Celebrate culture: Letters, 17 May

By Readers write


The Bay of Plenty Times welcomes letters and comments from readers. Here you can read the letters we have published in your newspaper today.

Rights have been ceded to Maori

When Prime Minister John Key said he didn't want Kiwis to become tenants in their own country, he hadn't considered the consequences of his legislation.

Most New Zealanders were just coming to terms with the effects of the 2004 act, which National then said gave Maori too many rights over those of other New Zealanders. It did, however, vest the foreshore and seabed in the Crown for the perpetual heritage of all New Zealanders.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

This new legislation can effectively vest control of vast areas of coast by way of a customary marine title in small groups of people who will then have governance over a large group of people.

The act also gives customary marine title groups (inter alia) to give and withold permission for applications under the Resource Management Act; the right to give or withhold permission for specified conservation activities; the ownership of specified minerals; and in said wahi tapu areas, may impose prohibitions or restrictions on access.

NZ is home (tangata whenua) to multi-people who, like Maori, are not indigenous and arrived here at different times - some in the 1800s and who all have customary usage rights which seem now to be secondary to those of Maori.

The Maori Party was formed with the express purpose of coastal ownership and, with the connivance and turnaround of the National Party, the news that great tracts of local foreshore could be under Maori control should not be a surprise.

R E STEPHENS, Mount Maunganui

Celebrate culture

To A Taylor (Letters, May 14), for me being Maori is not about my French, English or Scottish heritage, it's about who I identify as.

I am Maori and I celebrate my mixed ancestry, not denounce it.

Suffice to say, this is not about bloodlines: Treaty claims are about redress. Granted, no monetary figure will ever correct the historical errors made by the Crown. Nor will taking back the land from the Pakeha who now own it make this right, which at this point, A Taylor, negates your proposition of a so-called European counter-claim.

Here, A Taylor, is where I appeal to your rational mind. I need not prove anything to you. You want to know the real facts, then I challenge you to discover them for yourself. Take the time to talk to our kaumatua, take the time to attend Treaty hearings to get the historical accounts of what transpired, take the time to get to know your Maori neighbour, their whanau, their marae, their hapu, their iwi. Your ideas are unsubstantiated, based more on outlandish hyperbole than actual fact, and bordered on the offensive to the point that it actually got me out of the comfort of my ostensible, anti-government, anti-Pakeha existence and motivated to pen a reply.

If that was the real plan, I'm impressed because you've succeeded.

P BEILBY, Te Puna

Biculturalism

The Bay of Plenty Times recently gave space to an "opinion leader" who failed to provide anything other than extreme views about te reo Maori. Fortunately, this was balanced by Keri Welham explaining the impact not learning te reo Maori has had on her.

Critics of te reo Maori usually fit the following profile: they are usually mono-lingual, mono-cultural, mispronounce Maori words and are uncomfortable in a Maori environment. They hide behind the multi-ethnic nature of our society to decry biculturalism.

They like multiculturalism so long as the other cultures are like theirs. They haven't stayed on a marae, don't have a clue about tikanga, would struggle to sing a waiata and probably have few Maori friends.

They have limited knowledge of New Zealand's history, see the Treaty as an opportunity for "radical" Maori opposition, and have no idea of Maori history. I want a future bilingual and bicultural New Zealand, where Maori and Pakeha kids stand tall together in both official languages and cultures.

PAORA HOWE, Mount Maunganui

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