Past Māori and Pākehā conflict

There have increasing calls for more Aotearoa New Zealand history to be taught in schools. When I was at school it was sadly lacking, and it is still deficient.

Kennett Watkins’ painting of the death of Gustavus von Tempsky during a battle against Tītokowaru at Te Ngutu-o-te-Manu, 1868.

Vincent O’Malley: Why we need to open up about past Māori and Pākehā conflict

It began with a single musket shot, fired perhaps by accident, in Wairau, near Nelson, in 1842. It ended with desultory gunfire in a steep and sodden gorge south of Waikaremoana in 1873.

Bookended by these two inglorious events, the New Zealand Wars claimed the lives of an estimated 2250 Māori and 560 British and colonial troops. Records are far from complete, but, including the wounded, the number of casualties could be more than 6000. The result was the transfer of nearly 1.5 million hectares of land into European hands, most commonly through the 1863 New Zealand Settlements Act. They changed the social, economic and political landscape forever.

Still, says Wellington historian Vincent O’Malley, we barely talk about it. Commemorations are few, many of the war sites are degraded and unmarked, the myth of a chivalrous and noble battle, sowing the seeds for the “best race relations in the world”, has been shattered. Today, students can go through school without learning any New Zealand history.

“Which is staggering to me,” says O’Malley. “This is our story, our history. It happened here, in this place, relatively recently, and it had profound consequences for what New Zealand would become. These were defining conflicts of New Zealand history and, as a nation, we need to take ownership of them.”

He argued the point in his 2016 book, The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000. The defining conflict in New Zealand history, he wrote, “did not take place on the Western Front, or at Gallipoli, or in North Africa”, but rather, in Waikato, 1863-64, in a premeditated war of conquest and invasion on the part of the Crown.

A bloody trail

Now, in his new book, The New Zealand Wars: NgāPakanga o Aotearoa, he walks us through the causes, course and consequences of the New Zealand Wars as a whole. It is a story played out on a ragged map, zigzagging across the North Island and the top of the South, from Northland, down to Wairau, Wellington, Whanganui, up to Taranaki, over to the Tauranga, then to the North Island’s West Coast, back to Tairāwhiti, then to South Taranaki and finally into the dense bush of the central North Island, where the hunt for Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki was finally abandoned.

Land, power and ideology

The obvious impetus for the New Zealand Wars was land – Māori had it, the British wanted it, the New Zealand Company overpromised on it. But land was not the sole cause. For a start, imperial troops were not always sympathetic to settlers’ land hunger. In 1855, Governor Thomas Gore Browne complained that many of the settlers were “insatiably greedy for land”, and when land could not be procured honestly, “still they desire to have it”.

The wars were also about power and hierarchical ideologies. The increasing number of settlers – by 1858, their population equalled that of Māori – arrived in New Zealand with deeply entrenched Victorian assumptions of racial superiority. They were certainly not willing, says O’Malley, “to defer to a bunch of people they dismissively called ‘natives’”.

At the heart of this was the tension inherent in Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi itself. In the English version, the British Crown proclaimed sovereignty over New Zealand. The Māori version stopped short of ceding sovereignty, referring instead to “kāwanatanga”, commonly translated as “governorship” or “governance”. Māori communities were promised “tino rangatiratanga” (chiefly authority) over their lands and resources.

The wars tipped the scales. The government did not achieve the total victory it wanted, but in the battle between two competing ideas of what the treaty stood for, it was the Crown’s version that won. This envisaged a treaty of cession and unbridled sovereignty, notes O’Malley, not mutual partnership and dialogue.

Like most Kiwis, O’Malley, now 51, went through school without learning any of this history. After all, his teacher assured him, “nothing really interesting ever happened here.” But when he took a New Zealand history course as an easy filler at university, “I was blown away – the idea nothing interesting ever happened in this country couldn’t be further from the truth.”

O’Malley is making an urgent call for this history to be more widely known. “It is about taking ownership of our history, binding us together as a nation that can honestly confront its own past. We need to own this history. Doing that is not intended to sow the seeds of division or disharmony. It is actually the basis for genuine reconciliation.”

I think we have quite a way to go to learn about the history of our own country. And quite a way to go with reconciliation.

Timeline of key events related to New Zealand’s 19th-century wars.

