by John Robinson
Second class citizens, subservient to a tribal elite
When one chosen few, one group, are dominant and take control and power, others are reduced, to become lesser citizens. New Zealand is that place, steaming down a road of division, divided by law into Maori (the ‘indigenous’) and the others. The great majority, lacking some drop of Maori blood, are second-class, subservient. That assumption of superiority is accompanied by the arrogance and bullying behaviour often found in upper classes.
There is no respect, no ‘aroha’, no belonging together; we are not one people.
The sense of belonging to a united, decent country is gone. There is nothing more precious to a people, and a nation, than the common belief of all that we are equal, that we each and everyone belong here, that this land is our land – along with all the commons, the lakes, rivers and beaches, the bush, the mountains and the sea. But that sense of belonging, which is essential to the good life – for us all, for every individual no matter what their background – has been stolen by an arrogant and greedy tribal minority.
The beliefs in a chosen people are wide-spread. The resulting actions are being felt by every person who dares stick his head up, dares think for himself, dares ask questions and raise these issues. None of us are exempt, as shown by the savage, and ignorant, Television One attack where Tross books were incorrectly described as “untrue, false, hateful, disgusting, and anti-Maori.” The call has been to ban whatever I write, to destroy my humanity, my right to think and speak freely; you should not be reading this article, by order of the self-appointed gatekeepers of New Zealand thought.
This is a common experience; we hear of examples across the country each day, as witness the angry mob, with flags and loudspeaker, proclaiming special rights, in fury that the Dargaville Mayor had dared to act properly to chair a meeting, to keep order and to refuse a rude councillor who loudly insisted on chanting a prayer, a karakia, which is out of place in today’s multi-cultural secular society. A spokesman for “The Aotearoa Liberation League” claimed angrily that “the mayor is a racist person” and attacked any effort to limit proclaimed indigenous rights, which now must include calling out a prayer, a feature of the religion that replaced traditional tikanga.
That anger and aggression, which has become a familiar and frequent expression of the current Maori view of others, is in marked contrast with calls from others. In his Christmas message, King Charles hoped for better, in agreement with his late mother: “It is a belief in the extraordinary ability of each person to touch, with goodness and compassion, the lives of others, and to shine a light in the world around them. This is the essence of our community and the very foundation of our society.” If only that were true here.
That insistence on the superiority of one culture and the subservience of others, stripped of their rights and dignity, is the greatest wrong done to our society. When it is proclaimed that indigenous peoples have inherent rights to insist on “their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources”, it all belongs to them and all others are told that they do not belong here. Many Maori believe that, and act accordingly – and the authorities support those claims.
The history of division
The meeting and coming together of two very different cultures in the nineteenth century led to a transformation of Maori society, much for the better, a cultural revolution away from tribal tikanga towards a peaceful lifestyle in a united nation. This was a revolution within Maori society; those changes were carried out by Maori, for Maori, with great peace-making and freeing of slaves.
However, not all Maori were happy with the changes, as some wanted to hold on to their rule as chiefs, lords of the manor within their tribes. Others delighted in battle; they had been raised as warriors and wished to enjoy the thrill of combat and show their prowess, to become important in the eyes of their tribe.
There was then widespread support for the new government and way of life, as well as dissatisfaction among others who did not accept the move from the old ways. A few rose up in opposition to the Crown, largely for the right to rule and to demand that others obey their orders – rebellion which was resisted by many who wanted to hold on to their new rights as British citizens, in particular to sell their land if they wished. Those rebellions were defeated by a combination of Maori and Crown forces.
The aim of the government was to bring peace, and there were no executions of rebels, which had been the custom among both British and Maori cultures. Thus, many rebels, such as Hone Heke, Te Rauparaha and Te Kooti, were left to live their remaining days in peace.
Unfortunately, some chose to hold on to their refusal to accept the new ways, and to keep alive their calls for rebellion, to fan the flames of future uprising.
