The idea that Maori in general, and radical Maori in particular, represent a sort of fifth column in Kiwi society is not a new one, and one of its most energetic and long-standing proponents is Trevor Loudon, the former vice-President of the Act Party and an inveterate commie-hunter. Loudon, who insists that the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War were merely commie stunts designed to lull the West into a false sense of safety, has over the years linked every Maori activist from Syd Jackson to Tame Iti to one far left conspiracy or other. He also found the time, back in the '80s, to launch a campaign against the owners of Ladas. Loudon apparently regarded Kiwis who purchased the Soviet-made car as politically suspect, and would sometimes confront them in person as they parked their vehicles outside his local supermarket in Christchurch.
I have a couple of sinister photographs to show to comrade Loudon: they were taken recently outside a cafe in Riverhead, on the western edge of Auckland. Unfortunately, I missed out on identifying the owner of the personalised numberplate TITO: he or she nipped up out while I was preoccupied with my oversized rhubarb and lemon muffin.
Riverhead is an old gumdiggers' village, and the gumdigging industry was dominated, at the point of production if not the point of sale, by Dalmatians and Maori. In many parts of Northland, the two peoples intermarried, and in his great poem 'An Ordinary Day Beyond Kaitaia' Kendrick Smithyman celebrates the 'Polynesian Slavic' identity such alliances created.
Some people regarded the confluence of Maori and Dalmatian cultures less happily than Smithyman. In his handsome and disturbing book The Policeman and the Prophet, Mark Derby shows how members of the Anglo-Saxon establishment saw members of both groups as dangerous aliens, who had to be controlled with force. Derby describes, with admirable coolness, a plan by New Zealand's Police Commissioner to intern all of the country's Dalmatians in a giant prison camp on low scrubby land near Cape Reinga.
Could the number plate I spotted in an old gumdigging settlement, with its trumpeting of the name of Yugoslavia's late communist leader, be a sign of a residual danger to the forces of capitalist civilisation? Is there perhaps a danger of an alliance between old-style Yugoslav commies and the hotheads of the Mana Party? The term Tito-Rangatiratanga has a certain ring, doesn't it?
Footnote: this was posted by Maps rather than Skyler. Blogger has locked me out of its site, for some reason I can't, in my primitivist ignorance, even begin to comprehend.