Gimme sense!

Written By: - Date published: 11:34 am, January 1st, 2013 - 147 comments
Categories: colonialism, culture, history - Tags: , , ,

It’s nothing but ardent colonial nonsense to be celebrating a seasonally determined cultural event in the wrong season and about six months off the mark. Every culture that marks new year celebrates around the time of, well…new year. And every culture that marks New Year locates it somewhere in the winter; notionally around the time that the days begin to lengthen after the cyclical nadir of the sun.

Christmas is an entirely separate matter.  There is nothing incongruous about marking somebody’s supposed birthday in the middle of summer. I don’t care if Christians and consumers want to do a whole pile of shopping and/or praying or whatever in the middle of summer. That’s their affair.

But generating an expectation to celebrate or acknowledge something that is really nothing more than an expression of historical arrogance irks me. Meanwhile, it’s particularly stupid that Matariki, a perfectly sensible cultural marker for New Year celebrations, continues to be marginalised – or at best offered politically correct lip service – thanks to the hangover of that colonial mindset.

If for no other reason than that the middle of winter is a really good time to find an excuse to step away from the ‘day to day’ and ‘let loose’, why not give ourselves proper New Year celebrations and dump this wholly inappropriate non-new year imposition from our summertime?

Anyway, whatever your take, I’ll raise a glass and wish you all the best for the New Year…in about six months from now.

147 comments on “Gimme sense!”

  1. karol 1

    I do think Matariki should be given more of a focus. Actually I would prefer it had a higher profile than Christmas.

    I lived for nearly 2 decades min London, and had a problem with the locating of New Year in the middle of their winter.

    At least in NZ, the Christmas/New Year period actually is the end of the year for many, especially for those involved in education. But in England, the end of the education year is in the middle of their summer: July-September. So the Christmas/New Year holiday just serves as a welcome break in the middle of winter. The holiday period isn’t that long, and, as a teacher, it was hardly a holiday at all before I was back in the fray.

    What I do find strange is that the financial year ends in March/April, which doesn’t coincide with the calendar year at all.

    However in Aussie-NZ, as it is summer, most people take their annual leave at this time, so the new Year does mark a significant moment of renewal, before most people head back to work.

    I find the consumerism of Christmas a big turn-off. I also find a lot of the symbolism is not suited to our climate.

    Matariki is more of a new cycle of nature. This is equivalent to the original pre-Christian pagan festivities in the northern hemisphere. It also would be a holiday that provides a break from the mid-winter gloom, in June.

    I think we should down-grade Christmas and up-grade Matariki.

    • Bill 1.1

      Don’t want to lump Christmas in with New Year. I understand why early Christianity chose a date close by the solstice as the ‘new’ mid-winter reason to celebrate. But New Year survived as a distinct celebration anyway.

      I simply don’t care when any religion celebrates whatever is of religious significance to its adherents. But I can’t understand NZ holding a mid-winter celebration in the middle of summer. No culture anywhere does that. Not even the culture that colonised NZ.

      • karol 1.1.1

        Actually I think the winter solstice in the UK and Europe, pre-ceded the adoption of the January as New Year. When I was in Britain it was seen as the main Celtic/Druid event not New Year:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice

        And New Year was apparently originally celebrated in march in Europe:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year's_Day#History

        Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year’s Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. In England, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, was the first day of the new year until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752. The March 25 date was known as Annunciation Style; the January 1 date was known as Circumcision Style,[5] because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, considered to be the eighth day of Christ’s life, counting from December 25 when his birth is celebrated. This day was christened as the beginning of the New Year by Pope Gregory as he designed the Liturgical Calendar.[6]

        And in pre-Christian times there was a mid-summer celebration:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsummer#Background

        European midsummer-related holidays, traditions, and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin. They are particularly important in Northern Europe – Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania – but are also found in Germany, Ireland, parts of Britain (Cornwall especially), France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Ukraine, other parts of Europe, and elsewhere – such as Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, and also in the Southern Hemisphere (mostly in Brazil, Argentina and Australia), where this imported European celebration would be more appropriately called “Midwinter”. …

        The solstice itself has remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since Neolithic times.[3] The concentration of the observance is not on the day as we reckon it, commencing at midnight or at dawn, as it is customary for cultures following lunar calendars to place the beginning of the day on the previous eve at dusk at the moment when the Sun has set. In Sweden, Finland, Latvia and Estonia, Midsummer’s Eve is the greatest festival of the year, comparable only with Walpurgis Night, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.

        Maybe we should just reverse the festivals. Also the symbolism of Easter relates to spring: eggs, rebirth etc. That’s totally wrong for March/April in NZ and Aussie.

        I think summer is a particularly good time to holiday and celebrate. Although these days, summer in NZ doesn’t really seem to get under way until the end of January at least.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          Yeah. I don’t know too much about the ‘drift’ associated with tying NY to a calendar date. Mid-winter solstice is – what?- Dec 22nd or thereabouts. But since we adhere to a gregorian calendar or whatever then it ‘became’ Jan 1. Meanwhile, Matariki has a better (ie, non-calendar) marker. And ‘when in Rome’….

          Anyway. Your point about Easter being a spring time celebration matters by whether you want to seperate the Christianity back out from it and actually celebrate it or not. I mean, how many people these days seek to celebrate spring? Some do. But they already mark it as Spring Equinox (I guess) The same could be said for thanksgiving if I’m right in assuming it was an autumnal celebration that was similarily taken over by Christian sensibilities.

          And reiterating, summer is in and of itself reason enough to celebrate…or not to bother celebrating because everything is fairly ‘sunny’ anyway. And anyone wanting some heightened summer celebration could, I guess, take the (cough) ‘traditional’ route of the drug laden summer solstice.

          • karol 1.1.1.1.1

            Whatever, the origins I’m not so inclined to change our current summer celebrations. I’d be happy to re-seasonise Christmas rather than the mixed Christian-winter-consumerist related rituals.

            While our calendar year is January to December, I like having a New Year celebration. However, I’m also for having an enhanced winter celebration centred on Matariki and the changing of seasons.

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.1.1

              heh – and I’m happy enough to leave Christmas where it is but re-seasonalise New Year…eg, mark it in line with Matariki…which would leave NZ in the position of having both ‘official’ summer and winter celebrations.

              • rosy

                Having just woken up from celebrating ny in the middle of winter I agree entirely Bill. A mid-winter festival is festival of optimism in the bleak, dull days. Bring on Matariki.

  2. Jon 2

    Matariki? Meh.

  3. Steve B 3

    Last Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) was in mid-September. It varies a bit against the modern Western calendar but is in the same general part of the seasonal cycle each year.

    How does that make sense against your “past the nadir of winter” theory – particularly as it was devised in the Northern Hemisphere?

    I think any return to Matariki ought to be accompanied by a return to (or at least a nod towards) the lunar months on which the Maori calendar – and the traditional Jewish calendar – were originally based.

    Does anyone produce traditional Maori calendars with lunar months – as opposed to Western ones with Maori month-names?

    And was there, at any stage of history, an astronomical marker to keep the Jewish calendar “in sync” with the solar year, as the dawn rising of Matariki does for the Maori calendar?

    • Bill 3.1

      I didn’t pin New Year to the shortest day. I said it was generally marked at some during the season of winter. Without actually knowing, I suspect that Chinese NY celebrations have ‘wandered’ because they are fixed to a calendar date rather than an event (shortest day, rise of the Pleiades or whatever, ie by a specific maker in the seasonal cycle).

      Like I said, I don’t care about Chistmas, being neither a christian nor having any children being subjected to marketing pressures.

      Anyway the whole thing is pretty simple. Northern European cultures brought their calendar, their religious ceremonies and their seasonal celebrations here and supplanted pre-existing Polynesian ones with their own.

      And the seasonal celebrations (to be clear, I’m not talking about the Christian celebrations) make no sense, either from a N. European perspective or a Polynesian one. So why pesist with them? Why not move them back to a time of the year that makes some sense? And wouldn’t it be far more fun and more interesting to have a celebration in mid-winter comprised of Polynesian and European elements rather than a denuded European celebration being misplaced in mid-summer?

    • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 3.2

      steve b
      There is a Maori calendar based around Matariki. So the year starts in June.

