Metiria versus Pākehā men #1

While Metiria Turei has largely dropped out of the media spotlight there has been some ongoing commentary on her rise and fall over the last month. Two articles claim that she has been done over by white middle/upper class males.

Newshub:  Metiria Turei’s demise due to ‘race, gender and class’ – academic

For the last three weeks, the actions of former Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei have polarised our country.

Māori academic Dr Leonie Pihama described the coverage as “a clear attack that is grounded in the fundamental right-wing ideologies of race, gender and class”.

There were certainly attacks on Turei and her actions and attitudes to benefits and solutions to poverty.

But she started a highly political and contentious ‘mission’ and media had a duty to examine the whole story, not just the bits Turei wanted to promote to try to grow votes for the Green Party.

Some media coverage may have been over the top, but that’s not unusual in politics. Bill English has been hammered by media for months over the Todd Barclay issue, and he’s right wing-ish, white, male and relatively well off.

Polls showed that many people who leaned left were not comfortable with Turei’s actions and continued acceptance of law breaking.

Three quarters of people polled, including about half of Green voters and about two thirds of Labour voters answered yes to ‘Was it wrong for Metiria Turei to get a bigger benefit?’ – see Newshub poll: Most Kiwis say Metiria Turei was wrong to lie to WINZ

There was clearly:

  • left wing disapproval
  • clearly many of those who disapproved must have been female (at least half)
  • many must have been lower to middle class,
  • there must have been some non-whites who disapproved (as there was whites who approved).

It is fine for Pihama to question whether there has been some bias in reporting the Turei issue. There is always bias in media.

It is also fine to suggest that some ‘attacks’ were based on ideologies, race, age and class. Inevitably they would have been.

But stating that the coverage was “a clear attack that is grounded in the fundamental right-wing ideologies of race, gender and class” is not something one should expect from someone presenting themselves as an academic.

There was more. Discussion on this at Reddit:

She said a lot more than that:

“What we have is a clear attack that is grounded in the fundamental right wing ideologies of race, gender and class that serve the interests of domination and which reproduce systems of inequality and disparities. Metiria Turei embodies all of those things that white supremacy seeks to destroy.

“It seems that everywhere I turn there is a upsurge of white supremacy expressed as white privilege.”

A comment in response at Reddit:

What it says is actually the truth. Metiria Turei does embody all that white supremacists (aka Trump supporter type) because she is:

  • Brown coloured (aka not white)
  • A woman
  • Activist for the poor
  • Environment activist
  • Socialist
  • Secularist

The only reason she was hounded by the media is because she failed to anticipate that they would dig for, and find, more dirt on her. Lying about having a flatmate (although it was actually fine for her to have a boarder), and voting in a different electorate to your actual residence (John Key did the same thing while he was an MP) was no big deal.

What actually hurt her was the fact that the residence she put down was actually the baby daddy’s address, so the possible implication was that she she lied about living with him which meant she was never entitled to the benefit in the first place. Despite her years of political experience and the fact she was a co-leader if the Green Party, she failed to anticipate the media uncovering it all and connecting the dots.

But Pihama seems to think that it was unfair for media to join the dots. It was clear there was more to Turei’s story than she was willing to divulge.

It sounds like Pihama is biased based on her political  ideologies, race and gender (I won’t try to judge her class).



Leave a comment


  1. Geoffrey

     /  15th August 2017

    Pihama’s claim to academic gravitas is not helped by this rant. Like the Koru, her argument spirals in on itself until it is of no substance. Perhaps like Turei’s before, this shrieking claim that being brown and female affords one special privilege, will also fail to gain wide support.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  15th August 2017

    Nothing to do with her race and sex. Evrrything to do with her dishonesty and self-entitlement. Apparently Pihama shares both.

  3. Corky

     /  15th August 2017

    Dr Leonie Pihama …say no more. Maori is full of excuse mongers. It’s never their fault.
    Here’s another one. This chap isn’t too bright. He didn’t hide his bs behind a maize of pc catch phrases and long winded diatribes aimed at confusing readers.

    That means their bs and muddled thinking is blindingly obvious.


    ”What these children need is a whānau ora approach, kaupapa Māori and more support across social services and education,” said Maori Party Tamaki Makaurau candidate Shane Taurima.”

    Contrast that with a scheme Leighton Smith was talking about in Sri Lanka started by Dilmah Tea heirs. Their scheme takes poor kids and turms them in world class chefs and foodies.. Their boot camp is super strict. You are gone for being late once. Best effort is expected and achieved, or you are down the road.

