Deborah Mahuta-Coyle letter to Don Brash

An open letter from Deborah Mahuta-Coyle to Don Brash after Brash launched a ‘Hobson’s Pledge’ campaign (see Hobson’s choice ‘anti-separatist’ campaign)


Kia ora Don,

When I was 11 years old I took part in my school’s yearly speech competition. The topic was a famous Māori leader and I had decided to do my speech on my great-great-great-great grandfather Kingi Tawhiao.

My Nan helped me write it and when I made it to the finals I remember seeing her in the audience with quiet tears running down her face. My cousins all came to watch. I was wearing a hideous 80s puffer skirt that was bright pink; I was so short the microphone was at my nose, but I was too scared to move it. I remember all this like it was yesterday. Each family with a kid involved brought plates to share at the end of the evening. My Nan was a pretty mean caterer so she brought enough chocolate logs and eclairs to feed the entire place.

That night something happened that has affected me ever since. My cousin and I were standing in front of the food table with our plates when a couple of Pākehā ladies came up to us, turned their back on me and one of them said to my cousin, “This is not a place where you can just eat for free. You have to have brought food to share. You people are always making the most of events like this.”

Don’t worry – I rounded on the lady and walked about pointing out all of the food my Nan had brought. She just said, “Thank you, at least I know what plates to avoid.” My cousin did not eat a thing.

I’m now 35 years old and while that lady has probably long forgotten the 1990 final of the St Anthony’s School speech competition in Huntly, her words still hurt me to this day.

You see, Don, when you talk about Māori privilege, you say you’re referring to the Treaty, or to water rights, or to all these “special privileges” that Māori get and other New Zealanders don’t. But that’s just a political veneer. Underneath it, you’re giving permission for people to say horrible things, to unleash prejudice, to target Māori because they are Māori. And thanks to you, people think it’s all good as long as they use the rhetoric of tackling Māori privilege that you have happily constructed for them.

All Māori react to your tirades very differently. Some, like me, take to social media to tell you to shut up. Others hear what you say and think, “Here we go again.” Most tend to cringe and wonder how many others think the same way as you.

Nothing good comes from sugar-coating hate speech. What it tends to do is linger in the memories of those affected decades later. Don, you’re like those ladies at my speech competition – totally ignorant of the long-lasting effects of your rude and racist remarks. Those ladies didn’t understand that from that day on, I made sure whenever I’ve been asked to “bring a plate” I over compensated – and still ate nothing. They didn’t know that their words would mean my cousin has refused to attend “Pākehā events” ever since. And that, to this day, I still feel embarrassed to eat at social events as somewhere deep in my consciousness I worry that people will judge me for it because I am Māori.

Don, you shouldn’t say things if you don’t understand the far reaching effects they will have. You’ll never undo the hurt of Orewa or the impact of your latest rant. Thousands of 11-year-old Māori kids will have their identities shaped by the prejudices you have helped to nurture, legitimise and unleash over these past years.

And trust me: no one is going to forget what you have said. People will tell stories about you, Don, like I have about those two ladies from Huntly – to show that the horrible things some people say can cause a lifetime of pain.

Mā te wā,

Deborah

Previous Post
Leave a comment

69 Comments

  1. Pete Kane

     /  30th September 2016

    Surely, if there’s ever a hole in the head the Left (perception wise at least – Treaty Trains) don’t need, then she’s it. The only upside being, it’s a small hole (she’s about 2 feet tall).

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  30th September 2016

    If you don’t want to be one people and you do want racial discrimination then don’t blame someone else when you get it.

    Reply
    • It’s Year Zero and we are just now, in 2016, starting down the track of racial discrimination due to people, Maori and pakeha alike, questioning, calling-out and relating their personal stories about the toxic mentality of some “anti-separatists” and simplistic, puerile anti-separatist race baiting …

      Because, presumably, despite much evidence of 200 years of ‘contact’ HIStory, we should blindly accept and believe “one people” just because Hobson ‘pledged’ it 176 years ago?

