‘Māori Appreciation Day’ not appreciated

While Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was doing her best to engage with and improve relationships with Māori at Waitangi, Bob Jones seems to have tried his worst to stir up racial abuse and division in an article published at NBR but since taken down from their online publication.

I think that what Jones wrote was clearly in appalling bad taste. I have mixed feelings about ‘free speech’ connotations. Sometimes it may be best to allow a divisive fool to be seen for a fool, but NBR had a right to act in the face of scathing criticism however it chose.

The Spinoff: Bob Jones and NBR divorce over ‘Māori Appreciation Day’ column

Bob Jones will be filing no more for the National Business Review after the deletion of his most recent contribution, which included a call for an annual “Māori Appreciation Day” and sparked online disgust, was pulled from the paper’s website.

The inciting passage in the property magnate and polemicist’s “Bits and Bobs” column, which carried the subheading “Time for a troll”, argued, “as there are no full-blooded Māoris in existence it indisputably follows that had it not been for migrants, mainly Brits, not a single Māori alive today … would have existed”. Ergo, he continued, “it’s long overdue for some appreciation. I have in mind a public holiday where Māori bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash and polish our cars and so on, out of gratitude for existing.”

Not surprisingly there was a strong response on social media. After comments like that Jones was a fair target.

And also not surprisngly Jones is unrepentant.

NBR’s removal of the column from its site was “right up there with Trudeau re wetness”, Jones told the Spinoff in an email.

“What I wrote is factually indisputable, namely that no Māori alive today would exist had it not been for (mainly) European migrations, given, we’re told, there are no 100% pure Māori any more.”

“As a result I shan’t bother writing any more for NBRwhich I only did at the owner’s request to help them out. I’ve certainly got better things to do with my time.”

It wouldn’t be difficult doing better things than that, even for Jones.

A senior source at the NBR told the Spinoff the controversial passage was “part of a wider column which was clearly satire”, but it caused “misgivings” among staff. The source said that had it been “one piece, just on that topic” the NBR would not have run it. Editors had, however,  “listened to feedback and responded”, and now regarded its publication as an “error of judgement”.

Just as free speech enables people to say what they like in public, as long as they can get it by lax editors, NBR has a right to admit “error of judgement” and take down the column, albeit after considerable damage was done to it’s reputation.

In what appears to be a different version of events to Jones’ statement that “I shan’t bother writing any more for NBR”, the source at the publication said the decision to terminate the column was made at its end, and communicated with Jones in a telephone conversation.

A separate NBR source told the Spinoff that “Approximately 100% of NBR editorial staff” would approve of the column’s discontinuation.

Closing the stable door after an embarrassing has bolted.

The NBR stable is generally well respected as an independent niche publication, and seems to manage well on a subscription model. It may well be that some of it’s subscriptions were at threat over the Jones column.

NBR’s reputation has certainly taken a hit.

24 Comments

  1. PartisanZ

     /  February 8, 2018

    The Old Guard retires …. Oh, thank the Lord!

    • Corky

       /  February 8, 2018

      What you mean is bastards who don’t follow your wet drip philosophy, regardless of whether their opinions are factual or not, are not to be tolerated.

      ”NBR’s removal of the column from its site was “right up there with Trudeau re wetness”, Jones told the Spinoff in an email.”

      Let’s see this bs in action. This is a mild form. Remember, Parti, political correctness must always meet itself sooner or later. BTW those people clapping. They will inherit the West.
      The final nail in our coffin.

  2. Gezza

     /  February 8, 2018

    Closing the stable door after an embarrassing has bolted.
    Just a small point. I think that should read “Closing the stable door after an embarrassment has bolted.”

  3. NOEL

     /  February 8, 2018

    He forgets the bit about the early colonists been completely dependent on Maori.
    Bob Jone? Former property developer during that time when ratepayers paid the bulk of the infrastructure costs. Whilst the developer used a couple of bulldozers to level and remove the topsoil leaving stoney lawns behind.

    • PartisanZ

       /  February 8, 2018

      @NOEL – “property developer … when ratepayers paid the bulk of the infrastructure costs.”

