Friday, 6 February 2009

Waitangi Wahine

A round-up of NZ women blogging about today, Waitangi Day, as part of our neverending mission to highlight the blogging of the women of Aotearoa.

In order of discovery:
More to come later in the day weekend no doubt! I'm going to actively stop hunting for posts now (on Sunday afternoon), but if I've missed your post (or someone else's) please feel free to add it in comments and I'll update this to include it when I can.

19 comments:

Carol said...

Thanks for the very good links. To me Waitangi Day marks the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document for our country.

Today I'm working, with half an eye on TV One's coverage of the Day - some good stuff on it. And will be switching on Maori TV at 3pm.

On the attack on John Key yesterday: there's been an implicit comparison with Helen Clark's problems at Waitangi & her subsequent avoidance of it in later years. Key's claims of not being intimidated and saying he will return in future years, is part of such an implicit comparison: ie Clark is a wuss for her avoidance in later years.

But I've only heard Gordon Campbell (on Nat Rad's panel yesterday), say the comparison is flawed. He said that when Clark was hassled at Waitangi there was a gender angle, about, I think, limitations to women speaking on the Marae (a very complex issue I think).

So Key could get the photo-op talking on the Marae, as somehow being more progressive than Clark, while it is ignored that there isn't the same gender angle for Key (or Goff).

Gordon Campbell's comments may have come in the 2nd part of the Panel - though I'm not sure:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons
PS: I do agree with the blogger linked to by Julie, on criticising Clark, and her government, for back-sliding on Maori issues.

Julie said...

I agree about the lack of recognition of the gender angle Carol. It's so frustrating that no one seems to mention it at all. Argh!

backin15 said...

I agree gender is an element. Helen was as tough a leader as any we've had but didn't think it appropriate to get involved in a physical stand-off. That's a valid position regardless of gender. But, and I've thought about this a little not a lot, perhaps Key feels more physically secure in a confrontation. Perhaps that's a gendered response, perhaps it's about men's violence against women? At the risk of blowing any goodwill, perhaps men, for all sorts of reasons, are more used to responding to physical challenges?

Ultimately though, this bloke shouldn't have threatened the PM. He's got a right to express a view as strongly as possible but this side of phyically abuse. It's worth noting that, from this distance at least, I think Key's probably handled the situation about as well as he could've too. And, if I might go on and on a little, Waitangi Day still appears more meaningful, even if more fraught, than Australia Day (for the locals I mean).

Craig Ranapia said...

On the attack on John Key yesterday: there's been an implicit comparison with Helen Clark's problems at Waitangi & her subsequent avoidance of it in later years. Key's claims of not being intimidated and saying he will return in future years, is part of such an implicit comparison: ie Clark is a wuss for her avoidance in later years.

Don't know if I'd put a gender angle on it -- unless my memory is totally FUBAR and Jim Bolger's penis got him a pass when he decided not to set himself up for a repeat of the events of '95. Certainly don't recall the then-Opposition Leader (someone called Helen Clark -- you might have heard of her) being anything less than scathing.

Carol said...

My main criticism is of the media coverage of the attack on Key yesterday. They explicitly made comparisons with what they called Clark's "boycott" of Wiatangi. Key played up to this and/or encouraged this. There was nothing in the protesters' actions or reported statements that give Key any reason to comment on whether or not he would go back to Waitangi in future year. But he not on;y mentioned this assertively, but highlighted it by saying he would come back the next year and the next.

The MSM that I have seen, took all this at face value and contributed to making Key look better in contrast to Clark.

BTW despite the MSM frequently using the word "boycott", this was never a stated policy of Clark. Each year she would just announce alternative plans for Waitangi Day.

Also, the MSM really haven't made much of an attempt to explain what the protesters were angry about. They just seemed to accept Key's repeated claims that the protesters were attention-getters.

Fran Mold on One News said there were peaceful protests at Waitangi today, but didn't explain further.

Carol said...

Actually, a google search shows the NZ Herald did mention the gender angle - I don't read the Herald usually, but was commenting more on radio & TV news:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10555255
Helen Clark was also pushed to tears on the lower marae when Titewhai Harawira challenged her right to speak as a woman.

Helen Clark avoided the marae ever since and instead attended festivities in the Waitangi grounds over the bridge.


This is a complicated issue, and I can understand why Clark chose to avoid it after the incident.

I don't know about those events of the early 1990s, I'm sorry. I was living in London at the time. But it sounds like a relevant comparison.

Anna said...

I think Key has handled things smoothly, but his response bothers me in many ways. As was mentioned, we don't know what the protesters' grievance was, so I wasn't happy to hear it summarily dismissed by John Key with his message of 'everyone is happy now and anyone who's still complaining is misguided'.

Key made a point of being explicit that he had Pita Sharples with him, and that Sharples too was surprised by the protesters. I felt like JK was subtley using Sharples as a stamp of authority, as if to say that because Maori party MPs have Ministerial portfolios, all race relations issues have gone away.

I'm very wary of the Maori party being used in a tokenistic way, and I think they need to be on guard against it - particularly if their presence ultimately gives the Nats a way of avoiding hard questions about Maori socioeconomic inequality in this country.

Hugh said...

Anna

Unfortunately, I think we on the left have to wear some of the blame for this. Since the party's foundation, there has been a fairly prominent strand of thought that has seen the Maori Party as synonymous with the interests of Maoridom in general. For instance, many saw Labour's refusal to go into coalition with the Maori Party as a snub to Maoridom.

The chief benefactor of this has been not Maoridom, and not even necessarily the Maori Party, but the National Party. Key is in a very good position here, as he is basically able to use Sharples as a shield from those who accuse him of ignoring Maori aspirations.

The only way this will end is if the Maori Party defect or their mana among Maoridom takes a plunge.

Anna said...

That's quite true. I feel that the Maori party have painted themselves into a corner by going into coalition with National - but there's a context to that, which was the left's failure to get its shit together vis a vis progressive race relations.

Julie said...

Well Emmerson's cartoon in today's Herald doesn't mention the gender angle. Apparently Key is a warrior king.

Anna said...

That cartoon is very odd. At least with the Murray Webb one about Judith Collins, I could see the (albeit dumb) point.

backin15 said...

"I feel that the Maori party have painted themselves into a corner by going into coalition with National - but there's a context to that, which was the left's failure to get its shit together vis a vis progressive race relations."

I don't know, I genuinely don't, but from a certain perspective they've potentially avoided the trap that stops the Greens from being in government? Maori are homogenous in their politics, people like Hekia Parata particularly prove that.

Anna said...

I've pondered that, backin15. I think that the relationship between the Maori party and Labour probably left the former thinking they might never play a meaningful role in a govt of the left. Presumably that attracts them more than just being an effective opposition group (although there's an important place for that, of course). It'll be interesting to see whether their voters agree with that strategy.

A lot of what happens could come down to how elastic the coalition deal is. At the moment, it looks like the Maori party are free to vote against stuff if they don't publicly criticise. That's OK for now, but who knows what will happen if the Nats try to push really shitty legislation through.

John Key is bloody clever though. The only thing better from his point of view than abolishing the Maori seats is winning them over. If he holds the coalition together, with could have a Nat-lead govt for a very long time...

Trouble said...

The problem from the Labour Party's point of view is that they've got a massive Maori membership within their party. The leadership owes their senior Maori MPs for sticking with them over the foreshore, and can't afford to repay that loyalty by giving the defectors greater recognition. Yet somehow Labour having given full Cabinet roles to its Maori members for decades is seen as less of a concession than the Nats offering the Maori party a couple of non-Cabinet posts.

Despite the Maori Party's branding themselves the representatives of all Maori, they're a party formed by Maori who explicitly don't want to work with Labour. Labour always had the risk of losing votes to National if it was seen as too soft on race relations (as polling after Orewa showed), but National doesn't have that same risk. I think the Nat-MP partnership is likely to be a stable one for just that reason.

Craig Ranapia said...

I'm very wary of the Maori party being used in a tokenistic way, and I think they need to be on guard against it -

Anna: With all due respect, I'm also very wary (and weary) of a rather monochromatic commentariat who think shlepping off to Waitangi and Ratana once a year, vague memories of reading Claudia Orange, and having the same rentaquotes on the speed dial, makes them experts on Maori politics and society.

I think the media would do us all a favour if there was more time spent genuinely listening -- and doing the same legwork credible reporters are expected do on every other round -- and a little less paternalistic bloviating.

Anna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

Craig, I found your comment hurtful. I'm not quite sure what to infer from what you said, but I'm guessing you're saying that most commentators on NZ politics are Eurocentric (a fair comment), and that you've also assumed I'm European. You're welcome to correct me if I've misunderstood.

I initially posted a reply to you pointing out that I said the opposite of what you'd implied - ie I said that the left had failed to get its shit together re it's ability to work with the Maori party, and progressive race relations more generally. The corollary of that is that the left can, and have, used the Maori vote cynically (as per the examples you give). I also disagreed with John Key's automatic dismissal of the Waitangi protesters' grievances, which I would like to know more about. However, you can read, so I don't really need to point any of this out to you.

I wouldn't have thought we were in disagreement. Nor would I have thought that making a blog comment on the Maori party is the same thing as professing to be an expert on Maori politics and society - or that being an expert is requisite to making a well-intentioned comment about NZ race relations. In fact, I think there's a lot to be said for building solidarity with people who have a genuine interest in tino rangatiratanga, even if you don't agree on all points or consider those people aren't very knowledgeable.

I'm unsure whether your 'paternalistic bloviating' comment was intended to include me or not, but in the interests of good faith, I'd appreciate it if you would explain to me in what way each of my comments were paternalistic or offensive to you.

Tania said...

A midwives perpective on Waitangi day
http://tania-e-portfolio.blogspot.com/2009/02/reflections-on-waitangi-day.html

Ana said...

also check out this

Whether our Maori leader’s or Maori elite like to admit it or not there is a groundswell of anger and disappointment that our grassroots have been sold out, again, and wait to get kicked in their teeth by their own.

When you add up the combined impacts of the “90 Day fire law”, the changes to the RMA, changes to bail laws, the privatisation of welfare, prisons, water and the ongoing impacts recession has on our communities. Our flax roots have every right to be angry.

The Maori Party is a right wing party, make no mistake about that. Hiding behind the rhetoric of advancing all Maori, they have shown that they are willing to sacrifice the vast majority of Maori for the enrichment and advancement of a few.

http://socialistaotearoa.blogspot.com/2009/02/nationalmaori-party-honeymoon-smashed.html