The defeated king, Tawhiao, was even welcomed back into the growing society and offered generous terms to live on as an important chief, but he turned his back on the welcome and chose defiance and separation. When turning down Governor Grey’s settlement offer (in 1876), he insisted that he remained as ruler of the nation. “Sir George Grey has no right to conduct matters on this Island, but I have the sole right to conduct matters in my land – from the North Cape to the southern end. No one else has any right. He (Sir George Grey) has no right to conduct matters in this Island. That is why I say all things must be returned, and sent away from here [meaning all English customs].”
That king remains today, having become part of a wider movement for separation of government, within a way of life split between two race-defined groups, Maori and the other – with Maori the dominating ‘partner’.
The actions of Hone Heke had been similar. In an 1849 letter to Queen Victoria, he blamed the “obstinacy” of Fitzroy as “the cause of the war, and of my transgressing against you”, he called for the expulsion of soldiers, Governor and many Europeans, and he claimed decisive power: “The missionaries, the gentlemen and the common people are all that I am well pleased should live here … still the management of my island remains with me”. Thus, he passed down the call for rebellion and separate rule to his descendants, and this was to add to an ongoing desire among some for separate Maori self-development, kotahitanga.
The proposal for kotahitanga was taken to parliament by Heke’s great-nephew, Hone Heke Ngapua MP, who was in sympathy with the emerging Maori unity movement in Northland: an 1892 assembly of 1,342 Maori leaders and representatives had produced a mandate calling for the formation of an alternative Maori parliament and were “ready to engage in a constitutional battle for the resuscitation of Maori self-determination”. His 1894 Native Rights Bill sought a constitution for Maori and a separate Maori Parliament. Exactly what was intended was not clear; Carroll commented that he “had never been able to arrive at what they really required”. Even though it emphasised Maori unity (surely an impossible dream), that kotahitanga was in competition with the rival Waikato King movement, which in turn withheld support for the Bill.
The idea never went away. In 1979, Matiu Rata (also from Northland), Minister of Maori Affairs and of Lands in the third Labour government and progenitor of the Waitangi Tribunal (which had been set up in 1975), became dissatisfied with the Labour Party and left to form a rival political party, Mana Motuhake. Rata had been frustrated by his inability to gain acceptance of all his ideas in Cabinet. When a party reshuffle demoted Rata to a backbencher, he abruptly resigned from his seat, believing that both major parties had sidelined Maori issues, and that his demotion was a trampling of his mana.
Mana Motuhake essentially refers to Maori self-rule and self-determination – mana, in this context, can be understood as authority or power, while motuhake can be understood as independent or separate. This is seen in the Mana Motuhake Policy of the Maori Party, which is: to commit all Maori to the Maori electoral roll by 2023 (removing the freedom of any part-Maori make his or her own decision), to entrench all Maori electorates, to establish a Maori Parliament and to implement all the extreme Matike Mai recommendations for constitutional transformation (which were repeated in the He Puapua report to Government).
Mana Motuhake was unsuccessful in the elections of 1981, 1984, 1987 and 1990, and in 1991 joined forces with three other political parties (New Labour, Greens, and the Democratic Party) to form a single group, known as the Alliance. I joined the Green Party in order to help form a complete Alliance group in the Wairarapa, and was the Green Party representative on an economics working group. There were many issues to deal with (I recall a dispute between the Democratic Party and Jim Anderton that threatened to break up the Alliance) and Maori policy was left in the hands of Rata and his Mana Motuhake party. There was no awareness among the general Alliance party membership of the policies of Mana Motuhake and the proposed transformation of government.
Maori activists, on the other hand, were well aware of what was going on. The decision to join the Alliance was controversial, as a number of prominent figures in Mana Motuhake believed that by joining with non-Maori parties, even sympathetic ones, the party would no longer be free to “speak up for Maori”. Those who supported the continuation of an independent Maori party founded the new Mana Maori party, led by Eva Rickard.
That foolish ignorance among non-Maori has been a constant feature of political discourse in New Zealand. For these many years, a section of Maori has been developing, and spreading the idea of complete separation by race within their communities. The readiness to take thing on trust, and the inability to keep eyes open in order to see what is happening, was shown yet again by Prime Minister John Key: when Peter Sharples flew secretly to New York to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, that was described at the time as merely a non-binding “aspirational and symbolic” declaration, which (they claimed) cannot be applied in a New Zealand court of law. John Key was either deceitful or a fool who did not know what he was doing.
