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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 25. 6 October 1972

About Turn and Look, Whitey

About Turn and Look, Whitey


With reference to the particularly objectionable letter entitled Down a Local Brown.

I find that the correspondent is a racist and an ignorant hypocrite While condescending to be in favour of any minority striving to achieve its rightful status there is expressed in the next unsavoury breath an admission to an objection to Maori culture. The ignorance displayed prompts this letter and were it not that a few people may be persuaded to that way of unthinking I would not dignify it with a reply.

First, the Maori institution of the tangi is an expression of community spirit by which the bereft family is helped in bearing their grief. The burden is shared by the whole community and thus the load lightened. However I do not expect a singularly self-centred European to understand such feelings of community unity.

Secondly any statement that Maori tribal arrangement is undemocratic is completely without foundation. The idea that children have a voice in political discussions shows a quaint sense of humour but to imply that women do not do so in Maori society points to an obvious ignorance of the structure of Maori society on the influence of women in decision making. The least cursory glance at our history and literature will show the exalted position women retain.

That the Maori has a background of waging war, and he is proud of it is not disputed — no attempt will be made to reconcile this with any idea of pacifism. But to blandly suggest Maori haka "all extol the virtues of war" is just not true. Three of the most well-known haka today - one concerns procreation, another is a protest at land confiscation, and last but not least was composed in exultation at being saved from death.

As to the fourth proposition the correspondent must have written this while stamping jack boots and waving a swastika. The restating of the stereotype of boozing gluttonous Polynesians is just out and out racism. I would like to point out that it was not while drunk with Pakeha grog but while fighting alongside the thieving son-of-a-bitch that Ngati-Apakura saw their lands taken for hostilities in the Land Wars of last century. It was not while drunk with Pakeha grog but while praying to the traitorous son-of-a-bitch's white God that dozens of Waikato Maoris lost their beliefs. The church in which they were kneeling was burnt to the ground. Now of course no fucking 3rd generation descendent of prisoner migrants is going to drink her beliefs away.

She has had the opportunity to learn the danger of excesses from the most intoxicated, consumption riddled culture of all time.

In conclusion, I would advise any would-be critics of Maori culture to first do some homework, better yet, learn the language and even then by way of wise counsel, as a no doubt famous Pakeha horticulturist said.

When you have been born and raised in a glass-house you shouldn't roll boulders-albeit they are directed at mud huts!

Me haere koe, me to aroha, me to wai-marie ki te wharepaku.