Monday, August 2, 2010

Is PM John Key giving NZ back to Maoris?

90 mile beach

From "Selling out to Maori" 1-Aug-2010 by Dr. Muriel Newman at the NZ Center for Political Research:

"Almost without a ripple, John Key’s administration is about to table a bill in Parliament that will have far reaching consequences that few can imagine. I am of course referring to the Government’s proposed changes to the foreshore and seabed.

The foreshore and seabed is the common heritage of all New Zealanders. It has always been held by the Crown on behalf of us all. Now Maori are claiming it for themselves. But if Maori had really believed they owned the foreshore and seabed, almost every Treaty of Waitangi claim since 1985 would have included such claims. None did."

Lion's Rock, Piha Beach

What does this mean for New Zealand?

Dr. Newman explains "John Key is banking on the fact that the public will remain largely unaware of the great trade-off that his government is about to perpetrate until after the law is passed. If all goes according to National’s plan, Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed will be repealed by Christmas, leaving the way open for Maori up and down the country to begin lodging their claims for our priceless public asset. Not only that, but the Prime Minister’s assurance that once Maori tribes own the foreshore and seabed, public access will be guaranteed, does not hold water."

So? Why should the rest of NZ (85% non-Maori) who live in NZ care?

"Once Maori take ownership, they will also be given the exclusive right to ban public access to areas that they deem to be of special significance to Maori. There is no transparency about this process and no rights of appeal, so if Maori owners decide that popular fishing spots and holiday sites are sacred, then tough luck - public access will be denied. And with three different levels of Maori claims able to be imposed on the foreshore and seabed through the new bill – customary title, customary right, and mana tuku iho – involving hundreds of different tribes each with their own wahi tapu, the public should expect that their access rights could be severely compromised."

Anaura Bay, Gisborne

But aren't Maoris the 'original' or 'indigenous' people of NZ? The UN "deemed" Maoris indigenous, right? Umm... only on paper. There is evidence OTHER peoples arrived and lived in NZ before Maori.

There are NO full blooded Maoris any more. They have ALL blended in with the legal immigrants, mostly from Europe, who arrived here - just like Maoris - and built Aoteroa into what is now a modern and thriving blended culture of New Zealand.

From "Who is Indigenous?" by David Round - 6 June 2010:

"The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that someone or something indigenous is ’born or produced naturally in a land or region; native to that soil, region, &c’. In that sense, all native-born New Zealanders are indigenous. We may speak a language and have a culture that developed elsewhere; but so did the first Maori when they arrived from the Hawaiki they still remember. (In any case, we could well argue, as Michael King does [*Being Pakeha] that since colonisation we have developed a distinctive ‘pakeha culture’ here which exists nowhere else.)

On the other hand, if ‘indigenous’ is used to refer to a people whose ancestors have lived in a place from time immemorial, then New Zealand has no indigenous inhabitants.

According to the dictionaries, those are the only two things this English word can mean; being born somewhere, or, having ancestors who have been there forever. The word simply does not mean anything else. "

"Virtually all Maoris are of course of mixed Maori and European descent. We hear of the alleged ‘browning’ of New Zealand; it would be just as accurate to speak of its whitening, as the races continue to intermarry and become one people. Statutes such as the Electoral Act and Maori Land Act say that a Maori is ‘a person of the Maori race of New Zealand; and includes any descendant of such a person’. Many of Maori ancestry choose not to enrol on the Maori roll, but anyone with any Maori blood can enrol as a Maori. The proportion of Maori blood is immaterial, as it is in Treaty claims and sharing in Treaty settlements. Ngai Tahu, for example, has among its enrolled members and beneficiaries someone who is genetically only one 256th part Ngai Tahu.

But people who are even only one eighth or one sixteenth Maori cannot in any meaningful sense be described as Maori. Genetically they are not, and it is highly unlikely that they will ever have experienced any racial prejudice. Their cultural milieu is unlikely to be Maori. If such people make claims to the Waitangi Tribunal, they are in fact claiming for a wrong done to one or two of their ancestors (Maori) by many other of their ancestors (European). Any injustice suffered by their Maori ancestors may very well be balanced by the benefit accruing to their European ancestors. In any reasonable system for righting wrongs it should be a question of fact in each case whether a Waitangi Tribunal claimant has actually suffered injustice. The mere fact that one of a claimant’s great-great-ancestors suffered a wrong is no proof at all that this claimant has ever suffered in his or her own life. It is actually an injustice to the rest of the community to give special benefits to those who have not suffered injustices."

What does this mean?

Mr. Round explains "Unfortunately this is not the approach taken by the Waitangi Tribunal. When asked about degrees of blood and the identity of Maoris, Treaty activists are usually evasive. The standard reply is that this question ‘is one for Maoris to decide’. Even leaving aside the begging of the question in that answer, it simply cannot be considered adequate. If, in our own private lives, we wish to identify with only one of the strains of our ancestry, and forget the others, that is our own business. But the situation is different when one comes to Treaty claims and to special rights as an ‘indigenous person’. Here, claims are made to special political and legal status and special rights to public resources. Such claims must be justified. It is not enough for someone with only a fraction of ‘indigenous’ blood , brought up pretty much like everyone else, now to hang a fish-hook around his neck and claim that we owe him. We are entitled to demand evidence that he deserves this special treatment. If he is to claim the rights of an indigenous person under a United Nations declaration, then it is not enough merely that he be able to trace his descent from, inter multos alios, a remote ancestor who was one. "

So from what I gather, just about "anyone"in NZ with an ancient relative can call themselves a "Maori" and claim to own the local beach. Where's mine?


  1. There is no research involved in the Political Research Centre and no 'thinking' happening in that 'tank'.

    Maori didn't need to make a claim to the foreshore and seabed until it was confiscated - Whites only assumed they owned it but needed to manipulate their laws to make sure. Make sense? Still, that is a rather weak argument typical of Newman and her followers.

    The argument about indigineity and blood percentage is as old as the mountains, too, but still amounts to a cheap reactive statement rather than a genuine defence for whites.

    There are full-blooded Maori. The reference should only apply to the South Island unless you can point me to a source.

    While we're noting a legal argument, the UN recognise Maori as the indigenous people of the land. That's enough for me. You need to understand statutory interpretation where white dictionaries are merely the first port of call in a dispute.

    Your argument is a nonsense when you consider indigeneity and ownership matter very little at the time of the atrocities. Now it is used as an retrospective excuse dreamed up to help whites feel better about themselves.

  2. How can you confiscate something from someone who never "owned" it?
    Maori arrived to NZ on boats... just like everyone else...
    The UN is a corrupt organization and I don't believe anything they say.
    I'm sure there are no white people in your background eh.
    Do you work full time or just expect the rest of us to work and give you free stuff?
    ... have you heard the saying "go blow it out your ear"

  3. What's the matter Lisa? Are you too affraid to enter into debate? You know you have more than just two posts!


  4. While it is very brave to post under "anonymous", I just can't be bothered debating un-named and under-factualized, left minded opponents... your types never listen to facts or reason and just see things the way you want to... must be nice, but thanks for stopping by anyway

  5. Dear "kiwi in NYC", sorry you don't like my post. Maoris were similar to other island people in the S. Pacific. How are they doing on their own? Tonga, Fiji, etc? That is what Aoteroa would have been like if NOONE else besides Maori ever lived in NZ.

    Ponder that for awhile...

    Maoris did a deal with Britain to accept British sovereignty (law & rules)... its called the treaty of Waitangi, perhaps you've heard of it.

    Perhaps you can write about all the complaints you have from past historical grievanances of Maoris from 150 years ago that you are not satisfied with on your own blog.