As I have written in a previous article: We can easily understand the very different responses of the various chiefs to the challenges faced when people came from across the world with their challenging ideas. In the same way we can see what Nanaia Mahuta, Willie Jackson, Pita Sharples and their ilk are doing to the country now, what drives them and what are their intentions. They are the inheritors of Hone Heke, Wiremu Kingi, Wiremu Tamehana and Tawhiao – not following the path of friendship and progress of Patuone, Tamati Waka Nene, Te Wherowhero and Apirana Ngata. They follow the rebel Rewi Maniapoto of 1863, and not the older and wiser Rewi Maniapoto of 1878, peace-maker and friend of Governor Grey.
“Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.” (George Santayana, repeated by Winston Churchill). New Zealand is a ship of fools, sailing blindly towards another civil war.
That failure to notice what is happening, and to take remedial action, brings to mind an old Islamic saying: “If the dogs bark at night, it is foolish to look to the sheep the next morning.” It is rapidly becoming too late to return to equality without conflict.
The Waitangi Tribunal builds New Zealand myths
The Waitangi Tribunal was born in 1975 out of the kotahitanga of Mat Rata, with a mandate to measure prejudice arising from past Crown actions, and has expanded that goal throughout the past 47 years. The Tribunal was initially set up to hear and recommend claims after 1975 as previous claims had been fully and finally settled in the 1930s and 1940s, then in 1985 was extended to hear claims dating back to 1840 (both actions taken by Labour governments of the day).
The Waitangi Tribunal has shown no interest in conciliation, rather has insisted on seeking out and encouraging dissention. It has been very effective in leading the country down the path of grievances, separating us and moving ever further away from any idea of equality.
Part of the process has been to break with unity and insist on ‘partnership’, to overturn the concept that we are one people. With power divided between the race-based Maori minority and the majority, there has been steady erosion of the belief and practice of equality in government and before the law. There is even support for a refusal to accept the sovereignty of the Crown, and thus the legitimacy of the current government. The whole fabric of the nation is being destroyed.
The process has been aided by many other organisations. The courts have introduced tikanga into law, effectively seizing the role of government in legislation. Universities require compliance with the dictates of matauranga Maori, co-ordination with iwi, and adherence to a twisted version of the Treaty of Waitangi, and the Royal Society of New Zealand insists on similar directions to scientists. The media has been compliant, reporting imaginative stories of past wrongs and refusing to report alternative views, and is now required to adhere to an invented version of the Treaty. Reports to the Waitangi Tribunal, many funded by the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, must stick to the prescribed ideology, thus (as described by historian Bill Oliver) creating an imaginative new version of history, which has been described by critics as “revisionist history” and “presentism”, “counterfactual history clouded with retrospective recrimination” which is “remarkable evidence free” and “shaped by a current political agenda”.
In 2004, historian Giselle Byrnes described the focus, and evolution, of Tribunal reports. “The idea of dual sovereignty, together with the goal of reconciliation, is part of the process of the Tribunal’s visions of nation making. … In the early Tribunal reports (those immediately following the constitution of the ‘new’ Tribunal in 1985), ideas of unity and accommodation were repeatedly emphasised.” However: Tribunal narratives “have shifted between emphasising visions of biculturalism and mutual accommodation between Maori and non-Maori, to advancing ideas of dual sovereignty. … the published reports of the Tribunal have become increasingly politicised, moving from a discourse based on principles of reparation, and on the idea of the Treaty as a binding contract, to one that challenges ideas of national unity. In its later reports especially, the Tribunal has advanced a vision of Aotearoa New Zealand that is highly pluralistic, where sovereignty is held and exercised by autonomous political entities who exert their own sovereignty, yet can still participate in the sovereignty of ‘the nation’ as a whole.”
