Do we hate all ‘Maoris’?

May 20th, 2012

My brother Tamati linked to this article on his Friendface feed. Below is a copy and paste of my response… I may add to it and flick it towards the related discussion on Reddit.

He’s an ignorant asshat who is simply regurgitating the rhetoric that’s typical of his generation. Of course his statements are racist because they’re directed at a particular race (I ‘meh’ that term, because truly there’s only one race – the human one, e.g. ). A statement can be positively racist like “gee, those Jews are good at finances!” or “golly, those Islanders are good at sporting activities due to their genetic predisposition for athleticism and great strength!”

Facts are facts though: Maori were one of two signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi. They are therefore one of the two founding peoples at the point of the founding of this nation by the signing of our incumbent and reigning founding document.

Maori then got shafted outside the terms of the agreement. WWI and II left thousands of whanau without male role models, which was severely damaging to the Maori societal structure, the effects of which we still see today in over-representation in crime/abuse statistics and especially in the gangs – traditionally filled by fatherless Maori males who, without traditional male guidance, started getting into trouble, got shipped off to borstals and became disenfranchised and disconnected from both sides.

Then there was the decades of cultural repression. Granted, Maori didn’t have it as bad as say, Native Americans or Australian Aborigines, but they didn’t exactly get their just dues either.

So what have we seen in the last 20-30 years? A resurgence of an almost extinct culture and language, wrongs being righted, and Affirmative Action (aka Positive Discrimination) policies being put in place to give impoverished Maori the opportunities to rise out of their rut. Net result is that Maori are gaining their rightful share as a founding people of this nation.

I want everybody to be a New Zealander just as much as the next ignant-honky-ass-mofo, but grievances have to be settled first and everything has to be in its rightful place, and that’s going to take time.

What chumps like him need to realise is that getting people out of poverty leads to growth and subsequently a stronger New Zealand. Just like bottoms-up economics but with fringe benefits like general societal improvements. Things happen to tend to favour Maori because they are a founding people and, especially in terms of intra-tribal investment (e.g. healthcare, runanga, scholarships) it’s because that’s the tribe’s money to do with as they bloody well please.

What really irks me is upset Uni students bitching about Maori classmates – “how dare they use opportunities that are available to them! And how dare their tribes invest tribal money in them in order to ensure a higher rate of education amongst its people and hopefully to have wider returns in terms of getting other tribal members better off… THE CONCEIT OF THESE SAVAGES! I’m going to turn my jealousy into uninformed racism and ignorance instead of doing something ironic like educating myself on the facts. Uni library – pah!”

Interestingly, if you turn around and say “oh my local AOG church gave away a scholarship but it pretty much only goes to an islander”, these same complainers wouldn’t have a problem.

Finally, the NZ Bill of Rights (Section 19,2 specifically) puts it in law that people like him who are basically against Affirmative Action can

“Measures taken in good faith for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons disadvantaged because of discrimination that is unlawful by virtue of Part 2 of the Human Rights Act 1993 do not constitute discrimination.”

Actual finally: I hate the term “Maoris”, because it just shows the ignorance of the speaker/author, and to read it’s like the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Te Reo does not have an s in its alphabet and does not pluralise like English does. The Te/Nga differentiation is one of the simplest Maori lessons…

rawiri says:

Hey, thanks for the comment! I don’t believe there’s a universal linguistic rule for that that applies to all languages, but certainly with Te Reo, “Maori” is the correct usage.

There’s another good reason to use “Maori” instead of “Maoris”, and that’s because “Maoris” unfortunately is a minor racial slur.

prefernottobenamed thanks says:

I agree wholeheartedly with this understanding and experience. The only thing I disagree with, althought it may simply be due to my linguistic misunderstanding; is the pluralisation of ‘maori’ as ‘maoris’ being incorrect. Surely the plural-rule of the borrowing-language would apply? I.e. in te reo maori you would say ‘nga maserati” to refer to plural of the cars, so too in English you would apply the ‘s’ like a suffix.