Beehive Chat (Maori Bashing)
- Beehive Chat
Hon. Tariana Turia
M.P. for Te Tai Hauauru
Monday, 21 July 2003
Tangata whenua around the country are bracing them for a wave of
righteous anger to come crashing down on any Maori initiative, while
any pro-Maori person who dares to speak out will automatically become
Our people know that sections of the public are outraged by the
Appeal Court's reminder of what it means to be tangata whenua.
Some New Zealanders cannot accept that our people once owned all this
land, including the foreshore and seabed, because it is our mother,
because our history and culture grow out of this land, and our
ancestors passed down to us the responsibility for looking after it.
Our title does not come from the Crown.
We agreed to share our land, but others wanted it all. Having got
most of it, by fair means or foul, they thought it was safe to ignore
Iwi leaders have consistently asserted their customary ownership of
seabed and foreshore, but most people have not wanted to know. Now
that the Court of Appeal has said there is a case to answer, they can
no longer dismiss us.
So they will turn nasty. Mark my words.
Allegations of racial privilege and separatism are just the softening
up phase, to create a climate of opinion where personal attacks seem
to be justified, and obsessive nit-picking criticism of Maori
undertakings has its own strange logic.
The real campaign is just getting under way now. With the smell of
Trevor Moeke's blood in their nostrils, the critics have turned on
Shannon is the member of CYF's senior management team who took on the
job of ensuring that relations between my office and the department
remain strong. Her role was understood and accepted as being quite
legitimate by myself, herself, the CEO, the State Services Commission
and anyone else who mattered.
If Shannon and I were not Maori, there would be no story.
What is the role of the media in the situation that is developing?
From all the information and stories flowing around, the media create
the news by selecting some things and not others. The selection
process is just as important as professional standards of reporting
accuracy, fairness and so on.
A reporter's or editor's evaluation of what is news comes down to
personal and cultural values, and most people do not like their
values to be questioned.
So our people will be expected to suffer in silence while the media
bash up anything or anyone Maori in their efforts to impose their own
views on us, while they personalise issues, while they chase a
sensational sound bite or quotable quote and leave the background
The overall effect is to destroy our people's hope and self-
confidence. As one Maori reporter said, it's like trying to defend
yourself with a wooden fork against a Gatling gun.
Last Friday, the lead story in one national newspaper was that Maori
health providers are spending millions of dollars with no checks
even though the two examples they referred to were closely
Our people die ten years younger than Pakeha. Maori providers receive
around two percent of health funding. To me, the real story is how
mainstream providers account for poor Maori health, given that they
get the 98 percent of the funding.
But that story will only be told when tangata whenua have an
effective media voice of our own. And that is why the most
controversial story of all will be the Maori Television Service.
Watch this space!