  4. Alethios 4

    New public holiday!

  5. Napkins 6

    People like their traditions and their routines. It even seems unlikely that Jesus was even born on Dec 25. But the crass commercialism and consumerism of this “season” is very grating.

  6. Andrew 7

    What a PC load of nonsense, just chill out, have a few beers and enjoy the New Years Celebrations.

    • Tangled up in blue 7.1

      +1000

    • Bill 7.2

      Nothing ‘pc’ about it. It’s a complete disconnect from both a European and a Polynesian perspective. And we don’t need a vehicle to enjoy the summer. Winter’s a different story though. A bit of a lift via an excuse for a party when things get to feel a bit more dismal is (some argue) exactly what mid-winter celebartions are all about. And NZ throws it’s mid-winter celebration in the middle of summer. It’s stupid.

      • OneTrackViper 7.2.1

        Extremely PC I would say. Last week the calendar said 2012. Now it says 2013. We have moved from one calendar year into another, along with the rest of the world ie we are in a new year.

        But you say we should do it “culturally”. Why? To help us with our planting?

        In case you hadn’t noticed, we have moved on from a simple agrarian society (although it appears many want to move back to that way). So, who cares when the days start getting longer.

        How about a kiwi alternative – “New Year” is when the days start getting shorter. 1st Jan is near enough. There, fixed it for ya.

        • felixviper 7.2.1.1

          Yeah. Who cares when the days start getting longer? I don’t know anyone who grows food.

          Oh except me, and most of my family, and all of my neighbours, and both of my friends, and just about everyone I know. Guess they’re all just gardening because it’s “PC”. Planting crops?

          Doh.

          • Populuxe1 7.2.1.1.1

            Not quite the same thing as farming, though – is it?

            • Napkins 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes, it’s a good thing that farming and horticulture aren’t very important to New Zealand.

              • Populuxe1

                Good thing that farmers know what season it is then – those tricky Euro-centric calendars don’t fool them.

            • felixviper 7.2.1.1.1.2

              Hi Pop, would you care to relate that to my comment in some way, given the context? Thanks in advance.

  7. jtuckey 8

    [delete]

    [B: Not going to have any tolerance for bullshit. Take a week off. View it as my new years resolution if you must.]

  8. Tiresias 9

    Actually many agrarian societies took the “New Year” to begin with the warming of the soil after winter which marked the beginning of the agricultural cycle or year – and so adopted the spring equinox as the marker rather than the solstice. The two great Celtic festivals were Samhain (1 November) and Beltane (1 May).

    In England Lady Day (25th March) was New Year’s Day up to 1752 – Lady Day being the day Medieval Monasteries, the Church and the State had started their annual accounting periods. In that year 11 days were skipped to bring England into line with the Gregorian calendar which mean the annual accounts went out to April 5 – and is why the UK tax year still starts on April 6. Ours, of course, starts on April 1 which has even less coherence unless it’s just the State saying ‘April Fool’ to us all.

    But hey, a substantial section of the population will leap on any excuse to get drunk, throw their money away, vomit into the gutters and drive their cars into trees and other people, and the reason they are actually doing it is irrelevant to them. Happy New Year, happy Matarkaki.. Makikani.. Makakaki… happy whatever it is. “Scuse me, I want to be sick.

  9. Rogue Trooper 10

    ring out those solstice bells ring out ring out

  10. TheContrarian 11

    [RL: Deleted. Pointless abuse. Disagree all you want … but at the very least you have to say why.]

    • Rogue Trooper 11.1

      Red-faced?

    • Bill 11.2

      And what I’m saying is a pile of shit, how? You think totally usurping indigenous celebrations and replacing them with inappropriate and meaningless imports (meaningless even in the eyes of anyone from the colonising culture) is just fine because….because it’s what you have been acculturated to over a span of a few generations at most? That’s your shit and you can be embarrassed by it or not. I don’t really care.

      • TheContrarian 11.2.1

        Is your next complaint going to be that we use the Gregorian calender?

        [B] – see my comment above ( No. 8) on the amount of tolerance I’ll be exhibiting towards b/s from now on. And then either contribute to the discussion you have chosen to enter in some meaningful (ie, constructive) way, or be silent or be silenced.

        • TheContrarian 11.2.1.1

          [deleted]

          [B]: One week ban.

          • Beryl_Streep 11.2.1.1.1

            Oh, how ridiculous. How old are you people again? You remind me of 9 year olds moderating a Pokemon forum.

            If you write a contentious blog post then you should be confident enough to debate and defend it with passion. Deleting comments and banning people who disagree with you is just a feeble way to stifle debate.

            • Bill 11.2.1.1.1.1

              Can’t think of any occasion where a person has been banned for disagreeing. But anyone submitting comments that are nothing more than pointless abuse will tend to get there in the end.

              What is it about this post that you consider contentious anyway? I put it up as an opinion knowing it was unlikely to reflect any majority view (it’s my genuine view) because I’m interested to know how or what people think and whether they have even ever given a second thought as to why they mark certain celebrations at the time they do. Nothing very contentious in that, is there?

              • Beryl_Streep

                I’ve read many comments by TheContrarian and I’ve never read any that are pointless abuse. Sure, he provides a counterpoint to many of the commenters here, but that’s a totally different thing altogether. It’s called debate.

                I’m happy to be proved wrong though. I’d like to see his first comment to determine for myself whether it was pointless abuse or just over-enthusiastically argumentative (which isn’t a bad thing).

                [RL: I deleted it because it was pointless abuse. As I clearly stated TC was free to disagree, but at the very least all he had to do was say why.

                You may want to compare that with a comment from kiwi_prometheus @ 13.0 below which landed in auto-moderation for some reason, and clearly disagreeing with Bill, but I happily released because he justified his position.

                And once a comment’s been edited in that way it’s gone; there is no access to the original.]

            • Beryl_Streep 11.2.1.1.1.2

              While the rest of the world is celebrating the new year and in NZ we’re enjoying drinks with friends and bbq’s with our families, you’re busy writing a blog post about how “it’s nothing but ardent colonial nonsense.”

              Of course that’s contentious. Why would you think otherwise?

              By the way, I come from a part-Māori family and we celebrated Matariki last year in a number of ways. I can only presume you live in a small town that doesn’t celebrate Matariki. Here in Wellington we had a number of events through June and July that myself, family and friends attended.

              • Beryl_Streep

                Having said all that, I think what Rosina@6.32 suggests is an excellent idea. When the Queen passes I think we should replace Queen’s Birthday with Matariki as our national mid-winter public holiday.

                This makes a lot more sense than dumping the New Year’s holiday as you’re suggesting.

              • Bill

                As I wrote in the post – cultures and societies that mark new year generally do so at some point in the winter. Maori did. Europeans did. The difference in the seasons between the northern and southern hemispheres mean that when long dead Europeans imposed their notion of New Year down here it was suddenly located in the opposite part of the year to where both they and Maori would normally have had it.

                I could guess that when that occured, the fact that colonising Europeans were coming from a far more pervasive Christian tradition than today, meant that the seasonal displacement wasn’t seen as important – ie, everything had to fall in line with Christian date specific reasoning and they would have been more or less blind to other reasonings.

                And I know there has been a shift insofar as mainstream cultural outlets at least mention the existence of Matariki these days. But that’s a fairly recent occurance. And I know there are public events organised to mark Matariki as well. But mid-winter celebrating is hardly an integral part of NZ’s social fabric. And yet mid-winter celebrations were an integral part of both Maori and European social fabrics.

                Meanwhile, the rest of the world wasn’t celebrating New Year. Some parts were. But India wasn’t. China wasn’t. The Arab world wasn’t. In fact, chances are that most of the world (by population) wasn’t.

                So lets say that some Arab country or China or somewhere with a different culture and religion colonised NZ and supplanted all the current religious or cultural celebrations with their own. And if one of their celebrations that had traditionally been marked by the turning of the seasons was knocked oout by two seasons because they had a somewhat homogenous view of the world…would it be reasonable to view the effect of that 200 years on down the track as ‘colonial nonsense’? I think so.