      This has changed for property developers …?

  4. Pickled Possum

     /  February 8, 2018

    Dear Crown by Ranginui Walker
    04 October, 2003
    An open letter to Helen, Bill, Richard, Peter, Jeanette and Jim.

    I have been here a thousand years. You arrived only yesterday. My territory extends 35km along the coastline of the Bay of Plenty from Maraetotara at Ohope in the west, to Tarakeha at Opape in the east and inland to the forested mountains in the south. In between the two coastal boundaries lies the Ohiwa Harbour, the abode of the bountiful “daughters of Whakatohea” – the mussels, cockles and pelagic species of fish that come into the harbour to spawn. Other tribes, namely Tuhoe and Ngati Awa, had access to the bounty of Ohiwa. When your tribe arrived from England you, too, were given access to the daughters of Whakatohea. I allowed you in because you brought wealth, new animals and material goods to trade with me. To confirm our relationship, I signed a treaty with you at Opotiki on May 27, 1840. For 20 years I prospered, growing crops and rearing cattle. I owned a flour mill and several coastal vessels to take my produce to the markets in Auckland.

    I was pleased that your covenant guaranteed me ownership of my land and that you would purchase only land that I was willing to sell. To the east of Ohiwa is the Waiotahe River where all the iwi of the island, including Ngati Pakeha, were allowed access to the eternal pipi beds in the river. Along from Waiotahe is the confluence of two rivers, the Waioweka and Otara. That place, named Pakowhai, is where the township of Opotiki was established. The waters of the two rivers flow out to sea at Pakihi, another rich source of kaimoana that was shared with Ngati Pakeha who came to live with me. Some Ngati Pakeha intermarried with me and became members of my whanau and hapu. Their relations are my relations and what I have is shared with them.

    East of Opotiki is the Waiaua River where Tapuikakahu was moved to exclaim, “Ah, the food at Waiaua! A sleeping place for men where nets are hauled along the beach.” Less than five kilometres from Waiaua is the eastern extremity of my territory at Opape. The rocks there abound with crayfish, paua, mussels, kina, maomao and snapper. Although I am the kaitiaki, the custodian of these treasures, no one has been denied access to them. It is my duty as mana whenua to feed those who hunger for kaimoana. All I ask from them is respect and care for what my ancestors bequeathed to me.

    Unfortunately, when I was outnumbered by your tribe, whose hunger for my land was insatiable, you made war on me to take my land. The pretext for your 500 troops invading my territory was the murder of the missionary Sylvius Volkner in March 1865. Volkner was killed by Kereopa Te Rau, a man who was no relation of mine. I understand that murder is a civil offence and the perpetrator should be apprehended and tried according to the law and the rights of British citizenship that you promised in article three of the Treaty. Instead, you made war on me, executed one of my chiefs, notwithstanding his protestations of innocence, and confiscated most of my land.

    You, like the Indians of America, put me on a reservation, known as the Opape Reserve. The land that you confiscated for the military settlers of your tribe took away 30km of my coastline from Ohope to the Waiaua River. All that remains of my coastline is 4.7km from the mouth of the Waiaua River to Opape. Six years ago, you offered me $40 million in compensation for the land that you took. I turned down your offer. I am the only one to have done so under your Treaty-settlement policy. The reason for declining your offer was because you asked too much of me. Mine was a single issue of confiscation. Instead, for the $40 million you wanted me to agree to a clause stating that the quantum offered was to settle all of my claims, whether I had identified them, notified you of them and researched them or not.

    I have waited five years before calling a hui to reopen negotiations with you to seek compensation for the wrong that you did to me. It was a warm spring day as I sat on the paepae of my marae at Omarumutu, on an elevated platform looking out to sea. In the distance I could see the steam rising from Whakaari, the volcanic island where I have taken mutton-birds since the beginning of time on these islands. I was crestfallen to learn when I went there recently that I would be charged $17 by the owner for landing on that island.