  • About 1807: First use of muskets in battle in New Zealand, by Ngāpuhi
  • 1809: Crew of Boyd killed by Ngāti Uru at Whangaroa
  • 1818–25: Ngāpuhi raids across North Island
  • 1821–6: Ngāti Toa and other iwi migrate from Waikato to Wellington area
  • 1829–37: Ngāti Toa and allies fight Ngāi Tahu in South Island
  • 1835: Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama invade Wharekauri/Chatham Islands
  • 1840: Treaty of Waitangi; first large-scale British settlement
  • 1843: Twenty-two Pākehā and 4 Māori die when land dispute between Ngāti Toa and Nelson settlers turns violent at Wairau
  • 1845–6: Inconclusive Northern War which splits Ngāpuhi for and against government
  • 1846: Fighting near Wellington as Ngāti Toa resist expansion of settlement
  • 1847: Fighting around Whanganui as up-river tribes attack settlement
  • 1858: Coronation of Māori King symbolises opposition to further land sales
  • 1860–1: First Taranaki War ends in stalemate between government and local iwi
  • 1863–4: Waikato War – Kīngites expelled from lower/mid-Waikato and Tauranga
  • 1863: Suppression of Rebellion Act enables confiscation of land of ‘rebel’ Māori
  • 1864–8: Many small conflicts, most between Pai Mārire followers and other Māori
  • 1865, 1866: Campaigns in south Taranaki by imperial troops
  • 1868–9: Titokowaru’s War threatens settler control of Whanganui area
  • 1868–72: Te Kooti raids across central North Island and is pursued by kūpapa
  • 1881: Māori autonomy in south Taranaki ends with occupation of Parihaka
  • 1884: Survey of King Country; Pākehā no longer excluded
  • 1890s: Urewera Māori resist land surveys
  • 1898: Hokianga Māori assert rights in ‘Dog Tax Rebellion
  • 1916: Arrest of Rua Kēnana at Maungapōhatu ends Māori autonomy in Urewera

– New Zealand History: New Zealand’s 19th-century wars

Nonsense to suggest Brash speaks on behalf of Pākehā

@MorganGodfery: “pākehā should stop letting don brash try to speak on their behalf”

Don Brash obviously speaks for himself. He may speak for Hobson’s Choice, at times at least. But it’s ridiculous to suggest that he speaks on behalf of ‘Pākehā’.  As a number of people on Twitter pointed out in response to Godfery.

I could agree with some things he has said and says, but I also disagree with things he has said.

I see myself as Pākehā but he certainly doesn’t speak on my behalf. He never has. I opposed him when he lead National and specifically voted against National getting into Government when he was their leader.

And it’s even more ridiculous to suggest that Pākehā should stop letting Brash try to speak at all. But Godfery reiterated this nonsense.

This seems to be increasingly common from younger people – demanding that people they don’t like be shut down or shut up.

It shows an alarming lack of awareness of the importance of free speech in a democratic society.

But it’s not just younger people.

“Whiteness”, decolonisation and dumping capitalism

Max Harris writes about Racism and White Defensiveness in Aotearoa: A Pākehā Perspective

More accurately that should be ‘one Pākehā’s perspective’.

I want to talk about an aspect of whiteness in Aotearoa New Zealand. And when I say “whiteness”, I’m not just talking about skin colour. I’m talking about the power, privilege, and patterns of thinking associated with white people.

I think that there are a wide variety of ‘patterns of thinking associated with white people’ – whatever ‘white people’ means.

Whiteness is connected to economic power and class — and is probably least understood by those it privileges. Most white people seem blind to its existence, while most non-white people are not.

Sweeping generalisations. Harris speaks for himself, fair enough, but not for ‘white people’. He doesn’t back up his ‘most white people’ and ‘most non-white people’ claims.

I think for those of us who identify as Pākehā, or grew up in Pākehā-dominant spaces, there’s a special responsibility to strive to be aware of our own advantages in Aotearoa New Zealand.

While I have no problems with the term Pākehā I don’t identify as Pākehā. I identify as a New Zealander. I don’t think I have any special responsibilities based on someone else’s pigeon holing of me.

White advantage is maintained in many ways: through intergenerational wealth, discretionary decision-making, and everyday racism.

Some people may take advantage of racial privileges – and not just ‘white people’.

One aspect of how racism is talked about in Aotearoa is white defensiveness in response to discussions of racism. By white defensiveness, I mean an anxiety, closing-down, and insecurity among white people and white-dominated institutions when racism is raised.

Perhaps some people feel some of those things. I don’t.

