The Weekend Herald's special focus topic "What's eating Pakeha" struck a chord with readers. Today we print a range of letters (some abridged). Further concise contributions to the debate about the country's direction are invited.

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It's about time that the people started to realise that most New Zealanders are completely fed up with the implicit racism inherent in treaty land claims, race-based funding and stupid terms like "Pakeha".

Either we are all one people or we are not. If we are not then tough luck to the Maori that my ancestors took control of the country. I had nothing to do with it and I don't think I should have to put up with all the fallout from it.

Should I make claims against the Italians for the Roman occupation of Britain? I am sure I could come up with some way of claiming one of my ancestors owned something the Romans took.

Grant Henderson

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Your headline is divisive and unhelpful.

It should be obvious that the recent reaction is by the "majority" of New Zealanders - i.e. all races, not just "Pakeha". I think you are risking fomenting racial troubles by focusing on "Pakeha".

No name supplied

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I am sick and tired of listening to people complain about the so-called preference Maori receive with regards to health and education funding and Waitangi Tribunal settlements.

It seems most of you need a history lesson. Maori people were stripped of their land, their language, and their pride through deceit and lies by Pakeha.

This absolute disregard of one race has been so effective I have to go to school to learn my own language. How do you give back to those people who would be better off today if their land was not taken - illegally?

Here's how you begin a revolt similar to that seen in Fiji and Africa - you tell Maori they no longer need help; we are all one race; you are too greedy. Then you let in more of our Asian friends so that they outnumber Maori in Aotearoa.

Take my advice, invest more money into finding out what would help Maori and stop talking as if we are all one race. Because Pakeha outnumber Maori, Pakeha run the Government, and Pakeha own the newspapers.

M. Betham, Waitakere

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Shouldn't this headline read "Who's eating Pakeha?"

I own up to my Ngapuhi ancestors doing just that!

Zelda Wynn

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For years now anyone who dared raise the issue was branded "racist" by your journal.

The same was applied to Don Brash until a reputable poll caused all media to reassess whether they were reflecting widely held views or merely pushing the politically correct line.

Don Brash has finally caught the attention of the media because he reflects the concerns of the majority of New Zealand-born people of European heritage who feel they are becoming alienated in their own country.

This group of New Zealanders has been treated as either stupid or not worthy of consideration for the past 15 years as the Treaty of Waitangi gravy train rolls on and ill-conceived immigration policies allow a flow of migrants which the country was ill prepared for and clearly unable to assimilate. And this was by Governments without the mandate of the populace to implement such measures.

I've already tried to secure a British passport (unsuccessfully ) because of a growing feeling that I'm not really "at home" in this country. I don't have any plans to migrate to somewhere else but no one seems to care that it is just as important to white Kiwis, as it is to Maori, to have a sense of belonging, of culture and of heritage.

Colin M. Perris

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Sure Maori were treated badly by settlers, but that was ages ago, you can't blame that on us now.

Benefits should be given to those who need it, not those who are Maori. Isn't it about time that we all just decided that we should be treated the same? We are all New Zealanders.

As said in the paper, the only reason that most of us haven't said anything is because we are scared.

Anonymous Male, 18, Rotorua

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Don Brash's statements are timely. I suggest the treaty grievances "gravy train" has run its course.

If we had proof that the deserving Maori citizens were benefiting, okay, but I suspect that the huge taxpayer-funded handouts benefit the shrewd part-European Maori who are stashing away fortunes along with the greedy lawyers and it is high time that we apathetic, non-Maori stood up and called the shots.

Elizabeth Sheppard

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According to the Colmar-Brunton poll of a few days ago 30 per cent of Maori polled oppose racial-based Government funding.

This information has been under-reported and is critical to the debate at hand. It makes it clear that the division of opinion is not along strictly racial lines.

Thousands of Maori who have achieved great things without any Government handouts would take great offence at the idea that all Maori should be stereotyped as needing help to be successful.

You can do this country a great service by reminding people of this and by doing so counter the racist spin that some would use to tear us apart.

Drake C. Owens, Hamilton

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If Brash wants the Treaty of Waitangi to simply go away, will he go away too?

The treaty is the agreement that allows tauiwi to reside in Aotearoa, and to run governmental affairs (over Pakeha) in accordance with Crown law.

If the treaty is deemed null and void, then Pakeha have no legal standing in NZ.

If the treaty is to be replaced, then what do people want it replaced with? An agreement that guarantees equality in the eyes of the law and that respects the rights of all to live in accordance with their own culture and values? Well HELLO, this is the Treaty of Waitangi.

Karen and Nick

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As the chairman of a board of trustees of our local school I was recently rung by a representative of the trustees association asking six questions to gauge where our current planning was in relation the upcoming trustee elections.

One question was "What specific planning had we done to attract Maori to become trustees?"

My answer was we have focused on attracting PEOPLE who are passionate about becoming involved in the learning of our children not on what race they may or may not be.

Graeme Perigo, chairman, Gulf Harbour School

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I'm proud we are halfway through the treaty settlement process that resolves our 150-year historical relationship with Maori.

I'm proud of living in a South Pacific country, my cultural roots enriched by Maori traditions, language and values.

I like and celebrate this familial partnership with Maori which I don't perceive as a separation or something to fear.

Sue Fitchett

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"What's eating Pakeha?" angered me as it was very one-sided. It assumed Pakeha dissent towards Maori, which is only fuelled by such sensationalist articles.

What dated ideas of monoculturalism and assimilation. It is just as unfair to assume all Pakeha think Maori get more than they deserve as it is to assume all Maori do.

I believe the public fear and anger is due to lack of education on treaty issues and a heavily negative portrayal of Maori in the media.

We need to focus on the positive aspects of the treaty and work together to solve issues rather than create divisions.

Vera Klein, Hillcrest, Hamilton

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Your article seems to parrot different points of view from those who are either misinformed or seem to be trapped in the frenzy of media sensations unravelled over the past week or two.

What the article suggests to me is that there is an "us" and "them".

I am a Maori who was born and raised in the South Island and never have I had any assistance from any grants or given any special privileges or handouts from Government Departments.

I am proud of my Maori heritage but I believe there is also a part of me in the Pakeha culture. I have been living and breathing the bicultural journey since I was born.

So let's move away from the us and them ideology and look at views which are well researched and point to the facts.

T. Timutimu

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I am a nurse in general practice and can affirm that this Government has introduced a new health service system by stealth, which is why most people cannot tell you what is going on.

General practitioners have been forced to join a new funding contract that is based on race and not need.

Sue Jones, RGON

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We speak on behalf of the average Kiwi citizen and say we have had enough of all this PC rubbish.

Maori have lost all credibility with their airwaves and oil and gas claims, and the last straw is the foreshore and seabed issue.

We are not red-necked racists, nor do we consider Dr Brash's statements to be racist. It is time to put a stop to the culture of dependence and grievance which has been hugely destructive to Maori in general.

Russell and Josephine Ward

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Mr Brash, are you out of touch or what?

So a New Zealander is "someone who gets a lump in his throat when he flies back into the country after being overseas"? (NZ Herald, Saturday, February 21.)

Where does that leave women for a start? But more importantly, where does that leave the hundreds of thousands of people who thought they were New Zealanders who have never enjoyed, and can never hope to enjoy the luxury of overseas travel?

K. Stevenson, Auckland

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Even your heading "What's Eating Pakeha" betrays your bias.

You wouldn't dare use that heading if the subject had been Maori. That would have attracted complaints of cultural insensitivity. But it's okay to offend whitey; they don't deserve to have any cultural sensitivity.

Your reporters adopted a condescending tone dismissing the various comments that conflicted with your political views. You and I know that we are dealing with perceptions and these can be easily dismissed by those who don't agree.

Like the Government, a significant part of the media has been exposed as not being aware of the feelings of a large part of the population.

Both are now uncomfortable to have to confront a reality that differs from their own views. Of course you are entitled to your opinion and to express it but not to mischievously denigrate the opinions of those with a contrary view.

If you want to be taken seriously you will have to do a lot better by displaying a balanced approach rather than regurgitating the Government's press releases and acting as a cheerleader.

Grant Diggle, Browns Bay

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It was refreshing to read the responses of Dr Brash to the interview questions published in the Herald on February 21.

His answers were direct, honest and non-defensive. They contrast with the duplicity and political correctness which have characterised the utterances of the present Government.

Political correctness is about expediency and not the truth.

But, as present developments are showing, the truth will eventually triumph.

John Kirkland, Hamilton

Herald Feature: Sharing a Country

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