                Nothing bitter in it. Just an observing a certain quirk of colonisation.

                edit. just noticed you had another comment up. I’m not suggesting that Christmas be moved. So mid-summer holidyas are assured. By marking New Year in winter, we would give ourselves two lots of holiday.

                • Beryl_Streep

                  Must agree to disagree (on a few points) because it’s my bedtime…

                  Goodnight Bill and happy new year to you and the rest of the team at The Standard. I’m looking forward to more illuminating debate to lurk and occasionally dip my toes into in 2013.

                • GregJ

                  Sorry Bill – the Arab world definitely was celebrating New Year – 1st January (Gregorian Calendar) is a public holiday in most Arab countries.

                  I live in the Middle East and I’m typing this from home on January 1st – not from my office as it is closed today – and believe me there were many New Years parties and celebrations being held by locals as well as expats last night.

                  The public holidays here are a mix of ones tied to both the Gregorian and the Hajrii calendars – this can make it interesting as the Muslim calendar shifts by about ten days each year and sometimes you can end up with a glut of public holidays all around the same time. Of course we also get to celebrate the Muslim New Year (1st Muharram) which is also a public holiday and last year (2012) was around November 24 – this year it will be about November 14. The Muslim New Year is not a seasonal event – neither is the Hebrew New Year.

                  I also find interesting the seasonal attitudes you have depend very much on the latitudes you inhabit – summer here is not a time people want to be out and about – it’s just too damn hot! People do take holidays in Summer but only if they can afford to get out of the country and go somewhere cooler. Winter is most definitely the best time to live here – the temperature comes down to a pleasant late teens, early 20’s – winter is not the grind in can be in NZ (except when we get Shamal winds blowing).

                  No reason why you shouldn’t mark Matariki though in NZ – as a particularly New Zealand/Aotearoa holiday – a public holiday in the depths of a NZ winter is a good idea. I’d keep Christmas-New Year and plump for an additional Public holiday in the middle of the year for workers as well – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater – get two babies!

                  • Populuxe1

                    I received the most electronic Christmas and New Year greetings from Muslim (quite a few in Iran of all places) and Hindu friends. Certainly I didn’t expect it all, but it was very thoughtful, and if they can respect a completely alien cultural tradition out of courtesy, I don’t see why Bill has his panties in a bunch. It reminds one of the people who want to get rid of Waitangi Day because the legitimate protesting makes them uncomfortable.

                    However Matariki certainly should be a public holiday – it makes perfect sense.

                    • GregJ

                      I receive both Christmas and Easter greetings from my Arab colleagues. The malls here have Christmas decorations up and one has a large Christmas tableau that surpasses anything I have seen in NZ or Europe – snow, reindeer, Christmas tree, and a Santa’s Grotto! You could buy Christmas decorations in all the Supermarkets. My boss (a local) sends out Season’s Greetings Cards in mid December.

                      New Year’s Day is actually almost the closest thing the World has to a common holiday – I must admit I don’t really see Bill’s point about changing it to Matariki – I’d just mark Matariki as well – actually every year around Matariki I would take my staff in NZ out for lunch – as a way of marking the mid point of the calendar – I know quite a few people who celebrate a “mid-year Christmas” which is essentially the same thing. I don’t see it as a one or another – have both!

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      I enjoyed reading these comments concerning inter-faith. Respect.

  11. Rosina 12

    Karol@11.49. I think when the Queen passes we should dispense with Queens birthday and have Matariki instead.

  12. kiwi_prometheus 13

    A summer time Christmas is a part of NZs colonial heritage and history. Nothing to be ashamed of or despised, but held up as a positive aspect of our culture.

    Matariki is a tradition of a small minority culture. Its meaningless to the vast majority of NZers.

    Of course the Academic Left want to socially engineer NZ into a reflection of their flaky Post Modernist/Deconstructionist/Feminist doctrine ( with its associated low academic standards ) of “Multiculturalism”.

    • Bill 13.1

      No issue with a summertime Christmas. Read the post.

      And since NZ is allegedly based on the principle of partnership, there is no basis for dismissing Maori culture because of it’s supposed ‘minority’ status. And if practicing Christians accounted for less than 50% of NZ – ie, if they were in a minority, would you be as dismissive of their religious observances as you appear to be of Maori cultural observances?

      And if not, why not?

      • kiwi_prometheus 13.1.1

        “No issue with a summertime Christmas. Read the post.”

        Well actually Bill, I was referring to the general direction of the comments, which inevitably bring out the pro Maori, anti English/Colonial heritage bashers. Which usually consists of the usual nonsense about evil patriarchal, colonial, capitalism.

        “allegedly based on the principle of partnership”

        Doesn’t mean our colonial heritage gets to be re engineered to suit the ideologically driven types described above.

        If NZ had an Islamic tradition the last 150 years then no I wouldn’t be demanding the population start pay homage to Christ the Santa, er, I mean Saviour.

        • felixviper 13.1.1.1

          “Well actually Bill, I was referring to the general direction of the comments, which inevitably bring out the pro Maori, anti English/Colonial heritage bashers. Which usually consists of the usual nonsense about evil patriarchal, colonial, capitalism.”

          Could you point to one, please? On this thread? Published before 10:06pm Jan 1st?

          I’d love to see what you think a “pro Maori, anti English/Colonial heritage basher” looks like.

          • kiwi_prometheus 13.1.1.1.1

            Are you kidding me?!

            OP: “ardent colonial nonsense to be celebrating a seasonally determined cultural event in the wrong season and about six months off the mark.”

            Titled with “Gimme Sense”.

            There is no way a topic would be allowed on this site with a Maori tradition or cultural practice being treated with the same sneering snobbery.

            Imagine “Gimme Sense – ardent Maori nonsense…” as a topic.

            In the ensuing pandemonium on here your hypocritical screeching would be the loudest, felix.

            • Bill 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Sneering snobbery? It ain’t snobbery to recognise that certain realities stem from the arrogance and stupidity of colonialism.

              And you miss the point that celebrating the New Year in mid-summer was not a part of the tradition or culture of those who colonised here. And it’s still not a part of the European traditions or cultures that were exported here.

              Every culture bases its celebrations on something. But colonial S. Hemisphere countries have ripped away even their own something in their enthusiasm to spread their culture wholesale.

              Meanwhile you insisted you were responding to comments; not the post. So to re-iterate Felix’s question: Which comments?

              • Populuxe1

                “Every culture bases its celebrations on something. But colonial S. Hemisphere countries have ripped away even their own something in their enthusiasm to spread their culture wholesale.”

                That is utter nonsense. Christmas has been a primarily religious-based festival for over a millennium and New Year’s derives from the calendar date. Also, given the prevalence of Christianity among Maori, they might have their own views on the matter. Stop moaning about arbitrary seasonal nothings – people from elsewhere bring their traditions with them.

                This has been as pointless as arguing that hours, minutes, seconds, days, weeks, and months should all be made over to metric decimals, or the names of the days of the week should be changed because nobody observes the ancient Norse and Roman pantheons.

                You, sir, have far too much spare time on your hands.

                • Bill

                  You and KP both – to paraphrase Karol…the blancmange bros.

                  1. Xmas is a date specific religious festival.

                  2. Marking the turn of the seasons was probably as religious but became more cultural as opposed to religious with the imposition of Christianity… or, if you prefer, because of the deliberate attempt to supplant those older non-Christian traditions with the newer Christian ones.

                  3. Marking the seasons is or was tied to events and observations – not dates.

                  4. The post is not about Christmas

                  5. But I agree it would be nice if “people from elsewhere (were to) bring their traditions with them.” And that was one of the points being made in the post son; the colonisers threw away their New Year tradition…rendered it meaningless even by their own points of reference by leaving it hooked to Christian date specific festivities.

                  6. Had colonisation sought to preserve even some of the underlying reasons for their imported celebrations, then New Year would have been marked around about the same time as Matariki and not in the middle of summer.

                  7. And I never was a big fan of blancmange…so I guess I’ll just leave you and KP sitting around untouched in the future

                • RedLogix

                  pop,

                  I’m wondering why it is some people react to any suggestion of change with such an instinctive and vehement rejection. After all we are only talking about an entirely man-made festival. Sure we can get attached to these things … but there’s nothing set in stone about these kind of social habits. Not really.

