Full jus­tice for Maori still lack­ing in Pakeha world

Auckland City Harbour News - - News -

“They hate it when they see we are good looking and ar­tic­u­late.” That’s what my Un­cle Syd Jack­son used to say about Pakeha New Zealand in the 1970s.

Syd was per­haps the most fa­mous Maori ac­tivist of the last gen­er­a­tion. He was com­ment­ing on Pakeha prej­u­dice to­ward Maori, who were out­spo­ken on Maori is­sues.

Un­cle Syd, though, was more than just a Maori ac­tivist. He was an aca­demic, a union leader, a Maori leader, a role model and in­spi­ra­tion for ac­tivists like Hone Harawira, Ken Mair and Tame Iti.

He was also, apart from my dad, the big­gest po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence in my life. I was think­ing about un­cle when two sto­ries broke last week – the Maori rugby tour to South Africa and Sky TV giv­ing for­mer TVNZ pre­sen­ter Tony Veitch a break on the Mur­ray Deaker show.

Both sto­ries had sig­nif­i­cant racial con­no­ta­tions and re­quired some ex­plain­ing.

So first up my bro’ John Tami­here tried to give the sim­plest ex­pla­na­tion on why a Maori team was not racist on our Ra­dio Live talk­back show.

JT said that a Maori team was about cel­e­brat­ing our unique­ness, our cul­ture, and was sim­i­lar to an Aus­tralian Abo­rig­i­nal team or a Lon­don Welsh team. He said there was noth­ing dis­crim­i­na­tory at all about hav­ing a Maori team, and this was about pos­i­tive recog­ni­tion and not racial dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Now if any­one has a chance at crack­ing the racial di­vide then JT does. He prob­a­bly fits Un­cle Syd’s cri­te­rion – good looking and ar­tic­u­late – which is tremen­dously hard for me to con­cede!

But JT didn’t have a chance. No mat­ter what he said most of the callers couldn’t break through their own racial prej­u­dice and re­fused to ac­knowl­edge the rights of a Maori team.

So I thought from the out­set that my chances of con­vert­ing Pakeha New Zealand to my way of think­ing over the Tony Veitch saga would be pretty small.

I have how­ever, been en­cour­aged by the sup­port that I have re­ceived.

While most Pakeha don’t ac­cept my jus­tice for Maori ar­gu­ment, and that a Maori would never re­ceive the same op­por­tu­nity that Veitch has re­ceived from Sky TV if they were fac­ing se­ri­ous crim­i­nal charges, many do ac­cept my ar­gu­ment that this op­por­tu­nity is a ba­sic breach of Kiwi prin­ci­ples, morals.

They also ac­cept that there seems to be a dif­fer­ent set of rules for peo­ple if they have heavy­weight me­dia friends, like Mur­ray Deaker and Paul Holmes ad­vo­cat­ing for them.

And so I re­main op­ti­mistic that Ki­wis’ in­tol­er­ance of Veitch be­ing back on TV will one day ex­tend to them recog­nis­ing what Un­cle Syd used to talk about, when he spoke about equal jus­tice for Maori.

ethics and

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.