Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's hikoi time again

It's not often that the New Zealand Herald calls on its readers to join a protest march organised and led by Maori. I was intrigued, then, when I saw that the last issue of The Aucklander, the Herald's semi-autonomous weekly community paper, devoted its entire frontpage to an advertisement for the hikoi that will take place tomorrow to demand that Maori be allowed to elect their own representatives to the new Auckland 'Supercity'.

Other community newspapers have echoed The Aucklander's endorsement of the hikoi. The mayors of Manukau, Waitakere, and the North Shore have been photographed together wearing T shirts advertising the event. Pakeha callers to talkback radio have claimed that they will be marching on Monday.

On the surface, at least, the enthusiasm of wide sections of the Pakeha community for the hikoi is a little hard to understand. In the past, Pakeha have often seen the Maori desire for their own electoral roll as an example of a sort of 'separatism' that is unecessary in a modern, enlightened society like New Zealand. If Maori needs and interests cannot be served by representatives elected by majority Pakeha electorates, then it follows that Maori must have different needs and interests to those of Pakeha.

The 2004 seabed and foreshore hikoi mobilised huge numbers of Maori, but only attracted relatively small contingents of Pakeha, many of whom were left-wing activists. If tomorrow's hikoi draws large numbers of Pakeha as well as Maori, then it will mark a departure from the pattern of the past.

I think we can explain the enthusiasm of many Pakeha for tomorrow's march by remembering that the proposed Supercity promises to have drastic effects on Pakeha as well as Maori.

For many New Zealanders, the neo-liberal policies pursued by successive governments in the 1980s and '90s remain a vivid and unpleasant memory. The privatisations, cuts in social services, and corporatisation of the public sector which characterised those years drove up unemployment and poverty levels and fractured communities in both the urban and rural parts of the country. The longevity of the Clark government elected in 1999 stemmed in large part from the freeze it applied to many neo-liberal policies, and the election of National last year was made possible by John Key's strenuous denials that the party was still wedded to neo-liberalism.

Key likes to present himself as a 'fresh face' untainted by the politics of the 90s, but his Cabinet is dominated by the men responsible for policies like market rentals for state housing, hospital charges, and benefit cuts. Key's Cabinet also contains Rodney Hide, the leader of a party which is only too happy to associate itself with the worst excesses of neo-liberalism. As Minister of Local Government, Hide has disregarded the proposals of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, which spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours consulting with Aucklanders to find the best way to amalgamate their local governments.

In the best tradition of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson, Hide is junking the findings of the Royal Commission and attempting to bulldoze through a hastily drawn up proposal that will see major cuts in spending and services. John Banks' recent prediction that forty percent of Council staff will lose their jobs as a result of the Supercity has only confirmed the worst fears of many Aucklanders.

If non-Maori outraged by Hide's autocratic and austere plan for Auckland are able to join tomorrow's hikoi in large numbers, then a powerful coalition could be formed.

If they are to act effectively against Hide's Supercity, though, the grassroots protesters will have to prevail over their self-appointed leaders. The Maori Party's MPs have identified themselves with opposition to the Supercity, but their coalition with National leaves them compromised. Mayors Brown, Harvey, and Williams are machine politicians whose opposition to the Supercity stems more from self-preservation than any genuine commitment to oppose neo-neo-liberalism in Tamaki Makaurau. Tomorrow's march is being organised by Iwi Have Influence (IHI), and the wider campaign against the Supercity is cohering around the Community Coalition for Auckland. Hopefully both groups will develop a mass membership and operate in a democratic manner, rather than as mouthpieces for career politicians.

IHI has produced a superb poster to advertise tomorrow's hikoi. The group's anonymous artist has based his or her design on the iconic photograph of Dame Whina Cooper and one of her mokopuna walking down the dusty road out of the far north settlement of Te Hapua on the first stage of the Great Land March of 1975. By setting the marchers against Auckland's skyline, the artist has asserted the unity of rural and urban Maori, and the continuity of the interests of rural iwi and tribes like Ngati Whatua, Ngati Paoa and Waiohua, who together constitute the tangata whenua of Tamaki Makaurau. In his 2007 Oedipus Rex exhibition Enquiries , Manu Scott presented a powerful revision of the famous 1975 photograph. Has Scott been freelancing for IHI?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's something new:

9:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rex Gilroy says he's closing in on the colony of the presumed-extinct little scrub moa

Gilroy also claims to have sighted the presumed-extinct Tasmanian tiger on the Australian mainland, and discovered evidence of the Australian panther, Blue Mountain lion and monitor lizard.

