Fear itself

datePosted on 20:37, February 28th, 2009 by Lew

Chris Trotter seems to think I’m being culturally precious and pandering to Māori separatism with my post on the h issue. He misses the point, and fearmongers about vague Orewa-like shadows of a savage threat to the settler way of life.

While it did a lot of describing, the purpose of the post was not descriptive, (is) but normative (ought). The question was not whether Wanganui has become the de facto and de jure name of the town; it manifestly has, a fact I acknowledge by using that spelling throughout that post and this one.* The question was whether those who made it so had the right to make it so, and whether they have the right to keep it so against the will of those who retain rights to the name and its usage – rights granted in principle (but not necessarily enforceable in law) by the Treaty of Waitangi.

Chris seeks to derail this by reference to the changing nature of language, but his example hardly addresses the point, far from invalidating it. The `ought’ I’m arguing is that those with a legitimate historical, linguistic and cultural claim to a name – nobody disputes that they do – which forms a core aspect of their whakapapa and regional identity and who have been actively working to maintain that name for generations should not have that claim summarily invalidated by the whim of a majority whose sole attachment to the word is the ignorance of colonial hegemony – wanting to control whatever aspect of the local culture they can for fear of their own insecure identity. The Bowalley Road example, while interesting, is fundamentally different from the case in point for two reasons: first, it is a name which was attached to a place by individual fiat rather than from long-established common usage; and second, nobody seems to care that it has been changed. My argument rests firmly on both these considerations, and they lend it legitimacy: if it were a made-up name, and if nobody cared, my claim would clearly be invalid. The proponents of retaining the current spelling also appeal to both these grounds for legitimacy, so the question is not which of the two causes is legitimate – it is which of the two spellings should take primacy over the other. Who gets to exercise cultural control – rangatiratanga – over the name? Its originators, whose regional and whakapapa identity is tied to in it, at whose pleasure the original Pākehā settlement was founded, and who have since been systematically excluded from its affairs to the point where they are now outsiders on their own historical lands; or the settlers, whose cultural and linguistic dominance is already evident in myriad ways, who are responsible for the marginalisation of the tangata whenua, and who fight tooth and nail against every attempt at reconciliation or reparation unless it is on their terms and their terms alone. The two claims to primacy have the same grounds in principle – it’s just that the grounds of one are stronger than the grounds of the other.

The second part of Chris’ article is worse, though, because rather than misunderstanding the point and its arguments, he misstates the cause and repeats a divisive propaganda line about the dangers of allowing the natives to exercise any authority. Although Chris might not agree, this kite about the Māori radicals in the closet just waiting for their moment to disrupt the nice harmonious race relations we have in NZ is not too dissimilar from that flown by Don Brash five years ago at the Orewa Rotary Club. Let me deal with the two paragraphs in turn:

What’s more, Ken Mair’s demand that the pre-colonial appellation be restored is, I strongly suspect, part-and-parcel of a much more ambitious plan to reclaim his people’s sovereignty over the entire region. To do that, however, Ken and his people would have to fight the colonial wars of conquest all over again – this time emerging as the winners.

Why didn’t we see through their nefarious plan?

1. Change the name.
2. ?????
3. Declare the Mairist Republic of Whanganui.
4. Profit!

The assertion is beyond preposterous; comparing it to the Underpants Gnome business model almost does the model a disservice.

The goals of tino rangatiratanga ceased to be cession/secession, revolution and mass reoccupation by force generations ago. Tangata whenua – and particularly those of the Whanganui region – have embraced the legitimate governmental and judicial processes at their disposal, so much so that one of their daughters is a minister in the current government.

So perhaps the “grasping settlers” Lew condemns are smarter than he is willing to admit. Perhaps they see right through Ken’s seemingly harmless demand that the spelling of the city’s name be changed. Perhaps, by resisting this little challenge today, the Wanganui District Council and its Mayor can avoid resisting much more dangerous challenges tomorrow.

I never condemned the settlers as stupid – I freely admit that they’re not; they have very smartly and efficiently suppressed almost all Māori resistance, to their great advantage. I condemned their actions and attitudes as unjust and counterproductive in the long term. Chris’ whole argument here begs the question that there’s a race war on, and this is the fundamental assertion that the logic of Orewa and of the iwi/kiwi billboards and of the underclass and the warrior gene expects us to accept – for without it, the edifice crumbles. The entire assumption rises from that same grasping settler mentality I identified – fear of the other, fear of scarcity, fear of losing control, the constant feeling of being embattled and under siege and somehow insecure.