    From Omarumutu, I can see the whole 4.7km of my coastline. In the sand dunes below is the estuary of the Waiaua River. Less than a kilometre from the river mouth is our urupa Rangimatanui. It was named after Te Rangimatanui, a rather humble and self-effacing man who was the first to be buried there. He proclaimed that he would not be offended if his children and their descendants dragged their eel catches over his grave on the way home. At the eastern end at Opape is my ancient pa site Taiharuru and its urupa nearby. This remnant coastline is sacred ground to me. It is mine and I will not concede it to you who represent the Crown. Notwithstanding your policy document on the foreshore Protecting Public Access and Customary Rights, I reserve the right to apply to the Maori Land Court for title to that bequeathed to me by my ancestors. I will not sell one millimetre of my coastline, and I will continue to share it, as I have always done, with those who love kaimoana as I do. You ask who am I? I am Te Whakatohea ki Opotiki.

    (PS: Winston has been exempted from this missive because he and I belong to the Mataatua waka.)

    • Gezza

       /  February 8, 2018

      Pai mahi, Ranginui !

    • Gezza

       /  February 8, 2018

      That is brilliant.

      • Blazer

         /  February 8, 2018

        apart from…’You, like the Indians of America, put me on a reservation, known as the Opape Reserve. ‘

        • Gezza

           /  February 8, 2018

          Yes. That one needed a bit more work on the syntax.

    • sorethumb

       /  February 8, 2018

      have been here a thousand years.
      ……..
      Not so. 1290 to 1350 according to Radio carbon dating of the Polynesian rat. Whats more while Ranginui was here longer, Walker wasn’t

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 8, 2018

        Winston Peters looks as if he has been around for 1000 years and it feels as if he has.

        Yes, I wonder which of the canoes the Walkers sailed in on.

    • Corky

       /  February 8, 2018

      ”I have been here a thousand years.” Too many ” I’s ” The first paragraph sets the tone for another Black and White history lesson. No grey allowed. He forgot to mention the plundering his tribe did against mine. Or the utu we extracted two generations later for our loss of mana. Hell, we didn’t worry about a treaty. We just slaughtered men woman and children.

      I detested this man. However, as he has past on, I will leave it at that.

  5. sorethumb

     /  February 8, 2018

    Tish tosh. I’s fine for Julie Zhu to say:
    I feel that sort of positioning of Pakeha and everyone else. I would think of the ideal as Maori and everyone else because Maori are kind of the only unique aspect of NZ that really needs to be upheld if we are to move forward and I think there just needs to be solidarity.”

    We are supposed to nod thoughtfully. Bob Jones must watch Rebel Media (Trudeau).

    • phantom snowflake

       /  February 8, 2018

      That’s the same “Rebel Media” that not long ago participated in a podcast by white supremacist/neo-nazi site “The Daily Stormer”. The narrative that neo-nazis, white supremacists, white nationalists, the alt-right etc. are REBELS is hilarious. Here’s one for you:

      https://thebaffler.com/war-of-nerves/you-are-not-a-rebel

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 8, 2018

    Judging by the usual current readership stats displayed on their website as well as the price of their subscriptions I think most of NBR’s subscriptions are from state bureaucracies and their corporate beneficiaries like the big legal and accounting firms.

    I doubt any of those are likely to enthuse over a maverick like Sir Bob. As for the content, it satirises the usual fulminations of radical Maori who think they are owed favours and own grudges just for existing with the right genes.

    • Gezza

       /  February 8, 2018

      I think you’ve probably just accidentally approached this from the wrong perspective.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 8, 2018

        I usually try to do that. It is the best way to uncover concealed truth.

        • PartisanZ

           /  February 8, 2018

          Or conceal your own …?

          The behaviour of obligate ectoparasites such as the louse …

    • I’ve got one, but after this I am cancelling

      • Gezza

         /  February 8, 2018

        If it’s rubbish why did you have a subscription in the first place?
        If it’s not rubbish, why cancel your subscription when all they’ve done is put the trash out?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 8, 2018

        I’ve got a smartphone one but Sir Bob was one of the few columnists I read regularly. I will have to see whether keeping it is worthwhile.

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