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Open mike 20/11/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 20th, 2022 - 127 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

127 comments on “Open mike 20/11/2022 ”

  1. DB Brown 1

    More good news. Recently we heard how the US is restoring California's second largest river, and here in humble wee NZ we've cleaned up 50K hectares to allow the return of Kiwi to the Capital.

    Lessons here how community engagement can be got, mixed stakeholders will sit down, and progress can be made – you start with a proper cause.


    • Robert Guyton 1.1

      This is how we will do it. Conceptually-simple, broadly-effective ideas, such as letting the roadsides become un-mown-wildflower-and-herb "gardens" will bring on positive changes to the environment, outer and inner 🙂

      • Ad 1.1.1

        But wildflower planting wasn't how they did it.

        I covered this on Open Mike yesterday. It was a long term engagement by multigenerational large scale landowners.

        In particular to the landowners of the big Terawhiti block, Kinnoull, Meridian, Mill Creek Farms, Papanui Boomrock, Pikarere, many of which have been in families for generations.

        Kiwi to call the capital home as huge conservation project comes to fruition | Stuff.co.nz

        This is a private protected area larger than Abel Tasman National Park. This kind of project takes years and years to do, so also well done to all the Trustees in particular previous Mayor Kerry Prendergast.

    • Hunter Thompson II 1.2

      I think you are right – engage the whole community for a goal to benefit all, instead of different sectors pursuing their own profit-oriented targets. It's hard to get all participants to agree on how to attain the goal, of course.

      As for California, I'm surprised they have any rivers left after 20 plus years of megadrought. States with historical rights to water from the Colorado river basin will have to alter their positions.

      Nature now calls the shots.

  2. Joe90 2

    Everything's for sale.

    In early June 2014, an Ohio couple who were Mr. Schenck’s star donors shared a meal with Justice Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann. A day later, Gayle Wright, one of the pair, contacted Mr. Schenck, according to an email reviewed by The Times. “Rob, if you want some interesting news please call. No emails,” she wrote.

    Mr. Schenck said Mrs. Wright told him that the decision would be favorable to Hobby Lobby, and that Justice Alito had written the majority opinion. Three weeks later, that’s exactly what happened. The court ruled, in a 5-4 vote, that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance covering contraception violated their religious freedoms. The decision would have major implications for birth control access, President Barack Obama’s new health care law


    In interviews and thousands of emails and other records he shared with The Times, Mr. Schenck provided details of the effort he called the “Ministry of Emboldenment.”

    Mr. Schenck recruited wealthy donors like Mrs. Wright and her husband, Donald, encouraging them to invite some of the justices to meals, to their vacation homes or to private clubs. He advised allies to contribute money to the Supreme Court Historical Society and then mingle with justices at its functions. He ingratiated himself with court officials who could help give him access, records show.

    All the while, he leveraged his connections to raise money for his nonprofit, Faith and Action. Mr. Schenck said he pursued the Hobby Lobby information to cultivate the business’s president, Steve Green, as a donor.

    https://archive.ph/u0k4O (nyt)

  3. Nic the NZer 3

    Recent post regarding the ongoing is Matauranga Maori science discussion. Quite concerning implications discussed of miss-representation of NZ governance history, where an initiative involving Maori political leaders improving health policies by favoring scientific Medicine, is instead recast as colonial oppression of Maori culture.


    • Molly 3.1

      If Mātauranga Māori was considered another source of information for scientific enquiry, such as every other source, then the issue on its reference would be moot.

      However, unlike other observational data, or theory or existing understanding, it is not placed under the same critical thinking and testing to identify veracity, and ensure it is still accurate.

      As we see in the science curriculum, Mātauranga Māori inclusion also means rewriting the understandings of existing scientific concepts and creating a manufactured hybrid, which is inherently dishonest. I also personally find it disrespectful.

      (Eg. DNA = whakapapa, sub-atomic energy links = mauri)

      We have had a decades long renaissance of Te Ao Māori.

      Adults who have been through Kōhanga Reo, and Kura kaupapa Māori, inclusion of Māori tikanga practices in governmental institutions, increased delivery of and participation in Māori studies at an academic level, as well as the proliferation of many Māori educational providers. Marae renovations, Crown restitutions, Māori produced and broadcasted programmes, on mainstream broadcasting as well as a dedicated channel, open access for all adult NZers to participate and learn etc.

      These positive achievements were the result of immense effort and stamina of many Māori, and those who have seen the need for support for such initiatives.

