Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Bloodline argument racist rubbish, says researcher

News Release

Bloodline argument racist rubbish, says researcher

National Party leader Don Brash’s suggestion that Mäori are no longer a distinct indigenous people due to intermarriage is inherently racist, and intended to divide, says Massey sociologist Dr Avril Bell.

Dr Bell, who researches both Mäori and Päkehä identities, says that Dr Brash is being disingenuous when he acknowledges that many New Zealanders identify as Mäori, while arguing that Mäori are no longer a distinct people.

“While Dr Brash might claim to be just stating the facts, he is appealing to racist sentiments against Mäori. To state that there are few, or no, full-blooded Mäori left is not a simple statement of fact. The tenor of this kind of comment is to question the validity of claims to Mäori identity,” Dr Bell says.

The underlying assumption that to be a “real” Mäori a person had to be “full-blooded” is an inappropriate and archaic way to define cultural identity that smacks of 19th century race theory, she says.

“People don’t actually have different blood. It is our DNA that determines things like physical characteristics and skin colour. Within Maori culture, identity claims are based on whakapapa which, unlike the blood metaphor, works to include rather than to divide people. Having one ancestor with links to a particular hapü or iwi can be the basis of a claim to belong to that hapü or iwi. That claim isn’t diluted because the rest of your ancestors come from elsewhere.”

She says the racism inherent in this kind of argument is clear when you consider how it is used only against non-white peoples. “We never hear claims to Päkehä identity being questioned on the basis of their not being full-blooded. It is always used to question the identity claims of minority groups. You have to ask why that is.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Howard Davis Article: A Musical Axis - Brahms, Wagner, Sibelius

Brahms' warm and exquisitely subtle Symphony No. 3 in F major, Wagner's irrepressibly sentimental symphonic poem Siegfried Idyll, and Sibelius' chilling and immensely challenging Violin Concerto in D minor exemplify distinct stages of development in a tangled and convoluted series of skirmishes that came to define subsequent disputes about the nature of post-Romantic orchestral writing well into the following century. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: A Pale Ghost Writer

Reviewed by Ruth Brassington, Richard Flanagan's new novel is about a novelist hastily ghost-writing the biography of a crook about to go to trial. The reader is kept on a cliff-edge, as the narrator tries to get blood out of his stone man. More>>

Negotiations Begin: Equal Conditions For Men & Women In Professional Football

The trade union representing New Zealand's professional footballers has initiated bargaining for an agreement securing equal terms and conditions for men and women. If negotiated, it will be the first agreement of its kind in the world. More>>


New Zealand Wars Commemoration: Witi Ihimaera's Sleeps Standing Moetū

The second of several articles to mark Rā Maumahara, remembering the New Zealand Land Wars. The first was a Q&A with Vincent O’Malley, author of The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000. More>>


Howard Davis Review: Conflict & Resistance - Ria Hall's Rules of Engagement

From the aftermath of war through colonisation to her own personal convictions, Hall's new CD addresses current issues and social problems on multiple levels, confirming her position as a polemical and preeminent voice on the indigenous NZ music scene. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland