Editor's note: Two years ago the New Zealand Herald published a timely series about how Pākehā New Zealanders could learn to acknowledge the injustice of colonisation and do something practical about it. It was called Land of the Long White Cloud and timed to coincide with the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook's arrival in this country. Many of our audience applauded the series; a few objected. Since then we have seen a growing worldwide awareness of racial injustice, sparked by the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and a re-evaluation of colonisation's legacy around the world - from statues and street names to fundamental questions about political power. Like many media organisations, the Herald has had to confront its role in this process, which has led to several changes, including a renewed commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles in our journalism and the creation of our Kāhu section for Māori content. As a result, we are pleased to relaunch an updated version of this series under its original title Beyond White Guilt. It includes an introductory commentary by two of the featured interviewees, Jen Margaret and Alex Hotere-Barnes, who reflect on how much progress Aotearoa has made.
- Murray Kirkness
Editor, New Zealand Herald
Pākehā are the real problem when it comes to poor social outcomes for Māori, says former New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd.
In the documentary series Beyond White Guilt, Judd says that during his time as mayor of the city he examined the alarming statistics for Māori in health, education, incarceration rates, homelessness and poverty.
He realised that they were doing poorly based on "policies that Europeans have created. So those outcomes for Māori are actually at the hand of us. We're the problem."
WATCH THE WHOLE SERIES
• Episode 1: Cook's Legacy
• Episode 2: Recognising Racism
• Episode 3: Inheriting Privilege
• Episode 4: Pākehā Paralysis
• Episode 5: Confronting Colonialism
• Episode 6: Connecting to Aotearoa
• Episode 7: Cook Thinks Again
• Commentary: Time for Pākehā to 'stand up' against racism
A proponent of Māori representation in local government, Judd campaigned strongly to establish a Māori ward seat on the New Plymouth District Council during his tenure back in 2015 but in a local referendum, the public voted resoundingly to remove it.
Judd, who calls himself a recovering racist, says this is because Pākehā New Zealanders are racist but unwilling to admit it. "We haven't moved on since the arrival of Cook. We're still colonising. We're still not partners. We still don't include."
In 2001, the Local Electoral Act provided for councils to establish Māori wards but to date it has been largely unsuccessful. The Bay of Plenty and Waikato councils have succeeded in maintaining Māori wards but in many local bodies in which councillors voted to establish a Māori ward, binding public referendums were held that overturned the seats.
The equity of these referendums has been a topic of debate in parliament. As Green Party leader Marama Davidson put it, when the majority are voting about whether the minority should have a voice, Māori are "going to lose in these kinds of polls" every time.
The United Nations' human rights arm has also raised the lack of Māori representation in local body politics in New Zealand as an issue of concern. The lack of movement raises the question; "Why are Pākehā so opposed to having established Māori Wards?"
Judd again says it's racism. As mayor, he was "inundated with hate mail" and in a meeting with JPs in which he opened with a karakia he was called "a right little Māori boy" and told he wouldn't be voted back in because of his beliefs around Māori representation. Judd is quick to point out that "What I was experiencing was nothing with what Maori have to live with."
In his episode of the NZ On Air funded series, Judd details how his first point of business as elected mayor of New Plymouth was to visit Ōwae Marae in Waitara. Confronted by his own lack of understanding of Māori culture, Judd came to question how he could live in this country with little to no knowledge of one of the two cultures that make New Zealand bicultural.
Creator of the documentary series Kathleen Winter says it was important for her to tell Judd's story because "he has such an insight into how our legal and democratic structures continue to uphold racism. He has used - and sacrificed - his position of power to challenge these unfair structures."
One of the primary arguments against the Māori ward seats, made by former National MP Nuk Korako in parliament, is that Māori councillors are voted in democratically anyway. However, Judd points out that those councillors are not elected to represent Māori interests, which is the purpose of the Māori ward. They are simply elected councillors who happen to be of Māori descent.
The Māori ward seats are the only seats that are able to be removed by poll. Allocated rural seats, for example, cannot be removed. Marama Davidson put forward a bill in 2017 for the Equitable Process for Establishing Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies but it didn't make it past its first reading.
Judd has also petitioned parliament to standardise the laws around special seats. He believes that either they should all be able to be petitioned or none should be, or the government should "be honest enough to say you don't actually want Māori there in a real way".
As the Treaty of Waitangi states that Māori maintain tino rangatiratanga (self-determination or sovereignty), Judd says there is a lot more work to be done for Māori to gain fair and equitable representation at a local body level.
"We have to challenge each other. Help break down those barriers and those systems that have done all this. Lobby your MP to have a better justice system, health and education system. Support the return of what was taken. You've got to stand up to racism."
• In February 2021, the ability for the public to veto the creation of a Māori ward was finally removed. Many councils, including New Plymouth, have agreed to implement Māori wards in time for the 2022 local body elections.
Watch all the episodes at nzherald.co.nz/beyondwhiteguilt