                  Stripped of all the ‘cultural connotations’, Maori or otherwise, there are some pros and cons for the idea.

                  To my mind the biggest problem with the ‘New Zealand Christmas/New Year’ is that we cram too much expectation and obligation into a short 4-6 week period. There is the usual round of business and club social events leading up to the year end; then we spend far too much money on presents, food and the big family get-together at Christmas/Boxing Day itself. At the same time we’re setting off on the annual family summer holiday, more travel, more money and then we throw in New Year itself.

                  And while these are all good things, they are for many people also very stressful events as well especially when they ‘re all piled together into one expensive, boozy mess as we do.. We only have to ask the Police, Women’s Refuge, Rape Crisis and Lifeline to confirm this truth.

                  To my mind there is some considerable merit in spreading these social festivals out more evenly over the year … as is effectively the case in the Northern Hemisphere. And if we could at the same time move the annual ‘fireworks’ celebrations away from the November/January timeframe, to a mid-winter Matariki I’m sure the Fire Service would be well pleased as well. (And the kiddies could get to bed sooner.)

                  Of course the downside is that even if we move this festival away from January 1st, it’s would still be “New Year” in the Northern Hemisphere, and a globalised media would have an inevitable pull. And not to mention all the change resistant people who’d be upset for seven or so generations.

            • felixviper 13.1.1.1.1.2

              Still nothing then k_p? Thought as much.

              “In the ensuing pandemonium on here your hypocritical screeching would be the loudest, felix.”

              The word you’re looking for there is hypothetical, k_p, because as you just demonstrated with your inability to point to a single comment fitting your characterisation, and with the sentence I just quoted, most of what you complain about on this site happens only in your head.

          • lprent 13.1.1.1.2

            I rather think that asking KP for proof of his strange assertions falls under the definition of section 3.1(a) of this act

    • xtasy 13.2

      “A summer time Christmas is a part of NZs colonial heritage and history. Nothing to be ashamed of or despised, but held up as a positive aspect of our culture.”

      “Colonial heritage and history” and “nothing to be ashamed of”:

      Yes, that tells me enough.

      It is time this small country grows up, throws off the monarchy, does stop giving the mainstream infotainment media excuses to report trivialities about “Kate and Will” (which matter little at all to locals here), and becomes a republic.

      Matariki should have been made a public holiday long ago, as Maori culture and tradition have a place here too, for sure.

      So do away with Queen’s Birthday and replace it with Matariki!

      I can accept Christmas as a traditional kind of “Christian” holiday, and I can even accept the New Years Day today, as it is simply an event now a very large part of the world accept and celebrate. Much is of course “tradition”, and all this can change.

      But to honour colonialism as nothing to be ashamed of is a bit rich to me!

      • kiwi_prometheus 13.2.1

        The monarchy/republic debate doesn’t interest me that much. As if becoming a republic will do anything to change our downward projectory on the living standards scale.

        “But to honour colonialism as nothing to be ashamed of is a bit rich to me!”

        Our European colonial history is nothing to be ashamed of, sure there are some ugly chapters too, but then so has Maori history and culture or any other for that matter – not that you will ever here that from Academic Leftists like Karol et al. Its open season on our Western heritage only.

        • xtasy 13.2.1.1

          A republic could set the foundation for changes in mind, system and more.

          To have “the people” as the sovereign results in a marked difference when seeing how people living in republics tend to be much more self confident and less subservient kind of people than people in New Zealand to a large degree are.

          The focus would also be on New Zealand, a proper constitution would of course need to drawn up and passed by a non monarchist overseen parliament, and the umbilical cord to a redundant former colonial master nation would finally be cut, as it is done in nature, after the birth of a new being.

          The Queen, future kings, queens, princes or whatever would become redundant, as they would have no more justification to even be mentioned overly much in news, school class rooms, universities, the courts and all other institutions.

          Of course such a change in mind, awareness and confidence will take about a generation to show clear results.

          Apart from this Maori like colonial rulers have of course had their darker sides of history and culture, but as post colonial NZers are happy to pick the positive bits from their past, to keep them alive and treasure them, why would you want to deny this the people that lived here at least for centuries before also?

          I see little “western heritage” of face value in everyday’s lives of NZers and westerners in general, as any “heritage” usually evident in forms of culture has become largely alienated, degenerated and been replaced by pure commercialist, consumerist and me first kind of “culture”.

          Of course much of the law may be taken over and kept, same as education system, but what else is there???

          • Crimson Nile 13.2.1.1.1

            “To have “the people” as the sovereign results in a marked difference when seeing how people living in republics tend to be much more self confident and less subservient kind of people than people in New Zealand to a large degree are.”

            There is absolutely no cause-and-effect here, that I can see. Which republics are you thinking of that are more “self confident” and “less subservient”?

            What makes you think that depth of history, nationalistic socialisation, and superior leadership skills amongst the elite are not the determining factors?

            • xtasy 13.2.1.1.1.1

              “What makes you think that depth of history, nationalistic socialisation, and superior leadership skills amongst the elite are not the determining factors?”

              Sorry, I do find that comment rather hard to make sense of.

              I am unsure whether you really understand the basic meaning of what a “republic” is.

              There can be different forms of republics of course, but being one equal amongst others, that certainly makes people feel differently to having the “Crown” as a sovereign.

              Just start with looking at the circus that the ceremonial procedures maintained at Parliament here are.

              Starting with prayers, having a Governor General represent some foreign monarch oversee things and having powers to interfere with Parliament in some ways.

              Putting kids in schools and teaching them from young on about being subjects of a British Monarch, even if that is somehow just symbolically.

              Is it not a bit like enforcing rules to believe in Father Christmas, even to adults, who should be mature enough and independent enough to speak their own minds?

              Of course there will always be some smarter or gifted in certain ways, but a republican system can be so designed to enforce and ensure the needed fairness and equal rights.

              Tell me instead: What is the benefit and justification to having a monarchy, a Crown and this outdated system?

              • Populuxe1

                Until such time as polls show that the majority of New Zealanders want to become a republic, I don’t really see this as a conversation worth having. Any change to our constitutional system would have to be by referendum because that is the only fair and democratic way for a decision to be reached – people who run around demanding that we become a republic without considering this reek of Robespierre and his guillotine.

                The misrepresentation of Constitutional Monarchy as something other than democratic is tedious and ignorant. Having the Queen as Head of State in no may diminishes our maturity as a country and more so than it does Australia and Canada. It also frees us from the power struggles and political machinations seen in Presidential politics in France, the US and elsewhere.

                Being part of the Commonwealth gives us access to diplomatic associations we might not otherwise have, and having access to British embassies is a boon to a tiny country like ours.

                Imagine John Key as President. If that doesn’t turn you off republicanism, nothing will.

                • xtasy

                  Seems you are happy with your monarchy then.

                  I would be all for a referendum, which of course necessitates that enough NZers will be willing to have one. That may take ages still, as the focus in NZ largely is still so much on that feeling of “brotherhood” and “sisterhood” with former colonial fellows, be this Australia or Canada.

                  If you think of a republic here having a Leader of the government in such a position, then that is a limited view of a republic. The US model is not what I would favour, for sure, as there are numerous other republics in Europe and elsewhere, that are more representative and give a “head of state” less power.

                  A presidential position should be more like a unifying one, being there to represent all NZers, so a bit like a Governor General separate and independent from the government, but voted directly by the public.

                  To go on about Robespierre goes back to near medieval ages, and I think you are just trying to ridicule the points I raised and thus do not serve the debate much here.

              • Populuxe1

                Also for that matter having one’s state institutions in another country doesn’t strike me as any odder than investing authority in the UN or an international court of human rights.

          • kiwi_prometheus 13.2.1.1.2

            “umbilical cord to a redundant former colonial master nation would finally be cut”

            I don’t see the connection as being like that. It’s our history and culture, what we are today makes no sense without it. We belong to a Commonwealth, and this needs far more emphasis in our education of the young.

            The USA is a republic and most of the Leftist on here hate the Yanks ( not that I’m a big fan either ). So again it just looks like so much magical thinking by pro republic sorts that its the answer to our woes.

