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

More Letters

page 4

More Letters

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.


Humanist' Yes — To Pakeha


In reply to Margaret Davey's letter entitled 'Down a Local Brown" in the Salient edition of Thursday 28th 1972:

Miss Davey as an atheist/humanist cannot accept what she beleives superstition. I will not attempt to impose hers on me. What I will attempt to do is bring to her notice some simple facts:
1)As any anthropologist will tell you, all cultures are based on superstitions, to explain the "unexplainable."
2)If Margaret Davey were to deign to attempt a course in Maori studies she would find how little she really knows about Maori tribal arrangement. Everyone has an opportunity to express his point of view. The elder would soon find his authority undermined should he at any time disregard popular opinion. I refer Margaret Davey as an example to the ostracism of Te Tahi
3)It is true that the Maori was, and is, a fiery fellow. If Margaret Davey were to even slightly consider a course in Maori language she would come to understand just what these "war like" haka refer to. Margaret Davey has obviously never heard of a certain Ngati Porou haka of procreation.
4)Dear Margaret Davey, if your mana, your land, your very identity were stolen from you, you would be forgiven for imbibing a little.

Yours Darkly

T.C. Roa.

Browned off with Ignorance


While I support the effort of any individual to achieve 'sincere love and peace' I have personal objections to Margaret Davey's comments on Maori Culture. I hope you don't mind me being a pakeha by the way, but a year in a Pa and a Maori wife (who, incredibly enough is neither very superstitious, undemocratic, warlike, gluttonous or habitually drunk) has bred in me considerable respect for Maoritanga.

One or two points on our own culture first, however:
I.Pakeha culture is very superstitious. As an ordinary spectator of New Zealand society I am forced to admit the presence of (but not necessarily applaud) the superstitions surrounding the Football Field, advertising media, T.A.B., Christian Religion, abuse of L.S.D., Parliament and Capitalism. We don't all scorn Comrade Moses either Maggie — ask any of the 25,000 Jesus Freaks.
II.The Pakeha Government is undemocratic. What? You insist that we do live in a democracy? Well some people do I spose, Sir Roy Jack, Sir Leslie Monroe, Colin King Ansel, Rob Muldoon.
III.The Pakeha was warlike even before his imperialist forces invaded the Maori's homeland. His history of cruelty, violence and systematic slaughter is at least equal to that of any Polynesian people. I'm not a utopian pacifist but I think that of a cannon and a mere, the latter is more noble, less destructive and, dammit, much more sporting madam.
IV.O.K. O.K. It doesn't take a sociology graduate to gather that Maoris can sink a few ales. Most people whom circumstances force into the working class seem to go in for the grog. The difference is that the Maori seems to enjoy it more than a lot of other jokers. If you're suddenly forced into a boozing culture there are worse things you can do than be an affable drinking companion. Which most Maoris are.

Now Margaret, love, listen. There is little likelihood of Maoris imposing their "mud huts" on your utopian and humanitarian wonderfulness. The buggars just want to natter in their own language a bit more, so that the pakeha may learn something about Ahrohanui, korero, Mahi and Rangimare, of which he is largely ignorant.

Yours from the bar of the Tramways

Don Franks.

Beagle Holes Salient


The Colin McCahon painting cost $4,000. Half of this came as a grant from the Arts Council. The other half has been advanced by the University pending an appeal for contributions to the members of the Court of Convocation. The decision to buy it and the method of financing it were discussed at a meeting of the University's committee for the purchase of works of art which has a student member. That member did not turn up to the meeting.

All of this could have been elicited with a simple enquiry before you published you latest issue. But maybe you are less interested in the facts than in finding an easy way of stirring up dissent and mocking New Zealand's most considerable painter.

T.H. Beaglehole.

The student member on the Committee for the Purchase of Works of Art swears he neither knew of the meeting nor was sent an agenda.

The intention was, sir, to mock the University, not Colin McCahon, for whom / have the utmost respect, despite the graffitti. The motive for the latter / doubt your ability to understand if you remain in a rage.

There are people in the community able to pay $4000 for such a painting, but I don't believe this University ought to be of them. If you consider its 'educational' value, consider how many (perhaps lesser, but much more 'accessible') works, could have been purchased for the same amount.


First Don Driver's $3000 work of 'fart' and then Cohn McCahon's $4000 ego trip — 'I am'. Why does Vic have to jump on the bandwagon of current bad taste in modern art and invest such a lot of money in that mindless piece of junk (which will be obsolete in a few years anyway) that McCahon is trying to pass off as 'art'. No doubt he is having a good laugh as well as cashing in our gullibility. The situation isn't helped either by the pretentious, pompous drivel and verbal diarrhoea that some art critics try to pass off as comment on present day society. You only have to look at some of the art displays in the library to see that there are far more talented people, whose work the top brass deem unworthy to purchase, e.g. Brent Wong, who at least shows some skill and inventiveness (and it's cheaper).

You may like to hear of an experiment my friends and I performed. Last year there was an exhibition of continuums in the library. As these objects seemed utterly absurd and worthless, we got a rubbish tin, placed it on a table next to the paintings, entitled it God Circumulum No 9, and added it, complete with price, to the catalogue. That rubbish bin stood on the table for several days and was not removed till the exhibition was. We felt that a rubbish bin had about as much artisticment as a continuum, which in turn has as much as McCahons white elephant.

Yours angrily,

Eva Petro.

Bowen or Bust!


Like "a retired resident" of Bowen Hall, I would like to thank the University for providing me with such a place to live in this year. Living with such a large number of people in such a friendly atmosphere has been a most rewarding experience.

Thanks must be extended to our resident—student—accountant who has most efficiently organised our food supply and the collecting of money, to our student—warden who has manned the hot-water system uncomplaining at some very peculiar hours, and to all the other people who have helped run Bowen Hall.

P.R.O.B. Resident

[abridged — Ed).

A Chance to Enhance


A University newspaper, which is not only read on the campus, is very difficult to produce, and maintain a good standard, when it has not got much tangible support from staff and students of the University.

Salient editors this past year, are to be commended, on some particularly fine issues, and well researched features and eventually one provocative dialogue, between students and staff. Although one hopes all regard themselves as students learning from each other.

Dr. D.B.C. Taylor (Vice-Chancellor) in his address to the Commonwealth Press Union, looked for a greater influence and co-operation with the University and community. Such a lead, could well be taken up by Salient, developing its present, activity and widening its scope and vision to the community. With mergers and takeovers of newspapers in N.Z. and in Wellington their being a cartel now in operation — the need for a vigorous stimulating at all levels (freer news) is becoming more essential.

The Listener (the NZBC national weekly) is subject to serious problems of responsibility and editorial freedom.

The base from which the University newspapers operate could and should fulfil a wider role. Salient is in a unique position to do this in N.Z. thus fulfilling one of the Vice-Chancellor's ambitions, but also the need for such a paper.

It will of course require practical support of all Staff (including students) contributions and maybe outsiders as well. Perhaps controversially it may unify the University and community. There will be problems of editorial policy, distribution, advertising and sales, but these should not be beyond the wiles of the University staff and students.

Here's hoping and praying for some purpose and vision, in the use of Salient, for the greatest enemy to freedom (and responsible use of) is an inert people as these should not be found in universities "Power houses in the Community" A.N. Whitehead called them. Sacrifices will be required in time and effort, but this should be welcomed by all concerned. It might also even improve the Public Relations.

I.J.A. Coles.