I see at least four types of white defensiveness.

First, there’s Denial: kneejerk responses that attempt to deny that there is racism, rather than taking claims seriously or considering its roots.

The second type of white defensiveness is Diversion. This is where, in instances in which facts about racism or colonisation are raised, the conversation is derailed through a claim that Māori themselves are guilty of some other wrong.

A third form of defensiveness is Detriment-centring. That’s where there’s a focus on the disadvantages faced by Māori, but without any acknowledgment of the advantages or protective factors which flow from being Pākehā.

The fourth form of defensiveness is the demand to Move on. This is where defensive demands are made for discussions about racism to end.

Let’s move on this discussion.

This discussion isn’t meant to demonise white people, or Pākehā, either. It’s about being honest and open about our advantages — and thinking about how to dismantle the system that produces them.

Dismantle the system?

Pākehā people can, and should, remain proud of our heritage and roots. But we also need to be aware of the injustices of the past and present, and how we may have contributed to them.

One very valid question is how all this relates to class and New Zealand’s system of capitalism.

Dismantle the system of capitalism?

We need to talk more about class in this country — to speak back to another lamentable and longstanding myth that we are somehow class-free. Fortunately, a new generation of activists in New Zealand is breathing fresh life into that conversation.

I think that class in a new Zealand perspective is a largely different different thing – I wouldn’t call it an issue.

There’s a need to support Māori-led efforts at decolonisation: the process of understanding and undoing the negative effects of colonisation, and recentring indigenous views.

Decolonisation? Harris doesn’t explain what that might entail.

We all must also push for a different economic order, given the way that the twin forces of capitalism and colonisation have amplified the power of whiteness.

He associates capitalism with whiteness – it is not just white people around the world who have benefited substantially from capitalism, and who continue to benefit from it, despite it’s shortcomings.

Harris seems to be suggesting dismantling ‘colonisation’ and capitalism.

Dismantling systems of oppression, including those based on race and class, is important for the powerful as well as the powerless.

While this is an interesting discussion there is a major omission.

Dismantling colonisation, capitalism and systems of oppression are a big deal.

But Harris makes no attempt to explain how this dismantling would happen, who would decide what is dismantled and how, nor what would take their place.

Many things in our world and our country are imperfect, but dismantling your house, or dismantling your country, must be retrograde steps unless you have somewhere else you can live.

It’s all very well to pile on ‘white people’ guilt, and to condemn colonisation and capitalism, but without any attempt at viable alternatives it seems to be a half cocked argument.

Like our form of democracy both colonisation and capitalism have some crap aspects, but they remain worse than everything but all the alternatives – unless perhaps Harris can suggest something better.

Harmony and Māori words

As Māori is used more the debate over how much it should be taught in schools and spoken on radio grows.

Māori words have always been used, as many place names are Māori. However the language was deliberately suppressed in an ill advised education system.

The language is making a bit of a revival, with some enthusiastic supporters and promoters, but some colonial traditionalists are trying to dig their white toes in.

Kate Fryberg: Harmony and the case for Māori wards

And the voice which most needs to be heard, the key note of our harmony here in Aotearoa New Zealand, is the voice of Māori. Why? To extend the metaphor, the first human voices in this land were those of Tangata Whenua.

It is Māori heritage and culture which makes this country unique – as many of us Pākehā travellers have discovered when asked to “sing a song from your country” and we find ourselves limping through a half-remembered version of Pōkarekare Ana.

Singing that a bit is one of my few memories of Māori at school.

More importantly, it is thanks to the Treaty of Waitangi that we non-Māori have the opportunity to live here. We have been invited to add our voices to the original songs.

We non-Māori, including we Pākehā.

The term Pākehā has had some bad vibes for some, but when I investigated i found that the term refereed to “the soft and loud sounds of the language of Captain Cook and his sailors” load see The soft and loud of “Pākehā”.

I am quite comfortable with being referred to as Pākehā, even though I do more soft than loud.

I have no problem with more Māori being taught in schools – in my time it was disgracefully ignored, along with important New Zealand history.

I don’t mind some use of Māori  in media, but i think that some of it is overdone. Good on RNZ for using the native language more, but for me it is sometimes overdone and I switch off.

It is probably near impossible to get the right balance for everyone. Younger people in particular who have had the opportunity to learn some Māori will benefit from it’s wider use. It’s not about me and my history, it’s about the future of New Zealand, of Aotearoa (a name I would be happy to use if it became official).

