Friday, January 01, 2010

Does NZ's future success rest on skin colour?

Rawiri Taonui, head of Maori and Indigenous studies at Canterbury University, has written a piece in today's NZ Herald about the flying of two flags, entitled Time for New Zealand to show all its colour.

Whether Pakeha see two flags as divisive or unifying is directly proportionate to the extent of hangups about race. Those who have difficulty relating to Maori, especially if they are dark skinned, physically large and/or overtly ethnic and tribal, and have not spent much time on a marae, will see the flag as separatist simply out of fear of difference and diversity. Fortunately, this lot are in rapid decline. New Zealand will be 50 per cent brown by 2030. Those who are at ease with themselves, respect Maori and like other cultures will see the flags as representative of an over-arching unity, of every colour, hue and creed. They are the New Zealanders of the future.

The flying of a Maori flag does not worry me IF it is a unifying move. Only time will tell.

What interested me here is the statement that by 2030 50 percent of New Zealanders will be brown. According to Statistics NZ data, by 2026 the population will be 5,517,600. European or other will make up 62.2 percent, Maori 14.8, Asian 14.3 and Pacific 8.7. Apart from the Asian number, not much change from today.

But what bothers me is the talk about skin colour in the first place. The title of the piece is not only a reference to flag colour but pigment. What is Rawiri Taonui getting at here? That a group exists that doesn't like Maori because they are brown, but that group, or "that lot", couldn't include people who are also brown? That Maori, Asian and Pacific people will live in a state of harmony and mutual respect because they are all brown?

He is saying that people who respect Maori and like other cultures will see flying both flags as unifying. Maybe. I would probably fit this group (with lots of provisos). And yet....

Why bring colour into it? Does he think that the more brown the country gets the more unity there will be? What, then, about the non-brown people progressively becoming a minority? Or should we hit the magic 50 percent and stop right there?

Then we can all live happily ever after?


Oswald Bastable said...

What bugs me about it is the fact that is is yet ANOTHER waste of our precious tax dollars.

Money that should be in the pockets of those who EARNED it.

Not buying more flags and flag poles for public buildings!

JC said...

It depends how you look at it.

By 2030 that 14.8% of Maori will no longer be about 70-80% European but maybe 80-90% European, none will be half caste, and on the basis of current migration figures proportionately more Maori than Pakeha will live in Australia.

Based on trends since the 80s Maori in the future will be less "Maori", better educated, increasingly (30%+?) based in Oz and Britain, more independent and much less inclined to speak the language.


PM of NZ said...

The other advantage of time is that, like those who see the TR rag as a symbol of separatism and racism, the haters and wreckers who rally round it eternally in grievance mode will also have perished.

Andrei said...

"Its culture stupid"

The trouble is of course that these people will know all about
Maori and Indigenous studies.

But nobody will know how to run power stations, and sewerage works.

Chuck Bird said...

It stands to reason that more and more people with have some Maori ancestry. However, some may not identity with their Maori culture as some Maori do not identify with their European side – like many in the Maori Party. Many others with identifying with their Maori side with not identify with the radicals who want to create racial disharmony. This is shown by the low percentage of those identify as Maori in the census do not vote for the Maori Party.

Sadly many of those with some Maori ancestry who do not support the radicals with go overseas, mainly to Australia

Anonymous said...

My wife and I fly Tino Rangatiratanga from our house in the once heartland of Nationals political landscape.

She is a cultured Maori lady and I'm rough and ready Kiwi bloke.

The flag for us is a symbol of our unity as a couple. We demonstrate our ability to combine two cultures in harmony while at the same time we remain uniquely individuals as we roam through life.

We started this long before the "radicals" claimed the flag as their own.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

Good for you Dirk. I have never figured out how two races so irresistably drawn to each other on an individual basis can't work it out collectively.

Anonymous said...

Just becuase of the attraction on an individual basis I am sure the problem will dissappear due to the merging. There will be extremists on both sides to fight the 'good' fight but the majority will have other concerns ... like global warming in whatever form it takes and maintaining a good and caring social welfare system.