If one accepts – and there is copious evidence for this – that there is no intractable race war, and Māori no longer want to fight, but to retain rangatiratanga over the things they still have, and gain control – mostly symbolic, rather than material – over a tiny fraction of what they lost, there’s no argument to be had here. Work with them, rather than against them, treat in good faith and look to the future, and the future begins to look a whole lot brighter.

Today, 28 February, is the anniversary of the 1995 occupation of Pakaitore, the grounds upon which the Wanganui District Courthouse stands, known formerly as Moutoa Gardens in honour of the `loyal Māoris’ who defended the settlement against a Hauhau assault at Moutoa Island in 1864. The occupation lasted nearly three tense months during which the settlers thought their town had been invaded – my wife’s cousin phoned from London in the middle of the night to make sure she wasn’t in any danger; of course, she wasn’t because there was no violence beyond the usual which happened between the Rutland and Commercial Hotels. The occupation centred upon the claim that the land had been expropriated by the city, not sold by tangata whenua. On this same day in 2007, the Māori Land Court returned the block to iwi, who now receive a rental from the Ministry of Justice, whose courthouse continues to operate undisturbed. The land remains publicly accessible to all, although the statue of John Ballance no longer stands. Today, in the wind and rain, there were tents set up selling fry bread and hāngi and raw fish and home-grown veges and artwork; people standing around talking and kids playing. Ken Mair was there; he doesn’t know me and I’m just about as white as can be, but he greeted me warmly and bid me welcome and we chatted for a moment. There was a big tino rangatiratanga flag, but no chest-thumping or politicking or nationalistic fervour – it was a marketplace, on the site of a historical marketplace. The only problem was that there were hardly any white folk there, and those who were there looked guilty and suspicious, like they thought they were trespassing. The people selling the raw fish were embarrassed that they had trouble producing change for a $20 note. A girl of about seven wanted to know where I was from, and when I told her `Wellington, but I grew up here’, she asked `why don’t you live in Wanganui any more?’ What’s needed, and wanted, is more understanding, not the entrenchment of colonial ignorance or its endorsement as a valid way of life.

So, Chris, beyond the vague shadows of Orewa, what `dangerous challenges’ might the latter-day settlers of New Zealand face if they allow tangata whenua a bit of symbolic and linguistic authority over their own names and history?

L

* I use the spelling `Wanganui’ because this spelling currently has primacy. While I believe the spelling should be `Whanganui’, it’s not good enough to just have it become the de facto spelling. In order to recognise rangatiratanga, it must be made official – ariki ki te ariki, tangata ki te tangata.

44 Responses to “Fear itself”

  1. Pablo on February 28th, 2009 at 21:44

    Lew: Two brilliant posts on this issue, well worth the debate it engenders. One small point of disagreement regarding your use of “cultural hegemony.” According to the original Gramscian interpretation of the term “hegemony,” it is rule by consent to the ideological leadership of a given socio-economic class rather than control per se (the latter which he called “dominio”). In his interpretation the cultural practices of the dominant class (the so-called “hegemonic bloc”) are accepted and interiorised by subordinate groups to the point that the cultural practices of both rulers and ruled are one and the same (with variations in the interpretation of “high” as opposed to “popular” culture). That clearly has not obtained in many parts of NZ.

  2. Terry on March 1st, 2009 at 13:56

    Wanganui is correctly spelt because that represents how it is pornounced, actually I think it should have more of a “wh” (not “f’!) than a “wa” sound, but then the the pronounciation will over time change to Fonganui (espically among the white liberals, who like to feel superior to others, remember the mangled pronounciation of Moet? People who thought they kenw French prouounced it Moay, when if fact it is a German champagine house and spelt and pronounced Moet!) due to the now accepted acidemic pronounciation of the Maori “wh” as “f”.

    If places like Whangarei, pronounced Fongarei, if it was actually and always origionaly pronounced Fongarei why was it written Whangarei? The answer to this that it there were likely to be two or even more similar but slightly diferent names for the same place or locality, depending on which tribe, hupu or iwi you came from. For many, many, years (say a 150+ years) the generally accepted pronounciation of Whangarei was “wh” not “f”, why has it changed in the past 20 to 30 years? My guess is because there was initally variations in pronounciation, and someone has decided that Fongarei could or should also be used, as time progressed Fongerei gained acceptance because people thought Whangarei was incorrect, when in fact it is more correct than Fongerei! I guess this is due in part to left wing liberals sticking it to the establishment.

