New dawn won’t harm anyone

COLUMN

To our “usual suspect” letter writers, worrying about regional names (this being the latest in a long list of things that cause them to spit vitriol in the paper). There is no name change — there is a request being made by the council to those who actually have the power of naming to consider acknowledging the original name of the bay, alongside the colonial name. How does that hurt anyone?

The NZ Geographic Board will do its own research and make a decision. Councillors, in deciding to apply to the geographic board, wisely recognised that our constant negative letter writers are literally a minority in our region. The region is currently 45 percent Maori — and many of us Pakeha are more than happy to recognise the origins of our region, and embrace the richness of our biculturalism.

It is the young who inherit this earth and I doubt they have any issue with what’s happening. I did some quick research and most of the secondary schools in Gisborne have a majority of students who identify as Maori (58 percent at Girls’ High, 60 percent at Boys’ High, 80 percent at Lytton). The exception is Campion with 29 percent. It’s even higher on the Coast, going up to percentages in the high 90s.

These young people represent the entwining of Maori and Pakeha in Aotearoa New Zealand in general and our region in particular. The letter writers must live very narrow lives to be unconnected to this majority view.

One of the survivors of the school shootings in Florida said of the far-right legislators who were refusing to consider gun control: “It’s truly saddening to see how many of you have lost faith in America, because we certainly haven’t. And we’re never going to. You might as well stop now because we’re going to outlive you.”

So, sorry letter writers, that’s what is going to inevitably happen here, on this issue and many others.

I understand it can be fearful for those who are ageing (me included) to lose the sense of control they had when they were young and powerful, in all senses of that word. This new world, which is inclusive of many points of view, can be fearful for those who have enjoyed a lifetime of the privilege of being the only perspective to be considered, the only voice to be heard. As a result of that power, they were in charge of everything, including the naming of places.

I’m making a guess here but I get the impression not many of our negative letter writers will see 60 again. Certainly most of them are white men. In our letter writers’ memories everyone was much happier back when they were young. More likely the only happiness that was considered was that of white men, followed, a long way behind, by white women. Anyone else, like Maori (and many other groups) had little public voice so was not part of the memories of our writers.

My advice is, instead of being fearful of these “others” who are now sharing power with us, make a little effort to get to know their cultures and you will discover humanity (in all its glory and horror), with a thin layer of difference and a solid body of similarity.

Acknowledging indigenous iwi Maori and their history, concerns and interests, corrects a century of insult and hurt, and doesn’t harm anyone else.

Should the dual name be recognised, the sun will still rise in the east and shine on our community first in the new dawn, just as it has forever and will continue to do.

To our “usual suspect” letter writers, worrying about regional names (this being the latest in a long list of things that cause them to spit vitriol in the paper). There is no name change — there is a request being made by the council to those who actually have the power of naming to consider acknowledging the original name of the bay, alongside the colonial name. How does that hurt anyone?

The NZ Geographic Board will do its own research and make a decision. Councillors, in deciding to apply to the geographic board, wisely recognised that our constant negative letter writers are literally a minority in our region. The region is currently 45 percent Maori — and many of us Pakeha are more than happy to recognise the origins of our region, and embrace the richness of our biculturalism.

It is the young who inherit this earth and I doubt they have any issue with what’s happening. I did some quick research and most of the secondary schools in Gisborne have a majority of students who identify as Maori (58 percent at Girls’ High, 60 percent at Boys’ High, 80 percent at Lytton). The exception is Campion with 29 percent. It’s even higher on the Coast, going up to percentages in the high 90s.

These young people represent the entwining of Maori and Pakeha in Aotearoa New Zealand in general and our region in particular. The letter writers must live very narrow lives to be unconnected to this majority view.

One of the survivors of the school shootings in Florida said of the far-right legislators who were refusing to consider gun control: “It’s truly saddening to see how many of you have lost faith in America, because we certainly haven’t. And we’re never going to. You might as well stop now because we’re going to outlive you.”

So, sorry letter writers, that’s what is going to inevitably happen here, on this issue and many others.

I understand it can be fearful for those who are ageing (me included) to lose the sense of control they had when they were young and powerful, in all senses of that word. This new world, which is inclusive of many points of view, can be fearful for those who have enjoyed a lifetime of the privilege of being the only perspective to be considered, the only voice to be heard. As a result of that power, they were in charge of everything, including the naming of places.

I’m making a guess here but I get the impression not many of our negative letter writers will see 60 again. Certainly most of them are white men. In our letter writers’ memories everyone was much happier back when they were young. More likely the only happiness that was considered was that of white men, followed, a long way behind, by white women. Anyone else, like Maori (and many other groups) had little public voice so was not part of the memories of our writers.

My advice is, instead of being fearful of these “others” who are now sharing power with us, make a little effort to get to know their cultures and you will discover humanity (in all its glory and horror), with a thin layer of difference and a solid body of similarity.

Acknowledging indigenous iwi Maori and their history, concerns and interests, corrects a century of insult and hurt, and doesn’t harm anyone else.

Should the dual name be recognised, the sun will still rise in the east and shine on our community first in the new dawn, just as it has forever and will continue to do.

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John Fricker - 4 months ago
The "guess" you make in paragraph eight is ageist, racist and sexist; it shows you in your true colours.
Folk with a different opinion to yours and who have the courage to air it deserve to be respected and listened to, and their concerns taken notice of. Insulting them shows an extraordinary weakness of character on your part.
Were I to make similar generalisations in regard to your remarks in this paragraph they should not be printed and if they escaped the attention of the editor, as your remarks have, I would be rightly castigated.
If you want to take the high ground it would be a good idea to drop your prejudices and take a more respectful tone when trying to convince others that your opinion is the correct one, and that they should embrace your superior knowledge.

G R Webb - 4 months ago
Having read Judy Campbell's tirade one can only breathe a sigh of relief that her views no longer directly influence the local corridors of power.
It is interesting that when the chips are down the proponents of the bay name-change resort to accusations of racism and that true red-blooded colonists (complete with muskets and English Army uniforms) are behind retention of the status quo. Some people can see a black boy peach as a symbol of racism and despite becoming a self-governing Dominion in 1907, we still (apparently) exhibit colonial tendencies. Oh yeah? Perhaps if this vile form of government still exists, Mrs Campbell and her followers could assure the rest of the ruling class that they eschew all the trappings of the second migration.
Then we have accusations of age, gender and sexism. Anything else, Judy? You sure I don't work for Russell McVeagh and secretly attend Labour Party camps?
I revel in your belief that the youth of today will take over. That is self-evident. But what worries me is its calibre. You alert us to the racial mix at local secondary schools. Dig a little deeper and have a look at truancy figures and achievement data. A name change isn't a fix-it.

lloyd gretton - 4 months ago
This column assumes that every person of Maori descent wants these name changes of natural sites and towns. That is far from so. However, I suspect in the high schools where indoctrination and false history has gone on for many years, nearly all Maori students favour name changes. "Why?" "Sir wants it." I hope that is not the case in Campion College where I was a teacher to excellent Maori students an astonishing 27 years ago. Now that slots me as having spent a life time of privilege!

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