Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Denial Of The Effects Of Colonisation ?

Denial Of The Effects Of Colonisation ?

Kia ora,

The backlash against comments made by Tariana Turia in her address to the Psychological Society Conference on 29 August, has been astounding in two respects. Her remarks have either been inaccurately reported, or misrepresented; and the reaction to them strongly suggests a total denial of the facts of the colonisation of this country.

On the first point, ‘The Dominion’ today began its front page article ‘Turia stands by Holocaust remarks’ with: “Associate Mäori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia is unrepentant about comparing the European colonisation of New Zealand with the Nazi Holocaust.

The comparison sparked a flood of calls to the Prime Minister’s Office, talkback fury and almost universal criticism yesterday.”

What Tariana actually said was:

“Do you consider for example the effects of the trauma of colonisation? I know that psychology has accepted the relevance of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

I understand that much of the research done in this area has focussed on the trauma suffered by the Jewish survivors of the holocaust of World War Two. I also understand the same has been done with the Vietnam veterans.

What seems to not have received similar attention is the holocaust suffered by indigenous people including Mäori as a result of colonial contact and behaviour.

The Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal made such a reference in its Taranaki Report of 1996 and I recollect what appeared to be a “but our holocaust was worse than your holocaust” debate. A debate I must add, I do not wish to enter.”

She did not compare “the European colonisation of New Zealand with the Nazi Holocaust”, and she specifically stated she was not into competitive holocaust debates. What she said was that the trauma of the colonisation of this country (and elsewhere) had not received the same kind of attention - and in this she is obviously correct, the reaction against her comments alone is proof of that.

Indeed, the reaction indicates a widespread denial of the facts of the impact of colonisation on Mäori. The Collins 1993 English Dictionary and Thesaurus gives the first meaning of ‘holocaust’ as “great destruction or loss of life or the source of such destruction, esp fire.” Given the great destruction of Mäori culture, economic base, political systems and religious belief and the loss of life of approximately 30% of the Mäori population within two generations of settlement, then ‘holocaust’ seems a reasonable description of the impact of colonisation on Mäori.

Within this overall loss are of course specific examples of atrocity - the armed invasion of Parihaka is one which comes readily to mind, with the opening of the Parihaka Exhibition in Wellington this past week. Nine hundred and fifty five armed volunteers and six hundred and forty four Armed Constabulary were sent to deal with people who were peacefully resisting the theft of their land. More than four hundred resisters were arrested before the invasion. The invasion was marked by rapes; the looting of the resisters property; the burning of their homes and uprooting of their crops; the forced relocation under armed escort of 1507 men, women and children; arrests which continued for three weeks after the invasion; then imprisonment without trial in dank caves for periods of up to two years.

Part of the backlash against Tariana’s comments has come from those of the ‘it’s time to move on’ school of thought. However, it is a basic principle of conflict resolution that before people can move on from any hurt and harm they have suffered individually or collectively, their loss and suffering has to be acknowledged. What is clear from the reaction to her remarks is that many people do not have the slightest inkling of the devastation and destruction colonisation has wrought.

Of the various statements issued by politicians condemning Tariana Turia the most startling has come from Jenny Shipley. It features incendiary mixed metaphors such as: “Comments like Tariana Turia's widen gaps rather than close them. They have the potential to cause huge division and seriously damage race relations in New Zealand. Her latest bombshell has thrown petrol into an already sensitive area.” We have included the full text of her statement at the end of this alert because it is a truly appalling indication of the level of understanding amongst some politicians.

Jenny Shipley, of course is an expert on serious damage to race relations. You may recall her comments in parliament on 16 May 2000 during the debate on the sale of the high-tech radio spectrum:

“ ... this government is saying that, somehow or other, Mäori cannot cope on their own; that, somehow or other, a racial allocation in the form of a discount is needed to close the gap. Where is the 5 percent discount for Pacific Island people, if they are actually causing trouble as well? They climb in the windows of other New Zealanders at night. It is not only Mäori.”

Interesting how there was very little backlash against what Jenny Shipley said.

* What you can do

One of the major concerns we have from the mass media coverage are the reports that Helen Clark’s office has been inundated with complaints about Tariana Turia’s speech.

Peace Movement Aotearoa the national networking peace group
PO Box 9314, Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand.
tel +64 4 382 8129, fax 382 8173,
< pma@xtra.co.nz > website < http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/> Internet Peace Gateway < http://www.peace.org.nz >


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Dealing Crackdown, Addiction Support: Government Action On Synthetics

The NZ Drug Foundation has welcomed the Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths. The response strikes a balance between giving law enforcement the tools they need to target criminal networks and changing drug law to make it easier for people to access help when they need it. More>>

ALSO:

Strategy Committee Unanimous: Wellington To Forge Ahead With Convention Centre

The three-storey Cable Street building, with around 18,000-square metres of floor space, will comfortably be able to host 1500 people for conventions. It includes a 1651sq m exhibition area that will attract international exhibitions too big for nearby Te Papa and provide an always-changing visitor attraction. More>>

ALSO:

Surveying The Surveillance: First IGIS Review Of Warrants Under New Act

The report sets out the Inspector-General’s interpretation of the new warrant provisions under the ISA and her expectations of the GCSB and NZSIS when they prepare warrant applications. More>>

SSC: 2018 Public Service Workforce Data Published

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has published the 2018 Our People, Public Service Workforce Data , which shows the Public Service is making significant progress in important areas. More>>

ALSO:

Sinking Cap: Auctions, Permanent Forests, Added To ETS

The move to auctions, signalled in an August consultation paper, will help put a cap on the number of emission units available over time. Annual announcements, looking forward five years, will help provide certainty for scheme participants, she said. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Select Committee Report: Achieving Smokefree 2025

In a historic first for select committees, the Māori Affairs Committee and the Health Committee presented their joint report on achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal to the House on Tuesday, 11 December 2018. More>>

"Shared Interests And Democratic Values": Peters To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. for talks with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and other senior members of the US Administration. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels