Treatifarians

Brian McDonnell is going to be in big trouble…for speaking his mind…something one must not do on issues Maori:

Ms Turia says section nine of the 1986 State-Owned Enterprise Act created a “pathway to nationhood”, but that pathway was already well established, built from a thousand different components, historical events large and small.

If section nine were changed by Parliament, that would be just another step in the constantly shifting pathway. She claims that one sentence of law formed a “prescription for a relationship which is central to our constitution”, that it is an “exquisite blueprint for a nation in which kawanatanga and rangatiratanga sit alongside each other”.

Tariana Turia explained and Brian McDonnell summarised her position which he then goes on to examine:

I agree that it is easy and understandable for members of any minority to feel vulnerable, defensive and even angry. However, instead of being seen as an object of historical study or as a source document for assisting contemporary formulations of ethnic relations, the Treaty has instead in recent decades been raised to an altogether higher status by some Maori activists and Pakeha sympathisers whom I (only semi-facetiously) term as “Treatifarians”.

These people would like it to be seen virtually as a sacred text and adopted unmodified as the pre-eminent foundation document of our nation: a compendium of Magna Carta, the Provisions of Oxford, the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Treatifarians approach the Treaty as Holy Writ to be subjected to exegesis by a high priesthood.

The Treaty, they assert, can help “unwrite” subsequent history and reinstate Maori back to the level of equality of power enjoyed in 1840. This project creates a redemptive history in which the elevated Treaty performs an almost messianic function: To save the country’s present-day population from the wrongs of its colonial past. Such wrongs are inarguably very real, especially in the loss of land, and I am all for specific cases being addressed fairly. But the process must not resemble a cargo cult.

That is pretty accurate at the point at which this nation has arrived and why people like Paul Holmes have had enough and are saying so, rather loudly.

One alternative view to this, conveyed somewhat intemperately by Paul Holmes in his recent Herald column, sees a need for Maori people to take more personal responsibility for their own present situation, and for improving the lot of themselves and their children. This involves Maori people putting the distant past behind them, clearing up genuine grievances, but eventually getting beyond grievance mode. It asks for the reality of the irreversible blending of ethnic groups to be acknowledged, instead of perpetuating the illogical and unhelpful ethnic essentialism which the Treaty as commonly formulated represents.

The two groups that met at Waitangi in 1840 no longer are separate. After 172 years of change, intermarriage, admixtures, merging, and the continual addition of new elements, there are no longer in New Zealand’s population two clear partners to the Treaty.

There are hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who blend a Maori ethnicity with something different: European, Asian, Pasifika. Ms Turia is one of them, as am I. When there is intermarriage, it is a bridge between ethnic groups, not a process in which one identity is sucked and absorbed into the other until it disappears.

People of goodwill are at the very least bemused by this continuing chain of events.

Even sympathetic, liberal and moderate people are getting fed up and do not want this to indefinitely be the tenor of New Zealand life.

The creation of treatifarians and the broracracy is now at a critical junction…we either continue forward creating a situation haves and have nots in Maoridom perpetrated the preference by government in dealing with formal iwi goupings or as the treaty grievance process winds up we find another way forward that brings all Maori into the fold of contributing citizens.Related articles.

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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. 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 who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

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