Yesterday I was reading an excellent newsletter from David Slack, and I started writing a comment “Sounds like some excellent genetic heritage…” and then I stopped.
There was something about the phrase genetic heritage that stopped me in tracks. Is that a phrase I want to be saying? It’s kind of got some connotations hasn’t it? And they’re not good ones. They’re um kinda German connotations, if you know what I mean.
Now is probably a good point to add a little clarification as to why I thought to use that questionable phrase. David’s article was about longevity, I won’t give away more than that - you should read it. Anyway David and I are distantly related, in the article he mentioned the age of his parents who are still alive. As are mine, who are also of a good age, so yeah - good genes. A good genetic heritage.
I’d never thought about the phrase before, is it acceptable to say? Are some fellow lefties going to lecture me on using an unacceptable phrase? Is some right wing chap going to give me a knowing wink, or a secret handshake?
Meanwhile there were some angry white people in Orewa. Sorry that isn’t accurate - some angry pink people, sitting waiting for Pastor White Lives Matter to give his sermon. Some other folks turned up to say - look guys honouring the treaty is not apartheid, you fellas need to chill out and maybe change to a different radio station.
But lo the cheeks of the angry people did glow redder and they did wail and howl at having their meeting interrupted.
The protest protestors (that’s the pro Māori ones) thought they would sing a song to let the pink people know they came in peace. They chose Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi, they probably figured everyone knew that one. Heck a whole stadium of people in Eden Park sang it after the Black Ferns won the World Cup.
It was a bit awkward, these times can be for a Pākehā. You know when you get welcomed on to a Marae and you should sing a song in reply but you don’t really know any songs? So you end up singing the Beatles “With a little help from my friends” because it’s the only one most of the group knows.
The pink people didn’t sing a Beatles song. In a sudden moment of unity, to show that all present were New Zealanders, they sang the national anthem. They stood and in reply sang the English verse proudly. Then when it came time for the Māori verse they stopped and sat down.
Oh. So not so much a song of unity, of two groups together, Māori and Pākehā as represented by the verses in the anthem. No, only the English words to clearly say we do not want Māori and Pakeha we only want one nation, one people, one language - and look come on guys, obviously it’s going to be English.
Quite a few things occurred to me watching the clip of the singing and seeing the photos of the protest. One of which was - holy heck these people are all really old!
People that have lived most of a lifetime in a country where racism is prevalent and Māori are discriminated against. Not standing up for their grandkids saying - do something about Climate Change. But wanting to ensure that the same racist BS they have seen their whole lives is carried on for future generations.
Isn’t that something, I thought as I watched them in the media. Of all the things they could have protested against it was a more equal society they were opposed to. I wondered if the lady at the end of the clip I was watching would enjoy her time in the spotlight, her 15 minutes of fame? The sum total of a life - screaming your right to be racist into the camera for the nation. Well done.
So who is this Julian Batchelor that is running the anti co-governance roadshow? Well this blurb is from the Oke Bay Lodge, where Julian is the owner and host:
Julian is a published author and a writer, and the publisher of a newspaper in West Auckland. He also sells real estate for Barfoot and Thompson to help pay the bills for the development and restoration of the Lodge…
Julian is passionate about conversation and ecology as well as about health and eating healthily. He goes to the gym at 5 a.m. 4-5 times a week. He also enjoys things which are creative and he has a very refined taste for furnishings and design. You’ll experience this when you stay at the Lodge.
That sounds rather suspiciously like something Julian wrote himself, but given he is also a Christian Evangelist perhaps he was just transcribing it for a higher power. To be fair the Real Estate part was true.
I don’t know if Julian is still in the Real Estate, what with his full schedule evangelising the non recognition of Māori and the Treaty. His phone number listed on the Oke Bay Lodge is now 027 476 4430. You know, if you wanted to have a chat with him about booking a wedding at the lodge or something.
Or maybe you just want to speak to an expert on holding racist rallies in Orewa, and you haven’t been able to get hold of Don Brash?
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I started this newsletter with the phrase Genetic Heritage which I was going to use in the context of a group of people seemingly having longer lifespans. Perhaps having gotten lucky in terms of some hereditary conditions. I suggested there were perhaps some “Germanic” connotations in other ways that phrase could be applied.
This might be a good time to point out that the Rockel family is from Germany, Prussia more specifically. Growing up with Prussian heritage isn’t really any different that anyone else’s experience in NZ. You know long hours in your Grandfather’s basement reading about the history of things like the Franco-Prussian war, that sort of thing.
Some of you might think I’m joking, I’m not. My grandfather Syd had a large library in what would otherwise have been a rumpus room under their house. There were a lot of books on military history, which I was really interested in as a kid. But there were all sorts of history books carrying the stories of all New Zealanders.
If you looked at my family we don’t look that different than the pink people at Orewa. Like them I am proud of my cultural heritage, my ancestors and the contributions they have made to New Zealand.
But mostly I am proud that my kids, my siblings, my parents, and my grandfather are people that recognise the rights of tangata whenua, and would have nothing to do with that nonsense from the pink people yesterday. I don’t imagine you would either.
I feel a bit sorry for them, angry and scared, and for what? Over two groups of people, Pākehā and Māori respecting each other and enjoying this beautiful land together? Showing respect for the fact we got a whole lot wrong in the past and we’re trying to make it better for the future? I feel sorry for them, and for their families.
This is a well thought through commentary on a protest meeting with added information about the point of view of those protesting the protest. I thought that and had hoped NZers are better than those who deny the Treaty's importance and the rightful place at the decision making table for Maori.
"Isn’t that something, I thought as I watched them in the media. Of all the things they could have protested against it was a more equal society they were opposed to." There most definitely is another radio station!