A day of division and differences

Jami-lee Ross has written a column in his local paper about his feelings on Waitangi Day. He couldn’t be as hardline as Paul Holmes but he clearly is not disposed to continuing Waitangi Day in its present form:

THIS year another Waitangi Day passed with the now traditional protests, screaming and posturing.

Sadly, the day has become more synonymous with newsreels of mud, tears and fists than it is about celebrating our identity.

Most New Zealanders have understandably come to see February 6 as a day of division and differences. Is that what we should be celebrating on our national day?

There is value in recognising and robustly debating our issues. Politicians and Maori leaders should be encouraged to come together and address the state of race relations on the spot where that relationship was formalised.

Waitangi Day, like no other, is a recognition of where we came from as a nation and so it ought to remain.

But I’m not sure it continues to be the best forum for celebrating our New Zealand identity.

Waitangi Day has lost any positive meaning for a great many New Zealanders.

On the same weekend as Waitangi Day, the Auckland Lantern Festival was attended by more than 100,000 people.

Friends and families descended on Albert Park en masse to show how accepting and inclusive we are as a people.

Meanwhile, at Waitangi, we had scenes of hikoi, megaphones and Prime Minister John Key shielded by diplomatic protection.

For everything that divides us, there are countless things that bring us together. While that may sound clichéd, I think it’s too easily forgotten.

New Zealand has a unique history and an understated pride. We should take a day out with our friends and family to celebrate that.

We should come together as a community and acknowledge what brings us together, not what divides us.

At a national level that message is being lost.

He is right in calling for a New Zealand Day. hough I suspect his views are not going to enamour him with the other members of the Maori Affairs Select Committee. Mind you he may just be the person who can hold the endless lines of troughers before the committee to account over the billions that are being spent on them.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.