He's also convinced about the existence of the yowie – in his words: "a homo erectus – a tool making, fire making hominid."


He refuses to reveal the location for fear of an influx of people will scare away the birds, and has turned down an offer from a television crew to accompany him.

The Moa is thought to have been extinct since around 1500

9:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment was made last night on the 'Celtic Boulders' thread:

Keri Hulme said...
“Somebody has been reading waaay too much pulp sci-fic....
“Well, it makes a change from the Menzies "1421" wingnuts who claim the Moeraki concretions are 'ballast' or 'cannon balls'. “

Keri, it is advisable to get your facts right before trashing others or you make a fool of yourself, as you have done here by showing your ignorance of nautical matters.

No one at 1421 has ever claimed that Moeraki boulders were ballast nor will they. No sailor worth his salt would use round stone balls as ballast as he would very quickly sink his ship as the ballast rolled to and fro.

Can you please apologise to us via this forum for your error and unnecessarily abusive language?

Rosanne Hawarden 1421 Pacific Research Group

9:39 am  
Blogger Edward said...

Rosanne, may I ask what your background is with regard to your "research"? What training have you undergone? One would think a highly technological civilisation might leave some kind of evidence of their settlement such as features. I've never come across any on my field work, nor has any other archaeologist I know. And I mean real features - concrete evidence, not "stains" in cliff face strata or anomalous "artefacts" such as i've seen thus far from the 1421 New Zealand "research".

9:57 am  
Anonymous Keri Hulme said...

Roseanne - you are making a fool of yourself.

I am travelling at the moment and cant reference my library, but be assured I have a CHCH Press clipping where one of the '1421' believers - the one who went round Akaroa with some kind of electromagnometer discovering Chinese barracks? The wingnut who also discovered extensive Chinese workings and buildings in CHCH? And elsewhere in the South?- claimed exactly that. All those claims, together with the equally preposterous information that the Katigi boulders were cannonballs - not to mention Menzies own raving about a carbonised junk hurled by a tsunami (from a meteor in the 1420s) into a Moeraki cliff-face- were posted on the original '1421' website.

11:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keri, I think the guy you're referring to is Cedric Bell. This is the text from a Chch Press story, 2003:

English visitor to Christchurch Cedric Bell made his career in oil.
Recently retired, the amateur historian now believes he has the real oil on early exploration in the Pacific.
His findings, in the finest traditions of English eccentricity, espouse the Chinese discovering New Zealand well before Maori or Dutchmen.
Two series of investigations early this year have convinced Mr Bell that Chinese ships were visiting New Zealand 2000 years ago.
He is equally sure a Chinese city of 4000 people was situated in the present-day Christchurch Botanic Gardens 1000 years ago, alongside a fort _ one of 30 Chinese sites he has found in the South Island.
Christchurch was the Chinese capital of the South Island, Mr Bell says.
That not a single artefact or Maori acknowledgement of Chinese exploration exists in New Zealand does not deter Mr Bell. His research is indisputable, he says.
The retired marine engineer and production manager for Castrol has been exploring Roman remains in Britain for the last 10 years. He read of early Chinese global expeditions in Gavin Menzies' book, 1421, and, while visiting his son in New Zealand, did some exploring.
The similarities between ancient Chinese and Roman building techniques amazed him. Using electric scanning devices, he detected a Chinese fort near the children's playground in the Botanic Gardens and the ramparts and drains of a walled city, 400m long by 100m wide, immediately behind the Canterbury Museum.
Mr Bell surmises the Chinese settlers diverted the Avon River to create the loop around the Botanic Gardens. He says his investigations have revealed another fort at Allandale, at the head of Lyttelton Harbour, and a camp by the Rakaia River mouth with a canal to Lake Ellesmere and Lake Forsyth.
He believes the carbonised remains of a Chinese junk can be seen in the cliffs at Moeraki, south of Oamaru, the result of the vessel being swept ashore by a tsunami. He believes DNA evidence points to Maori warriors wiping out male Chinese and taking Chinese women as wives and sex slaves.

He is cited fairly comprehensively in the "evidence" section of Menzies's site:

4:14 pm  
Anonymous Keri Hulme said...

Last Anon posting:

yep, the wingnut was Cedric Bell. There were 3 separate articles in the CHCH Press and I have them all
( and many many very boring downloads from the original '1421' site.)

10:42 pm  

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