Cultural amnesia vs ‘cultural capture’

LETTER

Why is it that so many of our Pakeha populace in Turanga Nui a Kiwa (known today as Gisborne) are hell-bent on perpetuating an ideology of cultural superiority that resonates through the corridors of power?

Let me remind you, Brian Emerson, that October 8, 1769 was the day that shook the foundations of the Maori world here in Turanga Nui a Kiwa.

A stranger, a representative of a super power, arrived here on our shores. Our tipuna Te Maro was shot and killed by the representatives of the Crown, hence “his death precisely marked the start of a long process that ended triumphantly for the British in 1840 when they acquired sovereignty over NZ and its people” (Darkin, 2007).

It is my contention that this question needs to be asked in response to those who believe the council is suffering from selective hearing: “Is there a body of people here in Turanga Nui a Kiwa who are actually suffering from cultural amnesia?”

In reply to your question, “Why do we need so much ‘cultural input’ into every project our council decides to go ahead with?” It is my view that Gisborne District Council is honouring its obligations to tangata whenua and Te Tiriti o Waitangi under the Local Government Act 1987, and the protection of customary rights under the Resource Management Act 1999.

Thus it is obvious from your unfounded questions that all this has had a rippling effect that has impacted on elements of Pakeha culture as well as on myself, as a wahine Maori failed in a Western education system that was hell-bent on teaching the history of an alien culture.

In view of your PS: regarding the name change of “Poverty Bay”, there are many programmes in our community that are teaching te reo Maori that will be of great assistance to those who have difficulty in the pronunciation of that beautiful Maori name Turanga Nui a Kiwa.

Polly Thatcher

Why is it that so many of our Pakeha populace in Turanga Nui a Kiwa (known today as Gisborne) are hell-bent on perpetuating an ideology of cultural superiority that resonates through the corridors of power?

Let me remind you, Brian Emerson, that October 8, 1769 was the day that shook the foundations of the Maori world here in Turanga Nui a Kiwa.

A stranger, a representative of a super power, arrived here on our shores. Our tipuna Te Maro was shot and killed by the representatives of the Crown, hence “his death precisely marked the start of a long process that ended triumphantly for the British in 1840 when they acquired sovereignty over NZ and its people” (Darkin, 2007).

It is my contention that this question needs to be asked in response to those who believe the council is suffering from selective hearing: “Is there a body of people here in Turanga Nui a Kiwa who are actually suffering from cultural amnesia?”

In reply to your question, “Why do we need so much ‘cultural input’ into every project our council decides to go ahead with?” It is my view that Gisborne District Council is honouring its obligations to tangata whenua and Te Tiriti o Waitangi under the Local Government Act 1987, and the protection of customary rights under the Resource Management Act 1999.

Thus it is obvious from your unfounded questions that all this has had a rippling effect that has impacted on elements of Pakeha culture as well as on myself, as a wahine Maori failed in a Western education system that was hell-bent on teaching the history of an alien culture.

In view of your PS: regarding the name change of “Poverty Bay”, there are many programmes in our community that are teaching te reo Maori that will be of great assistance to those who have difficulty in the pronunciation of that beautiful Maori name Turanga Nui a Kiwa.

Polly Thatcher

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Pat, Turanganui a Kiwa - 5 months ago
Thank you for your factual and intelligent letter Polly. The ignorance and misplaced sense of superiority of these other correspondents is a literal shame. Historical truths are too much for some to handle. There is beauty, wisdom and richness to be found in every culture. Perhaps they could turn their attention in that direction.

Curious too - 5 months ago
Pat, why? If you look around you could hardly say Maori are enamoured with this beauty, richness and wisdom. Does not the solution come from within?

Tony Lee - 5 months ago
Well said Polly, entirely agree.

Small mercies - 5 months ago
Wait a few more years and it will be neither the Maori or the "Pakeha" culture that will be having input into council projects! Europe and England have found that out over the past couple of decades and it's all coming to a head. Fortunately NZ is protected by its isolation at the moment, but these discussions of whose culture is better than the other will have little import in the future when accused of racism or bigotry or "phobia" over another culture descending upon the populace.

Curious too - 5 months ago
And perhaps too when you hear a leftie complain about the Pakeha colonisation of New Zealand, I suggest that you patiently explain to them that cultural diversity is a beautiful thing and that they shouldn't resist multiculturalism. After all, fair is fair. If bringing Sharia law, polygamy, child brides, forced marriage, honour killings, female genital mutilation, sexual segregation and intolerance of other religions is cultural diversity, then bringing the far superior, civilised European Christian culture to a country is "cultural diversity" too and should be both tolerated and celebrated as multiculturalism.

lloyd gretton - 5 months ago
What's all this to do with the Moslem religion and African tribal practices?

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