Marc My Words
From Marc Alexander MP
United Future NZ-Christchurch Supplement
The relationship between Maori and non-Maori has deteriorated ever since one or the other has a perceived social and legislative recognition. What was to have been a righting of past wrongs has given way to an acrimonious jockeying for social supremacy in terms of natural resources, ownership of cultural traditions and now, the seabed and the foreshore.
Against this background is a 'third' wave of immigration with a distinctly Asian flavour. In some people's eyes, this has the capacity to radically reconfigure our population mix within the next generation. Yet this influx is far different from any before. The diverse Asian migrants do not mirror the social cohorts that presently exist here. They are, for the most part, highly skilled and educated, industrious and well financed. They are also unconcerned with the historical circumstances from which this nation grew. For them, the past has passed. It is difficult to assert a bi-cultural rather than multi-cultural New Zealand.
The inability to assimilate such changes has, I believe, prompted the recent immigration changes, rather than the xenophobic ranting of some of our public figures.
Diversity can be a strength but not at the expense of social coherence. For some, envious of a hardworking new migrant succeeding where they have not, serves to inflame the ugliness of racism. The real problem, I suspect, is that we need to be sure that those we invite to this country are willing to be part of our shared cultural journey; and do not reside in enclaves protecting their traditions to the exclusion of all others.
It really makes little sense for Maori and non-Maori to continue their historical bickering. Both have no choice but to get on together as most reasonable people are wont to do when the quality of a person counts for more than their ethnicity.
Because.if we cannot live together, embracing each other's strengths and appreciating each other's differences, then how can the next lot of immigrants?