Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 14. 1964.

Washing - up Washday

Washing - up Washday

Sir,—The action of Mr. Kinsella in withdrawing "Washday At The Pa" is disturbing for deeper reasons than you give. You suggest these reasons in your last paragraph when you say that, in Maori-Pakeha relationships. "We are not quite sure where we are going."

Our trouble is this: that we who dimly and fearfully guess at our own future, are taking the Maoris with us.

"Washday At The Pa" shows us those qualities of Maori life which we admire and even envy. Happiness love, enthusiasm are shown to us, but in shabby surroundings. We panic. Are we not fruitfully occupied in tidying up these surroundings? And are we not wondering that, at the same time, we might be smothering these qualities? Who wants to hear white children taunt the Maoris with their shabbiness when he also perceives his own unease at the education which teaches them to despise shabbiness so much that it is the only thing they can see?

Mr. Kinsella removed this book not for political reasons, not because it could offend, not because children are cruel. These are the superficial, misleading and therefore false reasons. He removed it as an expression of the troubled conscience of the white man and the anxious perplexity of the Maori, who has no choice but to follow him. And he removes the book not from the conditioned, unwilling gaze of the adults, but from the clear vision of our children, so that they will no longer spill the beans, and taunt their Maori counterparts and say what we hate to hear—"Come on Maori boy—be like us."—I am, etc.,

Robert Oliver