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Open mike 11/07/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 11th, 2012 - 60 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

60 comments on “Open mike 11/07/2012”

  1. debatewatcher 1

    Question for Lynn Prentice – I guess the full RSS feed is not coming back, but if so is there anything that can be done about the mobile version of The Standard? It works OK (but not fantastically) with posts that have up to around 50 comments, but any more than that and the scrolling locks up badly on my Android phone (Samsung Galaxy Y). This means that the big posts are impossible to read on my phone.

    I know that it may perform differently on different types of hardware, but of the blogs I read, only The Standard has this problem. Kiwiblog and Public Address also have posts that attract lots of comments, and I never have a problem with them.

    Another solution would be a dedicated Standard app that would allow offline reading and commenting directly from the app – I understand the work involved makes something like this unlikely.

    By the way, I appreciate everything you do for the site and I really like the desktop version of The Standard. Thank you.

    • Pete 1.1

      The Standard always crashes the browser on my iPod touch before the page finishes loading – I imagine there’s the same problem on the iPhone.

    • lprent 1.2

      The RSS full feed IS likely to come back shortly.

      Problem was that at the time I did the change I didn’t have time/energy to actually track down and fix a problem with overseas traffic (like virtually all RSS feeds) that was blowing our server budgets. One of the joys of having systems run on a voluntary basis by someone who does paid project work is that sometimes there simply aren’t enough hours for more than minimal voluntary work.

      However the paid work eased up nearly two weeks ago when we shipped a version for certification. I’m just catching up on home stuff now (like prep for a house move in September) and fixing my workstation at home (power supply is a little too small for devices hanging off it). Then I fix the outstanding issues in the voluntary areas.

      But the basic solution is that I shifted the system to cloudflare about a month ago for anything that is ‘static’ and it is generally performing pretty well. That should include the RSS feeds. I haven’t had time to check what it has done to the overseas traffic volumes and therefore the $’s per GB excess. 25GB is peanuts when you have overseas search engines, overseas bots and overseas RSS feeders reading your server for the numbers of posts, graphics and comments we have.

      But the main server’s CPU and overall performance is now consistent with most of the crazy overseas traffic now being off in cloudflare. I’m anticipating that I’ll have to look at the RSS code and/or cloudflare to see how to tell it that a RSS post feed is static unless actually modified. I’ll try to get to it by this weekend

      I’ll be looking at the mobile platform later in the month before I start moving. These days I have a android phone (HTC One V) and an old iPhone 3G to do some testing.

      • lprent 1.2.1

        Ok – looks like cloudflare worked from the invoice that arrived yesterday for June (Cloudflare started on June 13).

        For the first time since we set this NZ server up back in April 2011, we actually don’t have any excess overseas traffic to pay for.

        We peaked at 102GB of overseas traffic in May last year and the previous minimum was 42GB in Jan this year. May, after all of the traffic reductions we did 46GB. June is less than 25GB.

        Now I can look putting the full RSS feed back on after I make sure that the damn thing treats posts as static.

      • Vicky32 1.2.2

        But the basic solution is that I shifted the system to cloudflare about a month ago for anything that is ‘static’ and it is generally performing pretty well

        I can’t agree! I’ve had a tonne of problems with putting on comments, and what it keeps calling my ‘harmful behavior’…

    • jimgreen 1.3

      I have recently acquired a Toshiba Thrive Android tablet and have been working through the mobile browsing world over the past month or so. For The Standard I use Firefox as all the other browsers have a crazy scroll to a random spot on the page issue. Dolphin is better for all round browsing but the with The Standard being a favourite place to lurk it means Firefox often wins by default.

      And thanks lprent, your service to the greater good is much appreciated. Surely there are some MP’s round here that can rig up a statue or something when they begin cleaning up the ashes from the tory bonfire in the near future. On seccond thoughts lets make it a community hall to keep with tradition.

  2. BillODrees 2

    Backtracking by Labour’s MPs on the Membership having a say in selecting the Leader?  Some of the inner circle have been bending the NZ Herald’s Claire Trevett’s ear: they are concerned the membership might select someone other than who they would have preferred.   Yes, that is the whole point!   

    This is very worrying. There is a despondency in the Membership at present.  Denying them a genuine say in the Leadership selection will cause major ructions.  

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10818766

    • Te Reo Putake 2.1

      Eh? Didn’t you read the article, Bill? It’s not backtracking if you’ve never announced a position. I think the technical term for your comment is a strawman, isn’t it?
       
      And there isn’t any despondency in the membership that I can see, just the opposite, in fact. Steadily improving poll results, a fantastic response to the Keep Our Assets petition and the real likelihood of taking the treasury benches in a couple of years (or less) is putting smiles on the dials of the many party members I know.

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        I am interested TRP in what say Trade Union members will have in leadership selections.  IMHP they should have a say.  After all the Labour Party was born out of the Trade Union movement.

        • Te Reo Putake 2.1.1.1

          Me, too, Micky. As I see it, it would go against the constitution to not have the affiliates vote on the leadership, if the general membership does. So there will have to be some serious discussion about the proposal, but at this moment, clearly, nothing is decided. The important thing is that the concept of democratising the vote party wide is now accepted and that is reason for celebration.

        • prism 2.1.1.2

          Yes the trade unions are the biggest group of the working people that Labour was meant to protect and advance, not the middle class lawyers and professionals that have resulted in Labour choosing the easier Right path and not the one apparently less trod. Key could just as well have joined present Labour. He would have been welcomed, and fitted in well.