      Hobson and even Wikitoria, for all we know, might have been poisonous bitches …?

      I see 387 people ‘Like’ ‘Hobson’s Pledge’ this morning, up from 359 last night … It’s a BIG movement … bit like Kiwi Front Line saying 75% of NZ’s population favour “One rule for all” … that’s 3 million people … and some of the BIG signature numbers on petitions at NZ Centre for Political Research … a more “Newspeak” Ministry of Truth inverted totalitarian name I can’t recall ever seeing …

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  30th September 2016

        None of which addresses the point.

        Reply
        • It addresses the point quite clearly Alan, although with a degree of sarcasm and modicum of derision I believe appropriate to your comment.

          “If you don’t want to be one people” first pre-supposes we ever were – perhaps because Hobson ‘pledged’ it to be so(?) – and also implies “starting from now” IMHO.

          “and you do want racial discrimination” first assumes we haven’t got it already and second that its a natural consequence of not blindly believing Hobson’s ‘Pledge’ … and third that Mahuta-Coyle is “asking for it” … wants racial discrimination …

          “then don’t blame someone else when you get it” …. That is, unless we’ve got discrimination already and there’s evidently someone to blame …

          Reply
          • Joe Bloggs

             /  30th September 2016

            tautoko PZ

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  30th September 2016

            “If you don’t want to be one people” presupposes only what it says.

            “and you do want racial discrimination” presupposes only that you support the Waitangi industry and therefore oppose Brash.

            Reply
  3. Iceberg

     /  30th September 2016

    “Thousands of 11-year-old Māori kids will have their identities shaped by the prejudices you have helped to nurture”

    They won’t though will they. Unfortunately. Instead, they’ll be shaped into victims by the likes of Deborah.

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  30th September 2016

      There are plenty of 11 year olds in New Zealand who are being expected to stop acting like victims. They are expected every day to be “normal.”

      You know normal, like having had a good breakfast and having a lunch in their bag. And normal like they’ve only been at one school since five instead of five in the previous 15 months.

      And normal as having their father read to them in bed the night before after the nice dinner after the sports practice he’d taken them to.

      And normal as having the report on the kitchen table saying they had “reached the National Standards” at school.

      Deborah Mahuta-Coyle related one incident which leaves her accused of wallowing in victimhood. How about the 17 year olds too often in the news for violence and other seemingly mindless behaviour, the 18 year old gang members and even younger prospects? Did they have one incident which got them to that place?

      Maybe the next lot of young people won’t even have the chance to be shaped into victims by the likes of Deborah Mahuta-Coyle. She won’t have the fodder to work on because we would
      subverted her supply line with a bit of irresistible humanity. Given the nature of the what is said on here though how likely is that?

      Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  30th September 2016

        Show me kids going without breakfast, skipping school or growing into violent teens and I’ll show you a dysfunctional upbringing. This has nothing to do with prejudice but everything to do with deadbeat parenting

        Reply
      • Iceberg

         /  30th September 2016

        At what point do we stop doubling down on the “progressive” solutions to closing the gaps? At what point do you admit that your feel good “humanity” ideas, haven’t worked?

        How many more 11 year olds have to buy the Mahuta-Coyle version?

        What if, just maybe, she is part of the problem, not the solution?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  30th September 2016

          How come your avatar is a different shape & colour now? 🤔

          Reply
          • Iceberg

             /  30th September 2016

            If you don’t choose a(n?) heroic nordic warrior, they’re allocated by WordPress at random.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  30th September 2016

              Heroic? Lol. You always say the sweetest things to me. 💋

              Others who’ve commented a few times this morning still have the same avatar. Very strange.

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              Not Strange:
              “An Identicon is a visual representation of a hash value, usually of an IP address, that serves to identify a user of a computer system as a form of avatar while protecting the users’ privacy.”

              IP adresses in NZ are nearly all ‘dynamic’, in that if your modem turns off you get a new IP address when it reconnects, This will change your identicon, as will a typo in your email address if you’ve had to re-enter it.

