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Michael Coote

Maori Myths & Legends: Deconstructing the Maorification of NZ

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– Slogan of Maori Language Week, 10-6 September, 2018.

Maori Language Week has just passed and the all-inclusive, Maoist-tinged slogan used for it was clearly aligned with the fact that submissions close on September 30 concerning Maihi Karauna, billed by Te Puni Kokiri as “the Crown’s Strategy for Maori Language Revitalisation 2018 – 2023”.  (See Kia Kaha Te Reo Maori web page HERE.) Plainly Maori Language Week was a public opinion manipulation campaign orchestrated to elicit the kinds of submissions the government wants to receive.  While there is a benign interpretation possible for the catch-all “Maori language is for everyone” theme, Maihi Karauna goes far beyond that.  Its evident function is to entrench Maori institutional racism across New Zealand society, using the Trojan horse of Maori language as the means.

Of course, people are free to learn and practice Maori language skills as they see fit – Maori and non-Maori alike.  Maori has been an official language of New Zealand since 1987.  It is not as if it is some sort of linguistic contraband.  A positive aspect of Maori language week was encouragement of people to become more proficient in New Zealand’s original tongue.  If people undertake this enterprise voluntarily then good on them.  Perhaps not so forefronted was that New Zealand English already contains many Maori words used every day – think names and phrases for places, native flora and fauna, foods, greetings, and what have you.  It could be a constructive exercise to count up how many Maori words and phrases one uses and understands speaking and hearing New Zealand English in the space of a week.  It is not such a big step to learn more about Maori language based upon its longstanding embeddedness in New Zealand English if so desired. 

But that is not what elements – Maori and non-Maori – attempting the radical Maorification of New Zealand society want.  They are after Maori hegemony over the rest of the country as close as they can achieve to the status quo prevailing before the Treaty of Waitangi.  Nothing less can sate them.  Maori language is the means they have found to reach this goal, not least because the Crown has let itself become hogtied into promoting and bankrolling it to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to date, with much more to come.  Government intervention is essential to the Maorificationist enterprise, which is dependent on commandeering the state’s power and wealth to make Maori pre-eminence mandatory in New Zealand.  Without government intervention, Maori language usage would settle into an equilibrium state of natural supply and demand, which is not fit for purpose in the Maorificationist context.  Instead, Maihi Karauna is advocated as the government’s strategy to impose Maori monoculturalism necessarily underpinned by acceptance of Maori racial supremacism.   

Maihi Karauna and, more generally, politicized espousal of the cause of Maori language are premised on the lie that the language is fast disappearing and will tragically vanish on death of the last fluent speaker if the whole of New Zealand society and vast taxpayer resources are not crash-mobilized just in time to save it.  Embarrassingly for this rhetoric, New Zealand’s native Polynesian language variant has proven stubbornly persistent to date, and indeed outright resistant to misguided mid-20th century assimilationist attempts to eradicate it.  The 19th century myth that Maori were a dying race has been succeeded by the 21st century myth that Maori language is an endangered species.  The truth is that Maori language will not die out because it has been transmogrified into a burgeoning gold digging operation, cheered on by voices loudest in proclaiming its imminent doom unless they cash in on publicly-funded rescue operations.   Maihi Karauna represents the blank cheque of such opportunists to industrialize Maori language into a lucrative economic sector that will keep them and their extended families in clover for decades ahead.

Maihi Karauna has three goals to reach by 2040, states Te Puni Kokiri’s web page;

  • Aotearoa New Zealand values te reo Maori as a key element of national identity.
  • one million New Zealanders can speak at least basic te reo Maori.
  • 150,000 Maori speak te reo Maori as a primary language.

Note that the official name of the country is subtly undermined by the government in putting “Aotearoa” first, meaning in practice “Maori first”, and that the objective is one of social engineering and cultural gerrymandering.  New Zealanders – Maori and non-Maori alike – are to be hoodwinked into perceiving their national identity through sharing Maori language as a major common denominator. 