    I guess what realy irritates people are the language nazis, these are the people who always properly pronounce every word, their spelling and grammer is always correct spot on and they never use any new word because its not a real word and they look down their collective noses at the great un washed who dare to mis pronounce, mis spell, or use txt speak.

  3. Lew on March 1st, 2009 at 19:03

    Pablo,

    Thank you, and the distinction is well-taken.

    Terry,

    Wanganui is correctly spelt because that represents how it is pornounced

    Wut iz `pornounced’?

    Du yu fink dat evryfing shud b spellt funetikly? Yu fink dis iz perfickly gud an ligitimit Inglush? Ai rekun praps yu shud reed dis.

    L

  4. Terry on March 1st, 2009 at 22:03

    Lew

    So I’m crap at spelling, I blame it on dyslexia. I guess you agree with what I said as you have attacked my spelling rather than comment on what I have said.

    I guess you have to agree with me because I’m right.

    I guess what realy irritates people are the language nazis, these are the people who always properly pronounce every word, their spelling and grammer is always correct spot on and they never use any new word because its not a real word and they look down their collective noses at the great un washed who dare to mis pronounce, mis spell, or use txt speak.

    I didnt take you for a language nazi, you realy need to chill, slow down and listen to what someone is trying to say, rather than commenting on the placement of commas full stops spelling etc otherwise people will just give up on you and stop listening to your message.

    So comment all you like on my spelling, right through primary school to high school I’ve had the same tired old hacks giving me more shit than I care to remember because I have dyslexia and I’m crap at spelling, anything you say to me will be like water off a ducks back.

  5. Lew on March 1st, 2009 at 22:37

    Terry,

    So I’m crap at spelling, I blame it on dyslexia. I guess you agree with what I said as you have attacked my spelling rather than comment on what I have said.

    The comment wasn’t mainly about your spelling – it was about the idea that things spelt phonetically are necessarily spelt right. It’s simply not so in English, as my hopefully-almost-unreadable response illustrates.

    My own brother is dyslexic. For someone with dyslexia, your writing seems pretty decent. The ideas expressed by it, however, aren’t.

    L

  6. BLiP on March 2nd, 2009 at 11:47

    There was a sensible suggestion in the Herald Letters to the Ed section recently – why not leave the spelling as is but insert an apostrophe thus: W’ANGANUI. It acknowledges the missing H while preventing the mispronounciation.

    I also remember, somewhat hazily I admit, a similar row in Wellington where there was a suggestion Haitaitai return to its original name of Whaitaitai. Wonder what’s happened there – nothing, I guess.

  7. Anita on March 2nd, 2009 at 12:30

    I’m all for putting the ‘h’ back, but I would also appreciate some advice from the Whanganui iwi about how they would like it pronounced. Should I pronounce it as the ‘wh’ of Te Āti Awa (whose pronunciation I use) or do they want me to use the ‘wh’ of the Whanganui iwi (which is neither the local w of ‘Waikanae’ nor the local ‘wh’ of ‘Whangarei’).

    From an theoretical perspective it doesn’t make sense to use not-my-dialect just because the location is within the boundaries of another dialect. That’s our general practice in English, I don’t say “Gore” with an ‘r’, “Liverpool” with Liverpool vowels, or “Paris” with a French ‘r’ when I’m speaking English.

    But I also accept that the Whanganui iwi may have an entirely reasonable preference about how the name of their iwi is pronounced.

    (This is not dissimilar to the Ngāi Tahu/Kāi Tahu issue, although in that case the issue exists within the iwi and isn’t restricted to manuhiri)

  8. Lew on March 2nd, 2009 at 13:10

    BLiP,

    There was a sensible suggestion in the Herald Letters to the Ed section recently – why not leave the spelling as is but insert an apostrophe thus: W’ANGANUI. It acknowledges the missing H while preventing the mispronounciation.

