A few days after I wrote the prior post, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, a scathing, terribly written article was published by The New Zealand Herald, and authored by one Paul Holmes, whose claim to fame as far as I can tell is that he once pissed off the America's Cup helmsman Denis Connor who walked out of the supposed interview Mr. Holmes was conducting. He is, I suppose, in the world of broadcasting here in New Zealand, a big fish in a little pond. I have never watched him so I cannot comment upon that, but as to his lack of skill as a writer, and his rather stunning lack of knowledge, or empathy, with Waitangi Day and Te Tiriti I could easily do. Though the dark shadows which descend upon me, like watching a late afternoon storm roll over the rolling tops of the Whanahuia in the Ruahine as above, tell me it is a far deeper, far more reaching subject matter than simply Mr. Holmes. For in the Pakeha world I mostly step in I am very afraid that his rambling diatribe is seen as "good common Kiwi sense", "saying the things we all think but do not say", and that most dreaded utterance "good to see someone tell the truth and not worried about political correctness".
These are the phrases, adjectives, and nouns I gleaned from the article. There is no need to duplicate here, as it's rambling disjointed discourse is not worth the trouble.
"Hatred, rudeness, violence, hateful, hate-filled weirdo's, benefit provision, enable, repugnant, spitting, smugness, self-righteousness, neurotic Maori politics, bizarre, never defined principles,resentment, paying, bullshit, lies, loony, fringe, self-denial, hopeless, failure, fault, hating whitey, awful, nasty common, bamboozling, loony, looniest, irrational, bullying, bizarre,"... and so on it goes.
Language and words to build bridges by indeed. Yeesh!
It all points out to me as a Pakeha trying to develop a political awareness and consciousness as to what all this is really all about, is just how difficult and hard the task in front of me really is, and what it entails. Which brings tears to my eyes thinking the path that these amazing Maori people I was around to listen to at Waitangi have walked, and the path those beautiful young Maori people are embarking upon. I can only think, reflect, and experience this from my own life, a middle aged white male, privileged to have walked where the institutions and system have been loaded my way. Language, education, history, opportunity, belief systems, all have been geared to my benefit, set up so I can walk through the world where the mere colour of my skin, and maleness, means I started further up the ladder. That is the truth. No wonder Phil Ochs topped himself, at least he could write beautiful songs and play the guitar, but that line between being real, and merely a hand wringing liberal seems to me a very fine one, and what I really want to get at is just the truth.
It seems life in my world comes down to two possible roads. We take the education and opportunities and we get highly comfortable or rich, and that is where our cultural " wisdom" comes from, those whom are wealthy and successful. Why for instance, Mr. Holmes has such utter crap even published in a newspaper. It is to perpetuate the system and history, defend it, and make sure the past stays in the past, except for how the system has written it. Or we struggle along striving to reach the level of the well off and rich, and soon settle for merely trying, live a quiet good life, and just as equally and staunchly defend the system as we are told. Then we die.
I am certainly not the former, and with one foot already in the latter I am deciding I would rather live. Yet extracting that one foot is like pulling it out of a deep muddy quagmire in the Ruahine. I guess maybe slightly like a tiny fraction of a tiny step in a tiny moment of how it has been for indigenous people everywhere in the world for centuries.
I'm not real sure where this murky track is taking me and what it all means. It is unlike any I have walked before. There have been many times in the mountains I have been afraid at the journey ahead, and the best solution is to always just shoulder the pack and head into the mist. Mauri Ora!