A central plank of the Ardern government’s Orwellian Maihi Karauna programme is that one million New Zealanders will be required to speak some “Maori-lite”.  Matters have sunk so low on this head that this arbitrary objective has been officially described as exchanging simple Maori pleasantries and small talk while at the supermarket.  This sort of superficial nonsense would not preserve any living language in a credible or worthwhile manner, so is plainly a cynical ploy for facilitating something else.   The one million Maori-lite speaking brigade will be normalising and camouflaging the hugely costly agenda of creating 150,000 racial Maori/Maori primary language speakers, with New Zealand English not necessarily sharing the same status for the latter group.  The present day population of Hamilton is approximately 150,000, to give an idea of the scale of this government ambition.  This is an extraordinary exercise in language displacement and substitution.  Whether these racial Maori/Maori primary language speakers will actually be much employable in the wider economy or instead rely on taxpayer-funded welfare and Maori language teaching jobs is left open to question. Possibly the tourism sector will absorb some, although its jobs are often low paying.

As to how these three aspects are meant to unfold in practice, Te Puni Kokiri’s webpage informs us that, “The Maihi Karauna is for all New Zealanders. Everyone can support the revitalisation of te reo Maori, whether you speak the language or not.  The strategy addresses the revitalisation of the language by including a broad range of New Zealanders while also acknowledging the need to protect the integrity of te reo and recognise its kaitiakitanga (guardianship) by iwi and Maori.”  Maori language is for everyone, except that it is not, is the gist of this marketing speak.  The guts of Maihi Karauna is that a broadly two-tiered society is intended to emerge by 2040 defined around whether or not you speak Maori language.  Within the Maori-speaking tier there will be another stratification, with supremacy given those who are racially Maori.  That this strategy is for all New Zealanders means that all members of society will be co-opted to serve it and all taxpayers will be looted to pay for it.  Maorification of New Zealand society will be shoved down its members’ throats. 

The Te Puni Kokiri web page goes on to identify three key social groups targeted for recruitment as low hanging fruit.  It helps to reorder these groups slightly to get the true picture.

Supply side:

The economics of demand and supply for Maori language instruction will not be left to chance or finding natural equilibrium under Maihi Karauna, which seeks to manipulate both sides of the equation.  On the supply side – Maori language teaching – the tactic will be to co-opt Maori speakers of Maori language into providing services to meet the artificially inflated demand the government plans to create.

“Tangata matatau ki te reo (fluent speakers): These are the expert speakers of te reo Maori. They are the Maori language teachers to the next generation, in homes and in the education system. They are also the upholders of the quality and integrity of matauranga Maori (Maori knowledge).”

This class of person can expect to be ensconced on the taxpayer-funded payroll to teach Maori to Maihi Karauna’s target markets.  Fluent speakers are the supply side of the racket, but of course they have their own demand, which is to receive payment for their services.  Implicitly, the linguistic welfarism entailed will be a state-funded “jobs for Maori” boondoggle that will run for decades and transfer many millions of taxpayer dollars to the Maori language teaching sector, albeit that non-Maori might gain entry if they are sufficiently fluent in Maori language and not enough real Maori are available.  In certain Maori quarters it is well understood what kind of pay dirt the fluent speaker classification is.  Teaching services will be in hot demand to instruct 150,000 racial Maori/Maori primary language speakers, as well as the remaining 1,000,000 Maori-lite smatter-chatter smokescreens.

Demand side:

The demand side of Maihi Karauna’s Maori language education economics is as artificial as the supply side.  It consists of two social sectors who will be conscripted as captive target markets for Maorificationist indoctrination disguised as state-sponsored proficiency at various levels in Maori language.  The demand from these two sectors will largely be invented for them by the government.

“Tamariki and rangatahi: All young people in New Zealand up to 24 years old. Young people are the future of te reo Maori.” 

This targeting is truly disturbing in its sweep and audacity, and plainly calculated to augment existing rampant Maorificationist brainwashing that vulnerable young New Zealanders are exposed to throughout the public education system, but particularly during impressionable childhood and youth.  The government of New Zealand, no less, intends to indenture every single person in the country under 25 years of age to enforce Maori language acquisition as part of a strategy to buttress Maori supremacism as official policy. 