          Helen Kelly CTU was really good on Radionz discussing the port situation, with Timaru losing two major shipping companies’ patronage. The CTU are thinking about the problems and reckon we are too small a country not to have integrated transport plans and that the ports should be co-ordinating not staying in the silo mentality. And Fonterra getting a cheaper rate from Lyttelton, I think, started the decline. The new shipping schedule will mean containers being trucked or railed to and from Timaru through the bigger ports.

          • mickysavage 2.1.1.2.1

            Not all middle class lawyers are right wingers :grin:
             

            • LynW 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Thank goodness! ;-)

            • prism 2.1.1.2.1.2

              ms True But most lawyers do not live life at the same level as working and unemployed people. Lawyers are indeed service workers but privileged ones, advisors on how the public pilot their way through the reefs of laws and regulations. And their work is usually done sitting on their bottoms in heated offices.

              Needed by Labour are workers who are in the productive sector, with savvy and wide-thinking, and of course confident speakers. This is so important in these days where confident newbies like Paula Bennett received the express lift treatment to the top after having a pressure cooker propaganda course in the USA on the proper way to think and talk about welfare.

          • Fortran 2.1.1.2.2

            Helen will make a first class party leader.
            Sorry Andrew but she has charisma too.

      • AnnaLiviaPlurabella 2.1.2

        TPR, you are right that there are passionate activists. Unfortunately this passion and the series of unpopular policies/actions of the Natz is not translating into support for the leader or the party. We are still behind where we were in 2008. The membership wants to see the top table implement deep change, and not cosmetic tinkering.

      • BillODrees 2.1.3

        Ask Claire Trevett why she wrote “Senior members said there was some concern that giving too much weight to the membership vote over the caucus vote could result in a leader being chosen who was deeply unpopular within the caucus” 
        Te Reo, this is a legitimate concern of members who are not happy with the selection process of ’08 and ’11. The price of democracy is eternal vigilance.  

        It is clear that Claire has been briefed by the inner circle that the Caucus is uncomfortable with the possibility the Membership will select someone who 51% of the Caucus does not want.  
        Is that what is behind this briefing?
        Is it an attempt to maintain the status quo for Shearer’s supporters? 

         

        • Blue 2.1.3.1

          Clearly the ABC faction are at it again. I’d really love to know why they hate David Cunliffe so much.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3.1.1

            It’s possible that he represents significant change in the Labour Party and conservatives, no matter their stripe, hate change.

          • Anne 2.1.3.1.2

            Professional jealousy Blue?

    • Carol 2.2

      As I read the article, it’s a matter of how much weight to give to the party membership vote. Giving them some say seems to be a done deal.

      The concern is not that members may choose someone the caucus doesn’t want, but someone the caucus is strongly opposed to (Cunliffe immediately comes to my mind). These are the key parts of the article indicating the above:

      Labour leader David Shearer said yesterday there was general consensus within the caucus that it was time for the membership to share in that vote – something the members made clear during last year’s leadership contest. He said the details were yet to be worked out, including the exact split of the vote.
      […]
      It is understood the party is debating options including giving slightly more weight to the vote of party members than to the vote of the caucus or at least giving them an equal vote.

      Senior members said there was some concern that giving too much weight to the membership vote over the caucus vote could result in a leader being chosen who was deeply unpopular within the caucus – a result which could be unworkable in practical terms.

      However, there is also a desire to ensure the members’ vote was not purely tokenism and to give them a real influence. Debate was also under way about whether the caucus portion of the vote would be a bloc vote and how affiliated unions should be treated.

      [My bold]

      My view is that Labour caucus needs to get over the ABC state-of-mind. Cunliffe is about their biggest asset right now.

      • Olwyn 2.2.1

        I agree Carol. What is more, despite the apparent pressure, a decent number of the caucus did vote for Cunliffe, even though he did not in the end win. There is a big difference between someone that almost all of the caucus does not want, due to their unreliability or such, and someone that a small group of the caucus is determined not to have. I am still unconvinced. I fear that there is a group in caucus determined to stick to BAU, when more is required.

        • Jenny 2.2.1.1

          My view is that Labour caucus needs to get over the ABC state-of-mind. Cunliffe is about their biggest asset right now.

          Carol

          Hear, hear

          • ad 2.2.1.1.1

            I hope the outcome is handled with sensitivity – the core activists and members I see on this site clearly want to be treated as more than customers – they are more like shareholders. Designing a new process shouldn’t be about any one person or any one alternative history.

            It really is time we had a say in who our leader is.

            • LynW 2.2.1.1.1.1

              + 1 Carol, Olwyn, Jenny and ad. Actually I also agree with BillOdrees comments and relate to the despondency he mentions.

          • Anne 2.2.1.1.2

            Two former Labour MPs missed regaining their seats by less than 10 votes. Brendon Burns who lost (if I remember correctly) by only 1 or 2 votes, and Carmel Sepuloni who lost by 9 votes. Both were Cunliffe supporters. The third unfortunate loss was Kelvin Davis who was placed too low on the list by a bunch of idiots on the Selection Committee – an oversight largely caused by a case of PC gone mad IMHO. If he was a Cunliffe supporter too (and I suspect he might have been) and the three of them had been re-elected, then the outcome might have been different.

