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Murdering thieves ‘joke’ clouds Treaty talks

Written By: - Date published: 10:40 pm, May 13th, 2010 - 51 comments
Categories: colonialism, racism, Satire, treaty settlements - Tags: ,

Already embroiled in a fraught Treaty settlement with the Crown, Tamati Kruger seems to have made things worse with an inopportune joke.

“The good news tonight is that I was having dinner with my whanau as opposed to with the representatives of the Crown in which case I would be lucky to get away without having my land stolen and my family murdered” said the lead Tuhoe negotiator.

Asked about the comment after his speech, Mr Kruger said he was sure the Prime Minister would get the joke.

The PC Right have predictably gone apeshit.

Said one prominent Right wing commentator: “Imagine if John Key ‘joked’ that Tuhoe are a bunch of cannibals, there would be universal outrage and rightly so”.

But come on. It was just a joke!

As Kruger later explained, he was clearly taking the piss out of himself, not the people he was alluding to being murdering thieves.

Besides, we all know it’s true that the Crown are a bunch of thieving killers.

51 comments on “Murdering thieves ‘joke’ clouds Treaty talks ”

  1. Lew 1

    Spot on, Zet.


  2. I like what you did there.

  3. lprent 3

    Hilarious. But what is the bet that some humorless wingnuts don’t get the ‘joke’.

  4. pseudopanax 4


    Right on the money though, Zet.
    You know who I feel for the most in this situation though?
    Shon Key’s press secretary(s). They don’t want to have to clean up after this buffoon all day, and they shouldn’t have to.
    Tuhoe will be understandably angered, which will hopefully give the MP the incentive needed to leave their abusive relationship with the NActs, which will put them, eventually, in a better bargaining position. (nothing wrong with dreaming…)
    Key will have people come in and sweep up after him, and we’ll see him tomorrow flip-flopping between kissing a minority and announcing RWNJ schemes to please the usual punters.

    But those press secs will have to put in some serious overtime, meaning they’ll get home late, have takeaways for dinner, and then bitch to their partners/friends/flatties about their day, and just generally feel bad about life.

  5. nzfp 5

    Aue, e whakaae ana au ki tou whakaaro mo te korereo whakakata o te Pirimia. He mea hakiki ki a au te whakaritenga ki nga Kaitangata. Ehara te korero whakakata i te korero tika mo te Pirimia. Ehara a John Key i te hoa o nga iwi Maori katoa – ahakoa no hea ratou, he Tuhoe, he Tanui te mea, te mea. Ki toku ake whakaaro, ko nga Kaipeke nga Kaitangata o muri nei. He mea rongonui te whakahoanga o John Key mo nga Kaipeke hoki.

  6. Santi 6

    But Tuhoe were cannibals, that’s the historical truth!

    • Hanswurst 6.1

      And if he had said “Fortunately I wasn’t having dinner with the ancestors of the Tuhoe elders two hundred years ago, ’cause then I might have been dinner,” then he probably would have just looked like a slightly insensitive dick, rather than a casual racist. Seeing as he was referring to the current tribe, however…

    • IrishBill 6.2

      And the crown murdered Maori and stole their land. So what’s your point?

      • Joe Bloggs 6.2.1

        the point is that we all cherish our whakapapa, our connections with the past, our ancestry and our origins – as long as nobody touches on our misdeeds we’re sweet.

        But remind us of our less savoury past and we’re up in arms as if we’ve been deeply offended…. yeah right.

        FFS some of my ancestors were cannibals and some were military settlers sent to the Waikato to ‘murder Maori and steal their land’. So what? I can’t change that, no matter how agrieved I feel if someone makes a wiseass remark about cannibalism or white oppression.

        Time to get a life

        • vto

          well said Mr Bloggs. What is amusing at times like this in politics is the swing and variation in various players reactions, which always depends wholly on the political leanings of the slight and what side of the divide the victim sits.

          Simple hypocrisy you could call it. Bloody funny. This is a classic example.

        • Marty G

          It’s obviously an offensive and stupid thing to say, especially when involved in Treaty talks. That’s what Zet’s posts illustrates.

          We know how you lot would be acting if Kruger had said something like Zet posits. It’s unthinkable that he would though, and he’s not even PM.

    • SMSD 6.3

      And Tuhoe land was stolen by the Crown. Thats the historical truth

  7. Jenny 7

    The people of Afghanistan would probably wonder, where’s the joke?

  8. powerful and thought-provoking – very very good – thanks Z

  9. vidiot 9

    Got Spit Roast ?

  10. So you guys arent upset by that joke, but your upset by Key’s joke.

    Once again it shows the hypocrisy of you guys.

    Beck and Oreilly would be proud.

    IMHO, both jokes are pretty lame, maybe a little raise of the eyebrows but thats it.