            “why would you want to deny this the people that lived here at least for centuries before also?”

            I’m not. It’s you making the denials:

            “I see little “western heritage” of face value in everyday’s lives of NZers”

            Then you obviously don’t know much about NZers, where are you from?

            “any “heritage” usually evident in forms of culture has become largely alienated, degenerated and been replaced by pure commercialist, consumerist and me first kind of “culture”.

            As compared to the darling Maoris I suppose who are oh so “spiritual” and “soulful”. As far as I can tell most of them have dumped their forest spirits for the Ancient Greek Daemon, Bacchus, LOL.

            • Populuxe1 13.2.1.1.2.1

              I’m afraid I suspect Xtasy is one of those immigrants who really doesn’t give about New Zealand history prior to his or her arrival and takes the idea that our culture being a natural offshoot of British culture (though still quite distinct) as some kind of insult. I find it no more insulting than recognising Maori as part of a broader Polynesian identity.

              • xtasy

                Pop – I come from a land of milk and honey and love to share my spirit and ideas with others, who may also wish to turn their land here again into one of milk and honey, so that everyone can live in peace, with fair chances from birth, with reasonable incomes, due to ensured great education, secure health care and welfare, and where things may move somewhere all will benefit from.

                I know some people do not like neither milk or honey, but that is their choice then.

                By the way I have surprised a fair few local grown ups with some information and knowledge about this country, that surprised them and in some cases embarrassed them, as they did not know particular details themselves.

                Maori do belong to the large “ethnic” and cultural group traditionally referred to by western scientists as “polynesians”, so I am still mystified every time I hear such stupid comments in the news, saying after a crime was committed, a suspect was described as either “Maori” or “Polynesian”.

                To mention such details in so many cases, but hardly ever, where other persons of other ethnic backgrounds may have committed crimes is also a bit “suspect” to me.

                But enjoy your day and have a happy new year on TS, as your comments will surely get responses from many not agreeing with you.

            • xtasy 13.2.1.1.2.2

              So where is your strong network of the Commonwealth these days, and what really does it still stand for???

        • karol 13.2.1.2

          K_P, some NZ monarchists have a pretty 1950s idea of British culture through which all the revolutionary and anti-monarchist strands have been filtered out, along with its long history of socialist/left wing political movements.

          After living in Britain through the late 1970s-the midldle 1990s, it was strange to come back here and see how inaccurate many NZers views of England and the “home countries” is.

          When I arrived in London I really enjoyed being part of, what was then, a thriving part of the long British history of socialism. Unfortunately, Thatcher and her government set out to destroy that socialism. But I support the left wing movements that still exist in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (North and South).

          British socialism goes back a couple of centuries, and includes a strong anti-monarchist strand. The roots were at the time of the Reformation:

          The Reformation occurred later in Britain than in most of mainland Europe. As in the rest of Europe, various liberal thinkers such as Thomas More became prominent, but another important current was the emergence of the radical Puritans who wanted to reform both religion and the nation. The Puritans were oppressed by both the monarchy and by the established church. Eventually these pressures exploded in the violent social revolution known as the English Civil War, which many Marxists see as the world’s first successful bourgeois revolution.

          After the war several proto-socialist groups emerged.

          Britain did have a brief period in Cromwell’s time when the countries of the United Kingdom were a republic.

          You won’t find me supporting the Maori Party very much these days, or supporting the likes of John Tamihere, or Winston Peters right wing views.

      • marty mars 13.2.2

        “Matariki should have been made a public holiday long ago, as Maori culture and tradition have a place here too, for sure.”

        yes and the place is as tangata whenua, the indigenous people of this land, who entered into a partnership with the crown which has not been honoured. Cultures and traditions that are not Māori have a place here too – once they accept tangata whenua and the correct exhalted position of the indigenous inhabitants of this country that so many want to call home.

      • Tiresias 13.2.3

        “Kate and Will”‘s trivialities have as much to do with constitutional monarchy as the doings of David Beckham and his wife whoever-she-is have to do with football. Becoming Republic just to get them out of the news would merely give more space in the infotainment media for the inanities of other egoists I wouldn’t recognise if I fell over them.

    • OneTrackViper 13.3

      Those damn colonists. It’s all their fault.

    • OneTrackViper 13.4

      Nobody had even heard of Matariki until a very few years go, when the revisionists got into their full stride.

  13. Crimson Nile 14

    I will echo k_p here. New Zealand “growing up” and “coming of age” has next to nothing to do with our status as a monarchy or as a republic. But it has a lot to do with the willingness of NZ leaders to assert our sovereign rights as a nation for the long term, sustainable benefit of our people, our environment and our nation.

    Whoever is on the back of our coins is not going to change the long term downward trajectory of our living standards and our relative isolation to the rest of the world (and each other).

  14. Mike 15

    It’s not a mid winter celebration ffs! It’s a celebration of the start of a new calendar year, get over it.

    • seeker 15.1

      It is indeed. Well said Mike. Even Shanghai joined in this year. Now that really was something to post about…….

  15. ak 16

    Your modern tory abets and welcomes the demise of the church. The sooner concern for others is gone the better, for the worshippers of the self and the salesmen of greed.

    Funny as a fart in many ways, because for a while it practised the epitome of the very hard-sell that tories love: join up and enjoy eternal bliss, or refuse and endure eternal, exquisite pain.

    And they got rich as spit from it, but always the niggling questions remained:

    Easier for a rich man to enter heaven than a camel to pass through the eye of a needle? If you want to follow me, give all your possessions to the poor? He picked up his whip and drove the currency traders from the temple? Suffer the little children……? etc

    They lied through their teeth in other words, took a nugget of hope and truth and distorted it through history to their own filthy, selfish ends. And still do.

    So the Keyster, for example, avoids Christmas like the plague in Hawaii. And the msm milks maudlin over message, and enjoys a snooze.

    And the vicar and the priest are paedophile freaks, and laugh at them, we command.

    They’ll resist Matariki like the plague too. But amazingly, maori are even stronger than the church and the battle is already won. In the delivery ward and on the interweb.

    Just organise, celebrate, and ignore all evil, and your world will come.

  16. I’m not really fussed on having the appropriation of the Māori New Year across the country without true recognition of the rights of Māori as outlined in the Treaty being given effect. If that partnership between tangata whenua and the crown is enacted then the context for the celebration can be understood otherwise it just becomes another peice of bullshit that actually perpetuates inequity whist pretending to do the opposite.

    • OneTrackViper 17.1

      Which article of the treaty (maori version of course) covers when Maori new year can be used? Does this involve any koha? Silly question I know.

      • marty mars 17.1.1

        yes silly and i don’t think you are quite getting the point I was making.

      • karol 17.1.2

        And where does Te Tiriti say that Christmas and New Year should be celebrated on December 25 and January 1st respectively?

        • OneTrackViper 17.1.2.1

          Well, if Te Tiriti doesn’t say then it shouldn’t be celebrated at all. Te Tiriti doesn’t mention computers, so we shouldn’t be commenting on this blog. Oh the horror, we are doing all these things that aren’t described in Te Tiriti.

          • karol 17.1.2.1.1

            Indeed. So your original point about Matariki and the treaty isn’t really that relevant. The point is more about bi-culturalism and equality, and recognition of the importance of the local environment. And traditionally the tangata whenua have had a strong sense of custodianship of, and caring for the land and environment that the whole country can learn and benefit from.

        • Populuxe1 17.1.2.2

          That would be the much overlooked Fourth Article:

          “E mea ana te Kawana ko nga whakapono katoa o Ingarani, o nga Weteriana, o Roma, me te ritenga Māori hoki e tiakina ngatahitia e ia”.

          “The Governor says that the several faiths (beliefs) of England, of the Wesleyans, of Rome and also of Māori custom shall alike be protected by him”.

          • karol 17.1.2.2.1

            A verbal promise, not actually in the written and signed treaty, and, some argue, not needed:

            However, there is no need to rely on the ‘fourth article’, since there is sufficient guarantee for Maori culture as a taonga in article 2. The only problem, as Crown counsel reminded us, is that culture can be very broadly defined.

            Since the Crown has also agreed that language and culture are taonga and therefore that it has a responsibility to protect and enhance them, we need spend no time arguing that case.

