Waitangi Day 2013


Waitangi Day is approaching. The big story this year, it seems, will be whether Titewhai Harawira will be escorting PM John Key onto Te Tii Marae or whether the Marae committee has its way and kuia Ani Taurua will do the job.

Many right-wing commentators will be lining up again to write their racist opinion pieces. Last year, 'Sir' Paul Holmes wrote that “Waitangi Day [is] a complete waste”, that “it's time to cancel our repugnant national holiday” and: “Well, it's a bullshit day, Waitangi. It's a day of lies. It is loony Maori fringe self-denial day. It's a day when everything is addressed, except the real stuff. Never mind the child stats, never mind the national truancy stats, never mind the hopeless failure of Maori to educate their children and stop them bashing their babies. No, it's all the Pakeha's fault. It's all about hating whitey.” Holmes was slammed by the Press Council who upheld seven complaints concluding that Holmes' “opinions are extreme to the extent of being a gratuitous offence to Maori.”

This year, Tariana Turia has already said she won't be going to Waitangi because she was pushed around roughly a few years ago. "People kind of build the angst leading up to Waitangi and quite often it's not even the people from the north, there's people from all over the country who come there with all their anger over what's happened in the past," she says.

Is she really surprised? A government, that she is part of, is passing all sorts of horrendous acts and legislations and we ought to be all nice and friendly? Yes, people are angry and rightly so!

John and Wikitana Popata (aka the Popata Brothers), who in recent years have led the protest action around Waitangi Day including challenging John Key, have indicated they won't be going to Waitangi this year. However, many people will be there to protest and make their opposition to the government known.

TVNZ covered the powhiri of Governor-General 'Sir' Jerry Mateparae onto Te Tii Marae focusing at first on the dramas around who is the escort for the 'VIPs'. After about 1.30 mins, reporter Paul Hobbs made an unexpected turn in the coverage:

“But Peter, the interesting thing is that many Maori here are saying that this spat is effectively a distraction and an unwelcome distraction for Maori who have many other issues they want to raise with the government, issues like housing, poor housing, unemployment, and a whole range of social deprivation issues which are more important than some issue of who will walk on with the Prime Minister.”

Peter Williams, in the Auckland studio, then asked: “So Paul, how is this likely to be resolved?”

And at that point I was literally expecting the reporter to explain how unemployment and inadequate housing can be sorted out. Alas, he didn't. Instead, he went back to the 'spat'.

Instead of fueling the drama, let's get back to what's really important: to bring an end to the colonial regime!


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