Bits of Māori speech in Parliament is lost on me but it’s probably no worse than the vast vapid verbiage used there.

I cringe when listening to our God laced dirge of a national anthem, but it is far more tolerable listening to the Māori  version.

We have a unique history which has a strong Māori flavour, and that should be a part of our identity, and it should be something we can be proud of.

Māori can certainly be a harmonious language when at it’s best (it’s use in hakas is not at it’s best). The world won’t end, the sky won’t fall in, and the long white cloud won’t evaporate if we hear some more of it.

We can live in harmony as a multi-lingual society if we try.

 

Zero Māoriness, Pākehāness in question

Barry Soper has raised issues over what ethnicity and culture one might identify with.

My Māoriness is close to zero, but my Pākehāness is also in question.

I decided some time ago that I didn’t mind being referred to as Pākehā – see The soft and loud of “Pākehā” – but I don’t identify as ethnically or culturally Pākehā.

So what am I? My Europeanness feels pretty much zero – I visited a few countries in mainland Europe, once, but have never been to the UK.

I live in Dunedin but my Dunedinness is by location of home rather than a feeling of belonging. I have lived here for about half my life, but that is on five different occasions (I’ve moved around quite a bit),  but when I was a child Dunedin was a remote, unusual place, rarely visited.

The closest I am to Scottishness, supposed to be a thing in Dunedin, is I have three grandchildren who are half Scottish, sort of – they have visited Scotland once or twice.

I don’t feel particularly Lowburnish, the place where I grew up until I left for the big smoke when I got my first career job (that lasted a year). I returned to live there thrice more at different times, but Lowburn doesn’t seen very Lowburnish now, since heavy machinery demolished and remodelled it, and it was then split in two by a lake. It is nothing like it was.

Perhaps Otagoness is my thing, having lived here nearly all my life, apart from a few years in Auckland in the seventies before I packed my life into a van and drove south again. But it’s difficult to identity what Otagoness means.

My father was born in Dunedin but moved to Central Otago when he was very young, living inland (in four locations) for the rest of his life, apart from a tour of the world with the NZ Army in WW2. My mother was also born in Otago, living in four places also, but also living in three parts of Southland.

I may feel some southernness, whatever that may be.

But further back it gets tricky. One grandfather was born Invercargill and lived also in Bluff, Port Chalmers, went to Europe for WW1 and remained for upskilling afterwards for a while, then  Dunedin and Clyde before going to Christchurch to work for the Army in WW2, where he died. But my other three grandparents were born and grew up on the other side of the world. In New Zealand they all lived in various places, mostly in southern New Zealand.

I’m just 1/8 Kiwi if I go back to my great grandparents, so can I claim any Kiwiness?

New Zealandness or Aotearoaness are stretches given that Christchurch seems like quite a different place to me, let alone the other islands south, east and north.

Maybe Earthness is my thing, I do feel some affinity with the planet I and my ancestors have lived on all our lives.

 

Metiria versus Pākehā men #2

Another view that a few Pākehā men may not entirely agree with (and probably some non- whites and non-men).

Miriam Aoke (Vice): Metiria Turei and How the NZ Media Ignores Its Own Prejudice

For the past few weeks, New Zealand has dwelt on Metiria Turei (Ngāti Kahungunu) and her admission of benefit fraud. Many were quick to label the move divisive, a ploy for votes, and condemned Turei for what they saw as a lack of remorse.

Turei was persecuted by media agents with no concern for her hauora or that of her whānau.

For Māori, mainstream media is mired in colonial framing, misrepresentation and exclusion—yet mainstream media continues to insist its coverage is non-partisan. Metiria Turei conceded the scrutiny on her whānau was unbearable, and she resigned as Green Party co-leader last Wednesday.

The voices of Pākehā men were once again triumphant in drowning out the Māori worldview.

Aoake may have a reasonable point but she has expressed it unreasonably.

It is ridiculous to assert that all the ‘drowning out’ was by Pākehā men.

Media treatment of Māori and Māori issues is deeply prejudiced.

Research conducted by Māori academics between 2006 and 2007 analysed close to 2000 stories across ONE news, 3News and Prime. In total, only 1.8 percent of stories referenced Māori. Of that 1.8 percent, 56 percent were concerned with child abuse.

That’s ten years ago and may or may not be out of date, but it raises an important point. But having started by slamming ‘Pākehā men’ she will have turned off a substantial potential readership before she got to detail her case.

