Our separate history

August 20th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

writes in The Press:

The tone of Ansell’s website is generally disturbing and more than a little obsessive. I don’t really understand what so incenses him but, in his supposed pursuit of the truth, he merely appears to be ranting about the imminent dangers of separatism as if it was a modern conspiracy among Maori leaders, the judiciary, state, media and professional historians to distort the lens that is used to view the history of New Zealand.

I think the truth, something Ansell claims to be the champion of, requires a little more consideration than his apparently unbalanced hyperbole.

If ideas of separateness between Maori and Pakeha do exist in New Zealand, it clearly stems from the early days of colonial government when different laws were introduced for the different races.

Examples are not hard to find.

The Native Schools Act 1867 was introduced specifically for children in Maori communities. The purpose of the schools, the funding available and the curriculum taught were different from mainstream schools.

The early church schools educated children in Maori and many children were literate albeit not in English.

The Native Schools had a mission, generally supported by Maori leadership to instruct in English and assimilate the children into European ways. This separate school system remained in place until 1969.

Potiki is quite right that NZ’s past is full of separate laws and policies for Maori and non-Maori.

I think it is appalling that up until 1975, Maori (defined as over 50% Maori descent) were banned from voting in general electorate seats. I can understand things not being too enlightened in the 1850s, but it is incredible that this persisted until the 1970s.

However to me, this is exactly why we should not continue with race based seats. The fact we had them in the past is not, for me, a reason to justify them today. It is a reason to say “the future we aspire to is one where all New Zealanders can vote in any seat, regardless of their ethnic descent”.

 

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33 Responses to “Our separate history”

  1. insider (1,000 comments) says:

    More a paternalistic overhang than appalling. Now you don’t even have to be Maori to be considered Maori. Is that any less ‘appalling’?

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  2. Rightandleft (634 comments) says:

    Native schools never barred Pakeha students from attending them, nor were Maori children prevented from attending normal state schools if one was in their area. That makes them very different to the segregated school system in the US at the time.

    From “A Century of Change” by Stenson and Olsen, pg. 99 “However they [native schools] proved to be quite popular with white settlers too. Every effort was made to ensure that racially segregated schools were not established.”

    I agree that we should discontinue the racist practice of having Maori seats in Parliament, especially as MMP has made the need for them disappear. Maori are able to obtain proportional representation without them.

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  3. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    ” I can understand things not being too enlightened in the 1850s, but it is incredible that this persisted until the 1970s. ”

    really ? I can remember Maori being referred to as Hori’s in the 70′s. I agree about seats but in the end it is a decision for Maori to make.

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  4. wreck1080 (3,726 comments) says:

    Maoris like separatism where it means money, power and benefits come their way.

    Who wouldn’t, especially when the government is so keen to pander to their wishes.

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  5. Bob R (1,336 comments) says:

    ***I agree about seats but in the end it is a decision for Maori to make.***

    @ IHSteward,

    No, that is exactly the kind of muddle headed eloi type response you expect from modern liberal Europeans. The Royal Commission in 1986 recommended they should not be continued with under MMP. The reason for this is set out in the post above by RightandLeft.

    They should simply go, just as tobacco advertising had to go (would you have preferred to wait for the tobacco companies to decide they were ready to end advertising?).

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  6. Scott Hamilton (279 comments) says:

    The Tohunga Suppression Act was another shocker. Until 1962 it was illegal for Maori to practice their traditional religion.

    But a good deal of discrimination against Maori (as well as Asians) was informal. In parts of the Franklin District, where I grew up, there was a practice of not admitting non-whites into bars and barber shops on the grounds of ‘hygiene’ and ‘behaviour’. Only after a prominent Maori leader was declined service in the Papakura Hotel in 1959 did the discrimination attract national and international attention. Franklin was branded ‘the Little Rock of New Zealand’, and the American sociologist David Ausubel made comparisons with the situation of Maori and those of blacks in the old Confederate states in his book The Fern and the Tiki.

    ‘On the 3rd of February, 1959, Dr. H. R. Bennett, a Maori, Senior Medical Officer at a local hospital, brother of the newly appointed New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaya and son of a well known former Maori bishop, was refused service in the lounge bar of the Papakura Hotel because of his race. Mrs. Bennett, a Pakeha, spoke to the publican, identifying Dr. Bennett, but the publican upheld the barman’s decision.

    In commenting upon the incident, Dr. Bennett stressed that, apart from the embarrassment caused to himself and his wife, he was concerned with the general principle of racial equality in New Zealand, particularly in the light of our reputation abroad…’
    http://www.jps.auckland.ac.nz/document//Volume_71_1962/Volume_71,_No._2/Pacific_commentary,_by_J._K._Hunn,_p_256-268/p1 (scroll down)

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  7. anonymouse (695 comments) says:

    Potiki is quite right that NZ’s past is full of separate laws and policies for Maori and non-Maori.

    Ahem, it still is…

    Maori may be ordered to leave hotel
    A XXXX may at any reasonable time enter any licensed premises in any area where he is authorised to carry out his duties and order any Maori who appears to be intoxicated or partly intoxicated, or who is violent, quarrelsome, or disorderly, whether intoxicated or not, to leave the premises.

    Retention of car keys
    (1)Where any XXX is of the opinion that any Maori who is for the time being in charge of any motor vehicle is, by reason of physical or mental condition, however arising, incapable of having and exercising proper control of the motor vehicle, he may—
    (a)forbid that Maori to drive the motor vehicle; or
    (b)require him to deliver up forthwith all ignition or other keys of the motor vehicle in his possession; or
    (c)take such steps as may be necessary to render the motor vehicle immobile or to remove it to a place of safety.

    2)The powers conferred on XXX by subsection (1) may be exercised in respect of persons other than Maoris where any such person is in charge of a motor vehicle in or in the vicinity of a meeting place, or any other place where a gathering of Maoris is assembled for any lawful purpose.

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  8. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    Scott Hamilton – another interesting piece of history, and in my lifetime, just. New Zealand culture/s has come a long way since then.

    Through the sixties I remember sexual aparteid, where public bars were often off limits to women. And girls weren’t expected to get the same level of education, and employment for females was limited to some occupations that were often seen as temporary between school and being a breeder and feeder.

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  9. Aredhel777 (278 comments) says:

    I reckon we should introduce half a dozen white seats and wait for the incoming wails of “racist”.

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  10. dime (9,399 comments) says:

    “he fact we had them in the past is not, for me, a reason to justify them today.”

    exactly.

    god id hate to go through life concentrating on the past and how sad i am and how lifes not fair wah wah wah

    maori seats should have gone long ago.

    why hasnt the UN told us to give them the ass?

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  11. Longknives (4,445 comments) says:

    “I don’t really understand what so incenses him ”

    Christ.. I do!

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  12. iMP (2,232 comments) says:

    I think the restriction up to the 1970s was really to support the special provision of Maori Seats rather than an exclusion as such, based on race..

    personally I think it valuable for NZ to have a Maori party, as there are special issues and policies related to maori that need voicing, arguing and politiking in our ‘broad church’ parliament. If with MMP changes (thresholds) Maori can stand on the same stage without the need for Maori seats, that would be best (ie taking seats like Northland, or Manurewa, Mana etc).

    Complication is the strong Tribal delinations that permeate Maoridom which would give certain tribes Parliamentray representation based on seat boundaries, and not others

    .

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  13. metcalph (1,359 comments) says:

    The Tohunga Suppression Act was another shocker.

    Supported by Apirana Ngata and James Carroll.

    Until 1962 it was illegal for Maori to practice their traditional religion.

    The Tohungas weren’t a religion and the act was aimed against undesirable maori religious leaders (in the guise of “practising on their superstition or credulity”) rather than the everyday practice of traditional maori religion. I’m also rather dubious as to how strong or prevalent traditional Maori religion was at the time. Most of the insurrections of the past century had their origins in the Christian-inspired Maori prophets such as Rua Kenana, whom the act was intended against but never used.

    My favourite bit of discriminatory legislation was the one which prohibited maori women but not white women from breastfeeding their kids in public. It all sounds so horrible until one realizes that white women at the time didn’t breastfeed their sprogs in public and it was merely an (imperfect) attempt to impose the same standard of behaviour among the entire female population.

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  14. Scott Hamilton (279 comments) says:

    The Tohunga Suppression Act was used a number of times against Maori faith healers and clairvoyants. I’m not a fan of faith healing but I don’t see why those who practice it should have been prosecuted, especially when others who did the same sort of thing but had a different skin colour were not subject to legal restrictions. Imagine if New Zealand had made a law against Catholics who prayed to the Virgin Mary for cures to diseases and put priests and nuns in front of the courts…

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  15. insider (1,000 comments) says:

    @ IHStewart

    “really ? I can remember Maori being referred to as Hori’s in the 70′s. ”

    And I can remember pakeha being referred to as ‘white mofos’ in the 2000s

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  16. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    DPF – what do you mean …”I think it is appalling that up until 1975, Maori (defined as over 50% Maori descent) were banned from voting in general electorate seats”

    They had the bloody Maori seats to vote in. Now they havetwo options – maori or open seats. I dont have two options and if it were me Id be insisting that maori only vote in maori seats also.

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  17. metcalph (1,359 comments) says:

    I’m not a fan of faith healing but I don’t see why those who practice it should have been prosecuted, especially when others who did the same sort of thing but had a different skin colour were not subject to legal restrictions.

    Such as the s240 of the Crimes Act 1893 provided a prison sentence up to a year for anyone who “pretends to exercise or use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or conjuration”, fraudulently claiming any knowledge or skill “in any occult or crafty science”? This was used against four “tohungas” in 1900-01.

    The Tohunga Suppression Act was passed because the use of existing legislation had failed to eradicate the Tohungas and the politicians believed that specific Maori-only legislation was required. As it turns out the sentences imposed under the Tohunga suppression act were milder than those under s240.

    Imagine if New Zealand had made a law against Catholics who prayed to the Virgin Mary for cures to diseases and put priests and nuns in front of the courts…

    As things go, that’s a key reason why the Tonhuga suppression act was never very effective. Most faithhealing was done under the rubric of christianity hence most courts wouldn’t have touched the issue with a bargepole. Convictions tended to only come about through saying that you had supernatural powers in curing disease rather than the Holy Spirit (or whatever) doing it through you.

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  18. Longknives (4,445 comments) says:

    “And I can remember pakeha being referred to as ‘white mofos’ in the 2000s”

    Not to mention “Dirty, Stinking Pakeha….”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10785544

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  19. greenjacket (416 comments) says:

    “The Native Schools Act 1867 was introduced specifically for children in Maori communities. The purpose of the schools, the funding available and the curriculum taught were different from mainstream schools.”

    There was no such thing as “mainstream schools” in the mid-19th century. Schools were either private or church schools, and the parents had to pay for them. In 1867 the government introduced Native Schools, which were government funded and free for Maori. Free state education for non-Maori New Zealanders came later.

    The Tohunga Suppression Act was supported by modernising Maori such as Carroll (who wrote the Act) and Ngata, and part of a general movement to improve Maori public health (especially, to oppose the activities of so-called “tohunga” or quacks who were doing dangerous treatments for smallpox and other disease).

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  20. Reid (15,927 comments) says:

    If ideas of separateness between Maori and Pakeha do exist in New Zealand, it clearly stems from the early days of colonial government when different laws were introduced for the different races.

    Why precisely does it “clearly stem from…?”

    As far as I’m aware, no-one looks at Maori today through the lens of the ancient laws of yesteryear. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that, Tahu. Perhaps you’re just being disingenuous because such a view suits your argument whether or not that corresponds to reality.

    No. The discrimination Ansell is referring to is the modern-day variety. Tahu’s article doesn’t address that, at all. He seems to be raising a strawman which others for some reason seem keen to follow up on, for some reason. How peculiar.

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  21. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,791 comments) says:

    “The Native Schools had a mission, generally supported by Maori leadership to instruct in English and assimilate the children into European ways. This separate school system remained in place until 1969.”

    And a damned fine job they did, too!

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  22. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,791 comments) says:

    To those who are ‘aghast’ at the suppression of Tohunga:-

    In a certain remote Maori community, shortly after WW1, Maori people were dying like flies from influenza and the local tohunga was charging a fortune for ‘cures’ and preventing people from seeing a Pakeha doctor. The tribal elders got together and selected a strong young man who was given a double barreled shotgun, ammunition and instructions. He visited the Tohunga the next morning just on sunrise and shot him in the chest when he came to the door. Both barrels.

    Strangely, the police were unable to find any evidence or any person who could provide any information.

    My mother told me this story shortly before she died, over twenty years ago. The heroic murderer was then aged in his nineties and a kaumatua, respected by Maori and Pakeha. BTW, during my childhood I never heard any of my Maori mates refer to the tohunga as a religious person. They always described him as a sort of doctor. Some used the word witchdoctor.

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  23. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    There is still limits placed on maori and which electoral roll they are on. Maori can only move between rolls for a short period of time after each census. Which with the cancellation of the last census casused many complaints from Maori voters, who in the main wanted to switch back to the general roll.

    Also it wasn’t untill reasonably recently in electoral history that Maori booths were allowed to be in the same building as the general booths (I think it was in the early 90′s).

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  24. OneTrack (2,589 comments) says:

    My concern is why do so many people these days want to continue with separate development and even to increase it?

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  25. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    God such separatism in this day and age. Thank goodness we’ve moved on and eradicated so many of the historical injustices and social inequalities of the past. I can understand why ‘special priviledges’ for Maori are such an anachronism.

    Seems like only yesterday when “The unemployment rate for Maori is 13.9 per cent, 16 per cent for Pacific people and 5.6 per cent for Europeans, … Despite Europeans making up 68 per cent of the population, only 33 per cent of those in prison are Europeans. That compares with 49 per cent Maori and 11.3 per cent Pacific – yet they make up only 15 per cent and 7 per cent respectively of the overall population.”

    Oh wait – it was only yesterday…. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10828021

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  26. Griff (6,719 comments) says:

    And those statistics are all the fault of the colonial oppressors back in pre contact times moari unemployment was zero there where nill in prison Reinstating their ancient culture would return all to this Glorious time separate development of separate cultures is the answer

    Or may it be that those who cling to the remnants of their stone age cultures are poorly fitted to cohabit with the more progressive elements of civilization like property rights and non violent dispute resolution

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  27. KH (687 comments) says:

    Tahu Potiki is confused. He doesn’t like Ansell for suggesting an end to separatism. He then cites historical separatist policy. Apparently as a justification for it. Or not. What is he saying ?
    We do have separatism here and now. Just have a look within the health service. Look at the West Coast fiasco as an example of huge resources wasted to make some political point, without productivity for anybody in health terms. And we do have people who see it as their mission to destroy the careers of those who question such things.

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  28. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Yes I think the Maori issue represents a wider cultural tendency in NZ to push separate agendas. You only have to look at the amount of self-serving corruption in our Parliament to see it isn’t only Maori who are considered second-class citizens. In a way, compared to the privileges and special dispensations allowed our glorious rulers, we are all ‘maori’.

    education, health, old age – we get to be the cash-cow from the cradle to the grave. Pushing the notion of Maori priviledge and separation merely fools non-maori into thinking they are somehow getting a better deal, or are somehow ‘superior’. That’s only one of the reasons it is kept on life support by so many in control.

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  29. Brian Smaller (3,988 comments) says:

    The Tohunga Suppression Act was another shocker. Until 1962 it was illegal for Maori to practice their traditional religion.

    Funny that. Labour’s main Maori support in those days came from the Ratana movement. Have you seen the inscription on the gate at the Ratana church at Ratana Pa? “Dedicated to the defeat of Tohungaism”

    Now it is only tohunga who can keep the taniwha in the rivers. Good thing they are not suppressed now.

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  30. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Well, life goes on I guess. My point is that everyday man has been experiencing a decline in living standards to such an extent, that rather than maintaining some fixed blessed region above Maori, we are now sliding down to join him. So the great experiment to ‘elevate’ Maori resulted in a great failure by depressing everyone to the same comparative low status. Unless you are one of the truly blessed of course – we call those types ‘politicians’.

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  31. John Ansell (861 comments) says:

    Good to see the overwhelming support here.

    I’m finding it is rare for Griever Maori to tell the truth about the past.

    In my debate on Native Affairs last night Ella Henry romanticised about what an idyllic childrearing society Aotearoa was before the evil white man came and forced her people to become sadistic babybashers – not her words, of course, but that was the message.

    In fact, the sadism and cruelty were endemic in Maori society long before Hobson or Cook or Tasman. I don’t know how it can be kind for mothers to kill their newborn daughters by compressing their skulls, as was the common practice.

    Or send their sons off to be slaughtered in intertribal genocides that made 1820-30s NZ the 19th century equivalent of Rwanda.

    And don’t start me on the cannibalism (better to read the not-exactly-PC Paul Moon’s thick tome on that subject, This Horrid Practice).

    But I’m pleased Tahu Potiki is honest enough to admit that Maori welcomed the teaching of English to their children. My understanding was that farsighted Maori leaders (my Achievers as opposed to Grievers) were quite forceful in initiating the idea.

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  32. KevinH (1,131 comments) says:

    Orignally when parliamentary conventions were established in New Zealand , it was the General Seats which were rascist and elitist. A property qualification excluded many Europeans from exercising their right to vote, and Maori were ring fenced politically by having only four seats that had little to no political effect.

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  33. Bob R (1,336 comments) says:

    ***Seems like only yesterday when “The unemployment rate for Maori is 13.9 per cent, 16 per cent for Pacific people and 5.6 per cent for Europeans, … Despite Europeans making up 68 per cent of the population, only 33 per cent of those in prison are Europeans. That compares with 49 per cent Maori and 11.3 per cent Pacific – yet they make up only 15 per cent and 7 per cent respectively of the overall population.” ***

    @ Lee C,

    Why are Asians omitted from those statistics? I think you’ll find that they have lower imprisonment and unemployment rates than Europeans. I suppose that means that Europeans are also disadvantaged in this country :P

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