    Since apostrophes are not customarily used to modify pronunciation in Māori as they are, for instance, in gagana Sāmoa, this would seem a particularly bizarre suggestion. There’s one correct spelling of Whanganui – you can’t just make other spellings correct by fiat, much less inject an entire phoneme into the written Māori language for the sake of convenience.

    Anita,

    I would also appreciate some advice from the Whanganui iwi about how they would like it pronounced..

    Being not of that iwi group, I can’t answer this authoritatively, except to say that a. it’s considered polite to do as the locals do, but b. one’s own dialect is a matter of their own rangatiratanga and a statement of their identity.

    For what it’s worth, I believe the Te Āti Awa pronunciation is pretty close – the Whanganui dialect shares this character with several of the Taranaki dialects.

    L

  9. BLiP on March 2nd, 2009 at 15:05

    Lew said:

    Since apostrophes are not customarily used to modify pronunciation in Māori as they are, for instance, in gagana Sāmoa, this would seem a particularly bizarre suggestion.

    That’s a bit precious isn’t it? A dictionary doesn’t imprison a language, it merely reflects its current usage. Are you saying that because cusomary usage doesn’t allow an appostrophe it never should? Thank goodness the same logic doesn’t apply to English!

  10. Lew on March 2nd, 2009 at 15:17

    BLiP,

    That’s a bit precious isn’t it? A dictionary doesn’t imprison a language, it merely reflects its current usage. Are you saying that because cusomary usage doesn’t allow an appostrophe it never should? Thank goodness the same logic doesn’t apply to English!

    *Sigh*, this `OMG teh langauge iz dieing’ canard again.

    The point is that a random person who thinks something is a good idea isn’t empowered to unilaterally declare a new aspect of a language’s structure. They can propose something, but it’s about whether the people with standing to accept or reject it choose to do one, the other, both, or something else. The very same logic does, very explicitly, apply to English, but English is a much more diverse language, with many more diverse claims to its cultural control and consequently greater malleability.

    L

  11. Anita on March 2nd, 2009 at 15:40

    That would be a not-English and not-Māori use of an apostrophe, so I guess it would be equally ugly, awkward and confusing for everyone :)

    In English apostrophes can only be used for some kind of contractions (“can’t” but not “Wellingt’n” and not “fear’d” in current English, and the shortened version of my name is “Nita” not “‘Nita”) and some kinds of possessives (“Lew’s hat”, “Chris’ hat” but “its hat”). We’re also used to seeing it phonemically for glottal stops in some languages (“Fa’a Samoa).

    I think that the person who wrote to the Herald was Very Confused.

  12. Anita on March 2nd, 2009 at 15:46

    BLiP writes,

    That’s a bit precious isn’t it? A dictionary doesn’t imprison a language, it merely reflects its current usage. Are you saying that because cusomary usage doesn’t allow an appostrophe it never should? Thank goodness the same logic doesn’t apply to English!

    By that argument we could use “W*anganui” or “W¿anganui” but it’s becoming all a bit Humpty Dumpty really.

  13. Lew on March 2nd, 2009 at 16:24

    Anita,

    I think that the person who wrote to the Herald was Very Confused.

    Or casting around awkwardly for a compromise solution which will keep nobody happy.

    L

  14. BLiP on March 2nd, 2009 at 16:46

    Lew said:

    The very same logic does, very explicitly, apply to English, but English is a much more diverse language, with many more diverse claims to its cultural control and consequently greater malleability.

    The cultural control of English? Care to draw another big breath, indulge in another patronising sigh, and provide a definition? Is there a committee somewhere that decides whether or not to allow words into the language, bit like the French or something?

    If it wasn’t for random persons first uttering new words that subsequently get adopted we wouldn’t have any new words at all. Eh, bro’?

  15. Lew on March 2nd, 2009 at 17:15

    BLiP,

    The cultural control of English? Care to draw another big breath, indulge in another patronising sigh, and provide a definition? Is there a committee somewhere that decides whether or not to allow words into the language, bit like the French or something?

    Yes, a committee of about 2 billion.

    L

  16. Anita on March 2nd, 2009 at 17:30

    BLiP,

    I could decide to refer to all handbags as “snugglepuffins”, what’re you thinking of my chances of getting all English speakers to pick it up?

    Obama could decide to refer to Iraq, Iran and Syria as “the ENE” (the Eastern Near East), how successful will he be?

    A country decided to change the name of some of its cities (to Mumbai and Chennai for example), how successful has it been?