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              Or losing in to someone else’s network, or public wifi, or sometimes the identical servers reset.

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              Spellcheck put two typo’s in that. ‘login’ ‘identicon’

            • Gezza

               /  30th September 2016

              No worries Nick. I often do my best proof-reading after posting too.

            • Iceberg

               /  30th September 2016

              Or using a phone on a 4G network vs a PC

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              or 3G or LTE.

              @ Gezza, the spellcheck changes them as you hit ‘enter’ sometimes – Apple spellcheck.

            • Gezza

               /  30th September 2016

              I know. I’m just trying to get you to make the 100kth comment.

            • Gezza

               /  30th September 2016

              Mind not interrupting when I’m talking to Iceberg Nick?

        • duperez

           /  30th September 2016

          I thought Deborah Mahuta-Coyle was talking about alienation. Where does 6he dysfunctional upbringing come from? And are the victims of that to shrug their shoulders, get over it and not have “chips on their shoulders”?

          Is hearing the Mahuta-Coyle story a problem? Is what actually happened to her a problem? Is her not shrugging her shoulders saying “Big deal, get over it,” a problem?

          Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  30th September 2016

    And if you haven’t learnt this already, the world’s poisonous bitch model comes in all colours.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  30th September 2016

      And genders.

      Reply
    • Nick Ellis

       /  30th September 2016

      What does that even mean Alan?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  30th September 2016

        It means that the “ladies” Deborah described should be kept in a snake pit away from decent people. And that unfortunately race and colour are irrelevant when it comes to such repulsive personalities and behaviour.

        Reply
        • Nick Ellis

           /  30th September 2016

          I’m sure those ladies would claim that they are the decent people.

          Reply
        • Nick Ellis

           /  30th September 2016

          “And that unfortunately race and colour are irrelevant when it comes to such repulsive personalities and behaviour.”

          But not sex/gender? Only women are ‘repulsive’?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  30th September 2016

            I have yet to meet a male capable of the same gratuitous and spiteful nastiness as some women. Perhaps I have led a sheltered life.

            Reply
            • Klik Bate

               /  30th September 2016

              Alan – meet Nick.

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              Alan – meet Alan

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              “Perhaps I have led a sheltered life.” More likely led it as a closeted misogynist by the sounds of things.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th September 2016

              Not at all, Nick. I just don’t tolerate jerks of any sex or race.

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              But you can only identify them as coming from one sex. You are, as you love to say of others, not addressing the point.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th September 2016

              No I don’t. I just say that this particular type are a female speciality.

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              Yeah, I get. Women are repulsive, men can do no wrong. And somewhere up north it’s still 1955.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th September 2016

              Now you are just being stupid, even for you, Nick.

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              Beats being a bastard and a curmudgeon.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th September 2016

              Quite obviously you manage that too, Nick.

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              What is it that small children say? That you are reminding me of now?

              That’s it….”I know you are but what am I?”

              Top work Dr. [sarcastic thumbs up].

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th September 2016

              I’m happy to let others judge that, Nick. Self-awareness is not your forté.

            • Nick Ellis

               /  30th September 2016

              My self awareness is just fine. It doesn’t, however, extend to taking on your condescension – which at your age should be above you.

              Let others judge what? You were addressing me directly. I called you out as a child. Accept and deal with it. I won’t be back checking this thread.
              Goodnight man child.

            • Klik Bate

               /  30th September 2016

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th September 2016

              You misinterpret me entirely, Nick. That wasn’t condescension, it was contempt for your insults and the mentality that produced them.

        • @ Alan – “unfortunately race and colour are irrelevant when it comes to such repulsive personalities and behaviour.”

          This must be why the ladies said, “You people are always making the most of events like this.” and, after Deborah ’rounded on the lady and walked about pointing out all of the food my Nan had brought’ …. “Thank you, at least I know what plates to avoid.”