  11. vto 11

    I still think old man Bloggs above has the situation under control… Most all of us are mixed ‘race’ types. And every single one of us is an immigrant or descended from an immigrant. Every one of us. (Aint got no time for the idea of “first in first served”)

    We should all toughen up a bit and let these things slide a bit (within reason). And we are still young enough as a nation to be throwing around and discussing and arguing around the facts and myths of our origins. Most of these things have some element of truth – accept it, deal with it, move on.

    The white man who cometh recently did some murdering and stealing – a-la zets post.

    The maori did some cannibalising – a-la Key’s weak joke.

    “white motherfuckers been raping and pillaging…” – a-la Hone.

    Maori nailed each other like thw white man and also nailed the moriori into slavery – a-la moi.

    I guess its the manner and circumstances in which such comments are passed which can cause offense or otherwise. eg Key and Hone. But the truth is that there is truth in each. Deal with it.

    Now, on with more important things. Like earning a crust.

    • nzfp 11.1

      Hey vto,
      Bloggs post misses the point, it is inappropriate for the Prime Minister to be labeling Tuhoe as cannibals. He is after all the Prime Minister and represents our entire nation. Whether Tuhoe had penchant for Cannibalism (Kaitangata) in the past is irrelevant, Cannibalism is no longer a part of modern Maori tikanga. Also, as I commented above, in my opinion Bankers are the modern equivalents of Cannibals and John Key’s friendship for Bankers is well known.

      By the way, Moriori are a Maori Iwi, they are as linguistically and culturally different to their invaders and conquerors, Ngati Tama and Ngati Mutunga as Tuhoe are to Ngai Tahu or Nga Puhi. That is why Tuhoe consider themselves Tuhoe first and Maori second. The word Maori merely means normal and is an umbrella term to describe the pre-european culturally similar but diverse peoples of Aotearoa. I am not making excuses for what Ngati Tama and Ngati Mutunga did to them, or what Nga Puhi did to Te Arawa,. However this does not justify the abuses the crown committed against the indigenous population or the impoverished settlers who were ripped off by the Crown, the New Zealand company and the Bank of England when the came to settle an empty land. It is those injustices which are the focus of the wholly inappropriate language in John Key’s statements.

      Ki toku ake whakaaro, no Aotearoa tatou katoa ahakoa he Maori, he Pakea, te mea… te mea.
      Noho ora mai ra e hoa ma

      • vto 11.1.1

        Well I agree that such a ‘joke’ should be left to lesser mortals such as backbench MPs etc. After all it is a classic Garrett or Harawira goofball thing to ssay. Not for PM.

        I guess what Bloggs was referring to was the wider effect of such a gaff – most of us don’t really care as there are more important things to worry about. And injustices have certainly not been limited to just the Crown. So for most people going about their daily lives this is zip.

        However for political websites it is luncheon sausage – yum yum feasting time..

        • nzfp

          Hey vto,
          Most people don’t study history with a view to cause and effect. Most people in New Zealand don’t know that from 1873 to 1896 Britain was in the throes of one of the worst depressions in British history. Some of the effects of the depression included waves of economic refugees seeking a new life in New Zealand and the other British colonies – at the time New Zealand based British colonists had a far superior diet to their families in Britain. However, it is important to note that all economic depressions are caused by Banks (in this case the Bank of England). Hence the comparison between bankers and cannibals.

    • Mac1 11.2

      Two points, VTO.
      (Within reason) was your caveat and yet that is where the whole debate lies, yes? What is reasonable for the PM to say when dealing with people in 2010 where a great deal is at stake (literally as well as metaphorically) and grievance, insult and open warfare is part of the history.

      For heaven’s sake, Tutu and Mandela knew how to deal with the enemy when it came to time for reconciliation and the PM was not reasonable to say what he said and then to compound it with “Yum Yum”.

      Secondly, living in harmony with your neighbour is very important, and part of that involves earning a crust. Look at what can happen to neighbourhoods where there is no harmony- from fence-cutting to drive-by shootings to environmental disaster. Not much chance for prosperity there.

    • lprent 11.3

      vto: The real issue (IMHO) with Maori within our society is that they are distinctive. They distinctively lead the bad stats in every category, have done so for generations, and later immigrant groups don’t even feature to anything like the same extent. It is a common effect shows in all indigenous societies that have been overrun by later immigrants.

      In effect as a group they are a expensive drag on society as a whole and will remain so until something is done about it. The previous policies like attempted genocide, forced assimilation, disease, and the semi-benevolent despotism of the Maori affairs department didn’t work.

      So since the 1980’s we’ve been trying in effect to promote a Maori middle class running their own assets to provide aspirational role models inside maoridom. On the way through, there are attempts to strengthen and enhance semi-traditional cultural structures inside Maoridom (which the rest of the many generational kiwis like myself are slowly adopting anyway).

      It seems like it is working. The biggest issue is the thick-headedness of some recent immigrants and the short-sighted fools like ACToids who focus on the personal rather than the health of the society that they’re working in.

      • vto 11.3.1

        Agree near completely.

        It is great that they are pulling those not-so-good measures up, albeit slowly. Heard somebody recently bemoaning Ngai Tahu’s wealth and settlement and the clip the ticket on property deal and etc. I says to them I says bloody great it is.

