Far too often these days, the media show us terrorists committing appalling acts, supposedly in the name of an ethnicity or religion. This reminds us how lucky we are to live in New Zealand where we are removed from the hotbeds of such foul activism and can still largely enjoy legal equality, law and order.
But it’s wise never to be too self-satisfied. The fundamentals of human psychology never change. There will always be individuals striving for greater personal power and control over others, at any cost. So when I read that Treaty of Waitangi workshops have been offered to new immigrants for the last 25 years, I’m curious. What might be the motivation?
- Better race relations?
Fancy! New Zealand led the world in providing racial equality before the law, along with universal franchise. Already, we live, love, work and play together. New Zealand’s Governor General (the highest office-holder in the land) is of Maori descent and his predecessor is of Indian descent. People of all bloodlines are evident throughout government departments, parliament, the media, our favourite celebrities, and our New Year’s honours………. So how much better can race relations be here?
- Understanding history?
Surely this applies – yet the interactive workbook “Tangata Tiriti – Treaty People (2006)” purchased from a course promoter (Auckland Regional Migrant Services – A.R.M.S.) is published by the Auckland Workers Educational Association (a social/political organisation). There’s no evidence of a qualified historian either teaching their workshops or having reviewed their materials. Instead, the workbook is very one-sided and there’s a serious omission of many facts. Emotionally manipulative, it’s heavy political propaganda that would do a Communist “re-education” camp proud. Of great concern is the less than subtle encouragement for ‘non-white’ immigrants to join Maori in being anti-Pakeha, anti-democracy and anti-capitalism, while supporting calls for Maori sovereignty.
- Encouraging division and unrest?
This explanation certainly fits with the course material. Where one can choose one’s ethnicity (not based on dominant bloodlines, but on preference) as we can in New Zealand, ethnicity is no different from religion. We choose what feels good or offers the greatest return. Looking around the world, we’d have to be totally unaware not to see how these man-made cultural divisions are frequently used to help the power-hungry stir up trouble. While we Kiwis like to be tolerant and just go with the flow, we are definitely not immune to such political manipulations.
Here are some examples of the workbook’s tone: “(the Treaty) challenges the concept of ‘one-law-for-all’…. yet constitutional arrangements for shared sovereignty, while highly controversial in New Zealand, do occur elsewhere…” and “bicultural and multicultural are often used by people to question the monocultural control of power in Aotearoa/New Zealand.” (from Biculturalism and Multiculturalism P. 102 & 103) and “In other countries, the local people were strong enough to kick the colonisers out. Maori should have done the same thing.” (from ‘some questions and answers’ P.121).
Indoctrinating new immigrants is a very easy win for the unscrupulous. Newcomers are usually eager to make a success of their move, to fit in and not cause any trouble. Immigrants are likely to absorb every bit of propaganda thrown at them, assuming such ‘educational’ courses are official and that the content is factual. Conversely, many have fled from countries where unequal legal rights and the associated corruption are facts of life – so why question it here?
Democracy or Despots
The fact is that the Treaty of Waitangi was a fantastic document in 1840. It demonstrated great enlightenment compared to everything that had previously been going on in the world. In Maori’s first democratic step, most chiefs ceded their individual tribal sovereignty to Queen Victoria in return for the same rights as British subjects. This included their protection from other rampaging Maori tribes with their slavery and cannibalism, as well as from any disreputable settlers and other more ruthless colonising powers. Since then, apart from a few inevitable hiccups, the country and its people have largely gone from strength to strength. All New Zealanders have equal rights to vote on the general roll; they have access to public education, healthcare and welfare. The country is certainly in a better position than if it had been left to warring tribalism and subsistence living.
So then – why the call to undermine our system of government and way of life?
Ruthless political movements don’t want happy solutions. By encouraging division and discord, it is so much easier to gain positions of power. Many despicable figures around the world have purposely kept their citizens down, keeping them uneducated, vulnerable and poor. This strategy has worked a treat for all sorts of dictators and despots. Here in New Zealand, there are certainly some who find it more lucrative for Maori to stay high in all the worst statistics.
So what offers the best future for New Zealanders of any or all ethnicities? It certainly isn’t feudalism, race-based sovereignty sharing, or whatever it is being sought by the Auckland Workers Educational Association. Under such a future, how long would it be before we were living in a real third world country, with corruption running rife, and us living on the edge of violence and warfare?
Long-term peace and prosperity in any country can only exist under a political system which rigorously applies one set of rules, so that everyone has the same legal rights and obligations; where all citizens have access to education and healthcare, plus opportunities to work to improve their lot.
We can’t legislate against unequal origins, abilities, attitudes or outcomes, but we must be alert to and resist ideologies hell-bent on destroying our democracy and egalitarian way of life. Let’s all start with demanding that ARMS explain their intent in promoting such a destructive course to new immigrants. The Auckland Council might also like to explain why ratepayers are providing their venues.