Comment & Analysis

Confronting climate change means sharing power

“Sea level rise is a slow-moving disaster for our Māori communities. They’re disproportionately at risk because our wāhi tapu, our urupā, our marae, are generally in low-lying coastal areas, or in river valleys.” — Dr Shaun Awatere.

Understanding Mātauranga Māori

“Mātauranga Māori is linked to Māori identity and forms part of the unique features which make up that identity. Because this is so, it also means that mātauranga Māori is a unique part of the identity of all New Zealand citizens.” — Sir Hirini Moko Mead.

Sort Out The Warriors

“According to the police’s own history, initially, the New Zealand Police were formed to counter a gang problem — that problem being the gangs of Pākehā sealers and whalers wreaking havoc among Māori communities.” — Denis O’Reilly.

Warehousing our humanity

“The warehousing of surplus humanity in prisons — and the ongoing incarceration of Māori in particular — is a crisis that has resulted in an unjust society where the shadow of the prison colonises our landscapes.” — Professor Tracey McIntosh.

We need to talk about our pay

“When people talk about pay transparency or secrecy, or pay gaps, or marginalised workers, it sounds abstract. But having less money isn’t abstract, it means we have fewer options. It means less for our whānau.” — Kim Mcbreen.

Closing the ethnic pay gap

“A lot of places tell us they don’t have an ethnic pay gap. But when we ask for the data on their organisation, they don’t have it. To which I say: 'How can you address and fix something you're trying not to see?'” — Saunoamaali‘i Karanina Sumeo, EEO Commissioner.

The Salesman Beast

“Although his books are considered classic studies based on rare first-hand knowledge, Elsdon Best was a structural racist whose bigoted beliefs help explain a lot of the shit we’re still dealing with today.” — Connie Buchanan.

How Matariki will connect us all

“The entire nation will stop on 24 June and acknowledge mātauranga Māori. I think, in generations to come, our descendants will look back and say that was a moment in time when we came of age as a nation.” — Dr Rangi Matamua.

Stepping up to Matike Mai

“Pākehā culture faces some barriers to stepping up to Matike Mai. One barrier is the numbers of us still pretending we are not a visible group holding on to power.” — Catherine Delahunty.

A Māori “home” for our Sydney whānau

“As the mother of proud Aboriginal and Māori children and the partner of a proud Aboriginal man, I’m reminded every day that even though I’m a First Nations woman, I’m also a migrant because I came here when I was four years old.” — Jo Kāmira.

Imagining an even better deal for Māori

“Despite the fact that ‘mānuka’ is a Māori word, not an Australian word, the UK IP office backed Australia’s claim that it also produces ‘mānuka honey’. The UK FTA will cement in those legal tests.” — Moana Maniapoto.

In thrall to bullshit

“This was the first person I’d ever met who was healthy and sane in every way, but whose view of the world was entirely informed by the media. The sum of the biased tabloid, talkback and television BS she consumed had polluted her view of the country she lived in.” — Tainui Stephens

More Than Three Words for Water

“Our everyday practices need to follow Maōri authority and tikanga Māori in managing water. If water is protected from agricultural or urban pollution, everyone benefits.” — Catherine Delahunty.

Wāhine, White Women, and Waitangi

“New Zealand is steadfastly committed to drinking its own Kool-aid when it comes to race relations. We have stitched-in blinders when it comes to convincing everyone that we are kind, and just and equitable.” — Tina Ngata.

Rangatiratanga and immigration

“Just as there is no transfer of tino rangatiratanga, there’s nothing in Te Tiriti that would prevent hapū Māori from controlling their own borders, from directing their own foreign policy, or from entering into new international treaties.” — Dr Arama Rata.

We started the vax race from behind

"If the government had listened to our experts, and itself, all these months, Māori could have been 90 percent vaccinated by now,” writes Vini Olsen-Reeder, who’s sick of Māori being blamed for being slow to vaccinate.

The Supreme Court has spoken

“In its September decision, the court elevates the importance of tikanga, giving it more legal substance than it has ever had since the advent of colonisation.” — Kennedy Warne.

Towards a truly equitable health system

“The indisputable fact that the Crown funds the primary health care system inadequately is a key reason for the extent of inequity that Māori continue to suffer.” — Waitangi Tribunal report on Stage One of Hauora claims.

Te Tiriti and vaccination rates

“While it is OF COURSE urgent that Māori vaccinate, we can’t overlook the role that this broken relationship and intergenerational neglect and devaluing of Māori life plays in vaccine hesitancy.” — Tina Ngata.

The tainting of New Zealand rugby

“Our players are being asked to carry water for a brand that is desecrating our environment.” — Juressa Lee, a Greenpeace campaigner, on NZ Rugby’s six-year sponsorship deal with INEOS.

Here we go again: Covid and racism

“It’s been a whole year since we went through this, and yet, here we are again, with mainstream media ignoring, or perhaps not even seeing, the very real damage done by this type of clickbait heading.” — Emmaline Pickering-Martin.

Walking as a pathway to knowing

“What if Ngāi Tahu had been allowed the reserve, and New Zealand’s walking culture had developed with Māori still owning the land? What kind of hybrid traditions might have emerged if Kemp’s Deed had been honoured, the mahika kai preserved?” — Nic Low.

Empty gestures

“Overall, the inadequacies of the government's ‘gestures’ indicate that the apology came from a government that felt pressured to give an apology — and not a government that was genuinely invested in atoning for its ongoing actions of racist violence.” — Dylan Asafo.

A challenge not a threat

The recent attacks on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) are not just ill-informed — they're "dangerously provocative", writes Moana Jackson.

One law for all?

“The evidence is clear that the white supremacist who was threatening slaughter should have been charged from the get-go and been treated the same as the brown Mongrel Mob members.” — John Tamihere.

Focusing on the wrong end of the problem

Teachers "don’t realise they spend more time with Asian and Pākehā students. Māori students see it, though, and retreat to the back of the classroom, where they sit in groups and disengage.” — Anton Blank.

The Dawn Raids: Why apologise?

“The government must acknowledge that ugly racial stereotypes were officially promoted for political gain, leaving a lasting legacy of prejudice against Pasifika peoples in New Zealand.” — Joris de Bres.

The legal force of tikanga

“Does it seem strange to be reading a court decision and discover that you’re hearing a dissertation on Māori worldview? It is becoming the norm.” — Kennedy Warne on the landmark High Court decision recognising the customary marine rights of Whakatōhea.

When inclusion means erasure

“It’s deeply painful to consider just how poorly Pacific Islanders are being served by public health agencies here in the US, especially in states where their health data isn’t separated from Asians’.” — Ema Hao’uli.

A vein in our bodies

“Takutai Moana is the law which, in name, repealed and replaced the inflammatory Foreshore and Seabed Act, but which, in substance, places the same heavy burden of proof on Māori.” — Connie Buchanan.

Injustice in Justice

“To the uninitiated, it can be jarring to learn that, in Aotearoa, the state outsources the prosecution of moderate and serious crime to 17 commercial law firms throughout the country.” — Tim McKinnel. 

Utu for workers

“We’ve made enormous progress on social inequality. But we’ve lost ground on class equity. Working people are consciously and legally discriminated against.” — Matt McCarten.

A dereliction of duty?

“It’s not too late for the government to decriminalise cannabis. What’s the point of a once-in-a-lifetime majority if you’re not going to use it?” — Leah Damm.

The Māori Electorates

The Greens and the Māori Party both have candidates who are threatening to prevent a repeat of Labour’s 2017 clean sweep.

No law is racism-proof

“The idea of choice is a fallacy. It’s based on people having access to adequate resources to enable their choices. And this is the ultimate choice." — Hirini Kaa on voting "no" in the End of Life Choice referendum.

What about West Papua?

“Despite decades of atrocities, including the state-sanctioned murders and human rights abuses in West Papua, New Zealand has refused time and time again to even criticise the Indonesian government, let alone investigate these abuses further.” — Dylan Asafo.

Putting the brakes on equity

“Why are we even looking at restricting a successful programme that’s doing exactly what it was designed to do? Have we reached maximum equity?” — Māori medical student at Otago University.

Old friends but new foes

“JT leads a fight to win at least one of the Māori electorates for the Māori Party next month and Willie leads the Labour Party campaign to stop him. Neither can afford to let the other one win.” — Matt McCarten.

The rise of Māori MAGA

"How do conspiracy theories move from white supremacist minds to Māori mouths?" Tina Ngata looks at the rise of Billy Te Kahika and his New Zealand Public Party, and why far-right, white-supremacist agendas are finding favour with many Māori.

Māori hands on the future

“We’re committed to ensuring that Māori hands continue to have a firm grip on all the levers needed to transform our lives — not just on the shovels.” — Te Kāhui Amokura.