    Would you expect Maoris to be happy if just 'some' of their supposed 'land' they think they own is given back? Or will Maoris never be happy until NZ is owned and only Maori?

    Good luck with that and enjoy New York

    Me, I'll keep writing about stuff I think is interesting. Keeping government power in check is a responsibility of free people.

    You want John Key to give free stuff to Maoris thus you want socialism: some people work and give free stuff to other people.

    Ooops, guess what: this system has NEVER worked and WILL never work. You're on the WRONG side of history.

  6. Lisa

    I’m not sure I understand the rational behind the comparison you are trying to make between NZ and other nations of the South Pacific - which doesn’t seem to be entirely fair to begin with considering NZ’s relative advantages over these nations in terms of size and allocation of natural resources. Your proposition is rather vague. What are you measuring, and by what standard? Should we conclude that NZ hasn’t somehow ‘made it’ by comparing NZ’s economy with that of other similarly sized nations such as the UK and Japan for example?

    I expect that Tonga’s economy will not top NZ’s and Fiji probably won’t put a man on Mars anytime soon, but then again, NZ’s economy will most likely never top that of Japan nor is NZ any more likely to put a man on Mars.

    Concluding, as you have, that NZ would have been backward without foreign settlement whatsoever is entirely speculative and subjective unless of course, your worldview maintains the belief, as I believe yours does, that Maori were simply incapable of developing socially, politically and economically, and that Maori could not or would not eventually have been willing or able to create and maintain relationships with other nations and source technology on their own terms.

    I don’t disagree that European settlement was beneficial to Maori, but I’m not entirely convinced that European settlement was necessary to acquire technology. Most of the high end IT equipment in my home was probably manufactured in China but I didn’t need to come into direct contact with someone from China in order to acquire it. The exchange of land for European settlement for Maori access to markets and technology was mutually beneficial.

    I am aware of the Treaty of Waitangi – thanks for asking. I would recommend that you at least read Claudia Orange’s book of the same name to balance out your views. For instance, you appear to be quite ignorant of the fact that the ToW has two official texts: one in English and the other in Maori. Only the English version cedes sovereignty, whereas the Maori version grants limited powers of governorship which is a good deal less than absolute sovereignty. Moreover, the Maori version is the one that was promoted throughout the country, the version that contains the overwhelming majority of signatures (some 500+ compared to 36 or so on the English version) and the version that takes precedence under international law by virtue of the principle of ‘contra proferentum’ which requires that an indigenous language text of a treaty takes precedence when there is dissonance between the texts.

    I read a history of Treaty settlements by Alan Ward recently. He suggested that if Maori had been able to retain the assists in land and resources as they stood in 1910 that this would have given Maori the opportunity to re-engage into NZ’s developing economy and provide the economic basis for sustained Maori development. So no, Maori are not asking for the return of all of NZ, but they have a right to justice where it can be demonstrated that the Crown acted in direct opposition to the Treaty.

    I’m not going to entertain the idea that justice is ‘socialism’ and therefore inherently evil since this proposition is quite twisted and irrational. If I steal from you and you seek justice through the courts then does that make you a socialist? The Crown’s confiscation of Maori land at various times but especially during the 1860’s was theft, or ‘free stuff’ as you put it. A free and just society has an obligation and a responsibility to ensure that justice prevails. If you believe in freedom and justice then this should be self evident. To want it both ways simply makes you a hypocrite.

    Kiwi In NYC

    (post duplicated due to typo's)

  7. Justice in NZ seems to keep changing, therein lies the rub, doesn't it?

    The great thing, or so I thought, about NZ was the BLENDING of cultures to form one people.

    Part hot-headed, cannibalistic warrior... part snot-nosed, smarty-pants but technology advanced European... part hard-work, diligent Asian... part strong-backed, athletically-skilled Pacific Islander... part know-it-all, American (ok you get my point)

    NZ should have laws to benefit ALL New Zealand. Race based laws are so last century...