    • Logie97 2.3

      No problem with iPhone or iPad

  3. Te Reo Putake 3

    The NSW Labor party have their state conference in a few days and the most contentious debate will be about the party’s relationship with the Aussie Greens. The political kneecapping of long time Greens leader Bob Brown by the left has led the right faction of Labor to propose not giving voting preferences to the Greens as they have recommended to supporters in the past. This could cost many Green’s MP’s their jobs, though it’s likely Labor would pick up those seats.
     
    Labor’s NSW Secretary Sam Dastyari will put a motion that would make the Greens the ‘last cab’ and influential union leader Paul Howes has attacked them as being “anti-jobs”. Howes’ has a scathing article in the Daily Telegraph, which even suggests the NSW Blues will never win the State of Origin if the Greens continue to have an influence!
     

    • ad 3.1

      If you are tracking this debate it would be great to get regular updates on this site.

      While NZLabour is nowhere near as muscular as NSW’s, it’s still a good rehearsal for what will have to happen here, where the greens are in a far stronger position at this point.

      • Te Reo Putake 3.1.1

        Will do, ad. It’s worth noting that their are two significant differences between the Aussie situation and ours. One is MMP, which encourages coalition building, as opposed to the FPP, dog eat dog system they have in the lower house. That system also means the Greens cannot win anything but densely populated inner city seats in the lower house, plus some proportionally based senate spots, therefore limiting them to always being an add on. Secondly, the Aussie Greens don’t have the relative pragmatism shown by Russel Norman when it comes to mining jobs, which is the dominent issue in Oz.
         
        The guts of it seems to be that Labor know they are going be in opposition at state and federal level for the next few years and are positioning themselves as the left party with practical policies that will lead to jobs, as opposed to the Greens leftward lurch to political and environmental purity without thought to the consequences for working people. I think our Greens have got a pretty good balance, as it happens and I’m looking forward to the next government immensely.

  4. Rosie 4

    Hello folks. Pardon my ignorance (I’ve been out of the loop for a long time) but is Crosby Textor still the PR consultants to the National Party or have they moved on to some one else in the last few years?

    I am on the brink of winning a 20 year long ongoing “discussion” with a powerful and influencial matriarch who has an unfortunate political view – just think talkback radio parroting queen for starters. I am preparing for my next discussion which will cover JK’s trajectory to power hence the need to get my facts right. (Her world has recently been shattered on accepting the reality that JK is a complete con) If I win, the voting habits of three generations of her family will change for the better and in fact some of them might even make the effort to vote next time round.

    I could wiki this info but I am lazy and would prefer to hear it from those who know.

    • vto 4.1

      I don’t know rosie, but I do know today that if you want to flummox Nat supporters and get them seriously thinking (rare I know) then start discussing the history of the financial system with them, with heavy sprinkles of John Key the Federal Reserve banker.

      edit: the reason it gets them thinking is that it affects their own MONEY. money money money, it’s all there is dont you know.

      edit edit: and the fact that they realise they have been conned all along…. quite the humiliation

    • Carol 4.2

      As I understand it, references by people on the left to Crosby Textor is as much a reference to the work of the consultants, as to a style of political PR management, and a loose international network of right wing political entities with similar policies and tactics.

      Crosby Textor is an international group of consultants:

      http://www.crosbytextor.com/

      They tend to not declare when they are contracted to give advice to specific political parties, so it’s not easy to know exactly when the NZ National Party has made use of them.

      But CT also tends to work for right wing candidates and parties in English-speaking countries. And such parties and their leaders also tend to share information on tactics and policies – see how Key buddied-up to Cameron while in the UK recently, and the similarity of their current policies.

      But there’s this:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Textor#Recent_work

      In 2011 Mark Textor was the campaign strategist and pollster for New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s re-election and played the same role in his historic 2008 victory.

      • Rosie 4.2.1

        Thanks VTO and Carol.

        The wiki reference is telling enough of of the influence of Mark Textor at least in the 2011 campaign, as well as previous campaigns. I hadn’t realised the influence of this PR machine had gone back as far as Bolger’s days. Interesting. In regard to the PR empire and the relationship between JK and David Cameron : As well as being of an idealogical feather,JK admires and looks up to him which is dangerous for us I believe as he is interested in and influenced by the policies of the Cameron regime, even though those policies have been damaging for the Brits. A good example might be the failure of PPP’s in Britain (discussed by Gordon Campbell on Scoop and which some one posted here a few days ago)and we have been adopting those same failed policies here.

        VTO. Indeed. When discussing politics with those on the right I always find it helpful to bring it back to them. They are not really interested in the actual governance of the country or the experiences of others, the real interest is themselves. Fair enough to a point, we’ve all got to look out for ourselves but generally the world view is internal. “What do I get?” “I come first” Discussing the right wingers experiences and injustices, whether real or perceived will always be a good start to a hearty discussion. In the case of the Matriarch above, it was the fact that JK doesn’t actually personally care about her and her difficulties, (which came as a huge shock to her) that has got her thinking about why she voted for him twice.

        Perhaps more people are waking up, just like she is. One can only hope. In the mean time so much dammage has been done.

      • prism 4.2.2

        Good stuff Carol, I was wondering about Crosby Textor. And Karl Rove I think, was a name that registered from an article about UK and it seems that he is a dark lord in the voter mind manipulation arts. Don’t know if he was involved here, or just involved with common ideas at this high level of marketing politics and images of the future to us.