All contributors to the Tribunal come under pressure to conform to that narrative. When, in 2000, I prepared a report on the possible link between falling land ownership and the northern South Island Maori population towards the end of the nineteenth century, the evidence was simple and clear: while land was being sold and Maori had less land, the previous population decline (inherited from the pre-1840 tribal wars) had ended and a long period of population increase had begun. The obvious conclusion was that “There was no clear, direct correlation between land holdings and demography.” The report was rejected as: “Dr Robinson’s report … will obscure the true nature of the cataclysm which afflicted Te Tau iwi between 1850-1900.” I was forced to rewrite before I was paid, to produce an unclear, muddled report that pleased the referees and left their “cataclysm” unchallenged. Thus, a consistent narrative of colonial wrongs and harm to Maori is constructed.
A mindset has been created which holds that Maori have been terribly wronged by colonisation, by Crown breaking the Treaty, and by subsequent loss of land and poor social conditions. All of that false narrative can be challenged, but questioning is forbidden. The range of settlements has widened over the years. At first the concept was to settle definite Treaty breaches. Then settlements were reached without any specific breach, indeed without any history justifying payments. And then, it was claimed that all Maori had suffered and payments should be made, and frequently updated, to every claimant iwi. Finally, the Tribunal has ruled that many iwi did not sign the Treaty (even, remarkably, Ngapuhi who were foremost in calling for British action), so that the way is open for many other sovereign tribal nations within New Zealand.
Since the many considerable Treaty settlements have been to tribes, iwi, there is profit to be made in a revival of tribalism, driving Maori away from the mainstream and into tribal groups where the meet to build a belief in grievance, sharing stories of past wrongs, many of which run counter to recorded facts. There have been a considerable number of such meetings over the years, many financed by government (including the rest of us) where plans for separation and independent governments have been developed, and spread among so many Maori who have been taught to be dissatisfied. There has been no balance, no counter voice, either within the tribes or in the official channels, while the reporting of the mainstream media has supported the growing Maori anger, that steady progression, creating ever more division.
In her book The uses and abuses of history, Margaret MacMillan illustrates how dangerous history can be in the hands of nationalistic or religious or ethnic leaders who use it to foster a sense of grievance. This has certainly been the case here in New Zealand. She describes how within three generations oral history will become myth – not just stories told within the group, but accepted as prescriptions for beliefs and a way of life.
That has again been the case here as imaginative stories have become national myths which are held to direct today’s policies and actions. Such oral accounts are accepted by the Tribunal and play a significant part in their reports and in accounts in the public media. The rewards of settlements for complaints have stimulated a search for tribal memories, in meetings over many decades apart from other sections of the community, ignoring the faults of Maori either before 1840 or against the nation, sharing and coming to believe whatever supports a growing feeling of grievance. That separation and exaggeration of wrongs has led to a belief that Maori are different, ‘indigenous’ peoples with special rights living not in unity but in partnership with others. This rebirth of kotahitanga has been destroying loyalty to the nation (which is then through whakapapa, to the hapu or iwi), leading to refusal of Crown sovereignty and replacement of democracy with tribal rule by chiefs.
This increasing tribalism, fed by the calls of the Waitangi Tribunal and the powerful grievance industry, has been accompanied by a spread of facets of the old culture, tikanga. Many of the powerful tribes are asserting an independent policy, regaining their tribal mana and claiming utu for eighteenth century defeat in the wars of rebellion. The ideas that full sovereignty was not handed over to the British, and that the Treaty of Waitangi was nothing more than a partnership, would legitimise the Maori king and rebellion. Once that narrative is accepted, Crown action to preserve unity becomes the breaking of the Treaty.
By following whakapapa, plum jobs are given to relatives, no matter what the qualifications (as we observe in central government). That atmosphere is no way condusive to aroha; one person who works within the Waitangi Tribunal has told me that, firstly, Maori hate one another (with antagonism among iwi) and, secondly, Maori hate pakeha.
The belief system that has developed over the past decades, becoming the basis of many national decisions and actions, includes a set of directions that destroy any capability to think freely and to make a decision now for today’s world and the future. Those decrees – which have been developed to break any national unity and to divide New Zealanders by race into two groups with very different powers and rights – are founded on invented history and twisted logic; they are modern myths. A first step towards putting an end to the current evolving apartheid is to set aside those directives and to insist that we will no longer be ruled from beyond the grave.
The importance of a self-confident assertion in equality, that this is our country and we are free to determine the direction of our own society, is a theme of the current set of articles (with this the fifth). That demands a firm rebuttal of several myths that have built up to direct the nation towards tribal rule.
The first proposed that the Treaty of Waitangi, which has been ripped apart and reinvented to convey a considerable diversity of conflicting messages, should no longer be taken as a sacred text, a virtual spiritual authority. This is here.
The second focussed on current affairs, describing an effort to formulate a racially divided constitution. It is online here
The third denied the claims that Maori are fundamentally different, a race apart as ‘indigenous’ people. It is online here.
The fourth dealt with the question of who really broke the Treaty, reaching the conclusion that the Crown, the several Governors, and the government never broke the Treaty of Waitangi, whereas a number of Maori chiefs, and their iwi, committed acts of treason and rebellion, in contradiction of the Treaty of Waitangi. That sets us all free from the guilt trap, which calls for recompense today for wrongs committed long ago by a previous people. It is online here.
We must see this ideology for what it is, propaganda generated for political purposes. It has become a great red herring, misdirecting attention to the study and refutation of those stories instead of putting the focus on where we find ourselves in a turbulent modern world, where we want to go, and how best to get there. Primitive tribalism is no way forward.
Towards ‘co-governance’; the failure of both major parties
The drift towards the overthrow of a way of life has accelerated this century. The revolution sought by the Maori leadership has remained consistent, steadily spreading and advancing step by step, until their recent great advance.
Majority opinion has been as firmly fixed in the opposite direction. The success of the 2004 speech by Don Brash at Orewa calling for equality, the one time that racial division was an issue in politics, provided a great boost to the National Party. Votes have been consistently opposed to Maori wards in local bodies, mostly in the range of 68% to 82% against. A 2012 Colmar Brunton poll found that 70% want Maori wards abolished and 68% want the Waitangi Tribunal abolished. A considerable majority of submitters to the 2013 Constitutional Advisory Panel wanted Maori seats in Parliament to be abolished.
Meanwhile politicians have been inconsistent. Recent changes have been remarkable, complete flip-flops, as both major parties have switched previously firm policies – National to form an alliance with the Maori Party and follow the policies of Maori exceptionalism, Labour to reflect the very different views of the current leadership (the opposite to those held in the previous Labour government) and the power of the Labour Party Maori caucus that has become increasingly radical.
The 1999-2008 Labour-led government (all other than the current government have been coalitions) was middle-of-the-road. The Waitangi Tribunal and Treaty settlements continued but they resisted pressure to further increase separate Maori rights. The Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 asserted public ownership and access, and that government refused to sign the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
On 27 January 2004, at a time when the National Party was low in the polls, the Party leader Don Brash gave a speech to the Orewa Rotary Club in which he called for an end to racial separation. That speech led to a surge in support for National, which almost made Brash prime minister in 2005. Thus both parties, in their different ways, refused the radical Maori Party agenda.
There was a complete reversal of policy during the term of the John Key National government in 2008. In order to gain power National entered into a coalition with the Maori Party, which insisted on radical changes. Former lawyer acting for Maori Treaty claims, Christopher Finlayson, became Attorney-General and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, and settled many claims by simply giving Maori practically whatever they wanted, handing over vast sums of money and many special rights without any firm basis for grievance. In 2010 the Minister of Maori Affairs, Pita Sharples, flew secretly to New York to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In 2011 the National-led government replaced the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 with the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 which was guided by Maori Party policy. Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed was replaced with a ‘no ownership’ regime and Maori were given extensive special rights.
That policy reversal by the largely right-of-centre National Party points to the absurdity of claims that Maori exceptionalism is a socialist, Marxist ideology imposed by a supposedly far-left Jacinda Ardern government. Current New Zealand racism is in fact following a radical path first taken by the National Party, and racial separation is the very opposite of the socialist call for “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality, fraternity).
The following Labour Government of New Zealand was in coalition with New Zealand First and the Green Party from 2017 to 2020. The influence of Winston Peters was sufficient to hold to a relatively moderate stance on race issues, although there was no effort to return to the policy of the previous Labour government, no intention to reassert the previous foreshore and seabed legislation or to withdraw from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
From 2020 on the Labour Party has been able to govern in coalition with only the Green Party. There were no longer any checks on the full reversal of previous Labour Party policy. This was a changed Labour Party, the very opposite of its predecessor, unannounced in the election campaign. The blueprint was set down in the 2019 He Puapua report, which was kept secret throughout the 2020 campaign and subsequently, until it was revealed by the ACT Party in 2021. ACT also revealed a submission made by the government to the UN in August 2020 – before the October election – that stated the government “is committed to creating a declaration plan to implement the Declaration’s objectives and goals.”
Both of these governments this century, National and Labour, have rejected long-term ideological positions that have widespread popular support and have made a complete reversal of policy to become supporters of the radical Maori Party agenda that has taken New Zealand far into apartheid.
The trap closes
Once set free from the constraints imposed by coalition with the centrist New Zealand First Party led by Winston Peters, the Labour government led by Jacinda Ardern showed its true colours; following the build-up of 2021, 2022 proved to be a momentous year, the year that apartheid was embedded in New Zealand. Any uncertainty over the practical meaning of ‘partnership’ was swept away as co-governance became the government call. Two separate governments are not far off – many steps have been taken to set up that divided structure.
The comprehensive takeover by the elite of tribal Maori, described in the 2019 blueprint He Puapua (a “breaking wave” to destroy democracy, based on the extreme Matike Mai report, which was initiated by the Iwi Chairs’ Forum and developed in 252 Maori-only hui between 2012 and 2015), has been acted upon. The warning of that impending revolution with its proposal for two race-based parliaments (raised in my 2021 “He Puapua: Blueprint for breaking up New Zealand”) soon became reality, leading to my 2022 call for a counter-revolution, in “Regaining a nation: equality and democracy”.
That revolutionary overturn of a way of life, a veritable coup by descendants of former rebels, has gained considerable traction throughout 2022. The full significance of the Three Waters legislation was pointed out in the previous article of this series, which identified “the elephant in the room, apartheid, the setting up of a system that divides New Zealanders further into Maori and the other, and which asks Maori to organise a separate government system to choose and appoint representatives who will have effective control over all of New Zealand’s ‘three waters’.” The importance of this legislation to the separatist cause was recognised by the Minister for Maori Development, Willie Jackson, when he addressed a group of 5000 on a marae. He shook his fist in the air and proclaimed: “When we have control of the water, we have total control of Aotearoa.”
The questioning of the sovereignty of the current New Zealand government has been mentioned above. A notable step in that direction has been the December 2022 opinion of the Waitangi Tribunal that the Crown overstepped its authority to govern for Northern Maori throughout the 19th century, which led to an erosion of rangatiratanga that is “widely felt today”. The Tribunal has recommended the Crown enter discussions with Maori on the constitutional makeup of the country, to give effect to “Treaty rights” in the country’s constitutional processes and institutions.
The words of the rebel junior chief Hone Heke are remembered, while the wisdom of senior Ngapuhi chiefs who worked with and learned from the newcomers, who asked for and welcomed British intervention, who supported the Treaty and the government, who fought against Heke’s rebellion, are forgotten. The followers of nineteenth century rebels have taken up the banner of separation, and find support in the Waitangi Tribunal and the current government.
Propaganda forcing a belief in separate identity and rights
An extensive range of propaganda, coupled with ways to enforce compliance, has developed, to spread the belief that New Zealanders belong to two separate races, and that the story of the past demands that they have very different rights and powers.
