A friend of mine, a famous in his field Berkeley Professor wrote the following in a recent letter to me.

“Dear Bob,

Re “Indigenous People”, I took my son to the Bay Area Children’s Theatre in Berkeley on Sunday. A good show but below the text from placards attached to the foyer wall:
“This event is taking place on occupied Ohlone land.”
“We recognize that discrimination and oppression are pervasive in our industry.”
Net effect of which are policies apparently to exclude any “White” or Asian actors from the theatre performance. This kind of superficial and performative verbiage seems to be everywhere, whereas if they really meant what they say, they’d high-tail it to the Old Country pronto. It’s all turned into a cult of victimhood, with full religious trappings”.

In short, it’s not just New Zealand that suffers the colonialism excuse for indigenous race failure on diverse fronts.

That said, it’s bloody sad to see Australia possibly falling into the same trap of indigenous race favouritism with their ridiculous Voice proposition.




Milton T Y Cassidy July 7, 2023 at 10:11 am

Fully agree!!

In NZ, where Māori or not, we are all mostly another nationality or blend of and yet whilst denigrating our “other” heritage many are more than happy to be able to boast dual nationality keep those passports and enjoy the freedom of residence elsewhere. Maybe if claiming pure Māori blood only, those other citizenships which are also an immense privilege (where available) should be revoked. Chinese for instance who dedicate themselves to NZ by becoming citizens have to surrender their Chinese one and so no longer have that option.

Just flew back to Melbourne. Every flight or building now seems to require the obligatory announcement that “we acknowledge the such and such people elders as traditional owners of the land “ It’s inexplicable to me. It reminds me of the chapter in Catch 22 where everyone is required to swear an increasingly complex oath of allegiance.

I had to revoke my New Zealand citizenship and any allegiance to all foreign Kings, Queens and Potentates in order to take up US citizenship.

I took the pledge to bear arms to defend liberty and justice for all. Two TV channels interviewed me and asked why I was becoming American, to which I said “ well it’s not because I’m running from a war torn country but I enjoy living in a place with enormous diversity”.

That seemed to satisfy them and I had my minute on TV. I was given a little piece of paper confirming my new status along with a letter that looked like it had been signed by the then President, Barack Obama. He encouraged me to get out there and become an active member of my community.
So I took his advice and tried to get my big paintings out into the public eye. Sadly all I received was a collection of rejection letters, sometimes because I wasn’t recognized as belonging to any particular group or minority.

Exasperated, I eventually wrote to the Phoenix Art Museum, including photos asking them to view my work. Almost two years later, after I kept asking for a response, I get a letter back from the curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, explaining that “although they found it interesting that a outsider had taken up the imagery of this region, they only focus on established artists”.

I felt like giving up but a few months later the same institution advertised internationally for artists to send in Mail Art for a group show, but the theme had to be focused on Latin America. Although I don’t believe in a deity in the sky, I had painted my version of the Guadalupe, simply as an observation of local culture and my questioning of organized religion. Using one of my woodcuts and the very same photos that I had sent them earlier I created a montage that looked very Latin American and I posted it to them.

I guess this time I flew in under their radar because they accepted my montage as part of the show, along with the works of 444 other artists from around the world.
The end result (at the risk of being accused of cultural appropriation because I’m a gringo), I now have some of my art in the permanent archives of American Art in the Smithsonian, Washington D.C.

I deeply respect indigenous people and acknowledge there have been horrible atrocities committed in the past. But let’s make the world a better place for everyone. The Declaration of Independence states that it is self evident that all men are created equal. Hold on, that leaves out women.

Hypocrisy continues and the last time I visited the Phoenix Art Museum they displayed a huge photo by Fiona Pardington of a Māori face with warnings and guards to prevent visitors from photographing it to prevent cultural offense. Visitors were free to photograph anything else in the Museum.

Simply put, we will never have a level playing field while cultural favoritism exists.

A very pertinent looksee-here @ . Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning by Nigel Biggar ….. in an interview by John Anderson, former Aussie Deputy PM. Well worth the required hour or so.

Russell McMillan July 8, 2023 at 9:56 am

This colonisation is just an excuse for a land grab and greed. Nz needs to ditch the Treaty of Waitangi and stop the backwards trend of the country. We are meant to be New Zealanders nut now are separating to Maori and the others.

Why is it, when there are said to be only 700,000 Maori from the entire New Zealand population, who “identify as Maori” but this small minority is being given total authoritarianism in every facet of life in New Zealand over and above “all other nationalities” regardless of if they are many generations of “true white kiwis” or new “kiwis”. How can this be allowed because to me it smacks of “apartheid” where the colour of your skin is what is being given all additional powers and privileges over and above “all other nationalities”. When it comes to most things, being “White, Maori or any other Nationality and skin colour” when a law is being broken, when a privilege is being given the Law is the Law, it does not and should not make any difference to the outcome. If a person commits a crime, regardless of skin colour or Race – the old adage of “the punishment fits the crime” is what matters and not the skin colour, the race, the religion or anything else. What is being done with He Puapua is a total disgrace and is setting New Zealand backwards in all respects and putting derisions where none existed. As I came through my Schooling years in the mid 1950’s there were Maori kids in all of my classes, as I went through to the workforce, there were Maoris in my workplaces and we all had exactly the same chances of advancement, of bettering ourselves, getting ahead and going onto bigger and better things. It was a “personal thing to each person” and if some did not take the opportunity, it was based on their own choices or inabilities to do so – NOT just because of the colour of anyone’s skin or their race, religion or otherwise. I see the same thing is being pushed in Australia with the same results and it’s very much a backward step and in both Countries, it seems it’s more to do with the high echelon of certain people wanting these changes and as we’ve seen before in New Zealand, it will only be those at the top of the food chain in Maoridom who benefit and nothing will trickle down to those below them. During the Springboks part of History, it was New Zealand and Australia who refused to partake in the Rugby World Cup due to the fact that there were no people of Colour in the South African Rugby Teams but what is happening now, is exactly what was fought for all those years ago which we are now apparently so willing to become part of.

In Perth there is the same sort of absurdity. The University of Western Australia is on (allegedly) the land of the Noonjar people. The campus is labelled Whadjuk Noonjar/ Derbil Yerigan. All students, no matter their discipline, are required to express thanks to these mythical owners. Ownership is asserted and never documented of course.

this stuff is spreading everywhere, it’s ridiculous, a headline from the UK – London theatre organises ‘black only’ performance with white audiences banned.

IMO any Nationality that is given the privilege of the country that has granted the applicant citizenship, should as a condition of citizenship, have to surrender their mother country’s citizenship. That way they are committed to their new country, its laws, customs, rights and privileges.

Russell Parkinson July 11, 2023 at 9:47 am

I recently returned from a short trip to Australia and was quite disappointed not to get a Farewell From Country (and thanks for spending your hard earned money) at the airport when I left.

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