      They are unequivocally a valuable taonga for all NZers.

      At present we have a lot of people, who have considerable Māori knowledge and understandings that have been taught to them via the above systems. This is particularly true, amongst the academics, politicians, institutional and governmental workers who have absorbed the information that has been delivered so well, that you don't even need to wring from them the standard delivery lines. They leak out, unfortunately often colouring all scenarios with colonisation, and systematic racism, and bigotry.

      While all this was taking place, Māori were simultaneously participating in the renaissance and getting on with their lives here and now, like everyone else.

      The academic Māori, the political Māori, the environmentally conscious Māori are part of the whole – not the whole. Just as the academic Pakeha, the political Pakeha, the environmentally conscious Pakeha does not represent the whole.

      Why is the idea of Māori limited to those who have all taught and learned at the same institutions, and who gain status and remuneration because of their focus? (That is not to imply that either is undeserved, but to point out the fact that their view may be self-limiting.) But it doesn't translate that they speak for all. Would any Pakeha accept this type of wholesale representation?

      So, science is a body of knowledge informed by many sources, and Mātauranga Māori is one of them. Scientific knowledge is made robust by testing, and Mātauranga Māori should be treated equally to every other source and subject to the same assessments. If Mātauranga Māori contribute new and valid means of testing and experiments then all well and good.

      But what should be avoided, is the idea that it is the mere fact of its existence is evidence of relevance or quality. We know that when tested much of this knowledge is verifiable, ie. navigational prowess, environmental observations. Bring it on. It will proven to be repeatable, or it won't.

      I consider any other adoption a patronising view of my Māori culture and the quality of what it has to offer, and so reject it.

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        Brilliantly stated Molly.

      • roblogic 3.1.2

        I don't have a problem with learning about Polynesian navigation as a part of science. Our Pacific cultures have a lot of practical knowledge about this part of the world. And it's important for students to see their culture represented.

        When it comes to scientific theories though, the ideal is rigorous: testable, measurable models that can be used to make reliable predictions. Preferably underpinned by mathematical logic and basic axioms.

        However these models tend to break down when looked at closely. All human knowledge is fuzzy at the edges (e.g. Gödel's incompleteness theorem). This makes the philosophy of science interesting & tricky. Defining "what is science" has been a bone of contention for centuries.


        • RedLogix

          Good comment. Gödel's incompleteness theorem seemed like a rather esoteric idea to me until I watched this astonishing clip:

        • Molly

          Thanks for engaging @roblogic by providing a point of discussion.

          "However these models tend to break down when looked at closely. All human knowledge is fuzzy at the edges (e.g. Gödel's incompleteness theorem). This makes the philosophy of science interesting & tricky. Defining "what is science" has been a bone of contention for centuries."

          I consider scientific knowledge and processes (including testing and methods of proof) to be an ever changing entity.

          That's why I can see no need for exceptional admittance of Mātauranga Māori, because it can inform both knowledge and identify needs for necessary changes – but only if proven to be necessary.

          A part I didn't add above, is that it is assumed that all Māori have either a racial preference for Mātauranga Māori, or have a colonised view of Mātauranga Māori due to systemic racism.

          It seems unfathomable to many, that there may be Māori that have different perspectives. Mātauranga Māori knowledge applied in context and for its intended purpose can enhance understandings and improve experiences. Mātauranga Māori knowledge that applies universally, and can be predicted and repeated to the same level as other current scientific knowledge is the knowledge that belongs in the science curriculums.

          There is value in both forms of knowledge.

          However, we denigrate the value of the first, when we demand inclusion of it to the second without scientific rigour.

          How do you feel about the application of Māori terms such as mauri, to concepts such as sub-atomic energy levels?

          I know that Māori academics have written these new interpretations, but I have no doubt there are Pakeha academics you disagree with, and I find this rewriting of Maori concepts into theories that are not part of Te Ao Māori both clumsy and patronising.

          Are you comfortable with it, and why?

          • Nic the NZer

            "How do you feel about the application of Māori terms such as mauri, to concepts such as sub-atomic energy levels?"

            Do you have the rest of this definition of Mauri?

            Is it in fact compatible with this one?


            I'm not entirely sure but it seems if you disconnect all the wires other than the earth you get free electricity?

            I'm quite interested in new knowledge if it gets me free electricity, actually.

            • Molly

              "I'm quite interested in new knowledge if it gets me free electricity, actually."