The insistence that one point of view, determined by an appointed authority, must be adhered to, was explicit in the 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act. The aim was “to provide for the observance of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi”, and the Tribunal was given the power to decide what this meant, with “exclusive authority to determine the meaning and effect of the Treaty as embodied in the two texts”. This is nonsense for a number of reasons: there were no such ‘principles’ in the Treaty and a number of differing efforts to develop a set of such principles produce rather different versions, and the ‘English Treaty’ chosen was the false version written by Hobson’s secretary, James Freeman, in the days after the Treaty had been translated into Maori and signed.
However, that false (or at least questionable) Treaty is the official version, written into law; this is what we all are asked to conform to, and what is reported. Government funding to the media requires that they follow instructions based on that definition. The first is a “Commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to Maori as a Te Tiriti partner”, with a further “commitment to te reo Maori.”
While that funding has been recent, support for the introduced ideology, including the reversal of the understanding of what is racism, has been long standing. For example, when (in 2013) Hugh Barr and I met with the Race Relations Office of the Human Rights Commission to raise our concern that many speaking for equality were being labelled as racist, the meeting was confrontational and adversarial.
Perversely, to call for equality and to refuse division by race is called racism, while true racism is accepted. This has been a normalisation of racism.
That topsy-turvy way of thinking has received support from the reports to the Waitangi Tribunal, which have created an imaginative new version of history, shaped by a current political agenda, which is spread and amplified by the very many iwi meetings associated with Treaty settlements. The multiplicity of Maori-only meetings over several decades has built up a belief in past wrongs, demanding compensation and special rights. That process is strengthened by the government, which frequently calls on tribal gatherings, held separate from the general population, to consider key issues. For example, following on from the release of He Puapua, the government called a series of 70 workshops “to find out what Maori aspirations are for realising the application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”. It is no surprise that the overwhelming message was for self-determination and tino rangatiratanga.
The call for separation has received official support from universities, with meetings led by Maori academics. One such, at the Business School of the University of Auckland (November 2022), was a “Constitutional Conference Korero”, a national hui “to provide the technical and legal support for constitutional transformation in Aotearoa New Zealand – a ‘national wananga’ to bring together experts from around the world and within Aotearoa to present arguments and options for constitutional transformation”. The long list of keynote speakers included several New Zealand professors, Justice Joe Williams (who has led the introduction of tikanga into law) and others from overseas, such as the President of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and Professor James Anaya from the University of Colorado Law School (who, as a United Nations Special Rapporteur, had meddled in New Zealand’s internal affairs by suggesting that the government should guarantee Maori electoral seats in the Auckland ‘Supercity’ Council and hand land within the Te Urewera National Park to Ngati Tuhoe, and repeated the call of the previous rapporteur to change the Foreshore and Seabed Act). These are among the ‘experts’ who will advise politicians, few of whom (if any) have the knowledge and self-confidence to stand up to that pressure.
There is similar pressure on elected local body councillors to conform to the separationist agenda, with reports of two full day of ‘compulsory’ history lessons, lectures by local Maori teaching one view of the Treaty and stories of historical grievance.
Distorted stories of colonial wrongdoing, become believed myths, are spread while other views are shut down. The relentless pressure for conformity is joined by many groups which have become accustomed to toe the line, afraid to speak out. Nothing considered controversial is accepted, in letters to the editor or in public talks. All this, I – and many others – have experienced. Thus, alternative views disappear from public discourse.
Similar compliance is demanded in much of the job market, where employment or advancements depend on not offending the gatekeepers of proclaimed (not as measured) public opinion.
Propaganda for the ideology of past wrongs, colonial guilt and special indigenous status is widespread. This is coupled with acceptance of increasingly radical claims, many challenging or contrary to the law. Claims of alternative governments are met with official inaction, while unilateral decisions by judges to write tribalism into law by introducing tikanga, and a call for a divisive constitution, have been sanctioned. These are in addition to the several well-funded local and national organisations working towards transformation, such as iwi groups, the Maori Council, the Iwi Leaders Forum, the king movement and the Maori Party.
Several examples of alternative governments have been noted in “Regaining a nation”.
