Pretending Maoris are natives of this land and all others are not is a wicked fiction
There are three reasons for this.
- Maoris arrived here from Taiwan in about 1200 AD, so they’re immigrants like the rest of us.
- Maori activists were born in the last few decades, like the rest of us.
- Maori lineage is mixed and can include numerous races, like the rest of us.I have corrected this article, because since it was published I’ve learned that DNA may not at all reflect your family tree, for you are a completely random mixture of both your parents, and … Continue reading
Let’s make this crystal clear: there is no ratio of races that entitles any person to impair the democratic rights of any other person. It’s just not a racial issue. Who came first, and whether they’ve been here for a million years or their feet are still wet from wading ashore, doesn’t matter. The law does not change.
As the Maoris stepped ashore at Maketu and other famous landing places, our British forebears were about to lose King Richard (“the Lion Heart”) during the Crusades in 1199. The Great Charter, Magna Carta, would be signed in 1215 in London, and the next year would see a French invasion by Prince Louis of France, invited over by the English barons to help them depose the difficult King John. They were turbulent times. Our ancestors spent, according to latest research, about 900,000 years in continuous habitation of the British Isles, so our place in the world is unquestionable, but listen to a simple folk tale from Maori tradition.
Perhaps 50 or 55 years ago I recall reading how a man could become “tangata whenua”, or a man of the land, and somehow it stayed with me. As I recall, it was a Williams Dictionary, an edition from about the 1930s or 40s I found on our family bookshelves. It said that cultivating the earth “for a season” made you a man of the earth, or tangata whenua.
And that’s all it is. After searching the Williams Dictionary for a couple of hours I haven’t found the story. Maybe it was a different book.
The eyes of Maori activists squint somewhat and their brow furrows when they insist they’re the only ones entitled to be called tangata whenua, and they never apply it to us. Apparently we immigrants don’t resemble men of the land in the smallest degree. But they don’t ask whether we were born here, and if we’re not tangata whenua, despite eating the food that grows here, what on earth are we? So I don’t believe them. If we don’t belong here, where do we belong?
It’s disappointing that the activists complain angrily that they’re not respected yet show little respect for British descendants, who are English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. They lump all the white migrants into a false group they call “European”. Know why? To avoid calling our society British, which they hate to do, they hate the English with a passion. But Europe is simply not a country.
Official records show that for 150 years, starting around 1800, the vast majority of migrants came here from Britain. At the start of the 20th century, immigration to New Zealand was still 95% British. Of the ‘white’ British colonies (New Zealand, Australia and Canada), New Zealand was traditionally seen as the most British.
It would be better for civil servants to be honest about our origins instead of wanting to eliminate our British roots, that freely gave us law, language and religion for the bones and sinews of this fresh new nation. They should also respect our choice of nation as our origin, just as Maoris expect to be called Maori even when they look as white as the rest of us and their lineage includes as many nations as the rest of us.
Certainly it’s poor scholarship but also an insult to call us Europeans. Europe—bah! We didn’t come from Europe. If we called a Maori Taiwanese, I wager he’d be insulted. While science confirms Maoris did come from Taiwan, British descendants are told they come from a non-existent country called Europe. It’s just not true. No British descendant would identify as European if the countries of the Union were available to choose from.
I’ve looked up the previous two census forms of 2013 and 2018. They both ask “Which ethnic group do you belong to?, both offer “New Zealand European” (among others), but all three words of which are wrong when 80% of answers need to be “British”.
But the fact is that 80% of our population have some British ancestry and 90% of us speak English. Barely 4% speak Maori.
It would be interesting to hear other stories of how to become tangata whenua. But even without more stories, it’s bigotry to claim that descendants of immigrants don’t belong here.
For over 150 years after 1800, most people who migrated to New Zealand were from Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) and Ireland.
|I have corrected this article, because since it was published I’ve learned that DNA may not at all reflect your family tree, for you are a completely random mixture of both your parents, and not a copy of either. For example, the family tree might indicate that each parent is 50% British and 50% Māori. But one child may get all their father’s British DNA and all their mother’s Māori DNA for a 50/50 mixture of each race. Meanwhile, a sibling may get 20% of one and 80% of the other, and yet another sibling may become 100% British or 100% Maori (rare, but it happens). (5:15 pm, 6 May 2022)