              • Molly

                For those who haven't clicked on Nic the NZer's link:

                New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice :

                • weka

                  Would you mind explaining what you see as the problem there?

                  Would also be good to have a link for the original source of that chart.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    That chart is from the link in

                    The problem is that the Maori column is written almost entirely in English and purports to explain the 'Maori' version has no effing idea how electricity works.

                    • Incognito

                      Electricity is effing weird!

                    • weka

                      so the objection isn't the inclusion of a Māori view, but that it's done badly?

                      Why is being written in English a problem?

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Absolutely, a useful Maori translation would be good, but the implication of the nonsense written is that you can't understand Electricity in 'Maori' (I'm quoting because nobody thinks in Maori).

                      Being written in English it becomes a mockery of how 'Maori' understand electricity working.

                    • weka []

                      Whereas I think the implication is that many people, including many Māori don’t speak te reo.

                      What do you mean nobody thinks in Māori? Fluent speakers do.

                      Beyond that, I’m still not clear what the problem is for people here. I have my own issues with it, but right now I’m more interested that people are reacting against it without a good explanation as to why.

                      I’d also like to know who wrote it, the process by which it was included. Is it just a really bad take on electricity? Or is there something else going on?

                    • Molly


                      "…but right now I’m more interested that people are reacting against it without a good explanation as to why."

                      People have pointed out it is nonsensical.

                      (I didn't, I thought that fact was obvious.)

                      So, a list is required?

                      (For you, weka, because I know your request is likely to be genuine)

                      This is a safety document – language should be clear, concise and relevant.

                      1. This addition under "Maori" makes no sense as a heading on a table row with "Electricity" as the other entry. Is "Maori" another form of energy, or a "Maori" form of electricity? This is not clear. (Neither of those interpretations make sense BTW, perhaps someone could suggest one that does?)
                      2. What is wriiten under the "Maori" heading appears to be the result of someone looking up the words on the left in a Maori dicttionary, and then selecting a few of the kupu that result – and then – providing the English definitions for those selected words. Not a study in conciseness either.
                      3. The mythological story of Papatuanuku has no relevance – in the context of electricity – to the earth referred to. The story is actually almost in direct conflict to the role of the earth wire.

                      So, not only irrelevant – contradictory and confusing.

                      Not suitable for a safety document that aims to reduce harm.

                      A direct te reo Maori translation is not a problem.

                      That is not what this is.

                      Long term:

                      People presented with such guff repeatedly will be more likely to develop the notion that Maori inclusion often is:

                      unclear, rambling and irrelevant. They may also decide it is not fit for purpose (like the example above). In this case, they are right.

                    • weka []

                      People have pointed out it is nonsensical.

                      (I didn’t, I thought that fact aws obvious.)

                      So, a list is required?

                      (For you, weka, because I know your request is likely to be genuine)

                      Sorry, I’m going to have to be blunt here. This isn’t just you, this is a problem with others too, but this is the ideal opportunity to make this really clear. I know you know this stuff, others do too, so I am unclear why people feel like they don’t have to explain their thinking upfront.

                      This is a political blog whose purpose includes robust debate. If people want to post something that shocks/annoys etc and simply say ‘this is nonsense’ that’s what Facebook is for. Here we require people to explain what they think and not have to drag it out of them.

                      None of us can mindread. I have my own problems with the chart, but I don’t know what your and others’ problems were specifically. And that’s what we are here to talk about, the problems with how Mātauranga is being integrated into wider society (and imo, the benefits of that integration).

                      If you find some commenters disingenuous in asking then just ignore them 👍

                      Thanks for explaining, I will respond in a different comment.

                    • weka []

                      wanted to add that I was asking what you and Nic thought because I did in fact want to understand the nuances in your thinking and get a better understanding of how people view this issue differently. I’m aware that on TS sometimes people are more interested in using someone’s position against them and/or to point score. We’re trying to change that 😉

                    • Nic the NZer

                      We don't know that much about linguistics, however we do know this.

                      Fluent Maori (any language) speakers do not think in Maori (their language).

                      We can understand this must be the case from our understanding of multi-lingual people. Reasonably fluent multi-lingual people are already capable of hearing a new concept in one language and then expressing it in an different language. Also people *never* need to re-learn ideas while learning an additional a language. This makes it absolutely clear there is an internal concept and a connected more surface concept of its expression in a language. In fact you don't even need the multi-lingual bit, children when asked to draw a cat are able to transfer the request from the linguistic interpretation, through the cat, to the other surface concept of what a cat looks like.

