When can we move past the shame of racism in New Zealand, and on to healing?

22 Jul 2017


It’s beyond disturbing, in this day and Age, to still see so much ignorance and intolerance regarding what a fairly “unified” Aotearoa New Zealand should look like. 


How it is that so many continue to stubbornly tirade the outrageously archaic and arrogant belief that “unity” must mean forced assimilation of “the other” (i.e. Māori) into the Pākehā value system and world view?  Good grief: the cognitively biased mental gymnastics it must take to manufacture such a prejudiced conclusion is simply mind-boggling, especially when one triangulates the mountain of historical, jurisprudential and expert information both domestic and international which would compel an otherwise open-minded, rational-thinking person to reach a more enlightened view regarding the moral and legal status of Māori as the indigenous peoples of this nation.


And what’s the cause of this racist revival?  Are these people emboldened by the rise of Trump-ism?  Is this really the direction we want our country to take?  Given everything at stake in this time of unprecedented existential converging crises, is this seriously the best shining example of humanity Kiwis have to offer to the world? 


Quite frankly, I’m appalled and whakamā (ashamed) by it all.  I was taught that the deeper meaning of whakamā is to make (whaka) clear (mā) - as in "mā" in the question "Kua mārama?" ("Do you understand?").  The idea being, once a person understands and perceives truth, they can then move beyond feeling shame to forgiveness and healing. 


Let’s hope we all see that in our precious lifetimes - because, right now, there are actual important matters demanding our urgent attention that New Zealanders ought to be focusing our unified efforts towards.



(p.s. This item was subsequently published as a letter to the Editor in the Northland Age, 25 July 2017, titled "Shame on you".)




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