Representations of Māori, and our stories, remain under the control of Pākehā-owned television, radio, and print media.

That is absurd. Ownership of media is varied. Some media is probably dominated by Pākehā men, but where is the evidence? I’m sure there must be some. I have concerns about how some media is run.

Some media is Maori controlled. I watched a couple of very interesting programmes on Maori television last night, that is a very good channel.

There is nothing stopping Māori people setting up and owning and running media.

Journalism is informed by Western pedagogies, which emphasise the need for objectivity, but the definition has shifted over time. Journalists recognised bias as inherent, and resolved to develop the practice to test information and prune any cultural or personal bias. Objectivity, in a modern context, translates as free from bias.

Purging journalism of an unmoderated bias to which it freely confesses is impossible.

Purging media of anything, including of ‘Pākehā men’, is impossible – and it would be abhorrent to try. I’m fairly sure most people including most Maori would have serious concerns about targeted purges of media.

In 2005, Aotearoa was visited by UN Special Rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen—he was responsible for assessing the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Māori. The report, published in 2006, was damning. His findings suggested there was a systemic attitude of racism towards Māori within the media.

I think things have changed in the past decade, but systemic attitudes of racism are no doubt still a problem.  Aoake is promoting a sexist racist attack of her own, it just happens to be not against Māori.

He found that potential Māori ownership of resources is portrayed as a threat to non-Māori and that a recurring theme is Māori as incompetent managers or as fiscally irresponsible.

I don’t understand this. If Maori want to own media then they should choose to do that.

In his recommendations, he advocated for the establishment of an independent commission to monitor media performance and intervene with remedial action when necessary.

Intervention and remedial action would be very tricky, and potentially dangerous.

He also pleaded with political figures and media outlets to refrain from using language that may incite racial intolerance. The glaring scrutiny which prompted the resignation of Metiria Turei is evidence that mainstream media has made little to no progress.

“The voices of Pākehā men were once again triumphant in drowning out the Māori worldview” looks like language that may incite racial intolerance.

I don’t see how racism can be defeated by promoting a different slant of racism.

Aoake quotes Patrick Gower and Barry Soper as examples of the male Pākehā  problem in media. This is very selective. I saw many articles written by females, and by Maori.

I presume Aoake knows that Gower and Soper have no Māori genes. It’s not uncommon to make inaccurate assumptions – when Green MP David Clendon withdrew from the Green list he was slammed by some for being a ‘white male’. Looks can be deceiving – Clendon no doubt has some non-Māori genes, but he is also tangata whenua.

The need to demonise the poor and impoverished, to distract from the issue of a broken safety net, to stifle a Māori voice is indicative of an experience shrouded in privilege. The approach is necessarily punitive by design. It is an offensive which, when successful, exacerbates the division of wealth and equality, the “us versus them” rhetoric. Both for Turei and Māori women, navigating post-colonial Aotearoa is exhausting and arduous.

We prune and trim, yanking the weed out by the root on our hands and knees. We sow seeds to harvest and bloom when the time is right. We scrub the blood and dirt from the beds of our fingernails. We sleep heavily, satisfied that our labour will make an impact. In the morning, we wake to find the weeds overgrown, the soil infertile, and the flowers wilted. Yet still, we persist. We rise every morning, repeat the mahi, and reclaim our whenua.

It’s good to see Māori women who strongly promote what they believe in.

But when they make mistakes, as Turei did, they must not be immune from examination and criticism, even if they are Māori and female and left wing.

Entrenched problems need to be vigorously fought against. There are entrenched problems in media and in politics.

But in combating them a criticism free pass should not be given to someone simply because they may be a minority. As a white middle class male I’m a minority, but that shouldn’t give me any special immunity from criticism or examination.

Pākehā men who are politicians get investigated and criticised by media more than anyone – because there are more of them than any other minority.

There may well be bias and different races and different genders may be treated differently. By all means try to measure and monitor bias and try to address it.

But it’s racist, sexist and counter productive to protect Turei from criticism based on her gender and genes, while slamming and trying to exclude all Pākehā men.

Many Pākehā men would (and do) support promotion of better media and better politics. Isolating and ostracising them as a group won’t help.

The soft and loud of “Pākehā”

(I have posted and reposted this in 2012 and 2014 but some who haven’t seen it might be interested).

I’ve often wondered what ethnicity to call myself.

