s dishonesty and Malpass’s ignorance.
Obviously the Bill is another example of favouritism for (part-)Maori and gives them special representation on the Canterbury Regional Council which is not afforded to any other group. This is clearly undemocratic and is racism pure and simple.
Maori in national sport
A new national Māori sport authority Te Huinga Tākaro o Aotearoa (Te Huinga Tākaro) has partnered with Sport NZ with the hopes of supporting more Māori in sport. (Zoë George, Stuff, 16 August 2022)
Over the next two years 12 sport bodies will share $1.225 million to get more Maori involved in netball, tennis, basketball, football, touch, golf, hockey, rugby league and bowls!! So more cash for a part-Maori cause and of course administrative jobs for the girls and boys. Once again the tired and dishonest argument that this is a Te Tiriti partnership has been used.
Questions on this “initiative” are – who will be accountable and how will success or failure be measured?
Picking out Maori for funding assumes that no other ethnicity needs assistance. Pasifika people are heavily involved in sport because they want to be, they enjoy the competition and get encouragement from family and communities.
We need to encourage more people to exercise, keep fit and get involved in sports, but why can’t we see everyone as Kiwis and not as particular ethnicities needing cash to get them into action?
Luke Malpass’s article on the Ngai Tahu Bill was headed Are voters ready to accept co-governance? He made a huge and dishonest assumption that we are definitely headed that way, and wondered if citizens are on board. The media needs to stop making claims that have no substance.
The government is certainly on the thundering He Puapua train, having failed to campaign on the policies in the 2020 election. They have been consistently rolling out the separatist measures since early 2021 with the certainty of getting them passed because of its absolute majority in the House.
There is no consultation with the public apart from paying lip service to the submissions and select committee process. In the case of the controversial Three Waters legislation, Labour’s Maori caucus carefully selected who can make oral submissions.
It is sad that life in New Zealand is becoming increasingly undemocratic as the 16% part-Maori minority gain more and more privileges, influence and power under this government.