Reading councillor Rob Vinsen's comments to Tūpoho just grieved me. Are we still battling cultural ignorance in a country that boasts of multi-culturalism and inclusion? Māori is one of our official languages, yet we still have people in decision-making roles that consider it unworthy of learning or pronouncing correctly.
I've been living in a Malay-speaking country, so I learned the language and speak it.
As a result, locals repeatedly tell me that they are surprised, because white people don't bother learning their language. They assume this is because ex-pats look down on their culture.
There will be no equality for Māori as long as there is a majority of council who refuse to see beyond their own monocultural vision. Councillors should be required to take part in community work with iwi and other groups different to their own cultures in order to learn to value other perspectives.
May I remind you, Rob, that your own name in our mother tongue means "steal", yet you are happy to bear that. I am glad the mayor is open to negotiation.
I applaud Dani Lebo. Very factual article, the truly brilliant parable of that somehow uncomfortable feeling I, as a male, get around the gender equality issues.
It is a shame that I will not see a time when this discrimination and discussion are part of history. Yet I say, roll on 2127.
Politically corre ct
Ken Mair's outburst over the naming of a road in a new subdivision, along with his allegations of racism against the council are to be expected in the politically correct environment we now all face.
Removing Queen bad for democracy; Ken Mair under fire
However, "tyranny by the majority", one of his claims, is totally over the top. Are we to believe he expects every ratepayer and citizen of Wanganui to be bound by our democratically elected council members' decisions, except Maori? That seems to be the tone to me.
The council were the authors of their own fate by involving Maori in the naming process in the first place, as Maori had no involvement in the creation of the subdivision. In defence of the council, I also understand central government now requires this nationwide, and accordingly the council did consider the Maori contribution, as no doubt they consider contributions from every quarter. In this instance, there was a majority decision not to accept it. Note the appearance of democracy again.
Don't misunderstand me, I support any iwi, hapu or whoever having total naming rights for subdivisions and roads in which they invest millions of dollars, enormous time, effort and energy in creating ... such as the developer of this subdivision has.
But if Maori want naming rights for subdivisions, then create them and gain my support. Meantime, I don't support the bullying and playing-the-race-card-allegation attempts to grab the naming rights from those who have done the work and created the subdivisions and roads.
As a footnote, I see one outcome of this sad affair being that council will be less willing, not that they have been willing enough to date, to have their discussions and votes made available for viewing by ratepayers.
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