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August 1, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Ngāi Tauira – A Rant: Thanks for the Justice New Zealand

Justice. When I think about this word the first thing that comes to mind is a mechanism for law and order. It entails being just and fair, and it also means recognising a person’s rights and people’s rights.

Then there’s the restorative side of justice; when these ideals are disregarded, then justice also calls for righting these wrongs. Interesting to think about this in light of what has been going on for years and what is still happening now. There’s been some stuff that has been brought out in the media in recent times to illustrate what ‘justice’ or ‘injustice’ there is when it comes to race relations in our country.

Now the stats would say that Māori got the extremely short end of this stick, losing land through bad deals and confiscation; loss of language and culture that soon had the ball rolling on poor health and poverty and decline in population. Māori beliefs and knowledge took a big hit too with the introduction of Christian beliefs and a foreign education system implemented. It’s been a hard struggle coming back from the effects of the fallout from the Treaty. And where are we now?

One hundred and fifty years of battles, loss of land, language, culture and lives; protests and court cases later and Ansell would say that we’ve “gone from the Stone Age to the space age”. And we’ve done this without expressing our gratitude. Yeah, ok, well for the record, thanks for that, thanks for treating our ancestors like crap so that we too can be Pākehā; so that I can lose what my ancestors would have wanted for me, and so my identity can be traded for alcohol, guns, tobacco, cars, computers and iPods. And no worries that they had to be force-fed what was best for them. It would have been hell living on our own land in beautifully carved houses, speaking our own language and following our own cultural beliefs and systems. Pure hell.

And now we have the gall to seek too many rights, to be over-privileged, and ungrateful for the opportunities that a history of colonisation and a future of globalisation is giving us. Truly, we really should embrace one law and be one people and conform to the uniformity of order.

Yeah right, Tui advert anyone? Not to mention, bigoted much?

What Māori have given up for law and order is not justice. Attempts at restorative justice have some academics and experts giving conservative estimates of Treaty settlements being less than 1 per cent of their true value. Meanwhile the Crown is selling off assets such as minerals to the highest bidders from overseas. Where is the justice in this? Why is it that a young Maori man who stole a packet of Pineapple lumps (RRP $2.90) gets thrown in jail for two years, meanwhile a failed Pākehā owned finance company gets bailed out by the Government for more than a billion dollars? (Let’s not forget the combined treaty settlements thus far are less than a billion dollars.)

For all of this, we’re meant to be grateful? Where is the justice in this?


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  1. Grizzly says:

    It’s always a plseaure to hear from someone with expertise.

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