Rāhui, mana, and Peter Ellis

Is it time to turn to Māori law for the answer to a legal issue that would affect all New Zealanders? — Māmari Stephens on the Peter Ellis case and the growing role and status of tikanga Māori in Aotearoa's laws.

Red meat is back on the table

“Her caucus hates and fears her in equal measure, but she will survive because the Trumpian base in the National Party love her. And, more importantly, she’s more ruthless than any politician who may covet her new throne.” — Matt McCarten.

Settling Ihumātao

"One of the perceived political difficulties to arriving at a settlement that will attract broad public support is that 'private land' is involved. But this is a red herring that misleads and distracts us from the relevant and important questions." — David Williams.

Fanaticism and the Eskimo Pie

The current protests over names and statues isn’t about erasing history, writes Kennedy Warne. They’re awakening us to a side of history that’s been ignored and suppressed.

Facing the truth

“To move from dismay to justice, we have to become serious about economics — about wealth and who has it, and why." — Kennedy Warne.

Transformation, not tokenism

“Korowai Manaaki is run by Oranga Tamariki. It’s labelled as a ‘youth residence’. The authorities like to highlight the fact that it has a school and that it helps young people get on the right track. But, let’s be honest. It’s a prison.” — Kingi Snelgar.

Cannabis and Race

“It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that our cannabis laws have been yet another tool of colonial oppression.” — Tim McKinnel on the upcoming cannabis referendum.

Face up to tikanga: Court of Appeal to EPA

"If it seems surprising for a New Zealand court to provide a lesson in the Māori worldview as part of a decision about a proposal to mine the seabed, then it is equally surprising to hear the court lecture decision-makers on their failure to engage meaningfully with that worldview." — Kennedy Warne.

Arms and Race

"I know, and work in, communities where the feeling is that we are much closer to the precipice than we care to admit." – Tim McKinnel on why we need to resist militarised policing.

Jacinda Ardern’s rising tide

“Jacinda Ardern is lauded in this country, and feted as a leadership icon around the world, while Bridges flounders as an embarrassing and irrelevant lightweight. He exudes desperation and panic.” — Matt McCarten.

Are we finally paying attention?

“If these leaders succeed in getting things back to our deeply dysfunctional and inequitable normal, I’m sure many of us will be relieved and happy to forget the lesson that this Covid-19 pandemic has provided.” — Dylan Asafo.

Denying racism holds us back

“Denying racism provides cover for racist attitudes and excuses for unequal outcomes. It gaslights people who’ve experienced racism, and blocks people who want to start the real work of moving beyond our colonial heritage.”

A call to war?

"There’s a litany of examples, including admissions by the police themselves, of unconscious bias. Or racism, as we called it in the good old days." — Moana Maniapoto.

Why we should care about retirement policy

“The simplicity and universality of the NZ Superannuation model is the envy of many across the world, but it doesn’t address the needs of all — nor is it guaranteed to be sustainable without refinement.” — Peter Cordtz, interim Retirement Commissioner.

Beyond the Dusky Maiden

“Even in the most liberal of spaces, such as universities that publicly commit to being a space that welcomes and celebrates Pasifika, we see a pattern of racism and sexism.”

The whakapapa of our literature

“Instead of placing Māori and Pacific literatures as late arrivals to English literature, we instead recognise a whakapapa of Māori literature that goes all the way back to Te Moana nui a Kiwa.”

A good death

“Those who cannot truly and freely choose should be protected by the state, not exposed to greater risk of death.”

Now there’s hope

"Let’s be honest. Both sides of politics abandoned the provinces last century. The Provincial Growth Fund is the first injection of capital in a long time."

The shameful treatment of gout in New Zealand

“I don’t just see numbers when I’m reporting research. I see people’s faces and hear their kōrero, and the impact inadequate gout management has on them — all from a condition that is entirely manageable.” Leanne Te Karu, prescribing pharmacist.

Let your story be heard

We won’t see significant change in educational achievement for Māori until we free our children from the negative narratives about them in their everyday lives.

Did the Māori electorates decide the 2017 election?

“Labour’s Māori MPs live and work in two worlds, relating to Māori voters as Māori, but also as workers, citizens and more. The problem for the Māori Party is it never did the same.” —Morgan Godfery, in an extract from a new book, 'Stardust and Substance'.

Moana Jackson: Rethinking free speech

“The so-called humanitarian colonisers who came here in the 19th century did not necessarily hate Maori. Indeed, they sometimes professed to love us and simply wanted to dispossess us in a sensitive and caring way.”

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