The three letters in today's Chronicle (November 9) are all based on Māori matters and deserve comment.
Firstly, Keith Beautrais bemoans the lack of elected Māori members to council. That is nobody's fault but Māori voters'. He maintains that being a third of the population is not enough to get a candidate elected. What rubbish. Using his figures, how can two thirds of the population manage to elect 12 councillors and deny the wishes of the other third?
The fact is that the percentage of Māori voters who bother to vote is far inferior to that of non-Māori. But why bother to have a Māori councillor at all? There appears to be no reason, when a local iwi activist can stop a Government body hosting a meeting on refugees because iwi weren't consulted beforehand. The council could not do that, but Ken Mair managed it.
G.J. Moles also raises a very relevant point. Our mayor is well known for his views on inclusiveness on the subject of Māori involvement in everything. Sure, it is fine to have access to opinion from Māori by way of advisers, but to have a mandated representation on council is contrary to the rules of democracy. Failed in New Plymouth, so let's use that as a definitive result.
Finally, Potonga Neilson is rattling his taiaha again. Angela Stratton is correct, as all intelligent people are. There were inhabitants of NZ before Maori arrived. Her point that that would be essential to any documented history of the country is a normal statement of fact. However, Potonga manages, yet again, to cast his own self-serving twist on her comments, with totally irrelevant remarks.
I respect everyone's right to comment, but please let's not sink into a world of fantasy.
There's been an interesting exchange of letters in this column recently as to who were the first inhabitants of New Zealand. Angela Stratton claims there were people here before colonisation by Māori, while Potonga Neilson cleverly avoided having to acknowledge the fact by inferring she was referring to white people only.
I had an interesting discussion about New Zealand history with an old kuia recently, during which we covered the same topic.
When I referred to there having been previous inhabitants and that males and females respectively were (to put it delicately) dealt with according to customary Māori practice of the time, she asked: "How do you know that?"
"Because it's recorded in Māori oral history," I replied.
"Well, yes," she conceded. "But — there weren't very many of them!"
Footnote: The above letter was published on November 12 in incomplete form, due to an email glitch, and has now been republished in its entirety. We regret any confusion the initial publication may have caused.
Graffiti by any other name? "Please don't Litter" daubed on the wall that took four and a half years to build on Anzac Parade makes one wonder. Not that the garish blue on boulders nearby is not equally galling. Action time, councillors.
I also notice a commercial insult to the 11th day of the 11th month, now designated "Singles Day" by an Asian country. This also, surely, beggars belief.
That New Zealand companies would support this crass commercialisation on a significant day in our history calls into question the values being promoted in New Zealand. Where is our leadership?
I feel another march coming on.
Sonya Bateson's editorial (November 11) is a boomer; she hit a lot of nails on the head. I have thought for a while that we oldies are in good hands. She has provided the proof.