I’ve never felt anything like “European”.  I only recently visited Europe for the first time in my life, and didn’t go to the countries my ancestors emigrated from.

European
— adj
1.     of or relating to Europe or its inhabitants
2.     native to or derived from Europe
— n
3.     a native or inhabitant of Europe
4.     a person of European descent

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=european&ia=ced

I’m of European descent, but then a lot of the world except Africa could probably claim some European link. Anyway, I see “European” as having a link to Europe now, not some time in the distant past.

“Caucasian” is another term sometimes used but it sounds more remote to me than European.

Cau·ca·sian
1.
Anthropology . of, pertaining to, or characteristic of one of the traditional racial divisions of humankind, marked by fair to dark skin, straight to tightly curled hair, and light to very dark eyes, and originally inhabiting Europe, parts of North Africa, western Asia, and India: no longer in technical use.

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=caucasian&ia=luna

So technically, that’s not me either.

usage: The word Caucasian  is very widely used in the US to refer to people of European origin or people who are White, even though the original classification was broader than this

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=caucasian&ia=ced

And I have no US heritage so ruled out there too.

So I should be using some local description. I certainly identify as a New Zealander and a Kiwi, so in a wider sense that is appropriate.

kiwi
As slang for “a New Zealander,” it is attested from 1918.

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=kiwi&ia=etymon

That sounds fine, but it isn’t universally known. I was talking to an American once who only knew a kiwi as a brown furry fruit, the sort that was called a Chinese gooseberry back in the old days.

New Zealander
— n
a native or inhabitant of New Zealand

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=New+Zealander&ia=ced

Yip, I’m one of those. But what sort of a New Zealander am I?

I was put off a common native language description, Pākehā, because I’ve heard some fairly derogatory “definitions” relating to fleas or fat pigs, but I’ve done some research that pretty much rules them out. What does Pākehā mean then?

1. (loan) (noun) New Zealander of European descent.
Te rongonga o te Māori i te reo kihi, hoihoi, o Kāpene Kuki rātou ko ōna hōia ka kīia e te Māori he Pakepakehā, ka whakapotoa nei ki te Pākehā. Nā te Māori tēnei ingoa i hua e mau nei anō (TP 1/1911:5). / When the Māori heard the soft and loud sounds of the language of Captain Cook and his sailors the Māori called them ‘Pakepakehā’, which was shortened to ‘Pākehā’. The Māori created this name. which is still used.

http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/index.cfm?dictionaryKeywords=pakeha

That sounds reasonable enough. What else is known about it? From Wikipedia:

There have been several dubious interpretations given to the word Pākehā. One claims that it derives from poaka the Māori word for (pig), and keha, one of the Māori words for (flea), and therefore expresses derogatory implications. There is no etymological or linguistic support for this notion.

Although some are apparently offended I’m happy with the derogatory versions being ruled out.

The origins of the term are unclear, but it was in use by the late 18th century. Opinions of the term vary amongst those it describes. Some find it highly offensive, others are indifferent, some find it inaccurate and archaic, while some happily use the term and find the main alternatives such as New Zealand European inappropriate.

New Zealand European seems very strange, associating opposites, like an Arctic penguin.

Historian Judith Binney called herself a Pākehā and said, “I think it is the most simple and practical term. It is a name given to us by Māori. It has no pejorative associations like people think it does — it’s a descriptive term. I think it’s nice to have a name the people who live here gave you, because that’s what I am.

I can comfortably agree with that.

So depending on the circumstance I’m happy to describe myself as any of New Zealander, Kiwi or Pākehā.

The soft and loud of “Pākehā”

(Repost)

I’ve often wondered what ethnicity to call myself.

I’ve never felt anything like “European”.  I only recently visited Europe for the first time in my life, and didn’t go to the countries my ancestors emigrated from.

European
— adj
1.     of or relating to Europe or its inhabitants
2.     native to or derived from Europe
— n
3.     a native or inhabitant of Europe
4.     a person of European descent

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=european&ia=ced

I’m of European descent, but then a lot of the world except Africa could probably claim some European link. Anyway, I see “European” as having a link to Europe now, not some time in the distant past.

“Caucasian” is another term sometimes used but it sounds more remote to me than European.

Cau·ca·sian
1.
Anthropology . of, pertaining to, or characteristic of one of the traditional racial divisions of humankind, marked by fair to dark skin, straight to tightly curled hair, and light to very dark eyes, and originally inhabiting Europe, parts of North Africa, western Asia, and India: no longer in technical use.

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=caucasian&ia=luna

So technically, that’s not me either.

usage: The word Caucasian  is very widely used in the US to refer to people of European origin or people who are White, even though the original classification was broader than this

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=caucasian&ia=ced

And I have no US heritage so ruled out there too.

So I should be using some local description. I certainly identify as a New Zealander and a Kiwi, so in a wider sense that is appropriate.

kiwi
As slang for “a New Zealander,” it is attested from 1918.

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=kiwi&ia=etymon

That sounds fine, but it isn’t universally known. I was talking to an American once who only knew a kiwi as a brown furry fruit, the sort that was called a Chinese gooseberry back in the old days.

New Zealander
— n
a native or inhabitant of New Zealand

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=New+Zealander&ia=ced

Yip, I’m one of those. But what sort of a New Zealander am I?

I was put off a common native language description, Pākehā, because I’ve heard some fairly derogatory “definitions” relating to fleas or fat pigs, but I’ve done some research that pretty much rules them out. What does Pākehā mean then?

1. (loan) (noun) New Zealander of European descent.
Te rongonga o te Māori i te reo kihi, hoihoi, o Kāpene Kuki rātou ko ōna hōia ka kīia e te Māori he Pakepakehā, ka whakapotoa nei ki te Pākehā. Nā te Māori tēnei ingoa i hua e mau nei anō (TP 1/1911:5). / When the Māori heard the soft and loud sounds of the language of Captain Cook and his sailors the Māori called them ‘Pakepakehā’, which was shortened to ‘Pākehā’. The Māori created this name. which is still used.

http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/index.cfm?dictionaryKeywords=pakeha

That sounds reasonable enough. What else is known about it? From Wikipedia:

There have been several dubious interpretations given to the word Pākehā. One claims that it derives from poaka the Māori word for (pig), and keha, one of the Māori words for (flea), and therefore expresses derogatory implications. There is no etymological or linguistic support for this notion.

Although some are apparently offended I’m happy with the derogatory versions being ruled out.

The origins of the term are unclear, but it was in use by the late 18th century. Opinions of the term vary amongst those it describes. Some find it highly offensive, others are indifferent, some find it inaccurate and archaic, while some happily use the term and find the main alternatives such as New Zealand European inappropriate.

New Zealand European seems very strange, associating opposites, like an Arctic penguin.

Historian Judith Binney called herself a Pākehā and said, “I think it is the most simple and practical term. It is a name given to us by Māori. It has no pejorative associations like people think it does — it’s a descriptive term. I think it’s nice to have a name the people who live here gave you, because that’s what I am.

I can comfortably agree with that.

So depending on the circumstance I’m happy to describe myself as any of New Zealander, Kiwi or Pākehā.

Unity and confusion over water

Amongst the claims of unity amongst Maori there is still plenty of confusion.

Confusion about what unified Maori will ask for.

And confusion over what water rights and ownership means. There have been a number of attempts to define that in the past and it’s still not clear.

Call for recognition of Maori water unity

There should be recognition of the precarious position of Maori unity over water, a central figure says.

Waikato-Tainui’s Tom Roa has welcomed more than 60 heads of tribes to the Iwi Chair’s Forum today at Turangawaewae Marae.

The meeting resolved that:
* Proprietary rights in water must be settled before the sale of shares in Mighty River Power
* A group should be set up to choose negotiators to deal with the Crown
* If those negotiations fail iwi support a New Zealand Maori Council court challenge.

But what are ‘Proprietary rights in water?

Mr Roa said discussions with Watercare had been promising.

Asked if that was still the case, given King Tuheitia’s stance that the tribe had always owned the water, Mr Roa said: “I hate that word ownership because when I own something, it means exclusively and it’s a commodity that I can buy, that I can sell. That’s what ownership is but my Maori mind says ‘I belong to the water and the water belongs to me.”

Asked if a lot of Maori would be confused by the ownership debate, he said: “Absolutely.”

It isn’t just Maori who are confued. But some seem more certain:

Yesterday, Te Rarawa’s Haami Piripi said he supported both the Iwi Leaders Group and the Maori Council. But it was clear the ILG with the government hadn’t yet achieved the aspirations around water management and kaitiakitanga for Maori.

He said Maori owned water: “We do own the water. We own it because we had a ture [law] here before the Pakeha got here.”