The ‘Maori Government of Aotearoa Nu Tireni’ is claimed to be the “de jure Government of the Chiefs of the Confederation of the Maori Tribes”, “the lawful government of the sovereign nation of Aotearoa nu tireni”. Its active ‘Wakaminenga Health Council’ issues Annual Practising Certificates to health practitioners. It offers a “Protected individual Vaccine exception” card, exempting a person “from receiving any vaccine or medical tests which breach hapu tikanga customary laws”. It provides a trespass order, proclaiming: “WARNING TRESPASS NOTICE! TO ALL NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT OR LOCAL COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES, POLICE, MILITARY OR OFFICERS OF Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand or Corporate representatives. YOU MAY NOT ENTER WITHOUT CONSENT”.
A separate organisation, the ‘Maori Ranger Security Division’ (which includes a policing unit), similarly proclaims that “Maori Sovereignty was NEVER ceded” and that: “The power is with hapu authority not iwi”. They advertise “Te-moana-nui-a-kiwa Diplomatic Immunity Sea Pass Identity Cards”.
Parallel actions include the declaration of Tuhoe (who have been handed the control of the Urewera National Park), with their prominent sign: “You are now within the boundaries of TUHOE NATION”.
Alternative government structures, destroying the unity of the nation, have been set up, and are unchallenged. Such actions sit comfortably with the government policy of racial separation and co-governance.
The most important propaganda activity (conditioning a belief in separate race and special identity) is the active brainwashing of young people, the next generation. This has been under way for several decades with the stories told in kohanga reo childcare centres and Kura Kaupapa Maori schools (there are two very different school curricula for Maori and general schools).
The importance of education in forming beliefs is well established. The expression by Aristotle, “Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man”, has been repeated many times since by major political thinkers. The current education review is a key factor in spreading ideas of colonial wrongs and Maori ‘indigenous’ demands for special status, a major platform for the assertion of one version of the story of New Zealand to support the racist ideology which insists that we are two peoples.
There is much to consider there; a comprehensive and critical examination by Roger Childs: New Zealand’s History Curriculum; Education or Indoctrination?, will be published by Tross Publishing in February 2023. An opening comment is that: “In education there has been an intensive Maorification of school curricula in recent years, with a heavy emphasis on Maori content and matauranga. A key curriculum affected in this process is the new history prescription for Years 1-10 students which is being taught from 2023. The developers have put together a programme which heavily favours the 16.5% of students who are part-Maori, and they have included a lot of material featuring Maori achievement and culture; alleging the poor treatment of their people over the last 180 years and how their culture has been persistently undermined by ‘colonialism’.”
Many misleading statements are identified. “The opening paragraph in the Year 8-9 teaching resources states that School Journal articles can help students understand the various ways that Maori tried to resist colonialism, retain land and assert mana … As is the case throughout the curriculum, Maori are often seen as a homogeneous group, with shared values and objectives. However, the reality during the New Zealand Wars was that most supported the government; many fought alongside colonial troops; most wanted to get on with their lives in peace, and only a minority aggressively opposed the government and colonial troops.”
Childs considers several such articles and notes both inaccuracies and omissions. “Calman’s statement ‘forced to defend their lands’ does not take into account that the Waikato War followed aggressive actions by the Maori king’s supporters. … “Other resources make statements that cannot be justified, referring to: ‘The brutal attack of Rangiaowhia by the British’, ‘Crown hostility’, ‘Aggressive land acquisition’, ‘Grey’s invasion of the Waikato’.” Each of these can be countered with reference to the facts.
It is suggested that oral accounts must be considered. But it is far more important that accounts written at the time must have priority. The directions towards one point of view and the selection of claims to support that bias, without discussion of other ideas, is propaganda and not education.
Apartheid and tribal rule
A foreign world is being built around us. The majority of New Zealanders no longer belong to our country. The insistence on the superiority of one culture and the subservience of the others, stripped of their rights and dignity, is the greatest wrong done to our society. There is no respect, no aroha, no belonging together; we are not one people.
The next article will give a glimpse of the reality of living under tribal rule – what exists now, and the further revolutionary transformations proposed for the future, presenting a disturbing picture of autocratic rule by a powerful minority.