Greetings Michelle, it is a pleasure meeting your acquaintance here on Medium. I hope you weren’t too offended by my presumption on where you might have hailed from. New Zealand is a place that is on my ‘bucket list’, and the beaches along the Hibiscus coast will probably be the high point of my intercultural/holiday expedition.
I do share your sentiments of despair with what is happening here in the U.S., and the similar trajectory of New Zealand with its race relations. (Racial stratification is a fiction, there is only one race and that is the human race)The ideas and the spirit that promulgated into the America that for the most part we would like to extract and assert would seem to be the perfect microcosm of the how the migration of various cultures around the world can share in the common pursuits of a good life, a liberty that is sound, and a shared happiness in one place — as one nation.
There are elements however who wish to destroy or reinterpret those inalienable rights with faulty, scam-ridden, ethnocentric social constructs. This is similar to the sophistry concocted in the Orewa speech by Mr. Brash. Seemingly, the convenient inequality gained by those who colonized New Zealand is overlooked by any affirmative action policy, or as Mr. Brash has reinterpreted as some perceived drift towards racial separatism.
As I have gleaned from your article and through other research, the Maori people suffer a similar plight of Native American Indians in the US. In fact they share a similar plight with Blacks and Hispanics in the U.S.
For instance, I found this statistic startlingly redolent of the prison population in New Zealand. I find it eerily similar to the prison population of the U.S.
With 8,500 prisoners among a national population of 4.5 million, New Zealand ranks as one of the highest jailers in the developed world. But as has been repeatedly highlighted in reports by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Māori component is staggering. While those who identify as Māori make up about 15% of the New Zealand population, the corresponding figure behind bars is more than 50%. Among women, for whom there is no Te Tirohanga option, it is higher still, at 60%.¹
¹ Unlocking Maori identity: keeping New Zealand's indigenous people out of jail
A new program is tackling a sober reality for NZ's Maori, who make up 15% of the country's population but half of those…
The overrepresentation of the Maori in prisons in contrast to the general population is indicative of an already entrenched racial separatism in New Zealand that is haphazardly effective, culmulative and consequential.
It also appears that the identity of the Maori has been whitewashed or erased, similar to that of the Native American and African American populations in the U.S.
The impact of colonisation is, of course, much more complicated. Numerous breaches by the state of the Treaty of Waitangi, the document signed between the British crown and leaders of iwi, or tribes, in 1840, saw swathes of land, in many cases the traditional tūrangawaewae, or “place to stand”, forcibly taken from Māori. Waves of urbanisation amplified the tendency for generations of Māori to grow distanced from their iwi, language and culture.¹
What is missing is impactful belief-sensitive (beliefs that change with empirical evidence) dialogue. An honest dialogue about what feels like inclusion and what feels like exclusion.
Sharing with Marley K.