          I get it now … thanks for clarifying that …

          Reply
  5. Pete Kane

     /  30th September 2016

    True charmer. Charmers.

    Reply
  6. Pickled Possum

     /  30th September 2016

    Kia ora Deborah. I hear You!
    Kia Kaha Wahine Toa
    A voice from the memories of her time,
    A voice who has a Right to be Heard!

    Your message is the truth that is doing the rounds of Rangatahi* today.
    With the trending mantra ..
    Forgive Him
    For He knows Not
    What a Dick Head
    He truly Is! 🙂

    I really like this whakatauki – Maori proverb
    Rangatahi;
    Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi
    As a old net withers another is remade
    When an elder is no longer fit to lead,
    a healthier leader will stand in his place.

    Blame is a very ambiguous word I think,
    ambiguous;
    open to more than one interpretation; not having one obvious meaning.
    Blame;
    feel or declare that (someone or something) is responsible for a fault or wrong.
    or
    (take) responsibility for a fault or wrong.

    When will the people that have the loudest descending voice,
    Take responsibility for the Fault and Wrong, they have Done!

    Reply
  7. artcroft

     /  30th September 2016

    Straight to the “if you oppose me your racist” talk. Don will do well from this.

    Reply
  8. Jeeves

     /  30th September 2016

    Wow- the lizards are plentiful in this lounge this morning….

    Reply
  9. Pickled Possum

     /  30th September 2016

    Are lounge lizards like couch potatoes?
    LL – an idle man who spends his time in places frequented by rich fashionable people.
    CP – a person who takes little or no exercise and watches a lot of television.

    Apparently not, but think a lot of Couch Potatoes wanna be Lounge Lizards.

    Reply
    • Nick Ellis

       /  30th September 2016

      One is a public thing and one is private, but the internet creates an interesting overlap where you can be both at the same time.

      Reply
  10. Corky.

     /  30th September 2016

    Dear Deborah

    I think most Maori, and part Maori, have a similar story to tell. And thanks to revisionist history, cultural correctness and claiming back supposed lost mana, so do many Pakeha.

    Gone are the days when those Pakeha bitches would get away with that. They now hide behind Don Brashes rhetoric, their racism as virulent as ever. That point I do concede.

    But what of those who aren’t racist, who have a problem with a two- tier democratic system growing by the day, where our government enacts legislation favouring Maori without democratic mandate? Where all institutions are now expected to pander to Maori culture when its patently ridiculous…like science. Science should be science.

    Well, we can’t have those discussions because of your ignorant use of fashionable homilies like .’Nothing good comes from sugar-coating hate speech.’ You may need to explain where
    that is pertinent to what Brash is saying.

    Funny isn’t it, if you think about it. Both Maori and Brash are fighting the same fight…..the moral and legal corruption racial privilege brings in its many guises.

    See, Deborah, I called Brash a brave man. You have an army of dumbed down screaming skulls to back you up. Ironically, many of them Pakeha on a media induced social guilt trip.
    They, like you, can’t see the problems waiting ahead for us if we continue down this present legislative path. Do I have proof of this? Why, yes! The history of Maori for the last 100 years.

    From what I can see, most pakeha have accepted New Zealand is not, or will not, be Euro-centric in the future. They are sitting at the table. Where are Maori? Still whining, holding safely onto hurt feelings?

    Yeah, words do hurt. I remember every last racial slight made against me. But they don’t own me. I rarely revisit them. I live in the NOW. Its the only place where you can make a difference.

    Hurt feelings, or a broken country? You chose.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  30th September 2016

      “See, Deborah, I called Brash a brave man. You have an army of dumbed down screaming skulls to back you up.”

      No shortage of troops in the opposing army Corky.

      Reply
      • Corky.

         /  30th September 2016

        ” No shortage of troops in the opposing army Corky.”