The wording of the Maihi Karauna intention is coy about the mechanism to be deployed, but implicitly the means is likely to involve making Maori language a compulsory subject in the primary and secondary school systems and probably also determinative of preferential entry into tertiary education.  Once Maori language is a compulsory subject, academic advancement is dependent on meeting pass criteria set for it, and pupils and students will have to give up other more preferred educational options to comply.  The reward in return will be that an entire generation of young New Zealanders will become cannon fodder for the Maori-lite million, supposing they cannot make it into the Maori-primary-language priviligentsia because lacking the necessary but unlearnable racial Maori qualification. The youth of New Zealand is to be prostituted to the purposes of government-imposed, taxpayer-funded Maori hegemonism.  This kind of strategy is truly worthy of a totalitarian state.

“Public servants: People who work in the public sector, are often on the front line, face to face, delivering services. In order for the Crown to recognise the value of the Maori language, to actively protect it and reflect the people of New Zealand, the Crown and its staff need to ‘speak’ the language itself.” 

As matters stand it is not possible to get a job in the public service without paying lip service to endorsing the “principles” of the Treaty of Waitangi.  Public servants are a captive audience for Maorificationist assaults because they are on the government payroll and so can be stood over, browbeaten, and threatened about their livelihoods, job security, and promotion prospects.  They will come under the cosh to learn Maori language and those not adept at this could find their careers blighted.  True, Maori is an official language of New Zealand and therefore public services should be available in the language, but plainly much more is meant by the wording of Maihi Karauna targeting public servants.  What is at stake is a de facto coup against the public service in New Zealand in order to subjugate government to private Maori interests under the guise of “reflecting” the population via imposing Maori language proficiency. 

If a Maihi Karauna-type project were being seriously promoted in another country, many New Zealanders would feel that it represented state coercion, bureaucratic dystopia, incipient fascism, racial supremacism, waste of public resources, and purblind folly. 

A reasonable question is why a policy like Maihi Karauna is needed.  After all, the most obvious people responsible for learning and preserving Maori language are Maori themselves, since the language supposedly supplies an essential ingredient to their racial and cultural identity.  The onus, therefore, should be on Maori freely and voluntarily to cultivate their own allegedly threatened linguistic taonga.  It is primarily their problem to sort out.  There should not be any shortage of Maori to get the great Maori language revivalist show on the road. 

The legal definition of a Maori, as found in the Electoral Act 1993 and the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, states, “ ‘Maori’ means a person of the Maori race of New Zealand; and includes any descendant of such a person”.  This sweeping definition, which has been used by Statistics New Zealand since 1998 in its own formulation to collect statistics on Maori, plainly includes all so-called “white Maori” in its ambit – those New Zealanders who have some remote or diluted Maori descent.  If you have even one Maori ancestor then legally you are racially a Maori, period.  No actual dearth of Maori so defined should stand in the way of propagating Maori language, considering how many New Zealanders can lay claim to at least one Maori biological forebear.  Yet we are incessantly informed that there is a crisis underway because of the falling number of racial Maori speakers of Maori language. 

Various reasons may help explain why Maori are allegedly not pulling their collective weight in keeping their own language a going concern.  One could simply be lack of Maori demand, although we are told that such demand is increasing.  Another could be to do with poor social statistics of Maori: some young Maori persons might struggle to learn Maori language or indeed any other subject because of the lasting adverse effects of their mothers’ habits of drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and consuming illicit drugs during pregnancy.  In turn these youngsters might be exposed to repeating such consumption patterns themselves, further affecting academic achievement and language acquisition of any sort.  Possibly some people, “white Maori” for example, who are legally Maori do not identify racially or culturally as Maori, and therefore see little reason to learn the language.  However, some “white Maori” jump the other way to become born-again “Maorier-than-thou”.

Other problems go to Maori language prehistory and subsequent history.  Prior to European contact, the language was a set of dialects exclusively employed by a small, closed, geographically isolated, Neolithic Polynesian population living as warlike, illiterate, subsistence economy cannibals.  The language prevailing in these unprepossessing straits faithfully reflected its users and their dire Hobbesian circumstances, and was limited to some hundreds of words expressed in oral but not written form.  Europeans, beginning from the early 19th century onwards, provided a pre-existing  alphabet, pens, paper, books and printing presses, systematically wrote Maori language down phonetically (notably excluding the unheard consonant “f”), and gradually standardized its orthography, in the process teaching Maori people to read their own traditionally oral language for the first time in history.  The work of these European scribes may literally have saved Maori language from extinction, but in the process imposed an external intervention by inventing a written Maori language that had not existed before. 

It is the written form that has had much to do with expanding Maori language from its originally constrained oral roots into something altogether different.  In more recent decades there has been an explosion of Maori words, fattening ever heavier dictionaries, many of which are nothing more than neologisms translating the English language’s words, of which there are now well in excess of a million, making modern Maori language increasingly artificial.  Gratuitous scholastic affectations have been heaped on, such as the Maori macron (tohuto) as a means of trying to dissever written Maori from its original European language transcription roots.  Maori language is becoming more derivative and denaturalized, yet can never supplant or entirely replicate the English language translation basis upon which its written form is so extensively dependent.

In the face of these obstacles, Maihi Karauna is intended to make sure, by hook or by crook, that 150,000 New Zealanders who are legally defined as racially Maori will become Maori language primary speakers within a couple of decades’ time.  But that social engineering is not enough for Maorificationists determined to effect takeover of New Zealand society and culture through the agency of the state and paid for by the virtually limitless funding taxes can provide.  Essential to strategies like Maihi Karauna is that in order to survive, Maori language must spread beyond Maori minds to parasitize the brains of non-Maori.  More than that, non-Maori will be required not only to learn Maori language, but also to collaborate with advocacy, empowerment, implementation, imposition and enforcement of the Maorificationist agenda that Maihi Karauna represents. 

Such non-Maori will effectively serve, whether they know it or not, as the fifth column, fellow travellers, foot soldiers, special forces and patina of respectability for Maori institutionalised racism.  A key part of these support roles is to normalise the Maori supremacist agenda by suborning non-Maori into embracing and espousing it, and becoming willing to criticise, demean, disqualify and disempower those New Zealanders who do not accept or pay obeisance to the racialisation of our country.  In fine, non-Maori are critical to the success of Maihi Karauna because reliance upon Maori alone  cannot pull it off entirely.  It would be fatal to the Maihi Karauna bandwagon for it to be exposed as a Maori-centric affair, which in essence it really is in what it aims to achieve in reconstructing New Zealand society, and so a dogged caravan of non-Maori is needed to troop along loyally behind in the dust of its trail.

Many Maori and non-Maori whom Maihi Karauna seeks to entice and entangle in its net would be quite happy and willing to learn Maori language without its blandishments, and will no doubt benefit from enhanced access to Maori language courses if that is their bent.  But then there is another set of Maori and non-Maori who support the Maorificationist agenda and even belong to it.  They cannot accept a voluntary basis for acquiring Maori language skills, and will not leave matters to chance or demand-and-supply equilibrium, but instead base their hopes and schemes on compulsion.  New Zealanders must be forced to learn Maori language, like it or not, on this line of thinking, and not just because of bogus hand-wringing over its faux-extinction threat, but for effective implementation of many other aspects of Maorificationism besides.  From this perspective, Maihi Karauna requires more critical analysis than the happy-clappy gloss the government and its allies are placing on it.

Submissions are urgently required from New Zealanders who do not agree with what Maihi Karauna stands for and seeks to achieve in subverting the rights and freedoms of New Zealanders – and wasting a great deal of public funds besides. Submissions are due in by September 30, and the first place to start on that journey is to visit the Te Puni Kokiri web page HERE.


“Yeah, right.”