  17. BLiP on March 2nd, 2009 at 17:46

    Anita:

    That would be a not-English and not-Māori use of an apostrophe, so I guess it would be equally ugly, awkward and confusing for everyone :)

    Is d’Uville Island not in your vocab? Or is that not English? What about isn’t, couldn’t, etc., or how about dèjà’vu.

    I like how English is especially awkward and confusing for lots of people.

  18. Lew on March 2nd, 2009 at 17:50

    BLiP,

    I like how English is especially awkward and confusing for lots of people.

    Try teaching – or learning – it sometime. Hardest thing: having to learn the formal grammar of your native language, in which you believed yourself to be fluent. Second-hardest thing: having to explain it to people whose native grammar is a) much simpler and more regular and b) linguistically completely different.

    L

  19. Anita on March 2nd, 2009 at 17:57

    BLiP writes,

    Is d’Uville Island not in your vocab? Or is that not English? What about isn’t, couldn’t, etc., or how about dèjà’vu.

    “d’Urville” was borrowed complete from French (where it fits their rule).

    “déjà vu” has no apostrophe having been borrowed complete from French (déjà = already, vu = seen)

    Yes we do borrow words with apostrophes from other languages (particularly languages we think of as high status, we tend to drop them from lower status languages). Borrowing foreign words with their correct lexicography doesn’t given any precedent for “W’anganui”.

  20. BLiP on March 2nd, 2009 at 17:58

    Anita said:

    I could decide to refer to all handbags as “snugglepuffins”, what’re you thinking of my chances of getting all English speakers to pick it up?

    A word does not have to be in universal use to be a part of a language. I would imagine that if you were to use mugglepuffins instead of handbags then those around you that need to know will quickly learn. Whether they adopt the word themselves? Well, unlikely, but who knows. Someone once created a word for a diabolically clever situation with no way out: a catch-22. That took off prety quick. And its got a ‘-’ plus two digits – more awkward use of English and, yet, still quite proper.

  21. BLiP on March 2nd, 2009 at 18:06

    Lew said:

    Try teaching – or learning – it sometime. Hardest thing: having to learn the formal grammar of your native language, in which you believed yourself to be fluent. Second-hardest thing: having to explain it to people whose native grammar is a) much simpler and more regular and b) linguistically completely different.

    I have, actually, spent a little time learning English, and the more I learn the more I realise how little I know. I would imagine that I would have gone postal if I had to teach someone English spelling, let alone grammar – I get enraged enough with the emails I receive from colleagues who grew up here! By far, I find people who have English as a second language are better written communicators than their Kiwi colleagues.

    You must be doing a good job.

  22. BLiP on March 2nd, 2009 at 18:09

    Anita said:

    “déjà vu” has no apostrophe . . .

    Who says ;)

  23. Anita on March 2nd, 2009 at 18:13

    BLiP,

    “isn’t”, “couldn’t”, “I’m”, “he’s”, “I’ll”, “could’ve” “he’d” and friends are all completely regular in English and not productive; that is we could write a list of all the ones that occur, and no new ones have been added in a very long time. I haven’t got a list to hand, but I think they’re all either “not” or copula, modal or auxiliary verbs. Not just throw-away-a-letter contractions.

    So “W’anganui” has no precedent in English or Māori.

    P.S. Sure the language might one day add a new acceptable contraction-using-apostrophe, but it would be a big change and is likely to occur by generalising a current non-productive rule (so add a new verb to the contractable list) not adding a completely different form.

  24. Anita on March 2nd, 2009 at 18:16

    Lew writes,

    Try teaching – or learning – it sometime. Hardest thing: having to learn the formal grammar of your native language, in which you believed yourself to be fluent. Second-hardest thing: having to explain it to people whose native grammar is a) much simpler and more regular and b) linguistically completely different.

    To risk sounding like an NZF voter for a moment… :)

    That’s partly because we don’t teach the rules to our own first language kiddies. English is actually much more regular than most people think it is, it’s just that they’re not taught the rules.

  25. Lew on March 2nd, 2009 at 18:22

    Anita,

    That’s partly because we don’t teach the rules to our own first language kiddies.

    I completely agree. Formal grammar, civics, and logic. That’s what I’d mandate if I were Dictator of Education.

    L

  26. BLiP on March 2nd, 2009 at 18:52

    Okay – how about this one?

