This article was referred to me by my partner, who enjoys watching me pace around our house occasionally crying out “I MEAN, SERIOUSLY?”
Furious Devonport residents are threatening to occupy a naval base in a move usually used by Maori to draw attention to disputed land.
What’s wonderful about that opening line is the way it signals ever so subtly that “Devonport residents” and “Maori” are mutually-exclusive groups of people.
What’s simultaneously tragic and hilarious is how our media are taking this all very seriously. I mean, these people have occupied this land, sometimes for generations! They have a bond to it! And now the Crown, damn them, is just trampling all over their rights by conducting a commercial transaction over a piece of non-residential, no-longer-required-by-the-Navy, doesn’t-affect-access-to-any-beaches-but-might-mean-there-are-brown-people-on-them land.
Land which, just incidentally, the buyers originally owned/occupied.
But there’s no room for any analysis or questioning of this narrative, no room to acknowledge “oh hai, one of the reasons y’all have such mighty property values might have something to do with us fucking over the indigenous people of the area”. Nope, it’s all straight-faced “this is our land, why aren’t you consulting the community!” right up to the point of threatening to occupy the land.
Why people’s heads aren’t imploding from sheer irony is baffling to me. Why the same demographic of people [warning: generalisations inbound] who elect National MPs, who buy into rhetoric about how The RMA Just Stifles Development and We Need To Deregulate The Building Industry, now have the sheer gall to say “but they [read: brown people with ideas above their station] might just build a lot of infill housing and threaten our infrastructure, honest that’s my concern!” is a testament to the massive privilege they enjoy.
You’re not the righteous little guy standing up to the big mean [brown] Goliath, residents of Devonport. (I mean come on, it’s fucking Devonport.) You are the Goliaths. I can tell, you see, by the way your whinging about “community” and “consultation” and “access to the beaches” are getting taken seriously.
‘Cause let’s be honest, if you were Ngati Whatua and you wanted to cross some failed finance company CEO’s beachfront backyard to get to ancestral shellfish grounds to provide food to your marae as you’ve done for hundreds of years? You’d probably be shit out of luck. I’m guessing.
On Brash’s – and others’ – over-simplified calls for “one law for all” (by which they of course mean please let’s just ignore all that historic injustice which has placed we rich white men on the top of the pile).
- Maori as a people were signatories to a treaty that was not honored.
- Maori, their culture and language are unique to New Zealand…
- Maori are overrepresented in negative statistics like crime and morbidity, and it’s sometimes more effective to target these problems culturally rather than at the wider population.
I can’t say I necessarily agree with Danyl that the one-law-which-incidentally-keeps-the-old-white-men-in-power-for-all argument can be made in good faith; maybe if by “good faith” we mean “complete ignorance of basic social justice issues which privilege has allowed the arguer to never be prompted to google”.
Soooooooooo Hone Harawira. Here’s a Stuff link which vaguely outlines the situation for any non-Kiwi readers, as I can’t imagine there’s a New Zealander with access to the Internet who hasn’t heard about this.
First recommendation: rocky’s two excellent posts at The Standard on the wider foreshore/seabed issue, and ta, rocky, for the link to NZ History Online’s map showing Maori land loss to the present day. That was a nice sobering hit for a Wednesday evening.
First thought: gee, I wonder if that’s the kind of thing a person, whose ethnic group remains at the bottom of the socio-economic heap, and whose language is apparently so terrifying to the ear that non-Maori will just die if they’re forced to find the mute button hear it, might just be a little pissed off about? (And see Zetetic’s comment below – of course not! Nothing to be angry about here! Just a little diversion from that thing Harawira was totally unapologetic about!)
Second recommendation: the sprout’s post, also at The Standard, on why no, Harawira didn’t actually advocate violence and why yes, this is all just a bunch of privileged white wankers* summoning the spectre of Scary Brown People Who Will Climb In The Windows Of Other New Zealanders At Night**.
Third recommendation: Play bingo with any discussion of this story against the classic Wite-Magik Attax. It may help, but probably not.
And now, my own little bugbear.