        • Rosie 4.2.2.1

          Prism, Karl Rove was and most likely still is indeed a dark lord. His turf is the US of A but he may have ventured further afield by now. He was a senior advisor to the Bush Administration. He was often lampooned on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I am just looking for references to him in “Bad President” right now. Sometimes we use humour to mask to the pain……….

          he really was pure evil

          • prism 4.2.2.1.1

            Yes Rosie that’s how it seems to me. I had another insightful! comment to ad but pressed the wrong button and it vanished. Damn.

  5. So Timaru is losing the business of Maersk and Hamburg Sud, who simultaneously announced they will now bypass Timaru’s port.

    This highlights a few problems.  New Zealand’s ports are being played off against each other and are in a race to the bottom in terms of prices to overseas multinationals.  This is unusual, as ports have an effective monopoly you would think that a collaborative approach could increase prices.  After all Australian ports cost considerably more.  

    Anti competition measures are always raised as reasons that cooperation amongst ports cannot happen.  But you have to wonder about how anti competitive it is for two major lines to simultaneously announce decisions to go elsewhere. 

    • Jenny 5.1

      Seems we have screams of outrage from the business sector at any efforts to draw down the highly profitable fossil fuel industry, even if as suggested the workers affected are offered retraining for a green economy. But every other sector is fair game for ruthless and massive lay-offs with no effort to retrain, or place these workers in any other sort of gainful employment.

      This exposes the hypocrisy of those who always scream about jobs vs. the environment.

      Jobs and the welfare of workers are not the concern at all, this is only a cynical smokescreen for the real concern, the huge personal profits that are being made by rich investors. The same concern that sees Maersk lay off hundreds of workers without batting an eyelid

      • ad 5.1.1

        Was also pretty sad to hear the Timaru Business Association complaining about how it would cost them an extra $800 to get their stuff to a sea port. But that same business association forgot to mention all the ports workers down the road, and the impact that would have on a small town like Timaru. Families. Mortgages. Retail impact. People having to shift. Etc etc.

        A pretty narrow view of economic interests from the so-called business community if all they can talk about was $800 of extra cost.

        • Hayden 5.1.1.1

          To be fair, that’s $800 they might not have in wages for their own staff, with the associated down-stream effects.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            Things cost what they cost and it’s physically impossible to avoid them and the fact is that the Timaru Business Association has just cost themselves even more as shipping is far more efficient than trucking.

            Cutting costs is almost never the answer as it almost always results in the wrong decision.

    • ad 5.2

      Not that I am having a crack at Lianne Dalziell, but the shelving of the Commerce Commission report into airport landing charges a decade ago was a real shame.

      Similar situation at sea ports.

      If the major ports got together and came up with a case and put the case to the Commerce Commission for less competitive behaviour (without turning into a cartel), at least the problem would start to be framed against the real oligopolists, namely the two great shipping companies.

    • Janice 5.3

      Fonterra also has a hand in this as they apparently decided to bypass the port (after doing a sweet deal with Kiwi Rail) so there is less reason for the shipping companies to bring their vessels to Timaru. They did the same thing to New Plymouth and that port is now struggling.

  6. Dv 6

    This is a comment in the NBR, about the UFB roll out. Can any one shed light of it accuracy?

    One of the most poorly kept secrets about the nation UFB roll out is it’s big brother aspect. If you are on UFB you will have a static ip (fixed ip) and this is not up for negotiation (even with Ipv6). The reason is that these companies have signed an agreement with the government at the behest of the US that all your information is tied to your account and IP address for 7 years. So much for a national id number, they will have all your habits and message board postings tied to your ip address. Really scary stuff, the Copyright file sharing amendment bill was stage 1, the UFB with static ip stage 2 and stage 3 is anyone’s guess. This is big brother stuff and being rolled out world wide.

  7. Logie97 7

    Headline in Granny today …
    Doesn’t it make you so proud and give a you a warm fuzzy.
    Lil ‘ol Nu Zild is leading the way for the succession to the Crown.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10818836
    The New Zealand government is organising a Commonwealth …

  8. Uturn 8

    After a brief argument here last night, I wondered what it was that would make the often referred to and abstract concept of “maori” people want to side with their oppressors. Are they nuts, I thought? Don’t they know the capacity for constructive life-affirming principles their heritage can supply?

    Then I remembered my own deep distrust, almost hate, of my own “people”; my current reality and how it emerged and the influence of the nastiness in “my culture”. I know what my culture looks like from both the out and inside and the two pictures do not match. There’s lots of style, no substance despite material evidence and loud claims, and no meaning that’ll keep you warm in “the dark night of the soul”.

    For a while last night, I couldn’t see anything good about pakeha culture. Nothing. I was blinded by anger and memory. It’s not so hard to hate one’s own people, I thought. The difference of course was that even if I lived to a hundred years old, and suffered every day, I would not be able to empathise with the effects of oppression perpetrated over generations.

    Yesterday marty mars mentioned a speech by Ani Mikaera and later that evening, Descendant of Smith posted a link to it. I’m reposting it here because I think it is important it doesn’t get lost in final posts of yesterday’s Open Mike. If you read no more of this post, read the material in the link below.

    http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/iwi-am04.pdf

    There is no doubt in my mind that maori continue to bear the scars of colonisation. I have already said that pakeha guilt lurks just beneath the surface; maori grief and rage inhabit the same psychological and spiritual space, often unleashed by the smallest of triggers. But I for one do not accept that this is how things have to remain. The prospect of forever being locked into the roles of oppressor and oppressed must surely be as unfulfilling for pakeha as it is frustrating for maori. I suggest that the answer lies in Tikanga Maori. Tikanga Maori has been defined by Charles Royal as “ethical behaviour”, based on fundamental principles or values. While the practice of Tikanga may adapt over time, the underlying principles or “conceptual regulators” (as Justice Taihakurei Durie has called them), comprising of values such as whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, aroha, mana, tapu, noa, wairua and utu, do not.

    Ani Mikaere: Are we all New Zealanders now? A maori response to the pakeha quest for indigeneity.

    In this passage, Ani Mikaere illustrates the now famous – and often bewildering to pakeha – sentiment that has entered the awareness of most New Zealanders. It appears to be deliberate understatement and humility in the face of constant hostility. She talks of things that are “unfulfilling for pakeha” and I wonder why she cares. Then she understates the effect on maori as “frustrating”. How does the fact that the torturer chips his nail, while thrashing his captive, become a concern of the captive? Would it be within reason, and still polite, for the captive to say, “Hey, you know if you didn’t thrash me the chances of you chipping your nail would reduce significantly”. Where do maori find the confidence and energy to supply such gracious offerings? Is it just an understanding that if you approach people with goodwill you have a basis for partnership? It’s not Stockholm syndrome, something else is at work.

    Generally speaking, Pakeha culture doesn’t allow this offering of concern and inter-relatedness. When we fight, we want to destroy our enemy. When we are down, we hate our oppressors. We must win at all costs or lose face. After losing face, it is fair for our own people to attack us with immunity. We call those who lose face, Losers. Losers are not helped or encouraged to get back up. For that we have the trite sayings of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps or “it’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you can get back up”. Yes, very helpful. In reality it means: do it yourself because if I touch you I’ll be associated with a loser and lose face.

    So where do an oppressed people get the urge to continually offer the olive branch of a new beginning over and over again? Has the pakeha elevation of “the win” and loudly proclaimed virtuous ideals, debased us; while our victims, forced to follow the path of the oppressed, discovered moral truths? Who knows. But it’s pretty stark, no?

    I agree that the oppressed/oppressor relationship must end. How to end it, or if it will end naturally, is up for debate. There are certainly things pakeha could do for themselves to prepare the ground.

    In Ani Mikaere’s speech she talks about post colonial pakeha experiencing a loss of identity and the various manifestations of racism and destructive attitudes this loss produces. As one of those PCP’s myself, I have experienced it personally. I grew up listening to my father’s delusions about being British – even though he was chucked out for overstaying, while a young man. The Brits don’t want us colonials. Historical disgust of colonials by the Empire is easy to find, anecdotal evidence is just my experience of it. Later I was given the right to work and live in the UK and did for while. But despite finding a few people my age who weren’t interested in the English class system, largely, I was shut out. My accent gave the perfect opportunity of an excuse. Oh, I’m a colonial? Funny ideas those chaps. We do things differently here, old boy! New Zealanders aren’t British, by any stretch.

    When I came home, I tried immersing myself in pakeha culture and couldn’t, because you can’t immerse yourself in a puddle. As Ani Mikaere mentions, the nature of my research turned up some unpleasant historical truths. At first, I could just ignore them. There were lots of outward “things to do” to look like you belonged, but no spiritual connection. Then when I couldn’t ignore the other side of the story anymore, I investigated maori lore and the beliefs of other non-English groups who came here as immigrants. The maori stuff I could get a handle on because there was an easy route in; the bush and forest provided more or less the same historical environment and helped to lift the ideas off the page and into the present. However, it was also pretty clear that even if the impossible (and undesirable) happened and I was awarded honorary maori status, I could not take the final step and become maori in a spiritual sense. Studies in psychology had spelled that out. In real terms, after being to my “ancestral home”, I was now aware of a connection to two places where neither was strong enough to be useful and neither of them were maori. One place recognised me but didn’t want me, the other didn’t particularly want me, but would let me stick around.

    As a post colonial pakeha, I had no home that included a collective undistrubed past and a natural path of progression to the future. My entire cultural history existed only within the parameters of my lifetime. Anything extra would be imagination. By leaving the origin and being absent for a length of time, a colonial gives up the natural historical influences and environment that allows him to be called, British or German, or whatever. The necessity to adapt to a new place using new techniques and social arrangements comes at the cost of the old collective identity. The first settlers could have gone home and just been given a metaphorical slap on the hand, as if they were away on holiday too long. The children of a colonial might be able to go home, but they’d be a treated as a bit suspect. Once you reach to grandchildren, you’re stuffed, not just socially, but internally. There is no going back. So then what do we do? It may interest you to know we aren’t alone in our problem. Did you know there are fractured Polish links to the Caribbean?

    I wandered aimlessly, in a spiritual sense, for a long time. Western religion couldn’t fix it. I used working, drinking, barbequing, engaging in entertaining fads, that sort of thing. I’m embarrassed to say that at times my suppression of displacement emerged in what I now know as racism and oppressive acts. I’d ask questions to which I didn’t really want an answer. All they did was announce my spiritual displacement to people who I believed were secure. Anger was a good enough vent. I had no idea of the concept of power structures. So I can understand how it is that in modern NZ you still get pockets of people thinking that as pakeha they are oppressed by other cultures and that “we have rights too”. Racism, or trying to re-create a reality from pages of The History of The British Empire is the final warm place before a person must step off and become real.

