Get a grip, Nehe, or find yourself a new gripe
Iapologise in advance for using up 700 words on the breathless over-reaction of a former All Black but Nehe MilnerSkudder can’t sidestep this one.
Nehe is sad. Nehe is upset. And apparently I’m to blame. I’ll stop short of saying sorry because on this one I’m actually not. I can offer counselling, though. Just let me know, Nehe.
Nehe’s internal brain fart only strengthens my resolve to highlight why I think Nehe is a meek puppet for someone else trying to push an agenda that has no place in a provincial Santa parade.
Firstly, Nehe, far too much drama in the over-reaction. It’s a Santa parade, and some overzealous PC freak from the council overthought it. Everyone was too clever and forgot about the little kids wanting to see Santa. That’s the main game, right? But no, someone gave someone a wide brief and was captured by their own delusions.
They got a Willie Apiata-looking bloke who looked like the welcoming party at the foyer of TVNZ. Or Work and Income. Or the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Or indeed the Ministry of Dumb Ideas.
All they wanted was Santa. Santa is for kids, Nehe. They want to see Santa at the Santa parade. Bit like seeing animals at the zoo, I suppose. Kids were left dazed and confused, and some were crying.
Spoiler alert: discussing fat guy in a red suit with beard, fat gut and gumboots . . . answers to the name Santa . . . always has, always will. Never dresses up in any other traditional clothing, not known to be Ma¯ ori, Chinese, Mongolian or Indian. He’s Santa. Can be anything underneath, but he’s Santa.
Anyway, so it goes like this. I see Santa dressed as a middle-aged Ma¯ ori man in the Nelson Santa Parade. No Santa uniform. So I say: ‘‘Ma¯ ori don’t own everything.’’
Flippant, yes. Perhaps I should have said: Why do Ma¯ ori have to be at the centre of everything?
But Nehe, or whoever writes his stuff, went into breathless meltdown, but not before I’d said this: ‘‘What a complete hoax and what a joke. Who was the person behind this?
‘‘You need to have a beard to have Santa, you need to have a Santa suit on. And sorry, turning up with a korowai? You got this so wrong, Nelson. You couldn’t have been more wrong.
‘‘The kids weren’t there to see a Ma¯ ori Santa. Santa’s very different to Ma¯ ori – Ma¯ ori don’t have to own everything. Santa is Santa, and Santa’s not broken.’’
Fair? Oh no. Milner-Skudder said people who have a platform need to be mindful of the things they say in the media, and he called my comments ‘‘disrespectful and disgusting’’.
He then said: ‘‘In saying that, people like Duncan Garner and others who have commented on this matter need to be MINDFUL of the things they say. You have a platform so you can have an opinion, but you don’t need to make certain comments.’’
Oh come on, Nehe, find a real cause or issue to get so upset about. Try criticising your fellow Super Rugby players for abusing strippers, bashing members of the public, or urinating in public. But if it’s easier to stay silent on those issues, like you all do, then back the cops over their exclusion from Pride, or maybe take a stand on child abuse or the stubbornly high rates of Ma¯ ori still smoking.
But then Santa becomes linked to colonisation and Nehe thinks, yes, Garner, take that! He writes: ‘‘Of course we don’t own everything, it was taken at colonisation and we’ve failed as a country to truly understand Ma¯ ori culture and in turn that means we’ve failed to redress those wrongs.’’
Nehe, colonisation and blaming the white guy for those obvious crimes and theft against your people are being addressed. They have been for 30 years. It’s not perfect by any means. And, yes, too many Pa¯ keha¯ have failed to show an interest in Ma¯ oridom, but that’s changing. This is about Santa, though, not an essay to impress diplomats at the UN book awards.
I suppose tone is important too, to encourage positive relations. Your aggro, blame-the-white guy approach turns us Pa¯ keha¯ off. We’re too polite to say so, but I suspect on this one people are telling you to stick it.
Also, if you knew the slightest bit about me and my background, you may have altered your view that somehow I have little regard for things Ma¯ ori. Try Google, e hoa. Kia ora ra.
Nehe Milner-Skudder is sad. Nehe is upset. And apparently Duncan Garner is to blame.