Saturday, September 22, 2007

2007. NZ: Deaf Trekker and Waitangi, 1999

< 1999. Gran Mackintosh's Birthday with Esslemonts, Oaklands, Christchurch.

The dominion of NZ had a wobbly economy, improved annually by thousands of multiracial immigrants. Regarding NZ's Maori-protecting, 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, and subsequent Maori Land Wars, and Maori land confiscations, and rebellions; and buying of Maori land by the Crown, settlers and speculators on the North and South Islands; and the 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act; (Douglas Graham, Trick or Treaty, Victoria University, Wellington, 1997); the 1985 Waitangi Tribunal Amendment Act; and Treaty Principals; and Waitangi Claims and Fiscal Envelope payments, we'd visited Waitangi in June 1995. (Alan Ward, An Unsettled History, Treaty Claims in NZ Today, Bridget Williams Books, Wellington, 1999).

Since then on annual Waitangi Days, we'd seen on TV Maori tribes; Maori men paddling wakas; Maori men doing hakas; Maori women swinging poi balls; Labour PM Clark being reduced to tears by Maori; PM Clark visiting Okains Bay instead of Waitangi the next year; National leader Brash getting a clod thrown at him by Maori; a Maori man pot-shotting a flag on a lawn.

The Treaty of Waitangi formalized a NZ colony by Britain, which had feared French interests in NZ, like French settlers in Akaroa. Later Waitangi Acts ensured taxpayers paid Maori for 19th century wars and land confiscations from Maori in areas like Taranaki. (David Slack, Bullshit, Backlash and Bleeding Hearts, Penguin Books, Auckland, 2004). Maori Waitangi Treaty dispossession claims were like SA blacks in 2150 making apartheid claims from future SA generations.

Waitangi Treaty made no provisions for thousands of Asian, Pacific Islander and European trekkers, like us, arriving post-Waitangi, creating jobs and growing NZ's economy. Would my trekker sons be forced to pay restitution for Maori dispossession claims which perennially flourished? Was that the price we paid for residence, Maori reserved-MPs, a "bicultural" country, state-savings schemes, Baby Boomer state pensions?

Maori and Pakeha "biculturalism" ignored thousands of annual immigrants. Pakeha had European ancestors, and Maori had Asian and European ancestors, diluting Maori genealogy whakapapas. If NZ was a "bicultural" society, where did wittering "biculturalism" leave cultures of recent immigrants, like Asians, expected to devote their lives, finances and expertise to NZ? Where did "biculturalism" leave my family with our Boer-Brit whakapapas? Maori and Pakeha "biculturalism" was questionable, as My Christchurch was clearly multicultural. By 2007, there were more Asians living in Christchurch than Maori. Having had Afrikaner kultuur foisted on me during apartheid, then being expected to identify with African cultures and heritage after apartheid, I was wary of divisive culture politics.

NZ media sometimes reported Maori advocating their tribes (iwi), claiming from the Waitangi Tribunal colonial dispossession of lands, estates, fisheries, forests and other assets like oil and gas reserves during and after 1860s. Although there were only about 3000-4000 Ngai Tahu Maori when Waitangi Treaty was signed, and although post-Waitiangi Ngai Tahu had sold 80% of the South Island to the Crown, Waitangi Tribunal paid Ngai Tahu $170 million "Fiscal Envelope" dollars. (Ibid Slack). Aoraki Mount Cook was "settled" to Ngai Tahu, which eventually returned Aoraki to the nation, as nowadays only a few score Maori lived in the Mount Cook region. Near Oaklands, Wigram Airport was given to Ngai Tahu, and old airport dwellings were renovated and sold.

Modern immigrants losing their homelands, wealth, professional work and families, were also disppossessed.

Jake and Luke learnt Maori at school, like they also learnt Spanish and Japanese, but insufficient to be fluent in those languages. As a NZ resident, I must acknowledge the Waitangi Treaty as the founding document of NZ society, but the "we are all one people" (nation) uttered by William Hobson, while signing the treaty, sounded strange, given present "biculturalism," iwi divisions and demands for reinstated ownership of NZ fisheries and foreshore, or ownership of electromagentic waves. (Ibid Graham). Hobson's treaty conned Maori, as the Maori version acknowledged chiefly authority, but the English version acknowledged British law and government (Ibid Slack). When Kiwis accepted multiethnicity and independence from mommy Britain (with Governors General and New Years Honours' lists and toadying British royalty), then the Treaty of Waitangi would be irrelevant.

< 1999. Esslemonts and Gran Mackintosh at Lake Coleridge.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Treaty of Waitangi.

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