Lion's Rock, Piha 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."
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 If all goes according to National’s plan, Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed will be repealed by Christmas, leaving the way open for Maori up and down the country to begin lodging their claims for our priceless public asset.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?