Tuesday, February 14, 2012


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!

Kia ora once again to all the lovely people above whom I spent the journey to Waitangi amongst. It opened my eyes to so much about Te Tiriti and myself. Interesting times ahead!

On a different note to close this rather rambling effort. This post represents my 100th post on this blog! A good friend once told me that most blogs last a little over 12 months and fizzle out. I started this one mid 2007 mainly as a way to let my whanau and peeps back home have a look at my wanderings in the place I love so much, the Ruahine. So five years later I am still at it, have rambled around the mountains, developed this love of the whenua and Papatuanuku I suspect has always been within me, and now moving into other areas as well. To anyone who is out there reading this - Kia ora for your interest, and Kia ora and Aroha especially to the old names from way back. I have met some extremely interesting people, and many in person as well, via this place. So cheers, and I vow now, post 101 will be in the Ruahine! Kia kaha!


Donald said...

Dear Robb

Coming on the heels of your previous well written and researched post here, gives what you say even more cred!

Not that you need to have that preface. From what I've seen/heard it's all about low quality energy / vibration and cheap thrills at the expense of others I'd say.

Shame on The New Zealand Herald too for being found wanting in the editing dept.



Tehani said...

Awesome Rob!!!

Marty Mars said...

kia ora Rob - well said on both posts e hoa.

baruk said...

when i read paul holmes' piece, two things came to mind. 1) your excellent piece, and how it was written from waitangi (paul holmes watches TV) and 2) how terrified paul holmes is. and he should be, old racists like him are going extinct.

a couple of years ago i was at an university graduation, with a lot of other older, 'respectable' people in the audience. when the anthem was sung, the te reo maori part was largely ignored, while the english part was boomed out. last year, at the wharf watching the world cup finals, the crowd (mostly made up of drunk teens) sung both parts with equal gusto.

things will change, as long as we keep teaching the kids a better way, and the old farts die.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
Lot's to keep an eye upon out there. My recent journey is really the first time I have dove into First People activism, and a real eye opener. I think quite possibile that underneath this all my real anger lies at how we treat Mother Earth, Papatuanuku, and try to find ways we can learn to live in her bosom without destroying it all. To leave it better than we found we found it for our tamariki. Interesting that I find those beliefs align very closely to the principle Tino Rangatiratanga.

Ruahines said...

Tena koe Tehani,
Kia ora!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora baruk,
I write Kia ora to you as ell. Indeed, patience is a truth behind pretty much all First nation struggles. But as the world is now showing, that discontent, entitlement is being lost in class distinctions as well. That really PISSES off white people. Go figure.
Kia ora e hoa,

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marty,
Cheers e hoa, nga mihi for your continued observations and thoughts.

Marja said...

Congratulations I started mid 2007 as well and I still love it although haven't got much time and skills to put such a thoughtful post together. I just live in a small world trying to do the best I can and being far of politics and the like. I leave that for the well spoken people like you as you are good at it. Wish you all the best in your journey. Arohanui marja

Unknown said...

Nice one Robb, speaking as a Maori you are the best type of pakeha ;-)

Paul Holmes rant was terrible, and rather sad, but a word also for all the old white men who have seen the injustice and inequality and played their part to move towards a better future.

I hope your journey into this area is fulfilling, it is a long path.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja,
You are far too modest e hoa, your place says far more than you give it credit for. All I can write is Kia Ora for being one of those "old timers" whom has tuned in and given me inspiration. Rave On Marja!

Beth said...

Hi Robb, thank you for thinking about the things you do. The world needs people who are willing to question the typical paths we all tend to follow; people who are willing to step lightly. This questioning never really stops...oddly, my own "carbon footprint" is less now,living in a major city, than it was in the countryside, where we occupied more space, used cars constantly, and burned fossil fuels to stay warm. But my spirit misses the mountains and the creatures, and the touch of the earth. It's never perfect, we just have to do the best we can and keep thinking and adjusting. Best wishes to you, as always! -- Beth

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Jamie,
Just for shits and grins I wore my Tino Rangatiratanga tee shirt into an English style pub at happy hour as we were farewelling a work mate - The Rose and Crown. It helps that I am pretty big, but the looks I got, and people I know who sort strayed away from me was very noticeable. And after a few lagers I actually started to really enjoy my point of difference. The silence and the glares speak volumes. There is a long road to travel, but I am inspired by the people committed to honour and change. Hope all is well e hoa.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Beth,
Thank you for stopping in, and your words remind me of a quote from someone I read this very day which I will paraphrase but along the lines of "a mountain can be moved one pebble at a time". Mauri ora e hoa.

pohanginapete said...

This was the same Paul Holmes who some years ago was rescued by local Maori when his helicopter ditched in the sea; the same Paul Holmes who after the incident was so effusive about how wonderful his rescuers were; the same Paul Holmes who swore he'd never let anyone badmouth Maori ever again. This was the same Paul Holmes who publicly referred to the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan as a "cheeky darky". These incidents should be enough to give some indication of the character of Paul Holmes.

On a more positive note, congratulations on the 100th post, Robb. A fine effort, much appreciated, and I look forward to the next 100.

Joe McCarthy said...

Congratulations on both milestones - 100 posts over 5 years (and probably thousands of comments)! You are embodying the 8th Habit preached by Stephen Covey: Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.

I am not familiar with Paul Holmes, or the particulars of anti-Maori racism in New Zealand (beyond what I read on your blog), but I it appears that overt racism - and sexism - is on the rise in the U.S. once again, as the presidential election race heats up. The words and phrases you excerpted from the Holmes article remind me of an infamous 1994 GoPac memo that Newt Gingrich wrote about Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.

Words matter, and I'm glad you are doing your part in raising awareness, in words and deeds.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
Indeed the hypocracy, arrogance, and certainly the short memory of Holmes is quite shocking. Though not too surprising really. He knows what buttons to push, and knows his opinions are actually held by many. More is the pity.
A special Kia Ora to you for your words on my 100th post. Yours was the first blog I ever stumbled upon and it was, and still is, highly inspirational to me in the writings and the photographs. Look forward to catching up!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Joe,
It is very synchronistic to read from you directly after Pete, as your place, along with his, were the two main inspirations for starting my own place. So Kia Ora for your words, and for your continuing inspiration as well.
Racism is indeed alive and well here in Aotearoa - maybe not quite so overtly and open as I remember in the states, and not much seems to have changed, but what I find is sometimes that just beneath the surface hatred, intolerance and racism that is even worse than the burning cross. Being awoken to these things at Waitangi, while being distinctly in the minority as a Pakeha was very eye opening. It is so easy for us to stumble through the world completely unaware of how the system is set up. And very hard to actually confront it. Thanks for the link Joe. Mauri Ora e hoa!

troutbirder said...

It been about five years for me as well. At least they can give us credit for some peristence. This Homes person reminds me of a Limbaugh person here in the states. In the later case his paranoid and hateful attacks have made him very rich man. At least the New Zealand version souds somewhat more in deserved obscurity.. May he stay there.