        True, but they have the brains ( or lack of guts) to keep their heads down. Brash doesn’t. He won’t be able to walk down the street without being abused. If fact, I wouldn’t be suprised if he’s assaulted( again)

        “https://thestandard.org.nz/banks-vs-mud/May 19, 2014 – Epsom MP John Banks has had a bucket of dirt thrown at him as he entered … I don’t know what John Banks said in 1997 to upset the mud thrower, but John … Brings back warm memories of Brash getting the mud treatment.’

        Nasty stuff.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  30th September 2016

          “True, but they have the brains ( or lack of guts) to keep their heads down. Brash doesn’t.”
          1. True. Al steps up to the plate though.

          “He won’t be able to walk down the street without being abused. If fact, I wouldn’t be suprised if he’s assaulted( again)”.
          2. Probably he’ll get a bit of both – good on ya Don, and eff of ya mofo. It’ll depend what street, perhaps. Wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up with a dildo before too long.

          Reply
    • @ Corky – I put it to you that you can only live most fully in the NOW if you have sorted out your hurt feelings …?

      No forced EITHER/OR choosing about it Corky, certainly not at your command …

      Hurt feelings DO a broken country make. Denial and burial of the feelings will only visit them on the future … our grandchildren-mokopuna …

      It might be argued the situation is so polarised and difficult now precisely because our grandparents didn’t deal with it …?

      Reply
  11. “totally ignorant of the long-lasting effects of your rude and racist remarks” .

    So that means every Samoan called Bunga or FOB by a Maori, and there was heaps of that in the 70’s and 80’s I witnessed myself regular at school and on the sports field, have a right to carry around “the long-lasting effects” with them now and should get special treatment?

    And every kiwi of European descent called honky, whitey or my favourite, pakeha spat out with enough venom and glaring to ensure the recipient understands its derogatory, [and again I have seen this a lot at school, on the sports field and at the pub] get to carry around “the long-lasting effects” with them now and should get special treatment?

    No is the answer to all those insults, no special rights for hurty feelings – leave it behind and conduct yourself with pride in who you are and act with integrity. Ultimately racists drop off and you emerge through the other side a better person for letting it go.

    Discrimination on the basis of race is not right – judge people on their actions.

    What Mahuta-Coyle does by using ” sugar-coating hate speech” is shut down any discussion about whether it is right to have Maori advisory boards [which abound in Government], un-elected Maori reps on territorial boards, Maori electorates at National level let alone local councils, special rights for Maori over water etc. Important topics that should be open to a rationale debate, not classical shaming techniques being used to shut people up.

    Its the old classic tactic that shuts most dissent up – Hone and his ilk use Honky and redneck in the same way.

    We have a fundamental set of issues to discuss and those who oppose undemocratic policies that confer privilege on Maori, particularly non representative Iwi organisations, as bad policies suffer a heavy price in front of a left wing slanted media and twiteratti, that few dare pop their heads publicly over the parapet and voice an opinion

    We are not talking about sorting health and education out – we can easily target that on non race based targets if we choose. The statistics speak for themselves. We are talking about fundamental rights of citizenship and the democratic tradition being eroded gradually in this act and this regulation over time. Its a cunning and devious strategy that needs a bit of sunlight on it, so the rats running the agenda are fully visible and accountable.

    Its a great pity that this negative spinning happens – but never mind. The political classes will use these quashing techniques to shove all sorts of things on the citizenry and eventual it will just explode as people get frustrated at not being heard and have had enough.

    Queue Josef “Tito” Broz and his partizan army of the left….

    Reply
  12. patupaiarehe

     /  30th September 2016

    Well what an interesting read this thread is. I feel for you Deb. I also recall several occasions in my childhood where adults made me feel stupid. White, black, brown, yellow, or anywhere in between, it happens to all of us. Someone older, & supposedly wiser just bursts your bubble. It sucks to be you, at the time, but most of us get older & wiser, and once we have matured, realize that the nasty comments of one individual don’t represent the opinions of everyone who looks like them. My advice to you Deb, is to grow up, & get over it

    Reply

Leave a Reply to patupaiarehe Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: