Last week a group of Christian students climbed to the top of Mount Egmont so they could hold an “epic barbecue. Instead of praise for the fact that they had engaged in some good clean fun – and cleared rubbish from the mountain at the same time – they were criticised by Maori groups and DOC for trampling on Maori dignity. Their crime included standing, as well as cooking and eating their sausages on the summit!
According to the local newspaper, a Maori leader claimed there were ‘cultural values’ all around the country that should be protected, including all mountain peaks. He said that people should not even go near the summit of a mountain.
The Department of Conservation echoed these views. Local DOC boss Phil Mohi stated “Part of our management role is to promote and protect the mountain’s cultural and spiritual values”. He also explained that DOC discouraged people from camping or even standing on the summit of the mountain, and while eating prepared food for sustenance was acceptable, cooking on a summit was not.
Meanwhile mountain climbing groups said they had never heard of these restrictions before, and the public are asking why DOC is involved in the protection of Maori spiritual values at all.
This incident is somewhat similar to a debacle last year involving the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, where pregnant and menstruating women were effectively banned from one of the exhibits. It was explained that the Maori protocol being used also forbids menstruating women from gathering food or going to the beach!
Since when have state institutions been given the mandate to uphold Maori spiritual values and practices? Officially, our secular state has no place imposing religious or cultural practices on other people. However, scholars like Dr Elizabeth Rata, an Associate Professor at Auckland University, have warned tha what we are seeing are the effects of a bicultural movement that has been captured by radicals.1
‘Biculturalism’ is a left-wing ideology based on the notion that a nation can exist with two separate peoples of different cultures living side by side. The movement was spearheaded by academics in Canada, the US, Australia, Britain and France in the 1960s, and was seen as a way lifting outcomes for marginalised ethnic groups. Their idea was to bring the leaders of ethnic groups into government institutions so that they could change things from within the system. But as Dr Rata points out, the problem for New Zealand is that the movement has been captured by Maori separatists who want nothing less than the incorporation of tribal authority into governance processes. “The bicultural movement in New Zealand has been a mistake, that is subverting democracy, erecting ethnic boundaries between Maori and non-Maori and promoting a cultural elite within Maoridom.”
The inclusion of ethnic categorisation into government policy has led to a rapid increase in the rights of Maori over other citizens, resulting in a plethora of race-based initiatives: Maori-only schools and education scholarships, special funding for Maori housing projects, Maori health prioritisation, Whanau Ora and other Maori-only welfare initiatives, Maori-only prisoner programmes, Maori-only seats on local councils, Maori-only local government advisory boards, Maori-only consultation rights under the Resource Management Act, Maori-only co-management arrangements over National Parks and rivers, Maori-only tax rates, and the Maori seats in Parliament – to name but a few!
While some might ask how it is possible to have official “Maori-only” programmes, when it is against the law to discriminate on the basis of race, one needs only look at section 19 (2) of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, which states, “Measures taken in good faith for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons disadvantaged because of colour, race, ethnic or national origins… do not constitute discrimination.” These “special measures” must not be permanent or else they become discriminatory. Instead they should be terminated once the disadvantage disappears. And with Iwi Leaders claiming (thanks to the Treaty settlement process) that the combined wealth of Maoridom is now in the region of $25 billion – almost half of the total capitalisation of the New Zealand Stock Exchange – the days of iwi being able to claim victim status have long gone. With it should go the need for generous Maori-only taxpayer-funded subsidies.
Elizabeth Rata warns that biculturalism has allowed Maori radicals to subvert government institutions, “You get inside a system and subvert it. Destroy from within”. It is difficult to know the extent to which this has occurred, but in 2004, under the Official Information Act, I obtained documents which outlined the “two-world view” ideology favoured by the Maori sovereignty movement, that was being enacted by Housing New Zealand. According to the HNZ Chief Executive the Two-World View “is based on an acknowledgment that the two Treaty partners have different ways of looking at the world including beliefs, values and experience. By looking from both of these perspectives we can develop a two-world view for the Corporation, which will underpin the way HNZC operates internally and the way we develop relationships externally.”
At the time this policy had cost taxpayers millions of dollars in consultants, meetings, hui, travel and accommodation, as well as race-based training and recruitment. The base-line budget for advancing the two- world view was around $200,000 a year – but on top of that there were marae costs, external facilitation and general expenses relating to kaumatua, advisors and special committees, which annually added hundreds of thousands of dollars more onto the cost.
The Two-World View training materials pushed an extreme view: as a result of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Maori “might reasonably have expected” that “they would remain the majority, with an ongoing trickle of migrants rather than a flood” and that “the bulk of the country would still belong to the tribes, which would rule themselves as they wished, with some pakeha settlers there by agreement and observing Maori law”.
It went on to claim that the Treaty instead delivered “the deliberate undermining and destruction of Maori authority and social systems; an imposed Pakeha government making laws for all without reference to Maori needs; discriminatory laws designed to transfer the land and resources to Pakeha and to deny Maori an effective voice; and widespread racial discrimination against them”.
The training materials explained that under a ‘two-world view’, Maori could look forward to: “self-determination for Maori; return of Crown controlled resources unjustly alienated from Maori owners and negotiated compensation to Maori for such resources which are no longer in Crown control; and compensation for past and present dependency, poverty and discrimination by policies aimed at equity, including affirmative action in training, job appointments etc until there is real equity”.
The OIA further stated that competence in this material “is a core requirement at least for all operational jobs, arguably for all jobs”. It explains that “as part of the selection process, internal candidates are expected to achieve a rating of at least 3 out of 5 and external candidates 4 out of 5”.
Not only was this extreme view being forced on HNZ staff and those wanting to work there, but a similar proposal was being offered to the Police at the time. These materials were already being widely used throughout the public service and from recent events they certainly appear to have found their way into the Department of Conservation and Te Papa!
A modern day extension of biculturalism is of course multiculturalism, the notion that many cultures can exist side by side within a society. This is in contrast to the more traditional belief that a nation can only function cohesively if the different groups within adapt to the cultural values of the society at large.
This week’s guest commentator is David Round a lecturer in law at the University of Canterbury and author of Truth or Treaty? Commonsense Questions about the Treaty of Waitangi. David has written a series of articles examining Multiculturalism and Diversity and the danger such ideology poses for New Zealand. In this first part 1 introductory article – subsequent articles in the series will be run weekly on the Breaking Views blog – David writes:
“Our dimwitted worship of multiculturalism ~ which also goes by the name of ‘diversity’ ~ is only possible in a society which takes its own peace, order and good government so much for granted that it can assume that nothing that it says or does will actually upset it. It talks of many cultures, but fails to realise, or does not believe, where that talk actually leads. If it actually saw where its worship of diversity was actually heading it would, let us hope ~ but sometimes I have my doubts ~ it would flee from the idea in horror.
“Right now Western Europe is facing its own disintegration because the multicultural venture it has been engaged in since the end of the Second World War has been, in Enoch Powell’s prophetic phrase, the building of its own funeral pyre. New Zealand has been engaged in the same project. Mercifully, we are not so far down the primrose path, and if our rulers display any sense we may yet avoid disaster. But our history in the last twenty or thirty years has displayed very clearly that very few of those ~ both elected and unelected ~ privileged to hold power in this country have had the elementary intelligence to understand the complete folly and danger of the policies of diversity and multiculturalism which they espouse. Europe’s main threat is Islam, but if we have any sense we can avoid that problem here. In New Zealand the chief threat to nationhood has been the Maori separatism which our leaders continue to promote, at the cost of the rest of us ~ costs both immediate, in terms of loss of assets and resources ~ the foreshore and seabed is next ~ and long-term, in terms of national disintegration.”
The point is that while cultural diversity can make a country stronger, it only does so if such efforts are voluntary. Government policies that promote special privileges based on race, at the expense of the wider population, are an anathema to the public good. When separatist ideology promoting ethnic division is recognised as being part of the machinery of the state, then it is the time for serious and urgent reform.
As Elizabeth Rata has commented, there are two sides to this whole debate: “The small elite group who promoted it and the much larger group who allowed it to happen”. It is surely time that larger group of New Zealanders woke up and realised what is going on.