But we still don’t seem to have any clear consensus about what sort of ownership is being claimed.

But it’s clear from some what the intent is, Haami Piripi:

The sell-down of Mighty River Power was an opportunity to get movement on both rights and ownership, he said.

“My experience has been in this situation there’s only one way we can get a government to listen to us and that’s to threaten it…we have to be able to use that leverage …to make sure we get some more gains.”

I think that sentiment is what is escalating this – there’s a clear impression that some Maori (just some) are simply opportunists intent on using the current situation to extort what they can. I may be interpreting that incorrectly but it’s how many people see it.

Once Maori are settled on their unity they need to unify their motives and clarify what they are seeking in water rights.

One thing’s for sure, there’s a lot of water to flow under this yet, and we somehow need to bridge the divides.

The soft and loud of “Pākehā”

I’ve often wondered what ethnicity to call myself.

I’ve never felt anything like “European”.  I only recently visited Europe for the first time in my life, and didn’t go to the countries my ancestors emigrated from.

European
— adj
1.     of or relating to Europe or its inhabitants
2.     native to or derived from Europe
— n
3.     a native or inhabitant of Europe
4.     a person of European descent

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=european&ia=ced

I’m of European descent, but then a lot of the world except Africa could probably claim some European link. Anyway, I see “European” as having a link to Europe now, not some time in the distant past.

“Caucasian” is another term sometimes used but it sounds more remote to me than European.

Cau·ca·sian
1.
Anthropology . of, pertaining to, or characteristic of one of the traditional racial divisions of humankind, marked by fair to dark skin, straight to tightly curled hair, and light to very dark eyes, and originally inhabiting Europe, parts of North Africa, western Asia, and India: no longer in technical use.

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=caucasian&ia=luna

So technically, that’s not me either.

usage: The word Caucasian  is very widely used in the US to refer to people of European origin or people who are White, even though the original classification was broader than this

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=caucasian&ia=ced

And I have no US heritage so ruled out there too.

So I should be using some local description. I certainly identify as a New Zealander and a Kiwi, so in a wider sense that is appropriate.

kiwi
As slang for “a New Zealander,” it is attested from 1918.

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=kiwi&ia=etymon

That sounds fine, but it isn’t universally known. I was talking to an American once who only knew a kiwi as a brown furry fruit, the sort that was called a Chinese gooseberry back in the old days.

New Zealander
— n
a native or inhabitant of New Zealand

http://dictionary.reference.com/cite.html?qh=New+Zealander&ia=ced

Yip, I’m one of those. But what sort of a New Zealander am I?

I was put off a common native language description, Pākehā, because I’ve heard some fairly derogatory “definitions” relating to fleas or fat pigs, but I’ve done some research that pretty much rules them out. What does Pākehā mean then?

1. (loan) (noun) New Zealander of European descent.
Te rongonga o te Māori i te reo kihi, hoihoi, o Kāpene Kuki rātou ko ōna hōia ka kīia e te Māori he Pakepakehā, ka whakapotoa nei ki te Pākehā. Nā te Māori tēnei ingoa i hua e mau nei anō (TP 1/1911:5). / When the Māori heard the soft and loud sounds of the language of Captain Cook and his sailors the Māori called them ‘Pakepakehā’, which was shortened to ‘Pākehā’. The Māori created this name. which is still used.

http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/index.cfm?dictionaryKeywords=pakeha

That sounds reasonable enough. What else is known about it? From Wikipedia:

There have been several dubious interpretations given to the word Pākehā. One claims that it derives from poaka the Māori word for (pig), and keha, one of the Māori words for (flea), and therefore expresses derogatory implications. There is no etymological or linguistic support for this notion.

Although some are apparently offended I’m happy with the derogatory versions being ruled out.

The origins of the term are unclear, but it was in use by the late 18th century. Opinions of the term vary amongst those it describes. Some find it highly offensive, others are indifferent, some find it inaccurate and archaic, while some happily use the term and find the main alternatives such as New Zealand European inappropriate.

New Zealand European seems very strange, associating opposites, like an Arctic penguin.

Historian Judith Binney called herself a Pākehā and said, “I think it is the most simple and practical term. It is a name given to us by Māori. It has no pejorative associations like people think it does — it’s a descriptive term. I think it’s nice to have a name the people who live here gave you, because that’s what I am.

I can comfortably agree with that.

So depending on the circumstance I’m happy to describe myself as any of New Zealander, Kiwi or Pākehā.