While one must respect Ken Mair for his groundbreaking work for Maori over recent decades, I must take issue with his own intolerance of the democratic processes over the naming of a street (Chronicle, December 17).
The article quotes Mair as saying that the rejection by council of calling a street Te Repo St was "tyranny by the majority". I say bollocks to that. So-called tyranny by the majority is otherwise known as democracy, which ALL of Whanganui insists that the council work by.
Ken Mair's claim of racism simply because he didn't like a clear majority decision is nothing more than an insult to all citizens who live in our multicultural and respectful city.
It also baffles me why Ken Mair thinks naming a street after swampy land is somehow more respectful to ALL of the eventual residents of that street, rather than naming it after an honoured citizen.
Respect works both ways in our democratic society. I fail to understand what is so wrong of the council to ask for input from ALL interested parties (as they did) to the naming of the street, followed by their considered, and explained, near-unanimous democratic decision.
Besides, the developer of the new subdivision has spent the millions. And ever since humans have walked this earth, the understanding has always been "He who pays the piper calls the tune" (or names the street). The council made an excellent decision, no matter how one views the issue.
This has nothing to do with racism. I can't help wondering if the iwi spokesman (Mair) is possibly a little too "thin-skinned". I hope the complaint to the Human Rights Commission is thrown out, as it deserves to be.
Sir Robert Martin
This is the best knighthood in my lifetime. Sir Robert Martin earned this honour. Not by being in a position of privilege, not by virtue of wealth, purely by virtue of hard work and tenacious commitment to justice.
JOY Z CLARK
Removing Queen bad for democracy; Ken Mair under fire
"Tyranny by the majority" was the Chronicle headline in reference to alleged mocking and belittling of Maoridom by councillors in events surrounding the choice of street name, Morrell St, over Te Repo St.
One thing I think that needs to be clear is that democracy is unfair by its nature. A notable figure in history described it similarly to Ken Mair, the only difference being, he called it the tyranny OF the majority. Another past notable, whose name also escapes me, said democracy was a very bad form of government, but all the others were so very much worse.
It is a fact that minorities are disadvantaged, as I know personally from my experience with mental health issues, and also that in democracies, sometimes we get what we want, sometimes we don't. Sometimes Maori get what they want, sometimes not.
If the humour surrounding the non-choosing of Te Repo St as a name had intent to mock and belittle, I think Ken Mair would have a case. Rob Vinsen (councillor) stated there was no such intent.
I know from my own life that if we walk this journey holding a simmering pot of resentment, often we find we are overly sensitive to things where there is no justification. For my own peace, I have chosen to address that powder keg by letting go, as best I can, things historical that were feeding it and giving it energy.
I wish Maoridom, as an ethnic race and culture, the best possible that living in a democracy can bring, hoping too, for their sakes, their peace will be felt.
In reply to your letter, G.J.Moles (December 31): You hit the nail right on the head. A jolly good letter.
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