                      And just to head off an incorrect counter point. There are occasional concepts which don't have a direct translation in another language. These work the same way, except that there may not be a specific word in the language being spoken.

                      "Is it just a really bad take on electricity? Or is there something else going on?"

                      My interpretation is that the writer here has imagined they have been transported back several hundred years in time and are now required to explain to some Maori in their own tongue how to wire an electrical circuit (with the requisite parts of course, like a battery and stove). For some reason they decided to use a bunch of myth words to explain it which may have confused the audience somewhat. In my own imagination at this time the locals respond by saying, 'This is very useful, why thank-you for this gift. Now your staying here permanently until we understand how this stuff actually works.'

                    • weka []

                      not sure I followed that. Are you saying that people can never think in their second language?

                    • Molly


                      "Sorry, I’m going to have to be blunt here. This isn’t just you, this is a problem with others too, but this is the ideal opportunity to make this really clear. I know you know this stuff, others do too, so I am unclear why people feel like they don’t have to explain their thinking upfront."

                      I understand your view, but both Nic the NZer and Belladonna gave reasons in their comments. They just didn't preface it with an explanatory introduction.

                      Is it possible you don't recognise the reasoning in this form? Or, is is that you discount them, and what you are looking for is persuasive reasons?

                      "Sorry, I’m going to have to be blunt here."

                      I'm OK with blunt. It often means someone is seeking to understand or be understood. I hope that I've interpreted your comment correctly, and thus made my response relevant.

                    • weka []

                      Molly, sorry, that’s just patronising. I’ve already said to you that I asked because I wanted to know what people’s thinking was. I want to know because I want to understand. I haven’t discounted anyone’s reasoning in this subthread, so I don’t know where you get that from. When I get the chance I will respond to various comments here with my own thinking.

                      I asked *you, politely, to explain what you saw as the problem with the chart (that you had just posted as an image). Because I wanted to know what *you thought.

                      Belladonna also shared after I has asked. I understood her reasoning perfectly well. I haven’t discounted it.

                      Nic gave a brief answer, which wasn’t really an explanation so I asked some questions and now we’re having a conversation based on that.

                      None of that is out of the ordinary for TS and I’m at a loss as to why I am having to explain this.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      "Are you saying that people can never think in their second language?"

                      People don't even think in their first language. What people actually think in is clearly connected to multiple ways for it to be expressed, including as language (also diagram, picture, written, music, computer code).

                    • weka []

                      ok, that’s some obscure point I’m not getting in relation to this conversation. I think in English (a language, as you mention). I’ve learned some basic te reo, it’s very hard for me to think in it, but I know that there are concepts I can understand if I don’t parse them through my English/Western brain. I know people that can think in te reo Māori 🤷‍♀️ There are lots of people in NZ who value communications about te Ao Māori being done in English, because they don’t speak te reo.

                    • Molly


                      I had a longer comment, which I lost, but it's clear I'm misunderstanding you.

                      Can we leave it there? Unless you think it's important.

                      I'd rather read your view on why it was necessary for this inclusion, and what you think of the quality of what was provided and if this has a knock-on effect if it's badly done.

                      FWIW, I find Nick's interpretation resonates regarding the production. No effort towards quality just inclusion:

                      My interpretation is that the writer here has imagined they have been transported back several hundred years in time and are now required to explain to some Maori in their own tongue how to wire an electrical circuit (with the requisite parts of course, like a battery and stove). For some reason they decided to use a bunch of myth words to explain it which may have confused the audience somewhat. In my own imagination at this time the locals respond by saying, 'This is very useful, why thank-you for this gift. Now your staying here permanently until we understand how this stuff actually works.'

                    • weka []

                      I’m not sure I do think it was necessary for inclusion (and pretty sure I haven’t said it was necessary, so sorry to belabour the point, but I’m really sick of the whole binary thinking in this debate where people get pushed into certain boxes even for just asking questions). To have an opinion about that I’d need to understand why it was done, and whether is has been done badly as it appears (I can’t think of other reasons). I’ll come back to it later when I have more time.

                    • weka []

                      Molly, I’ve commented further here. Still in the process of thinking it through.


                    • weka []

                      btw, I’m not taking a position of ‘there are no problems’. The things you’ve been sharing about the education curriculum definitely need scrutiny. It’s more that in this case we have so little to go on.