    Smith correctly surmised such a scheme wouldn’t happen in New Zealand because it would infringe civil rights. He’s right.

    But such schemes are needed. especially when I see large groups of Maori kids dawdling to school at 9.30am…with not a care in the world.

    • Geoffrey

       /  15th August 2017

      Having spent many years soldiering I can attest to the fact that enlistment can have a beneficial impact on some young offenders. That benefit is however, a side effect of the team building nature of recruit induction: it is not the prime purpose of the armed forces.
      In my opinion, disarming the Army and obliging it to play warden to 150 or so young thugs at a time, is a recipe for disaster. I am horrified by the daft proposal from the Prime Minister. I am lead to conclude that either he has had not one day in uniform, or he felt so exhilarated by six weeks of National Service back in the day that he has forgotten what it was about.

      • Well said! my lefty mates think its horrible, but I volunteered for that sort of “ill treatment” Farkin softies. On the other hand, the Army has a job to do, and providing attitude adjustments to a bunch of teens tha many would refer to as the dregs of society isnt one of them.

  4. The only person responsible for Metiria Turei’s fall from grace is Metiria Turei.

  5. sorethumb

     /  15th August 2017

    Tuakana Nepe (1991) emphasised that kaupapa Māori
    knowledge is distinctive to Māori society and has its
    origins in the metaphysical. Kaupapa Māori, she states,
    is a “body of knowledge accumulated by the experiences
    through history, of the Māori people” (Nepe, 1991: 4).
    For Nepe, this knowledge form is distinctive to Māori in
    that it derives fundamentally from Māori epistemologies
    that include complex relationships and ways of
    organising society. She argues that this distinctive nature
    of kaupapa Māori is seen in the ways in which Māori
    conceptualise relationships.

    Click to access Kaupapa-Rangahau-A-Reader_2nd-Edition.pdf

    Pihama means there Maori have a unique but valid method of theorising with origins in the metaphysical (pre enlightenment). Strangely many in humanities are fine with that?

    • Gezza

       /  15th August 2017

      Have you noticed that The Speaker opens every Question Time & General Debate by loudly & publicly praying for the assistance & intervention of a mythical ChristianGod that doesn’t even exist?

  6. robertguyton

     /  15th August 2017

    “The only person responsible for Metiria Turei’s fall from grace is Metiria Turei.”
    What dribble. Metiria is responsible for her actions, but a fall from grace involves others and those others and the nature of their condemnations, represent the “fall”. Those, such as Keeping Stock, who clamour in response to the actions of another, play God and should be aware of that, particularly when they proclaim a Christian faith. Jesus provided guidance to such stone casters as Keeping Stock.

    • Blazer

       /  15th August 2017

      Meteria’s timing and strategy was very poor,I’m sure you would…agree.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  15th August 2017

        She took a chance-she openly broadcast a distorted version of her life of fraud-this was not well received and people said so.

        Her fall from grace was entirely her fault.

  7. Kitty Catkin

     /  15th August 2017

    The claim that the news is racist was not borne out tonight-I made a point of noticing. There was a story about those poor men in the Kaimanawas (what a cruel trick Mother Nature plays when people with hypothermia are convinced that they are actually swelteringly hot*), there was that boy who was killed when he skateboarded on a motorway, there was the Morrinsville gunman and there was a story about the Bledisloe Cup with a Maori All Black.

    Four of the stories which were about individuals were about Maoris; one was about a criminal. The others were not.

    I suspect that these stories would not show up if someone asked for Maori stories, as they were stories about people in various situations.

    * and vice versa-I have been freezing and shivering with a really high temeperature more than oncely

  8. sorethumb

     /  15th August 2017

    Science must Fall has relevance to Pihama

    • Gezza

       /  15th August 2017

      How? Where has she claimed Newton’s theory of gravity or any other empirical physical science is wrong? Can you give a link to that?

      • Gezza

         /  15th August 2017

        I asked that question quite a while ago. Will you be much longer?

        Also, that clip you’ve posted seems to be a very selective part of an obviously longer discussion, so I’d like to see the full discussion to understand that exchange in its full context. Can you provide a link to the full discussion?
        2050 hours.

      • sorethumb

         /  16th August 2017

        It is a post modernist/post colonial studies approach applied by Pihama and her.

        • Gezza

           /  16th August 2017

          Looks like you’re extrapolating so far from reality you’re making shit up. If you could just post me the link I requested, or I can take your failure to do so to mean you agree that you just made that shit up, either would be good.
          Thanks. 👍🏼


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