    Michael Laws is right. “Wanganui” is an English word, just like “taboo”. Using the logic for changing the spelling of “Wanganui” to “Whanganui”, should we not also change the spelling of “taboo” to “tapu”?

  27. Lew on March 2nd, 2009 at 19:05

    BLiP,

    I have to say I’m getting pretty damned sick of re-explaining myself to people who know little to nothing about this topic, but who have a deeply-held opinion on it and are prepared to make up any stupid argument they can think of to justify that opinion, rather than simply taking recourse to the facts and logic at hand.

    Michael Laws is right. “Wanganui” is an English word, just like “taboo”. Using the logic for changing the spelling of “Wanganui” to “Whanganui”, should we not also change the spelling of “taboo” to “tapu”?

    Read my rebuttal to this canard here. Synopsis: Michael Laws can’t just go back in time and retroactively make the name something it never was. Secondary rebuttal (though redundant, since the first one is grounds enough): `taboo’ and `tapu’ are two different words with two different meanings. Yes, that’s right: `tapu’ (the reo word) has a whole lot of meanings not encompassed by `taboo’ (the English word). They’re not the same.

    L

  28. Anita on March 2nd, 2009 at 19:13

    BLiP writes

    Using the logic for changing the spelling of “Wanganui” to “Whanganui”, should we not also change the spelling of “taboo” to “tapu”?

    Taboo comes from the Tongan “tabu” not the Māori “tapu”, but anyhow…

    If, hypothetically, we were there was an important major custom New Zealand had adopted from Māori like um… not sitting on tables on which food is served and we called that the “table taboo”, I would be quite open to an argument by Māori that we should call it that the “table tapu”.

  29. Lew on March 2nd, 2009 at 22:12

    BLiP,

    Can’t believe I let this one slide:

    There was a sensible suggestion in the Herald Letters to the Ed section recently

    You lost the argument right there ;)

    L

  30. in which i propose to take a short break…

    i’ve been really impressed by these two pieces of writing at kiwipolitico regarding the controversy over the adding of an “h” to wanganui. poneke also does a nice piece here. i just can’t believe that this issue can cause so much angst. i mean real…

  31. BLiP on March 3rd, 2009 at 10:46

    Anita said:

    Taboo comes from the Tongan “tabu” not the Māori “tapu”, but anyhow…

    Bugger!

  32. BLiP on March 3rd, 2009 at 10:50

    Lew

    You lost the argument right there ;)

    Yeah. Fair nuff. The letters to the Ed are sometimes actually quite good but that whole Herald web site is worse than talkback.

  33. [...] city of Wanganui to be spelt in its correct rendition of Whanganui. (I posted on this issue twice recently.) The NZGB explicitly rejected the majoritarian argument, stating that the debate was important, [...]

  34. Fo on April 6th, 2009 at 08:57

    “The goals of tino rangatiratanga ceased to be cession/secession, revolution and mass reoccupation by force generations ago. Tangata whenua – and particularly those of the Whanganui region – have embraced the legitimate governmental and judicial processes at their disposal, so much so that one of their daughters is a minister in the current government.”

    Lew, haven’t some of the comments of that daughter actually given credence to the ‘fear of the other’? For instance, her comments about there being too many white immigrants preventing a ‘browning up’ of NZ? Doesn’t that suggest her agenda is very much defined in racial terms & is quite anti-white? Also, remember she was quite unwilling to criticise Robert Mugabe when he was clearing slums in Zimbabwe. If Mugabe is seen as someone to be defended & sympathised with, I think europeans should be wary of her.

    Also, I don’t remember her criticising the actions of those in the Ureweras. Even when it was revealed they were intending to displace European farmers & shoot people.

    Note, I don’t think she would actually support violence either, but it’s worrying she did not condemn it.

  35. Anita on April 6th, 2009 at 20:45

    Fo writes,

    Also, I don’t remember her criticising the actions of those in the Ureweras. Even when it was revealed they were intending to displace European farmers & shoot people.

    “revealed” ?

    Care to produce any evidence?

    I believe (although I could be wrong) the Crown isn’t even bothering to charge anyone with either of those things.

  36. Lew on April 6th, 2009 at 20:58

    Fo,

    Much better, thank you.