    Ani Mikaere says pakeha need to learn to trust that despite the horrors they’ve inflicted on maori, maori aren’t particularly out to get pakeha. This is going to be a problematic mental process to many, even if they can understand the imbalance of power that pakeha and maori relations have. Pakeha culture has trained us to not trust the people we have just be trying to eradicate. We eagerly project that attitude onto others in the concept of justifiable revenge. To pakeha, it is an eye for an eye mentality. If you go to bludgeon someone and then stop before the death blow and bow your head, historically, the aggressor who gave up the advantage was dispatched without hesitation. It’s a collective mental twitch we have.

    In modern terms, we are taught everyday that the past predicts the future; that one bad employee means all employees are suspect and more restrictions are necessary; that a tenant behaves badly so the chances of all future tenants behaving badly increases; a few old cars crash, so all old cars should not be on the road; a few women on the DPB have extra children, so all DPB recipients are breeding for a business. We hone our laws around the concept, everyday. We cannot easily reach the philosophical release of control over our lives and accept the uncomfortable feeling that comes with knowing the likelihood of events, but also allowing the truth that the future is uncertain, unformed and subject to chance, to hold sway. We are a simple experience based, prone-to-extrapolation, people. There needs to be a safe-ish middle step people can take on their own, in private. As scary as it seems, the best I can think of is to ask people to re-examine the meaning and processes of success and failure that underpin our society; and to consider that embracing the personal identity questions that post colonial existence asks will reach a better faster solution than running from them.

    What I discovered for myself, was that it is because I have no “home”, that I have the option of going (mentally) pretty much where I like. It is because I do not have a historical image to adhere to that I can embrace parts of any society I choose. It is because my spirituality is not attached to a permanent external physical place that it remains completely mobile – attached only to the demands of my nature. This means that the only time I feel under threat from a “foreign” culture is when I have not acknowledged my own internal problems. There’s no place to hide. It means I can continue to learn what it is I can give up, in terms of control of external events in my life and within social and gender roles. It means I can learn how to make space for others to express themselves as fully as pakeha do and generally take for granted. I won’t kid you that it’s all fun and giggles. The more I try to think it out beforehand, the harder it gets and fear is always lurking nearby. But it is interesting and it seems that no matter how far I go there will always be an infinite amount I will not know.

    Maori have their heritage and traditional knowledge and, although it was violently interrupted, evidence suggests they have the option of a natural progression toward the future. This way of natural progression is just as sacred and correct for them as my way is to me. The prospect of maori being maori does not threaten my way now or in the future. I have a level of security that emerged by being forced to explore the insecurity of post colonial existence; supported by the option and ability to look in many different directions; and a future that is largely undefined. My experience is not so unusual and I think it is completely possible that Ani Mikaere’s dream of a new inter-related NZ can happen.

    • ad 8.1

      My particular verison of this is having framed in oak one of the few copies of Parliament’s Hansard maps from straight after the Land Wars which determined where the confiscation lines would be drawn, and how much they would take.

      It makes for a big stark reminder in the lounge above the fireplace. And a great conversation starter with the relatives.

    • Sam Hall 8.2

      Optimistic.
      We could meet?
      Im big on Openess and Conscientiousness apparently, according to certain high priests.
      Oh the stories i could tell…

      but putting me aside a little
      xcept opinion

      the stuff i find helpful on this particular site are analyses like u-turns and the quick links by DTB and JOE 90 et al;

      These, and many others, are clearly to me, very intelligent people in the multidimensional sense.

      However, for a seeker of helpfulness for our people, some of the posts leave me feeling quite sad.

      Leadership.

      And this whole fallacy of non-contradiction thing! Dialectic and synthesis is more helpful.

      Learn about how the cognitions of eg, Westerners and East Asians differ. I imagine there are parallels between our peoples.

      Think about how “plugged in” most people are to ideas, particularly dominant ideas, these days since the IT revolution. Was once mainly the paper, the tele, the school and the church for example.

      Thats why the term INFORMATION WAR is so apt.

      I too, initially commented here and there to release emotion….still can do

      But Uturn and others taught me to seek and be helpful,

      So a blog is not just an “echo chamber”.

      Re annoyances, ignored behaviour or non-adaptive behaviour usually becomes extinct.

      History may reflect that the post-war Baby Boomer generation were the “lucky generation”, Generations X Y and I the “post-modern enlightenment generations” that lasted until AUTHORITY needed to shut it down.

      I confess to some mastaburtory and cognitively copulant SLOGANEERING initially but its not helpful really.But These are post-modern times after all….

      HELPFUL. The wikipedia article on NIHILISM seems like a good leaping off point for the brave as it links to all the helpful thinkers,

      and the TAO TE CHING. Amazing how much thinking and writing has gone into relating NIETZSCHE and TAOISM.

      and seeing as the Maori came from EAST ASIA,

      soooo HANDLE THE JANDAL and see everything anew, as for the first time.

      It may all end in tears but even NIETZSCHE advocated a “cheerful philosophy”

      Cease the struggle against the self and you will be able to embrace all people
      The Essence of Nature, that is all There Is
      Abandon negative thoughts and thinking
      ABANDON ROMANTICISM to commence SELF-LIBERATION.

      “ACTIVE NIHILISM “IS DECONSTRUCTION.