            • Populuxe1 17.1.2.2.1.1

              The fact that people argue against it by no means makes it less relevant. Some people argue that the whole treaty is not needed, and Maori Tikanga is not written down. The point being that the practice of “British” or rather Western religions is recognised and protected by that clause – a point your quote does nothing to address.

          • Adele 17.1.2.2.2

            Populuxe

            The so called fourth article was insisted upon by tāngata whenua to protect traditional belief systems and in doing so to affirm all other belief systems resident at the time.

            It has been argued that the arrival of christianity onto these shores was a godsend as tāngata whenua were soon to be heavily embroiled in Utu. The arrival of weapons of mass destruction (guns) had blown apart traditional notions of warfare and counter-warfare and the ‘balance’ that Utu conveyed was overwhelmed by the huge loss of life that ensued with the musket wars

            Christianity gave tāngata whenua godly permission to not participate in the traditional practise of Utu through the introduction of forgiveness. So rather than mete out summary justice for a wrong committed – we could simply forgive. Balance was thus restored without further blood-letting.

            Tāngata whenua are spiritually inclined. Of course we are enthusiastic about the possibility of being introduced to new beliefs and gods. Why not?

    • karol 17.2

      I think a recognition of its significance, carried out with respect to its traditional meaning, could contribute to full recognition of the rights of the tangata whenua:

      • OneTrackViper 17.2.1

        Tell us, what are these “full rights of the Tangata Whenua”. Should these rights be enshrined in legislation. How much blood quantum is required before maori can claim those rights? What happened to the left’s original concept of equal rights for all mankind. And how does this model differ materially from apartheid? And, slightly getting back to this post, when is the calendar going to click over from 1840? Or are we stuck in a time warp talking about evil colonists forever?

        • karol 17.2.1.1

          Unfortunately NZ society still seems to be suffering from the impact of the late 19th century British/European land gab. it’s seen in the inequalities still evident, with relatively more Maori being disadvantaged by our unfair system: a system that has entrenched various inequalities.

    • higherstandard 17.3

      What’s your take on the Littlewood documentation Marty ?

      Do you think it’s an authentic early draft ?

      • marty mars 17.3.1

        well I try not to go there because (it’s a waste of time) and ti tiriti is the version that is authentic as most of those rangatira who signed, signed that version.

        • Pascal's bookie 17.3.1.1

          The hilarious part about the Littlewood ‘controversy’ is that those who push it as meaning anything at all read ‘New Zealanders’ in the text as meaning ‘British subjects’, which kind of misses the point of the thing entirely.

          When it was drafted, New Zealanders’ meant ‘Māori’.

        • higherstandard 17.3.1.2

          Yes quite so – what’s your view on what the rangatira signed up to on behalf of their respective tribes and what recognition do you believe should be given to what was signed up to over and above what already exists in NZ.

          • marty mars 17.3.1.2.1

            well IMO rangatira signed up to protect their land and way of life from the voracious early arrivals including the missionaries and many of their desires for land. They signed up to maintain and increase their mana. They were lied to, tricked and deceived by those they dealt with.

            I’m not sure I understand the second part of your question but, any recognition IMO has to come from a true equality of partnership. When that beneficial and effective situation has been reached then discussions and agreement on any “over and above” stuff can be sorted.

            • higherstandard 17.3.1.2.1.1

              Yep I’d agree that was what they signed up to, however I’d disagree that that they were lied to and tricked by those they dealt with. By all accounts there was a quite harmonious period in much of the country prior to the land wars and disgraceful land confiscations that occurred in parts of the country.

              The second part of my question relates to what you personally expect from the TOW after historic grievances have been acknowledged and righted and settled to the satisfaction of the crown and the various iwi……… one nation one people all treated as equal citizens or some variation.

      • GregJ Viper 17.3.2

        Well I’m not Marty but speaking as an Archivist and someone who has actually worked with the document in question the “Littlewood Treaty” – like so many things around the history of the Treaty is badly misunderstood and full of all sorts of red herrings and false assumptions (the Internet is great but it does allow a lot on unmitigated rubbish to be put up for people to read).

        Despite the various conspiracy theories and ravings of loons like Ian Wishart the “Littlewood treaty” is not suppressed, hidden or ignored – it has been subject to quite intense study and investigation since it was “discovered” or rather “re-discovered” in 1989 by the Littlewood family in family papers. Once it was handed to Archives NZ (National Archives) it was unavailable for a short time while it received standard conservation and preservation treatment then went on permanent display in the Constitution room for anyone to view it. Digital copies have existed since at least the late 1990’s and an online version has been available for at least the last 5 or 6 years. During the time it has been in the custody of the government it has been subject to fairly vigorous analysis by historians and academics.

        Essentially, its proponents argue that a scrap of paper in Busby’s handwriting dated 4 February 1840, is the elusive “Final English Draft” which was given to Henry Williams to translate into Maori and contains phrases virtually identical to the Treaty, but that certain key words differ, thus giving an entirely different meaning to the Treaty. For example, the accepted version of the Treaty (incidentally also drafted by Busby, on February 3) mentions “forests and fisheries”, whereas the February 4 “Littlewood” version does not. Its supporters cite this as evidence that most Treaty claims relating to forests and fisheries are therefore invalid.

        First, on the matter of the dates, Busby’s 3 February 1840 (English) draft of the Treaty was handed to Hobson to comment on and amend as he saw necessary. Busby helped with the draft because Hobson had been too ill to work on it the previous day, but was recovering by the 3rd. What Busby may have written on February 4, or any time afterwards, is immaterial. This is because he handed over the version he prepared on the 3rd – which includes the phrase “forests and fisheries” – to Hobson. Hobson approved that version, and it became part of what we now know as the Treaty of Waitangi. Hobson, not Busby, was the person with final authority to sign. In all likelihood, the “Littlewood” treaty is little more than a rough and hastily-written copy of the Treaty of Waitangi which Busby subsequently made for his personal records (no photocopiers or scanners in those days) and he dated it incorrectly. There is NO evidence that the “Littlewood Treaty” it is some sort of final English draft which was then given to Henry Williams to translate into Maori (and which was subsequently signed on the 6th February). However even if it was the speculative “final English draft” it isn’t the English Version that was presented at Waitangi on the 6th – alongside the Maori version (which is what everyone signed). And just to clarify further (taken form the Green Party Website):

        The international legal doctrine of contra preferentum means indigenous language versions of treaties between indigenous peoples and colonising powers are the ones that must be adhered to where there is disagreement. Added to this, both Governor Hobson and most of the Maori chiefs signed the Maori language version. It is significantly different from the English. It guaranteed tino rangatiratanga at hapu level – the authority for a hapu to manage its own affairs.

        The other thing which normally comes up is a claim is made by the supporters of the Littlewood Treaty that the phrase “all the people of New Zealand” – which appears in the Littlewood document – was surreptitiously written out of the Treaty. This is based on two incorrect assumptions: that someone deliberately removed phrases from the Treaty, for which there is no evidence at all; and that this particular phrase should be interpreted as having applied to every person living in New Zealand in 1840 – both Maori and European. The Littlewood proponents believe that this removes any possibility of Maori claiming sovereignty, because the rights ascribed exclusively to Maori in the Treaty would therefore be applied to everyone in the Littlewood version.

        Such a postulation is demonstrably wrong, but the mistake is easy to make for anyone unfamiliar with the language of the period. The phrase “all the people of New Zealand” – in the setting of New Zealand in 1840 – would simply be another way of referring to Maori. There are several documents from this era in which this sort of phrase is used specifically to refer exclusively to Maori. It does not apply to Europeans, who are nearly always referred to in this period separately from “the people of New Zealand”.

        The Littlewood documentation is historically interesting but in terms of the ongoing discussion of the Treaty it is irrelevant – the Treaty is the one signed by Hobson and the chiefs at Waitangi (the rat eaten one in Archives NZ) written in Maori and the subsequent copies sent around the country to be signed by other Chiefs (most in Maori – except for one sheet which is an English translation of the Maori). That’s it – the “Littlewood Treaty” isn’t a Treaty because no one signed it – it is, at best, a draft and more likely an early (and slightly inaccurate) copy. Thus, no further discussion about its treaty status needs to proceed. (eg. The mortgage contract you sign is the one that actually holds legal force not an earlier draft that may have read before hand or a subsequent copy).