    Lew, haven’t some of the comments of that daughter actually given credence to the ‘fear of the other’? [...] Doesn’t that suggest her agenda is very much defined in racial terms & is quite anti-white?

    Yes, Tariana has said some very ill-considered things – invoking the holocaust is never a particularly good idea, because it’s almost never justified, for instance. I don’t think it really signals a throughgoing anti-white bias as much as it signals a strong anti-colonial bias, which is I think fairly understandable. Māori have for generations worked with the system, and they’re continuing to do so – even when that work gets labelled `separatism’ or `anti-white’.

    People only need fear Tariana’s and the māori party’s agenda if they fear the rolling back of colonialism, and that’s precisely what the proposed name change in Wanganui represents. The agenda is not anti-white, it’s anti-colonialist. The best way for Pākehā to find themselves on the right side of it is to loosen their grasp a little and work with Māori, as Māori have been working with us since the end of the Land Wars. The alternative is the browning – we’ll be outnumbered in our own colony, democratically at the mercy of Māori, as they have been at our mercy until now.

    Also, I don’t remember her criticising the actions of those in the Ureweras. Even when it was revealed they were intending to displace European farmers & shoot people.

    Nice use of the passive voice here – it was not revealed, it was alleged, and a court has yet to determine the facts of the allegation or the veracity and context of the transcripts published which supposedly reveal them. This is a very long bow to draw in service of your anti-white hypothesis – plenty of people have yet to condemn the alleged intentions of the so-called Urewera Terror cells, precisely because there’s so little actual evidence upon which to base a condemnation.

    L

  37. Fo on April 6th, 2009 at 21:31

    “Fo writes,

    Also, I don’t remember her criticising the actions of those in the Ureweras. Even when it was revealed they were intending to displace European farmers & shoot people.

    “revealed” ?

    Care to produce any evidence?”

    This was reported in the DomPost from a police affidavit from memory. It was part of the publication that lead to contempt of court charges which were heard last year.

    “I believe (although I could be wrong) the Crown isn’t even bothering to charge anyone with either of those things.”

    Either of what things? It’s not a crime to talk about shooting people or displacing farmers. The Terror legislation itself was badly flawed, which was why the Solicitor General didn’t proceed. I think there may be some minor Arms Act charges outstanding.

    “People only need fear Tariana’s and the māori party’s agenda if they fear the rolling back of colonialism, and that’s precisely what the proposed name change in Wanganui represents.”

    Does this include getting rid of names like Auckland & Wellington? It seems potentially any name could be replaced on this basis?

    “The alternative is the browning – we’ll be outnumbered in our own colony, democratically at the mercy of Māori, as they have been at our mercy until now.”

    I think demographically, Asians are projected to have similar numbers to Maori by about 2030? So, while the Euro majority will decline it won’t necessarily result in a Maori majority either. That’s why I thought Turia’s comments about white immigration seemed particularly anti-white. If she was concerned solely about gaining further Maori seats then she could have mentioned Asian migration too (something I think Rawiri Taonui mentioned in the SST at the time).

    “plenty of people have yet to condemn the alleged intentions of the so-called Urewera Terror cells, precisely because there’s so little actual evidence upon which to base a condemnation.”

    Yes, but they were very quick to condemn the police with even less evidence. When the DomPost published the transcripts to provide the other side of the story, suddenly they were outraged about contempt of court! No mention of whether the content of the transcripts was disturbing or not. However, they were quite happy to slam the police without knowing the full story.

  38. Lew on April 6th, 2009 at 22:50

    Fo,

    Does this include getting rid of names like Auckland & Wellington? It seems potentially any name could be replaced on this basis?

    Well, no, this is a slippery slope argument which only makes sense if you think the name is being changed for arbitrary and capricious reasons, or if you don’t really understand the reason for the h debate (which very few people do, even in Wanganui). The name of the settlement is reverting to its original correct form – neither Auckland nor Wellington were European settlements into a single existing community with a single name as in the case of Wanganui. Tamaki Makaurau (for Auckland) and Te Whanganui-a-Tara (for Wellington) both refer to discrete geographical locations which are part of the settlements which were established, but not the same as those settlements. There’s the difference. There certainly are some places where there might be a cause for change (I think Kirikiriroa for Hamilton is mentioned in one of these threads) but usually the case in situations like this is that the names are given alternate status. In the case of Wanganui/Whanganui, where one word is simply a misspelling of the other, this clearly can’t happen in law (but will happen in fact if the change goes ahead).

    Yes, but they were very quick to condemn the police with even less evidence. When the DomPost published the transcripts to provide the other side of the story, suddenly they were outraged about contempt of court!

    No, you’re dead wrong on this. Condemnation of the police was based on very extensive TV, radio and print media coverage of their actions, some of it captured live, and most of it airing or being published in the 48 hours after the events took place, in every single major news medium, bar none. Also on interviews with hundreds of people involved, from all sides in the following weeks. This compared with the very brief and selectively-quoted material printed against the court’s order by the DomPost and to a lesser extent in the Press – there’s no contest in terms of the scale of the information available for judgement. The police chose to keep their evidence secret, possibly because they had little or none (but we’ll find out in time). In addition, there’s evidence (from research conducted by Sue Abel, then at Victoria University, now at Auckland) that the TV One and 3 News coverage at least was very heavily biased toward the police position. Speaking as someone who does this for a living, the police could have completely owned the public opinion space on this one, if they’d either had the evidence or had taken a less-jackbooted set of actions.

    L

  39. [...] His characteristically torrid column is basically a rehash of the bogus arguments I discredited here, which Chris has apparently not bothered to read, much less answer the questions I pose in it. His [...]

  40. Anita on April 7th, 2009 at 15:42

    Fo,

    This was reported in the DomPost from a police affidavit from memory. It was part of the publication that lead to contempt of court charges which were heard last year.

    Well I think I just reread the DomPost article (it’s always hard to know how many chunks there were so I might’ve missed one) and reskimmed the affidavit and I don’t see any revelations about intentions “to displace European farmers & shoot people”.

    Feel free to provide some evidence to the contrary.

  41. Fo on April 7th, 2009 at 17:39

    “The name of the settlement is reverting to its original correct form – neither Auckland nor Wellington were European settlements into a single existing community with a single name as in the case of Wanganui.”

    I see. I think I understand why the change is sought. It’s named after the river & the accepted spelling of the river begins with “wha”. So if you were naming it today then obviously it would be logical to call it Whanganui.

    Is it correct to talk about its original correct form though? I mean it is correct given the common spelling now used, but at the time it wasn’t written. It was an oral language & it’s over time that the spelling has been standardised?

    I’m not saying that means it shouldn’t change. I’m just wondering how you can say what the correct form was at the time.

    “No, you’re dead wrong on this. Condemnation of the police was based on very extensive TV, radio and print media coverage of their actions, some of it captured live, and most of it airing or being published in the 48 hours after the events took place, in every single major news medium, bar none.”

    I should have clarified what I meant by condemning the police. Obviously, given their fairly unprecedented & apparently heavy handed actions they were going to attract comment. However, some seemed to suggest a racial bias (even though most of those arrested were white). Once you suggest bias or question the motive of an agency, it becomes a matter of public interest to hear the evidence explaining their rationale (to enable them to rebutt the allegation). This partially happened through the leak to the DomPost.

    On the face of it, that may have been prejudicial to a fair trial. However, I think it was a bit rich to question police motives and then complain when evidence explaining the police actions emerged. You can’t have it both ways really.

    “The police chose to keep their evidence secret, possibly because they had little or none”

    Obviously they have to keep evidence secret to ensure potential jurors won’t prejudge a matter. Also, there are admissibility issues that a court needs to consider.

  42. Fo on April 7th, 2009 at 17:48

    Anita,

    Can you post a link to the article? I understood that the DomPost had to remove it due to the contempt of court proceedings.

    I can only find references to it on blogs now, such as this by Bomber. The link he cites has been removed for the reason cited above, however, he quotes the passage from the DomPost that outlines the bugged conversations and contents of the affidavit sworn on 10 October 2007.

    http://tumeke.blogspot.com/2007/11/and-backlash-begins-in-5-4-3-2-1.html

  43. Kiwipolitico » Blog Archive » Submit! on August 16th, 2009 at 13:24

    [...] the proposed name change. The majority of my submission is drawn from the four posts I have written on the topic. There’s plenty (plenty!) more about this out there on the interwebs as well. [...]

  44. [...] and think about his quest. He named the mountain Remutaka – which means to sit down. The Mairist Republic of Whanganuistan draws ever closer. And we’re supposed to call the highest peak in the Wellington region after [...]

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