                      We do seem to be living in an age of the breakdown of knowledge. I’m not sure how to address that at the same time as integrating Indigenous knowledge into society (something that we desperately need if we are going to transition out of the mess we are in with climate/ecology etc). I think there is a danger here in equating Indigenous ways of knowing with the breakdown of knowledge. Certainly the reactionaries are doing this. The extent to which it is happening in TS debates strikes me as being a function of the polarisation as much as anything, but it’s easy to see why accusations of racism get flung around. It looks like miscommunication to me.

                    • Molly



                      "I asked *you, politely, to explain what you saw as the problem with the chart (that you had just posted as an image). Because I wanted to know what *you thought."

                      I posted an image because a discussion was beginning, and it might not be obvious to others who had not clicked on Nick the NZer's link in his comment what the discussion was about.

                      Hence the sentence that prefaced the image:

                      "For those who haven't clicked on Nic the NZer's link:"

                      As you know, I am fairly consistent in providing opinion and links as part of my commenting style. I don't think posting an image to clarify what the commencing conversation was about required further comment.

                      "Because I wanted to know what *you thought."

                      On this thread, I'd provided two extremely wordy comments on my thinking: Here and here and nothing in response?

                      Instead, you needed to know my thoughts on an image I had provided because I thought the discussion might be enhanced if people did not bother to click through to find out.

                      Despite referencing that you have you own thoughts on this example more than once, and then being directly asked to provide them for discussion – you have not yet done so.

                      Does not that strike you as an imbalance when it comes to discussion? The requirement for more and more clarity from one side, when little is offered in return?

                    • weka []
                      1. there’s no problem with you posting the chart. I was referencing where and why I replied to that comment with my question for you. I wasn’t criticising you for the link
                      2. you don’t have to comment further, ever (unless a mod wants something, but that’s not what is happening here)
                      3. it’s normal and appropriate for people on TS to ask other people what they think and/or to clarify.
                      4. if you don’t want to explain your thinking, then don’t. This only becomes a problem if people keep making arguments and expecting others to mindread, or where they make arguments that are opaque and they won’t clarify. You weren’t doing that, but you did come back to me with challenge about the necessity of saying more, which is why I am still talking about it.
                      5. I haven’t read all the comments in this conversation under this one post. Including some of yours. I’ve been too busy. I’m often picking up bits of the conversation from the comment thread in the back end, which I am currently monitoring for moderation reasons.
                      6. When I asked you to explain your thinking about the problem with the chart, if you had already done so all you needed to do was point me to those comments. However the two links you just gave me aren’t about the chart, but about the wide discussion. I was asking people to explain what they saw wrong witht the chart.
                      7. I’ve already said I will come back to the thread with my own thoughts. Juggling about 5 different things this morning and about to go out the door. The only thing that has really had my attention on TS other than moderation, has been this meta conversation and things that I can reply to simply and easily.
                      8. no, I don’t think it’s imbalanced. If you want to know what I think about something, ask. I will answer if I can. Not everyone can do that though, sometimes things get lost. Sometimes my thoughts aren’t useful or interesting. If it feels unfair, then I think more engagement on topic is probably the way to get me to reply rather than us arguing about TS debate culture. However I do like talking about the meta stuff, which is part of why I’m prioritising it (and it’s been an issue generally on TS lately).
                      9. I’m away out the door shortly. Will be back this afternoon and this evening no doubt and will endeavour to come back to what I am thinking about the chart 👍
                    • Nic the NZer

                      @weka, I don't see this as a counter example. There can be concepts you understand quite well, but do not have the skill to express in te reo, presently. You will likely be able to look up the language and then later express this idea in te reo. Did you need to re-learn this idea however, or was it the idea you knew but didn't know how to express?

                      It goes deeper than this actually. Imagine somebody comes up with a new idea, one for which there is no expression in any language. How does that come about then? Because it does.

                      I'm really not keen on this understanding of language and underlying intelligence. One implication could easily be that people are incapable of learning science in te reo, especially because a lot of that te reo is clearly being developed in terms of its english language expression.

                      Were this the case we should not be teaching any subjects (maybe except Maori culture) in te reo, because its not compatible and stunting learning. Fortunately its clearly not true.

                    • weka []

                      Not sure if we are on the same page in terms of what we are talking about.

                      There are things that can be understood in te reo that cannot be understood in English. This is a big feature of this debate. It’s not only language, it’s conceptual. The Western mind thinks differently than the Indigenous mind. I’ve had to decolonise my mind in order to understand concepts that are normal to Indigenous peoples. (decolonise in the sense used in the past few decades, not in the current sense).

