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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 37 No. 3. March 20, 1974

Putting a Positive Evaluation on Maori Identity

page 10

Putting a Positive Evaluation on Maori Identity

The submissions of the Maori Organisation on Human Rights to the Education Development Conference Part 2

The first need is to recognise that although New Zealand governments have always discriminated between Maori and Pakeha, such "assistance" should not be made "permanent" under the Race Relations Act because :
  • The Maori has succeeded in NZ society in spite of such assistance and Pakeha laws, not because of them;
  • Maori success is evidenced by the fact that NZ is increasingly recognised as a multiracial society in fact, whereas till the turn of the century many "made no secret of their desire for the extermination of the Maori" (Cowan. NZ Wars, Vol. 2, p. 476); and by the fact that although this desire is still expressed today (as in late 1972 when the Tauranga County Council Chairman publicly predicted that the Maori will cease to exist in little more than a generation and we will all be just "sunburnt Kiwis") government statistics show that the Maori sector of the population is increasing roughly twice as fast as the Pakehas.

    The crucial question is: how is this increasing Maori population to identify in our time? In 1973 —

  • on the one hand, we are told that under Pakeha law "offending could become the norm for Maori children rather than the exception" (Report on Juvenile Crime, Social Welfare Department, p. 41). Since the Hunn Report 1960 (Department of Maori Affairs) and the Report on Violent Offending 1971 (Justice Department) government statistics apparently still record rising Maori crime rates.
  • on the other hand, for the first time since the 1920s we have two Maori Cabinet Ministers — who have achieved this status on their own merit at a time when it is still practically impossible for a Maori to win election from a Pakeha Parliamentary constituency.

Why do many — perhaps most — Pakehas hear so much about the Maori crime rate (though the rate is higher, the number of Maori offences is far smaller than the number of Pakeha offences) and so little about the causes of disproportionate Maori poverty today?

Matiu Rata M.P. in earlier days

Matiu Rata M.P. in earlier days

When disproportionate poverty (lower socio-economic status) is cited as possibly the main cause for offending, particularly Maori offending (Report on Juvenile Crime, pp 39-40), why was there no public concern about an overall doubling of NZ poverty when the overall NZ offending rate more than doubled in ten years: from 38.4 to 78.9 per 1000, 1958—1968?

Instead the overall rise in the NZ crime rate was usually discussed in the context of the rising crime rates in modern cities all over the "western world"; and the Report on Juvenile Crime notes that "Crime seems to increase with an increase in affluence".

Why do part-Maori New Zealanders in positions of authority and power usually identify with Pakehas more easily than with their Maori people (and indeed have often broken their links with their Maori people) — whereas part-Maori "offenders" under Pakeh law identify easily with the Maori although their degree of "Maonness" has been questioned in government documents since the Hunn Report 1960 and is arbitrarily assessed (often based on police or "social welfare workers evaluation of the degree" — Report on Juvenile Crime, p. 39.)

There have always been well-to-do Maoris and part-Maoris in positions of wealth and power in NZ — just as there has always been mixed blood since the early days of European settlement. The doubling of surnames (for example: Winiata, Wynyard; Tregurtha, Tirikatene; Paraone, Brown; Porter, Poata; and hundreds more) bear witness to mixed ancestry and to the historical fact that Pakeha law required the Maori to have an English name at school but a Maori name to retain his title to his land.

Why is it that government statistics today list most Maoris as poor? How did the Maori come to be stereotyped by the reasoning that "the needs of the Maori people were less because their living standards were lower" (p. 90, Administration in NZ's Multi-Racial Society, Brookes & Kawharu, 1967) explaining why Maori unemployment benefits were lower than Pakeha rates in the early 1930's and why there were differences in Social Security benefits paid to Maoris until the early 1960s?

Most Pakehas could ignore Maori poverty so long as it was relegated to rural communities where the Maori was expected to die out and neglected by government accordingly.

But by the 1960s Crown policy on Maori land (See Hunn Report recommendations on increased Crown developments of Maori acreages, pp. 47—50) together with the increased labour requirements of urban-based industries since World War II had taken just over 50% of Maoris (over 60% of Maori youth) into the cities. In Pakeha cities the Pakeha could no longer ignore Maori disproportionate poverty.

Today it must be recognised that most improvements in Maori living conditions and status have been achieved at the insistence of Maoris — for example:
  • Reversal of Pakeha policies and legislation on Maori land, preventing Maoris from access to capital for the development of their land in a capitalist society. There is much still to be done (and much that cannot be undone) but improvements have been due to Maori leaders and Maori Cabinet Ministers from Sir James Carroll who in 1891, pressing for a more enlightened government policy, urged Maoris Kia mau ki to koutou Maoritanga, through the Young Maori Party with Sir Apirana Ngata and Sir Maui Pomare, on to Sir Eruera Tirikatene and Matiu Rata today.
  • Reversal of the unsuccessful government policies (since the Native Schools Act of 1867 — sec Sutch, Poverty and Progress in NZ, pp.68 &c)to Europeanise the Maori people through an education system which today has produced Te Huinga Rangatahi o Aotearoa (formerly NZ Federation of Maori Students) and Te Ra Nui o Te Reo Maori (National Maori Language Day — September 14), with Maori organisations (District Councils, Committees, Women's Welfare League, etc up to Nga Tamatoa) doing more than government to take action on government reports and provide Maori "offenders" with the representation they need in Pakeha courts.

When in 1972/73 the report Justice and Race (Nelson Race Relations Action Group) roused public discussion and an eminent lawyer (Jeremy Pope), an eminent economist (W. Rosenberg), even a Minister of the Crown Crown (Dr Finlay) could argue that the "Maori crime rate" was due to "poverty rather than race" it became only too apparent that ignorance of our common history could lead to further gross mistakes.

Such ignorance can prevent cooperation between the races in the positive tide of improvement that is surging forward today. Many pakehas (often through inter-marriage) are becoming aware that the Maori, neglected by government in his rural poverty, had advantages he cannot find in Pakeha cities — better ways of handling personal relationships affecting the community's children, its old people, its "offenders", indeed ways which are much closer to the solutions Pakeha society is proposing for its problems in these areas today.

It is not a question of blame. And it is high time to stop blaming the Maori for his "disproportionate poverty", hightime that the Maori had equal opportunity with the Pakeha to control his own affairs and his own monies for the benefit of underprivileged Maoris. It is not a question of replacing Pakeha paternal assistance with Maori paternal assistance.

It is a question of mutual respect and co-operation on an equal basis with mutual understanding based on fuller knowledge of the lessons of our country's history.

Cartoon of a judge dispensing British justice

The racism of the 19th century has earned world condemnation in the 20th century as genocide, cultural or otherwise, as institutional racism and as the cause of one of the great international issues of our time.

The Race Relations Conciliator is correct is asserting that New Zealanders generally are not equipped or educated to "give objective consideration to what is meant or conveyed by the word 'racism'".

But the term racism (especially since the emergence of Nazi Master Race theories erupting in World War II and still threatening the peace of Africa) is in common use in the world today. Lack of education or ignorance is no excuse for failure to consider it objectively. For example —
  • Why do some New Zealanders call a Maori Rugby team "racist" — but not a Welsh team, Scottish team, an English team, etc? Why not the Maori Battalion?
  • Why call Maori parliamentary scats 'racist' — but not Pakeha seats? (although the latter are increased by law on a population basis when Maori seats are still held at four)
  • Why fear a Polynesian radio station will be 'racist' or 'promote apartheid'? Why not the same fear for Pakeha/European radio or TV?
  • Why does the press still publish references to 'Maori wars' and 'Maori troubles' (for example with reference to large-scale street fighting among youth in Invercargill this year, or in write-ups of places of historical interest)when —
    a)the nations or tribes of Europe have warred for 2000 years, dividing and redividing themselves into separate states generating in this century two world wars, Nazi master race theories, and human slaughter on a scale no Maori could dream of before contact with Europeans.
    b)in New Zealand "the government was wrong in declaring war against the Natives for the purpose of establishing a supposed rights of the Crown under the [Waitara] purchase. It was, as Dr Featherston called it, an unjust and unholy war, and the second war was only the resumption of the original conflict " Sim Royal Commission into Land Claims, 1926/27.
  • Why are some people 'surprised' — and this surprise is publicly recorded in the press — when Maori students do well and government trade trainees achieve excellent results and pass rates?
  • Why does government congratulate itself on training 400 in one year, when a Maori MP says the need is to train 4000?
Can people who so one-sidedly apply the term 'racist' and associate 'trouble' so page 11 one-sidedly with ethnic minorities understand how to replace the negative evaluation of Maori identity with a positive evaluation? Some may plead they already put a positive evaluation on Maori identity — for example:
  • The Maori is New Zealand's most valuable tourist asset — NZ Herald 23.1.71 (In 1971 the NZ tourist industry earned New Zealand $36,000,000 in foreign ex-change rising in 1972 to $57,000,000. How far has New Zealand's most valuable asset shared in the benefit?)
  • "It should be appreciated that the availability of Maoris to do unskilled, semi-skilled, manual and labouring work has made an important contribution to the economy for many years, especially in such industries as meat freezing, fruit and vegetable processing, building, hydro-electric construction, roadworks, transport, bush operations and sawmilling.

"Had it not been for the Maori labour force, it is probably that we would have had to import large numbers of suitable workers as assisted immigrants." NZ Labour & Employment Gazette, Feb-Nov 1969, which also documents statistically the poverty gap between Maori and Pakeha workers.

To educate New Zealanders on the meaning of 'racism' and 'positive evaluation' the NZ education system could achieve much in a limited period by compensatory emphasis on two areas of history:
1)The comparative condition of British and Maori workers around 1840 onwards;
2)The origins of Maori poverty under British rule from the late 1850s.
3)Compensatory emphasis on this comparison is necessary because at Pakeha celebrations of the Treaty of Waitangi and in the tourist industry generally, the Maori is still emphasised mainly in the garb of the 1840's — which to some Europeans still suggests 'savagery', lack of 'civilisation etc.
Representatives of constituent organisations of Te Hu inga Rangatahi U Aotearoa at the August conference; Nga Kuri A Wharei, Te Huinga Rangatahi, Nga Tamatoa and Polynesian Panthers (Auckland).

Representatives of constituent organisations of Te Hu inga Rangatahi U Aotearoa at the August conference; Nga Kuri A Wharei, Te Huinga Rangatahi, Nga Tamatoa and Polynesian Panthers (Auckland).

We suggest therefore that the education system should remind New Zealanders that terms like 'savagery', 'uncivilised' were equally applied to workers in Britain by writers such as Macauley and Thomas Carlyle.

We should be reminded that New Zealanders who in 1840 wore "a suit of tatters" as described by Carlyle today appear in very different garb for tourists and at Waitangi. We should consider: if the Army wishes to take a place beside the Navy in 'New Zealand Day' celebrations at Waitangi, should it not appear in the garb of the 10,000 Imperialist British troops imported to fight the NZ wars or if not; should not Maoris appear in their modern garb of freezing workers, businessmen, truckdrivers, councillors, bank clerks, government public servants, etc.

We respect and treasure traditional Maori dress as part of our heritage, we respect its extraordinary fine workmanship from ancient times. We welcome the increased use of Maori design in Maori design in modern clothing.

We urge the education system to place compensatory stress also on fact by Eldson Best, such as. "The derelict neolith before you was lifting a well defined trail when we were blazing our first rude path; he was ranging vast oceans spaces when we, with anxious hearts poled a rude dug-out across the raging Thames. When we bowed before blood-stained beer-swilling gods, he had evolved the concept of a Supreme Being of beneficent aspect, and that of the awe of the wairua, the refined wraith of the human soul....."

Best wrote this in his monograph The Maori School of Learning where he also wrote that the whare wananga, "that revered House of Learning has gone for ever" and the Maori "like the mca of his own land...is passing away".

But new forms of the whare wananga have been emerging in recent years. Like the Maori himself, such conceptions have not passed away.

2) Compensatory emphasis on the origins of Maori poverty under British rule is required to clear up confusion on the meaning of the term 'racism' and prevent the continuance of double standards in NZ law.

Within a limited period the NZ education system should ensure that all its pupils are in possession of facts such as the following:
  • Second-class status for Maori citizens of New Zealand despite Article 3 of the Treaty of Waitangi, was defined from 1845 in the instruction of Governor (Captain, later Sir George) Grey from Lord Stanley, British Secretary for War and the Colonies, ruling that "the degree of consideration to be given to these Maori subjects was to be modified whenever it came into conflict with the peace and welfare of colonists of European descent" (See Wards, pp. 382, 171-173 &c)
  • This attitude condoned European double standards towards the Maori system of land tenure which had been recognised under Article 2 of the Treaty so that Maori common ownership of land
    a)was used as the excuse to exclude Maoris from Parliament and the vote, and to drop legislation excluding chiefs which was defeated in the NZ Upper House (See Miller, Maori and Pakeha 1814—1865, ed I.G. Sutherland, 1940)
    b)was used to prevent Maoris from access to capital like Pakehas for the devlopment of their lands, until the mid-1930s (see W.L. Rees, preface to From Poverty to Plenty, 1888; also The Maori Today, third edition, Maori Affairs Department, with reference to the representations of Sir James Carroll and The Young Maori Party)
    c)but was ignored by Crown and settlers purchasing land from individual Maoris (see Rusden, Aureretanga, 1888, Miller Wards, Sutch, etc etc) even when such double standards led to the NZ wars.
  • Article 2 of the Treaty of Waitangi gave the Crown sole right of purchase of Maori land as a "safeguard intended to be for the benefit of the Maori" (Bruce H. Paton, .solicitor of the Supreme Court quoted in Te Maori Vol. III No. 1, 1972). But in 1848 (See Wards, p. 388) Sir George Grey assured the British Colonial Office (Earl Grey) that the Maori —
    a)"Would cheerfully recognise the Crown's right of preemption, and would in nearly all circumstances dispose of their surplus for a nominal consideration, even perhaps without payment, 'if the Compliment were only paid them of requesting their acquiescence in the occupation of these land by European settlers'. Excepted from this were those Maoris upon whose land settlement had been made before valid purchase, demonstrating the real value of the land which the Maoris then refused to sell for a nominal consideration. Grey's solution was for the Government to keep its purchases well in advance of settlement." (See Wards, p. 388).
    b)In the 1850s "the Government was giving (the Maori) an average of 6d an acre for their land and was re-selling it from 5s to 10s an acre. The profit on these land transactions provided more than half the government's income" (See Miller, ed Sutherland, 1940)

    "In the year 1859 we are told that there were in (he whole of New Zealand 56,000 Maoris and 71,000 Europeans and a total revennue of 459,000 pound sterling.

    "Of this sum only 15,000 sterling was allocated to native purposes and all the rest spent on Europeans.

    "In the following year according to Sir George Grey, the amount spent by the government on the salaries of Europeans was 199,000 sterling, while the amount spent on the salaries of Maoris was 777 sterling...." (See Miller, 1966, pp. 132-133)

    d)"When (Sir George Grey) arrived in New Zealand in 1861, he immediately began to prepare for peace and war at the same time...Even before he arrived in New Zealand, he interpreted Newcastle's instruction to introduce civil government among the Maoris by paying salaries to chiefly officials as an injunction to buy native allies..."(See Sinclair, Origins of the Maori Wars, pp. 240-241 - pub 1957, 1961)
    e)After 1856 "for reasons of economy", the Land Purchase Department was amalgamated with the Native Affairs Department, And the "man who helped the Maoris would earn little public esteem, and would probably be abused as 'pro-Maori' but he who bought their land cheaply and in large quantities held a key to prestige and power. What the colonists at large valued, they would reward." (See Sinclair, p. 108)
    f)On "the legal (but more lethal) warfare of land purchase" see Henderson, p. 8 and Sorrenson, Rusden, Cowan, Sinclair, Sutch etc.

Yes, well what I mean to say is that we shouldn't impose our standards on these people - I mean - they might by perfectly happy living in those old houses - ten to a room... Yes - like back in the islands...

The modern impact of double standards in prices for Maori and European land is still evident today and we will not attempt to do more than recall it by a couple of examples:
  • In 1973 the protest of Maori owners near Waitahanui, Taupo, at the lower price for their lakeside land than for a Pakeha (relatively small) motel site, in a deal by their Trustee, the NZ Insurance Co, with the Crown.
  • In 1972 the protest of the Kereopa family at exorbitant rating of their land compared to nearby European land (See Te Maori 1972 for documentation on this and the Koroneff case).
  • In late 1972 the MP for Southern Maori (and present Minister of Tourism) drew attention to the failure of the government s "Maori Trustee" to keep valuation and interests on Maori land under his control in line with rising values and interest rates for European land, etc.
  • The payment to Maori owners of compensation for unjustly confiscated land at rates much lower than the previous valuation of such land — for example:

The 1926/27 Sim Royal Commission awarded compensation at less than one seventh of the land value recognised by the 1880 Royal Commission (Sir William Fox and Sir Francis Dillon Bell).

The Sim Commission found that 'although the Natives who took part in the second Taranaki War were engaged in rebellion in terms of the NZ Settlement Act, 1863, we think that in the circumstances they ought not to have been punished by the confiscation of any of their land....."

But in 1878 the NZ Government was anxious to market this Taranaki land in Australia in the belief that "it will place in the Treasury half a million sterling". (Hon Mr Macandrew, see Cowan vol 2, p. 477) — hence the government haste to survey it without regard for Maori rights or reserves, leading to the destruction of Parihaka in 1881 after two years of Maori passive resistance during which hundreds of Maori ploughmen and fencers were imprisoned without trial — and this injustice was also legalised by special Parliamentary legislation. (Refer 1966 Petition to Parliament for the honouring of the Treaty of Waitangi prepared by Rangi Makawe Rangitaura of Big Jim's Hill, Waitara, also a child at Parihaka).

It is clear from the publication dates of works we have quoted that the education system has an increasing wealth of documentation by historians to help in the task of breaking through the vicious circle of racial prejudice.

It is also clear from the current cases quoted in the daily press (and briefly referred to above) that New Zealanders urgently need to understand the lessons of their history in order to put a stop to the effects of continuing discrimination between Pakeha and Maori in land prices, rating, and the many other fields affecting socio-economic status.

The latest proposals of the Maori Minister of Maori Affairs, Matiu Rata, should help New Zealanders to see legislation such as the 1967 Maori Affairs Amendment Act and documents such as the 1960 Hunn Report in a clearer light. But they will only do so if the education system gives timely aid by compensatory emphasis on relevant facts.

Next week: The importance of understanding institutional racism and The confused values and double standards of institutional racism.