  17. Ben 18

    I’m happy to keep New Years celebrations in summer. La De Da would have been quite unpleasant in the depths of winter.

    Also the entire argument for having NYE in winter seems to be based on the notion that “it’s always been in winter.” While that may be true, it doesn’t mean it’s better in winter. And I can understand the desire for a hope-filled holiday in mid-July, but I wouldn’t give up a summer NYE for either purpose.

    • karol 18.1

      I’m all for doing away with the monarchist weekend, which doesn’t actually happen on Liz’s birthday. Matariki is far more relevant to our location.

      However, I also think that celebration of January 1st New Year has well and truly been seasonised int he southern hemisphere. in NZ and Aussie it is a very summer celebration with many outdoor events, festivals (rhythm and vines, etc), BBQs, beaches and more. It has become a very international event, celebrity in diverse countries around the globe.

      • Populuxe1 18.1.1

        Someone writing about the significance of geography on an internet-based blog part of a world-encircling cloud – how very ironic, how very droll.

      • kiwi_prometheus 18.1.2

        “Matariki is far more relevant to our location.”

        Martariki is not relevant to NZers, only to a minority ethnic group. Stop trying to shove their cultural practices down NZers throats.

        “I’m all for doing away with the monarchist weekend”

        Funny how you love to “do away with” white NZ history and cultural roots but harp on self righteously about the poor poor Maoris and the need to preserve their culture and history.

        Imagine if someone said “Im all for doing away with [ insert Maori tradition or cultural practice here ]”

        The shrieks of hypocritical outrage would be deafening.

        • karol 18.1.2.1

          “I’m all for doing away with the monarchist weekend”

          Funny how you love to “do away with” white NZ history and cultural roots but harp on self righteously about the poor poor Maoris and the need to preserve their culture and history.

          That’s a distortion, k_p. I want to do away with Queen’s Birthday because I am anti-monarchy, as are many British left wing and working class people going way back. I have said I am happy to have Christmas and New Year celebrations (which do have European roots), but I would like to see them more seasonally relevant in this part of the world – and to do away with consumerist associations that have acquired in recent times.

          Matariki is a long established celebration in this part of the world by tangata whenua, and one that can help focus us all on our important relationship to nature and the cycle of the seasons.

          You, on the other hand, seem to be for any British conventions and against anything Maori.

          • Populuxe1 18.1.2.1.1

            “That’s a distortion, k_p. I want to do away with Queen’s Birthday because I am anti-monarchy, as are many British left wing and working class people going way back.”

            Your statement is particularly baseless as the polls show most New Zealanders, working class (whatever that means these days) or otherwise, overwhelmingly support the Monarchy. There’s a hell of a lot of coronation mugs and Royal Wedding tea-towels to be found in those “working class” homes.

            In any case I’m not sure you can claim to be working class, Karol – you seem fairly intent on advertising some sort of academic credentials through your choice of critical style, and that sort of thing puts you squarely in the bourgeoisie regardless of the amount of money you have in the bank or what you do for a day job.

            • karol 18.1.2.1.1.1

              Pop. You do tend to twist and divert arguments. As you quoted, I actually said “British left and working class”, not NZ – partly based on my time living in the UK with many friends from both left wing and working class background, who had strong anti-monarchist attitudes. My reference to that was a response to K_p re-“British” cultural traditions.

              And yes, I am middle-class – but also left wing. And, in terms of my (British) cultural background, I come from lines of a mixture of middle and working-class forebears.

              • Populuxe1

                “British left and working class”

                So not relevant to New Zealand at all then.

                • Napkins

                  Just like your great grandparents have no relevance to your existance today?

                • karol

                  Pop, debating with you is like debating with blancmange. You’re all over the place, and just miss the point of my comments every time. It’s a wearying a fruitless task.

                  I repeat: my comments were in the context of British cultural traditions transplanted here, with the focus of my comments being on the alleged British cultural traditions.

            • Napkins 18.1.2.1.1.2

              “In any case I’m not sure you can claim to be working class, Karol – you seem fairly intent on advertising some sort of academic credentials through your choice of critical style, and that sort of thing puts you squarely in the bourgeoisie regardless of the amount of money you have in the bank or what you do for a day job.”
              In your world you can be well educated, be made unexpectedly redundant, lose your house, be reduced to a minimum wage job, and end up as working poor struggling day to day but somehow still be part of the bourgeoisie …because you have “academic credentials”?

              • Populuxe1

                Yes. Actually I do – silly.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_class

                • Napkins

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourgeoisie

                  “As such, in the Western world, since the late 18th century, the bourgeoisie describes a social class “characterized by their ownership of capital, and their related culture”; hence, the personal terms bourgeois (masculine) and bourgeoise (feminine) culturally identify the man or woman who is a member of the wealthiest social class of a given society; and their materialistic worldview (Weltanschauung).”

                  • Populuxe1

                    Class isn’t genetic, it’s a state of mind

                    • Napkins

                      A state of mind? Not according to wikipedia, which mentions real-life things like the ownership and control of capital, as well as having related and increased influence on society’s norms and mores.

              • kiwi_prometheus

                “In your world you can be well educated, be made unexpectedly redundant, lose your house, be reduced to a minimum wage job, and end up as working poor struggling day to day but somehow still be part of the bourgeoisie …because you have “academic credentials”?”

                Yes.

                I can’t see Carol sitting in the local after a hard days work on the construction site, drinking too much with the bros ( driving home later of course ), most of whom seem to be missing at least one tooth, laughter and expletives and bragging about last Saturday night – the brawl, the skank they gang banged.

                • Adele

                  Kiwi-Prometheus

                  You are a bigot and a racist.

                  The ‘bros’ that I know who work construction do not drink after work, do not have missing teeth, do not use expletives in general conversation, and do not gang bang women – and also do not refer to women as ‘skanks.’

                  You portray a stereotype of Māori men that flavours the ‘white NZer’ perspective of the Māori race. Thankfully, the white NZers of your particular persuasion (Crimps) are dying off through natural causes and inbreeding.

            • kiwi_prometheus 18.1.2.1.1.3

              “you seem fairly intent on advertising some sort of academic credentials through your choice of critical style, and that sort of thing puts you squarely in the bourgeoisie”

              touche!

              “working class (whatever that means these days)”

              Means unemployed, underemployed, on <$25 an hour or now starting over again in WA.

              • karol

                underemployed

                That’d be me then. I doubt I’m as well off or live in as much luxury as you think.

                But I never claimed to be working class. It’s not necessary to be working class to be left wing or for the labour movement.

  18. Bill 19

    Long and the short of it…Christianity deliberately placed its festivals at the same point in time as the pre-Christian ‘seasonally determined’ festivities. So soltice and equinox became Xmas or Easter or Thanksgiving etc. And within the N. Hemisphere this allowed for a degree of two way appropriation – effectively a synthesis of different traditions and reasonings. And some celebrations remained distinct. Even I can remember the recent demise of N. Hemisphere New Year as it gave way to the heavy commercialisation of Christmas.

    But anyway, when the Christian celebrations were exported to the S Hemisphere, the non-Christian reasonings behind celebrations lost their points of reference while the indigenious celebrations (which would have been very close in nature to European pre-Christian ones) were simply ‘trashed’ through non-recognition by the colonising culture…so much for recognising the equal status of Maori.

    Meanwhile, how many people off at various summer music festivals are making a nod towards summer solstice as opposed to the imported Christian concept of Christmas and its latter day extention to encompass New Year?

    As karol noted somewhere in these comments, there’s an ‘oddity’ involved in holding celebations of spring (Easter by Christian interpretations) in Autumn. (And I guess the Christian interpretation of Autumn equinox (Thanksgiving) is incongruously held in Spring…and so on.)

    But all that aside, it’s good to have something to look forward to as winter descends and knowing the celebration is the beginning of things easing off again…not to mention that hangovers, if alcohol is your poison, are far less severe in the cold 😉

    • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 19.1

      Thanks Bill for a topic that stirs the brew along. Everyone has an opinion about it, often arguing about something you didn’t say!