        For a start they are only interested in investing their wealth in NZ so the money stays here. In addition they are enthusiastic, hard working and entrepreneurial. They create new local business and new local achievers where there were too few before. They are all over it. And the entire community benefits hugely from having such a significant (largeish minority) segment surging ahead rather than acting as a deadweight.

        Bring it on I say.

        • nzfp

          Hey vto,
          I remember Dr Pita Sharples commenting on TV once that “what’s good for Maori is good for All New Zealanders”. Sounds a lot like your comment “[…] the entire community benefits hugely from having such a significant (largeish minority) segment surging ahead […]”.

  12. graham 12

    my freezing worker mates who are labour supporters are the most racist people that you will come across.The modern labour party has become a become a semi fedual class of its own telling the white working class,maoris,and pacific islanders what to do.
    My point is when you call the torys rasist etc all that happens is you lose you own white working class suporters
    so go ahead make a big deal of this
    Make my day

    • Tiger Mountain 12.1

      “if you have a racist friend it might be time for that friendship to end’
      -line from an 80s UK song.
      the point being graham, silence is often condoning

  13. Alwyn 13

    I now understand why the Tuhoe people were upset.
    It was, according to Shane Jones in the Dom-Post this morning, because John Key implies
    that they must be wimps.
    According to the quote from Shane
    “Tuhoe are a robust people. We know that they don’t like eating pukeko, they probably prefer huhu grubs so send up Gerry Brownlee”
    Amazing. Shane has managed to insult Tuhoe and Gerry Brownlee in a single statement.
    Still Shane is Maori and Labour so it is obviously just a joke.

    • Lew 13.1

      It’s open season on this sort of thing now. I’ve counted about a dozen puns about food in mainstream coverage of the topic; no doubt there are more. Tamati Kruger arguably started it by saying Key’s initial joke was in “poor taste”.


    • nzfp 13.2

      Hey Alwyn,
      Have you ever eaten Pukeko? My dad bagged one by accident once when I was a kid. My mum made him eat it, I tried it and it wasn’t nice.

      Have you heard the old joke?
      Q. How do you cook a Pukeko?
      A. You put it in a pot of boiling water with a stone, when the water is all gone you throw out the Pukeko and eat the stone.

  14. Lew and MartyG:

    Yep I get it, its satire.

    I just dont find either one, that funny.

    • Bright Red 14.1

      yeah, satire isn’t necessarily meant to make you laugh out loud. In this case, it points out what’s wrogn with Key’s ‘joke’ and the falws in the positions of those trying to defend it.

  15. insider 15

    it would be more biting and parallel if you’d used similar allusory phrases that could be interpreted many ways as Key did, rather than hitting over the head with a hammer. It lacks subtlety.

    What would have happended if he’d said “I’m not flavour of the month up in Tuhoe country”

    • Bright Red 15.1

      god you’re a whiner, insider.

      What ever happened to the idea that the Right were the tough guys? All I see is a bunch of whiners.

  16. Alexandra 16

    Context is everything. Tuhoe are angry and disullisioned by Keys 360 degree turn on the status of the Urewera. In the midst of Keys badfaith and Tuhoes understandable reaction, Keys ‘Joke” in the circumstances shows a callous disregard to the impact his decision has had on Tuhoe. His attempt to use humour to illicit a sympathetic response from the audience illustrates a narcissistic streak that amounts to arrogance.

  17. Puddleglum 17

    I don’t think the biggest ‘insult’ or concern here is about some possible allusion to Tuhoe cannibalism. The real insult is that John Key tried (twice) to pass off his act of misleading Tuhoe, and/or reneging on his word in neogotiations, as simply something that can be joked about. Using humour as a rhetorical tactic invites the inference from listeners that, ‘really, this is no big deal’, ‘everyone’s getting upset over nothing’, ‘shucks I’m a harmless guy – can’t you see?’ …

    To be lighthearted about pulling the rug out from under people negotiating in good faith over well-established grievances is itself the basis of a lie (that acting in bad faith doesn’t really matter).

    • Lew 17.1

      Dead right, PG. Cannibalism was a particularly idiotic hook to hang all that on, but the genuine offence comes from elsewhere.


      • Pascal's bookie 17.1.1

        Exactly. Which is why I’m pissed off about it.

        I’m not pissed off on Tuhoe’s behalf. I’m pissed off on my behalf. The treaty is, if you like, my waka. It’s how I’m here. I don’t appreciate the PM punching holes in it.

  18. Cyclone 18

    Nice debate, pity the image was from painting depicting Von Tempski meeintg his end at Te Nutu O te Manu iin South Taranaki.

  19. McRad 19

    The real concern here isn’t the joke, more that Key seems intent on practicing his stand-up. I heard from a reliable source* that our Prime Minister stays up at night hoping for a third Flight Of The Conchords season and a guest spot. Letterman has a lot to answer for.

    *the voice in my head

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