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Send Hone Harawira Back to Taiwan!

© Peter Zohrab 2009

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If the British immigrants to New Zealand had killed, eaten, and enslaved the previous Polynesian and Melanesian immigrants to New Zealand, the British would now be the indigenous inhabitants of this country.  As I point out in my article on the term "Indigenous", this word is almost never used with integrity, and is essentially a confidence-trick by activists and university lecturers (who are often just activists, anyway).  They attach the term "indigenous" automatically to any group of people who say they were in a particular place before White colonialists arrived, although this group of people may well have been colonialists in the past.

It is racist to refer to anyone living in a given stretch of land before the arrival of Europeans as "indigenous" or "native", unless those people:

  1. constitute a single political entity, and

  2. can prove that there was no one living there before their ancestors arrived.

People who use the term "indigenous" are racists and transportists, because they discriminate between colonisers on the basis of race and the of the type of transport which they used to get to where they live.  If they are White and arrived by sailing vessel, then they are "colonisers", but if they are Brown and arrived by canoe, then they are "indigenous".

The Maoris did not constitute a political or cultural unity before the arrival of Europeans, since they were divided into warring tribes.   Moreover, they possibly arrived at different times from different Pacific islands, which were themselves politically and culturally distinct. Moreover, the Maoris' genetic make-up shows that their ancestors were both Polynesians and Melanesians,1 with the Polynesians having started island-hopping from Taiwan.  So there was no Maori political entity there which could be called "indigenous" to New Zealand as a whole, although various tribes and sub-tribes might have a slightly stronger claim to being "indigenous" in their own local areas.  We also do not know which of the component tribal entities was the first on the scene, or if indeed they wiped out the really "indigenous" people who may have preceded them.

A few weeks ago, Maori Party Hone Harawira was on the TVNZ programme "Q+A", where he came across as a very angry and direct fellow -- and I respect him for that.  Certainly, he is right to call the Foreshore and Seabed Act racist.  However, he himself is clearly an anti-Asian racist.  On the proposed Auckland "super-city" council, he wanted separate Maori representation, on the grounds that local Maoris are "indigenous" to the area.  He also wanted separate representation for Polynesian Islanders, which is a group with which the Maori Party obviously want to forge an alliance with.  However, he refused to contemplate having separate representation for Chinese and Indian people. 

Asian immigrants have a reputation for working hard and doing better than the White majority, in socio-economic terms.  This is a bitter blow to Maori activists, who have long tried to place the race card -- claiming that racism was what held Maoris back, socio-economically.  However, if Asians can do it, why is it that most Maoris can't?  (Of course, many Maoris can -- and do -- succeed in socio-economic terms).  In addition, since the ancestors of the Maoris probably fled to Taiwan and other islands to escape the advancing Han Chinese, it must be a bitter blow to see these same Han Chinese following them out to New Zealand and undercutting their best argument for pity and hand-outs!

The Foreshore and Seabed Act should be repealed, and Maoris should be encouraged to compete and achieve, like the rest of us.  Meanwhile, if Hone Harawira doesn't like it here, maybe he should go home to Taiwan!?


1 Although the researchers speculate that the Melanesian genetic input came when Melanesians acted as guides for the Polynesians, this is an unnecessarily cosmetic explanation.  Given the warlike nature of the Maoris (and every other human group on the face of the globe), the more likely explanation is that a war-party of Melanesians attacked a Polynesian village, killed off all the men, and took the Polynesian women as wives.  This may have happened on more than one occasion.


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Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

25 September 2021