      As for getting another winter holiday, I am all for it. We need time for family friends and a break more than ever in the depressing days of winter. This would give cheer as the relentless drive continues to turn huge numbers of us into wage slaves with fractured hours and poorer norms of income. This is ensured with wage rises below inflation, conveniently calculated on a percentage basis that ensures that the lowest paid get ground down further. Small monetary rises for all would be far fairer in financially constrained times.

      So roll on winter solstice day.

    • GregJ Viper 19.2

      I think you are drawing a very long string here – Easter is more correctly linked to Passover (Pesach) – the commemoration of the Exodus. Now Pesach may or may not have originally been a seasonal Spring celebration but those origins would certainly have been long obscured by the time Christianity developed. Christians may have “chosen” the date of the crucifixion based on the Passover as it is a very significant Jewish commemoration but I don’t think you can argue they chose it due to “seasonally determined” festivities.

      And Christmas Day on 25 December is just as likely chosen as the day 9 months from the believed day of the conception (Annunciation) 25 March – which is believed to coincide with 14 Nisan (the day of the Creation).

      As an aside the belief (mainly from the 18th & 19th Century) that December 25 was chosen to coincide with the Roman Dies Natalis Solis Invicti is now increasingly challenged – actually a view is forming that Aurelian may have chosen 25 December as the day of Sol Invictus because it was a date that was already important to the growing Christian community in Rome. And the Roman solar cult of Sol Invictus doesn’t appear to have any connection to the Winter Solstice.

      Christianity may have “chosen” the dates for their major festivals to coincide with particular significant religious dates of other religions – but I think it is stretching it to imply that Christians deliberately chose pre-Christian “seasonally determined” festivities.

      • Bill 19.2.1

        Have ‘always’ been of the passing persuasion that Christianity sought to provide a different narrative to the ones employed by the religions they sought to supplant. And a reasonably effective way to get your religious narrative adopted is to sit it right on top of the old ones. Y’know…same timing but a different story. I could be wrong and it could all be down to coincidence…

          • Bill 19.2.1.1.1

            😉 Also crosses my mind that if Christianity merely ‘reconfigured’ Jewish celebrations that had themselves come about through the hi-jacking of non-Jewish festivities, then given that most or (I guess) near as damn it all religious festivals followed seasonal markers, the result would be the same.

          • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 19.2.1.1.2

            felixviper
            Thanks for that great link. A very rounded explanation of Christmas. I think Christmas is a wonderful time encouraging thoughts for family and also society with love and some generosity as well as reminding us that Christianity is a religion with good principles.

            I have noticed that Christianity sometimes sets itself apart as a separate religion that arrived out of the ether in an immaculate conception. A Protestant minister I knew wouldn’t have his church hall rented for yoga classes because it was Eastern mysticism!

  19. Tiresias 20

    Gimme sense!

    January 1st is “New Year’s Day” simply because Julius Caesar said it was when he established the Julian Calendar in 46BC. ‘Celebrating’ it is as vacuous as celebrating any other bureaucratic decision – and one made by a dictator in this instance.

    Matariki is simply the beginning of another annual cycle of the seasons. To the Maori as with most subsistance societies all that mattered was the stage and state of the current cycle. The very idea of previous years or future years had no relevance to anything. The only reason for celebrating a “New Year” might be to mark the fact that you had survived the last one.

    The only ‘anniversaries’ I mark are the ones that matter to me – my birthday, the birthdays of those who matter to me, my wedding anniversary. I also have a quiet little ‘anniversary’ to remind me of a very serious accident I should not have survived but did, in order to remind me how fragile and tenuous my life is.

    I respect anniversaries that serve to remind me of things that should not be forgotten – 11 November for obvious reasons and 6 February because of its historical repercussions which cannot yet be consigned to history. For the rest of the days marked on Calendars in New Zealand and all around the world they concern me as much as does St. Gargola’s Big Toe day in the village of Gagatuke in Tierra del Fuego.

    Bill, you can celebrate New Year’s day whenever you like and, like me, go to bed at 10.30pm on December 31st or whenever you usually do. Let the poor saps who need reassure themselves of their existence by following the crowds kow-towing to whatever commercial, media or bureaucratic-ordained ‘celebration’ is currently in vogue get on with it.

    • karol 20.1

      Hmmm. interesting. Yes, I agree that we can and indeed should, celebrate those events that mean most to us. Personally “birthdays” seem to me to be a bit of an irrelevant social convention – and probably a fairly recent one as in past times many people weren’t that certain when they were born. I’ve never really understood why I should celebrate my birthday each year.

      I do like the convention of getting together with family at Christmas time. We no longer swap presents – just get together around some food and beverages, and have a good chat and laugh.

      Seeing in New Year at midnight no longer is an event for me. It still continues to be a fun event for most young people, and great if they enjoy it with celebrations and without harming others.

      I do like to do something enjoyable and summery on New Year’s Day.

    • Rogue Trooper 20.2

      I see some commonalities

  20. kiwi_prometheus 21

    “there’s an ‘oddity’ involved”

    There’s nothing odd about it. Its just how it is, there’s no rule book or law anywhere that says Christmas has to be practiced in Winter time or the Christmas Elves will steal all your children.

    Virtually any human cultural practice can be described as having some “odd” element in it.

    It makes our NZ culture more interesting, a summer Christmas. Reflects our colonial heritage and location at the same time.

    • Bill 21.1

      Yet again – for the final time and in bold ’cause you seem to have problems picking up on things. The post is not about Christmas Have you got that through your skull this time?

      • Populuxe1 21.1.1

        Quite frankly I could understand it if you were arguing about Christmas – there’s a certain logic there. But New Year’s? What’s not to understand? – it’s an artifact of the calendar we have observed for nearly two millennia.

  21. kiwi_prometheus 22

    Bill @2.1 You said “So soltice and equinox became Xmas”.

    That’s what I’m referring to, I thought that anyone with more than 2 brain cells would have noticed that

    Plenty of others going on about getting rid of Christmas on this thread.

    You are the one not picking up on things.

    • felixviper 22.1

      So Bill said that Solstice and Equinox became Xmas and Easter and whatever else.

      What’s your problem with that statement?

  22. Rogue Trooper 23

    personally, i spent the “recognition” day of Christs’ birth with Him, and some visitors later in the day
    (sadly, even my Franciscan family mix remembrance and revelry together, whereas i’m more mendicant).I will reflect in a similar manner at “easter”, for the rest of the year it is now all just calenders and commercialization as far as I can see.Try and have a little Holy Day every day is my preferred method. I’m not seeing too many “dates” in the New Testament so far. 😉
    Great topic Bill, I attend Matariki at local celebrations (these people are my extended whanau)

    p.s. Napkins, you sure doo wrap and pin well imo.(opinions aye, bit like Christmas crackers)

  23. Jenny 24

    A typical kiwi wage slave Christmas, goes like this:

    If not being forced to work through, using the rare break to do all that work around the house that you never had time for during the year.

    Has anyone else noticed the feverish hammering, banging, sawing noises on the few days/day you had off?

    Or is this only common to working class dormitory suburbs, like Papakura?

    Or like this:

    Being forced to work through, either by desperately low wages, and/or an avaricious employer who always runs the workplace so viciously understaffed that no one can ever have a holiday without the boss either screaming, or muttering threats, using emotional blackmail, ‘let down the team etc.’ or real threats of redundancy and hinted first picks etc.

    Or this:

    A South Auckland shift worker reluctant to come in on Christmas eve, is forced to come in anyway.

    At midnight halfway through his shift he asks the supervisor if he can get off early, as his daughter needs to be driven to the airport to catch an early flight to Samoa. The supervisor refuses using the same mix of threat and pressure that got him in to work in the first place. The worker loses it and severely beats the supervisor.

    The management hire a security guard to watch the rest of the workforce.

    The supervisor winds up in hospital the worker is sacked.

    No charges are laid. Management explain this, as not wanting to see their company name in the newspapers.

  24. Malcolm 25

    I guess this is why you didn’t respond to my text, ya grumpy bugger!

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  • Extra support for rural families
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