      • Uturn 8.2.1

        I agree that DTB, JOE90 et al. are skilled in assembling the larger picture. You are going too far, however, in awarding me a level of intelligence I don’t possess. Mostly it the result of cobbling together enough to ease my own discomfort, realising the enormity and impossibility of the project and turning the act of knowing when to stop into something that looks passably rational. Ricocheting from righteous ideals to anger, then hypocrisy, cheerful optimism and accepting life as it is – and back again – is normal for me.

        My apologies if inadvertently “teaching you to be helpful” has interrupted your own important normal processes. You are under no obligation to listen to me and I wouldn’t like to think you’re out there holding your breath for some reason.

        I would be interested in reading a post on Sam Hall’s Guide to Active Nihilism, soon, though. I suppose I could read a book, but a personal lens would breathe something extra into it, don’t you think? It’s up to you.

    • weka 8.3

      I appreciate your post Uturn. Lots of good insight there.

      “I know what my culture looks like from both the out and inside and the two pictures do not match. There’s lots of style, no substance despite material evidence and loud claims, and no meaning that’ll keep you warm in “the dark night of the soul”. ”

      I think this is both very true, and not quite the whole truth.

      We are not so very distant from our own cultural oppression. I say this not as an excuse for what has happened and been done in this country, but because I think Pakeha will have to look at their histories and how that informs current culture, in order to change.

      I also tend to the view that it’s not that we don’t have (meaningful) culture but that we can’t see it. What kind of blindness is that?

      • Descendant Of Smith 8.3.1

        There was a period in the 80’s when I was in Wanganui when I went back to my school centenary at NPBHS and read an article by Albert Wendt in the centennial magazine that questioned why he had to go to university to discover the story of Parihaka.

        That set me as a young man on a journey to find out more about our history and I found this totally fascinating, and much more so than that of other countries.

        While short much of our post-European culture is well documented, and in many respects because of that, we can have a treaty settlement process. Evidence of land confiscated, stolen, incorrectly purchased, legislation passed and so on is in abundant supply.

        There are certainly those sorts of aspects about our colonisation of this country that hold us in good stead – not the legislation itself but the records of it.

        One of the things I came to understand was that the deeds of institutions, e.g. Otamatea, for wayward children for set up originally for the Irish Catholic kids whose parents oft rarely talked about where they had come from and what they had left. The 80s however was a time some three or four generations along when it was suddenly becoming cool to be Irish and have that as part of your heritage. Those generations were in some small way taking a stand and saying it’s OK.

        The great thing was that I could see the same thing happening for Maori. The resurgance of the interest in the culture, the activism particularly of the women, the development of Kohanga Reo and so on.

        I’ve always therefore been optimistic therefore about the future for this country and while I despair at the likes of Key and Brash they are the last remnants of an aging racist bunch of people who will no longer be with us.

        What I do know is that my trust in Maori to look after this country is much greater than my trust in people like those who inhabit the National party. What I also know is that there are plenty of Pakeha who also share similar views on community and family and land use and so on – even though the concepts might not quite be the same.

        The future is not about our differences – they should be nurtured and enjoyed and delighted in – it’s about our commonality and our joint vision for this to be a great place.

        I really would love to see 45 Maori seats elected how they see fit and 45 non-Maori seats elected via MMP ( or 60/60 or whatever). I think we would have a much better country as a result.

        • Jenny 8.3.1.1

          Gracious sentiment. But us Palagi are way to driven to be that gracious.

          • Descendant Of Smith 8.3.1.1.1

            Nah I don’t think so.

            I’ve floated the notion over the years and found a good number of people who would have no problem with that.

            It would take a significant paradigm shift for the overall population but that shift really is about what was espoused earlier – trust in Maori.

            It’s why I thought it worth mentioning again – it fitted the context of this post.

            I’m a fan of Edward de Bono as well as was always taken by the concept of putting the intake for a plant that needed water downstream from the discharge so the factory got to use it’s own water back again – sometimes a different way of looking at things is useful.

            Personally I see nothing to fear from such an equitable partnership.

            I’d be interested as to whether others would be fearful or supportive of such an arrangment -or something in between. Would you support such a governance model?

      • Uturn 8.3.2

        What kind of blindness is that?

        The blindness brought about by fear. The kind of fear that has it’s power outside the reach of consciousness, so a person can say they can’t find it, but it is still there, waiting to emerge as it should, at the correct time.

        To my eye pakeha culture consists of moments of good intent, overshadowed by greed, cowardice and personal issues projected onto the weak, young and old. What was the old line? “…fires lit by the white man’s lust for our land, and fanned by the breath of God.” It sums it up brilliantly, but fails to add what you say, that the fires also burn the arsonist. Which they have. It doesn’t embarrass me that maori have known what pakeha’s problem was before pakeha did.

        Pakeha are big on promoting their nature, especially heroic historical nature, to the point of losing sight of current reality. Not so big on nurture, except in that it helps create living targets for our nature to either destroy, or by coincidence, reaffirm the brutality and of our natures. It’s a vile game. Charging around treating everything as a competition, with an attached emotional hysteria as if we were channelling the real fear of ancients when wolves entered the village; or warring tribes arriving at the edge of the forest; when it is just us lost in our greed, lack of self awareness or hate. If only it was so easy as telling people, “You’re being XYZ right now. Why not do the opposite.” I’ve tried it and lost all sorts of things, including my family. You can’t talk people into enlightenment. Now that, is frustrating.

        Our current “meaningful” culture means something to those of a particular disposition. Every people has their natural born warriors. The rest of us are asked to tear ourselves apart imitating things we know are wrong for us, suppressing our variability, adding to the problems played out in the news everyday; and field demands to become willing victims (We even tell our victims we know the game, and demand they play along anyway); or we have to keep silent to avoid the attacks of our own people who are in love with the bombastic traits of the warrior hero.

        There is no way to directly influence a culture so completely focused on maintaining an imbalanced status quo with just my own acts and thoughts. March up Queen Street with a placard into waiting paddy wagons; write a book that joins the millions of other books no one reads and that changes nothing; vote for the newest political party that has to use a corrupted system to participate; the result is the same.

        If a pakeha person digs back through time, past medieval social arrangements, to pre-Roman England if you like, all they get are some fragments of a people no one knows much about and a language no one speaks or understands anymore. Most of the land those people inhabited is gone, now covered in high-rise slums full of piss and needles. What is left of the fragments have been taken up and turned into a New Age subculture by those rich enough to live in the English countryside, meaningful to them, but meaningless to me. There isn’t enough on which to base a critique of current NZ pakeha reality in a way that will relight an inherited dormant memory. The old gods are silent in my part of the world.

        It’s pretty obvious that colonisation, by definition, breaks every moral rule ever dreamed up by humans. People colonise their inner world with ideas and their outer world with desires. We even send probes into space to find aliens. Let’s hope they aren’t anything like humans. Colonisation is simple: One group goes to another place with the express purpose of stealing other people’s stuff and sending it home for profit. Pakeha have been doing it so long, and have been so eager to cover their tracks, there is no way simple adjustments can solve the problem anymore.

        The collective human story evolves over time, as you know, and this challenge NZ faces and has been butting up against since pakeha met maori is another opportunity to find a way forward in that larger human story. There may be some good points of pakeha culture out there, being lived by any number of pakeha somebodies. They may know them as a moral or ethical behaviour, supported by the same ethical foundations that Ani Mikaere says is unchanging in Tikanga maori and that Descendant of Smith seeks out below. So why are we constantly elevating and supporting leaders who will not acknowledge that human life has ethical laws that cross boundaries of culture and place? Why are we arranging new political parties around systems we know will undermine any possibility for creating a place where ethical laws can exist?

        I my opinion, examining cultural history isn’t going to help pakeha change. We’ve already overdosed on history. Imperialism is the act of doing things solely to be remembered throughout history. A fear of death, if you like. I think that the Chinese had it right when they said that god doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so if we acknowledge that indescribable environment, we find it supplies a natural harmony for all things no matter who you are or where you stand; and fear of death is no more frightening than sleeping and dreaming or waking in the morning.

        Pakeha fear maori because they threaten our efforts to immortality, they way we think it should be done, and they remind us – through us attempting to force them to imitate our ways – that we are mortal. If there is no god offering an afterlife, we see death as the ultimate deadline and excuse for as much hedonism we can get before that point. Even if there is a god, we still don’t like the idea of dying. We can’t even handle aging or deformity. Anything that does not run away from death is unacceptable. So we set up lists of what looks beautiful, young and good and things to avoid, like those that are ugly, old and near death. And we freak out and need retail therapy. And then maori come along and say, “Hold on there, pale face, you can’t have your anxious hedonism here. Your fun is destroying my life.”

        So I also agree with DoS, below. Although I don’t think politics will solve the underlying philosophical issue, in real terms, having maori running the show, with their understanding of connectedness and interrelation; rather than pakeha elevating fragmented pieces just to ease anxiety; will result in better outcomes than we have now.

        • marty mars 8.3.2.1

          Thank you for these posts.

          We all need a big dose of re-enculturalisation as Rawiri Taonui calls it. The document below dispels some of the persistent myths around a disturbing area.

          http://news.tangatawhenua.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/ManaTamariki-Dec2010-Final.pdf

          Everyone would benefit from it re-enculturalisation. The success of adding cultural knowledge to rehabilitation services is proven, for Maori and others. Recividism rates fall, dramatically. The document below shows how this works for serious offenders.

          http://www.corrections.govt.nz/news-and-publications/magazines-and-newsletters/corrections-news/2009/corrections-news-aug-sep-2008/te-piriti-successful-bridge-to-maori-values-and-practices.html

          Adding Māori cultural knowledge would also work for those who aren’t in the justice system – it is the big missing part of the solution for this country. That is what the government should be spending billions on because it would really change the dynamic of the relationship between people. Knowledge is power which is why it is highly protected within Māoridom but concepts can still be explained and they can illuminate.

          For instance i have just finished a course on whare whakairo (carved meeting houses). Traditional Māori carving showed an aspective representation which depicts things objectively and ideally as they really are, timeless and containing all their parts as opposed to perspective representation, which shows things from one viewpoint at one instant of time. I found that explanation really helpful in understanding Māori concepts of time, as Johansen (1954) describes, “Time itself in the Māori view, then, is considered as belonging to the action more than as being absolute. Thus the actions of the kinship group are not only significant as true expressions of life in the ancestors, but also of life in the living: for the same life, the same mana, is active through the history of the kinship group.”

          We are who we are and we have arrived or been born on this waka for whatever reason. We are the continuation of our ancestors and our descendants. We are connected and our mana is ours and theirs. Our kinship groups are whatever they are too and i think that is positive. Māori are the indigenous people of this land and as Māori mana increases so does the mana of all who live, love and die here.

          kia kaha

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