Hone's racism was made in Europe
Well, if Hone wants to increase the chances that his daughter gets beaten, does drugs, gets involved in gangs, teenage pregnancy and shaken-baby, then Hone is doing the right thing...
Right of way is Way of Right...a lot of NZ families changed their European names to Maori names at around the same time...70s and 80s...as it was more financially beneficial to do so...and still is...based on greed.
It seems generally that Europeans have embraced the idea that ethnocentrism is a bad thing. I think other ethnic groups tend to see it as natural.
I am also unimpressed by Harawira's statement, but I'd like to think I can differentiate my reaction to his words from those of the obsessives who haunt the comments boxes of sites like Kiwiblog. I think that Harawira's attitude to inter-ethnic relationships is wrong precisely because it relies upon a couple of assumptions common to the Maori-bashers the rogue MP spends so much of his time trying to oppose.
Over the years I have engaged in many conversations - some of them friendly, some of them not so friendly - with Pakeha who disagree with my support for biculturalism and binationalism in Aotearoa. I've noticed that, whether they hail from the right or the left, or have no discernable politics, people who argue against my positions tend to resort, at some point or other in their argument, to references to the amount of 'pure blood' Maori have in their veins.
'Half of these Maori activists you see on television are part Pakeha', one friend told me a few months ago, with a look of absolute sincerity on his face. 'How can they call themselves Maori when they're not full-blooded?' Visitors to my blog and anonymous e mailers have made similar points over the years, informing me that the 'pure Maoris' of the nineteenth century no longer exist, that the people who call themselves Maori are 'really just Kiwis', and that attempts to recover stolen land, spread the Maori language, and establish institutions like wananga are both irrational and 'divisive'.
Over at Kiwiblog John Ansell, the adman responsible for the notorious 'Iwi-Kiwi' billboards that helped define Don Brash's 2005 election campaign, has used Harawira's prejudices as an excuse to dust off the old 'racial purity' argument:
When so much money is doled out to ‘Maori’ one way and another, I think people are entitled to ask this very uncomfortable question…In view of the dilution of bloodlines over the past 170 years, and the fact that many people who call themselves Maori are at least half Pakeha, is Maori actually a race? Or is it really a religion – like Catholicism?
The assumption that Maori identity is defined exclusively by blood and the argument that the only 'real' Maori are people with exclusively Maori ancestry are both hangovers from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when European intellectuals had an unhealthy obsession with notions of racial purity.
In the nineteenth century ethnographers, travel writers, and artists influenced by notions of the 'noble savage' celebrated the 'purity' of the peoples that they encountered in parts of the world which had previously been isolated from Europe. For these rather patronising outsiders, the value of 'primitive' peoples like the Polynesians lay in their lack of experience of the ways of the West. Because their genetic inferiority and static cultures were incompatible with European influences, the noble savages would be 'ruined' by exposure to European technology and to randy European sailors and colonists.
The notion of the noble savage eventually exerted a strong influence on the men who administered the territories conquered by Europeans. In the last decade of the nineteenth century Dick Seddon decided that Tuhoe should be given a certain measure of political autonomy, and be isolated from the ways of the modern world, so that their 'special character' might be maintained for the benefit of 'cultural tourists' from the West. A few years later, the viceroy of German Samoa, an ethnographer named Wilhelm Solf, decreed that both colonists and most forms of modern technology must be kept out of his domain, so that the 'splendid children' he governed could 'exist undisturbed'.
In the first decades of the twentieth century the European fascination with racial purity saw the rise of the creed of eugenics, which made the cult of the noble savage seem positively benign. Eugenics distinguished between 'healthy' and 'unhealthy' races, and called either for the assimilation or for the outright elimination of the 'unhealthier' races. Eugenicists influenced not only Hitler's European genocides, but the policies of administrators in the colonial world. In Australia, for instance, it led to attempts to 'breed the blackness' out of Aboriginal peoples, by sending their children, especially their 'half-caste' children, to live with white families who would marry them off to whites, or to other 'half-castes'. In New Zealand, eugenics was partly to blame for the less dramatic but equally racist policy of 'assimilation', which saw urbanised Maori being housed in isolation from one another and discouraged from maintaining their connections with their whanau 'back home'. It was hoped that, cut off from their roots and their traditional support networks, urbanised Maori would adopt Pakeha ways, marry good Pakeha boys and girls, and produce offspring that would 'vanish' into 'mainstream New Zealand'.
When I meet Pakeha who still define Maori by the 'purity' or otherwise of their blood, I try to point out to them the unsavoury origins and history of the assumptions they hold. I also like to ask my interlocutors whether they are prepared to define European peoples with reference to blood. Studies by geneticists show that, after millennia of intermarriage and migration, there is no such thing as a pure-blooded Frenchman, or a pure-blooded Scot, or a pure-blooded Englishman, or a pure-blooded Pole. Does this mean that anybody who defines himself or herself as Scottish, or French or Polish is deluded? Is the teaching of the French language in French schools or the Polish language in Polish schools absurd? Should we laugh at Prince Philip's claim to be English, when his bloodline lacks any trace of Englishness? Why, I like to ask my interlocutors, is it only non-Western peoples who must be defined in terms of the 'purity' of their blood?
Maori themselves have never shared the European obsession with blood. It is of course true that genealogy is vital to Maori self-definition, but Maori culture has never regarded 'purity' of genealogy as important. Long before contact with Europeans, it was normal for individual Maori to define themselves by referring to ancestors from different iwi. After intermarriage with Europeans and non-Polynesian peoples began in earnest in the nineteenth century, Maori quickly began to incorporate new bloodlines into the self-definitions they recited on marae. Having a Scottish or Spanish or 'Negro' father or mother was not a source of shame, let alone social exclusion. The outsiders who settled in Maori communities in the nineteenth century often produced children of great mana. Jacky Marmon, the famous 'Pakeha Maori' who settled amongst Ngapuhi in the Hokianga, produced children with a series of high-ranking women introduced to him by their male relatives. Today scores of Hokianga Maori are proud to cite Marmon as one of their ancestors. On the East Coast of the North Island, an entire hapu of Ngati Porou, the Paniora, celebrate their connection with the Spanish sailor and trader Jose Manuel, who took five of their ancestors as his wives in the nineteenth century. Some of the greatest Maori intellectuals, politicians, and sportspeople have celebrated the non-Maori blood that has flowed through their veins. Sir Peter Buck was proud of the Irish ancestry his father provided him, but never felt less Maori for it. The Pakeha parts of Buck Shelford's whakapapa have not stopped him being a Maori leader on and off the rugby field.
When he expresses unhappiness at the possibility that his kids might end up intermarrying and breeding with Pakeha, Hone Harawira offends the many Kiwis of all ethnicities who do not share his prejudices. More importantly, though, he unwittingly reinforces a very old, very ugly, and still surprisingly widespread Pakeha misconception about Maori identity. By implicitly endorsing the view that the children of unions between Maori and non-Maori represent some sort of diminution of Maori identity, Harawira gives a boost to the sort of racism he has spent his career trying to defeat.