                      I don’t think that language is the only way one can think. I can think without language eg when I am meditating, and then translate that into English if I want to think more or tell someone else. But if I am using language then I think in English. Others can think in te reo.

                      So of course someone can come up with a new concept and then they have to find ways of explaining it. This is common enough. It’s also why spiritual concepts are difficult to explain to rationalists. They’re just different ways of thinking and if there is no shared languages then it’s hard.

                      Another example of this is women’s reality and trying to explain it to men. Women are bilingual, most men aren’t and don’t even realise they’re not.

                      (I’ll give you a classic example of Stephen Fry later on).

                      I still don’t understand what you meant when you said no-one thinks in Māori.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      "I still don’t understand what you meant when you said no-one thinks in Māori."

                      Unfortunately we seem to have stumbled across an idea which can't even be understood in English.

                    • Sabine

                      Whenua might have been a better word to describe ground/earth/soil/

                  • My understanding (from a base science perspective – not an electrician) – is that the earth wire is the safety circuit breaker. In the event of an overload, it grounds the electrical current in the earth – effectively killing the charge (rather than potentially killing people)

                    The Maori definition used to equate the earth wire with Mauri – implies (or can be read as implying) that this is a source of current, rather than a circuit breaker. Which is exactly the reverse of the way that a circuit, with an earth element, works.

                    Hence, the rather tongue-in-cheek reference to free electricity.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      I wonder if it would have been improved if 'Ground' was the reference English term, as it is in 'North America'.

                    • Anker

                      Great clarrification thank you Molly.

                      It seems to me that in trying to "decolonise" whoever is writing stuff like the Maori words for the electricians terms of practice is missing the point majorly.

                      It leaves Maori open to mockery and in a way it is a form of gas lighting. Of course my opinion of this may be attacked for being racist.

                      It reminds me of trying to change words like women and mother in midwivery.

                      Maori don't have to insert themselves in all things European. There mana can stand on its own merits

                    • weka

                      I know what you are trying to say here but I'm not sure that's it exactly. The earth/ground wire is there to act as a conduit for the electrical flow if there is a fault, so that the electricity goes somewhere else rather than into the human body (which also acts as an earth/grounding wire).

                      I don't see the use of the term mauri as implying that the earth is the source of electricity, but that it is the container by which power flows back to the planet. Not how I am used to thinking about mauri, but quite interesting.

                      I also wonder if part of the problem here is trying to take the words literally. Western mind might consider it metaphorically to get to the meaning (although I don't think it is necessarily metaphor either).

                      I would love to see the background on this chart. I don't have enough understanding of concepts like mauri, tapu, noa to know if it's on point or done badly.

                      I can see that for Māori, having Māori concepts is useful, even in this situation. I disagree with anker that electricity is a European thing and Māori don't have to insert themselves into it, they have their own mana. Electricity is a phenomena and how we explain that to ourselves depends on language and concepts.

                      I feel some discomfit with the chart as is, it seems dropped in in isolation, kind of weird. As Incognito said early on, electricity is weird, and there's something jarring about the unclarity of the chart. I can't tell is that's because I don't understand it or if it's because it doesn't make sense.

                      I've certainly seen many instances of the Western mind struggling to cope with Indigenous concepts, or the way that the Indigenous mind thinks about phenomena. The original article is a good example, full of mistakes and inaccuracies along with unacknowledged bias. More of a concern for me than the chart is the number of people that thought the first article was good and apparently didn't see the problems with it.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Well it is well known that Einstein had an early job at the Swiss patent office. Do let us know which govt department to send the Nobel prize to when the author of the side-note is discovered and its true meaning found.

                • weka

                  More correctly,

                  NEW ZEALAND

        • Nic the NZer

          The connection to Godel's incompleteness theory is pretty tenuous here.

          That says specifically that there are some statements in a consistent closed system of logic which can not be proven within that system. These statements could however be proven by extending the original with further statements.

          A better description of why scientific fields have fuzzy edges is just that there are some limits (usually scale of phenomena) where one field stops and typically hands over to another field. That's the region where the ideas of the field stop being good explanations due to factors relevant at this new scale.

          I also recently noticed Leonard Susskind making this same claim, that these things are not related, in one of his lectures.

    • RedLogix 3.2

      It is a fascinating dynamic this polarity between science based medicine and the alternative observational based modalities. Personally although I try to keep a foot in both camps it seems to me that more and more people have lost a lot of confidence in the conventional science based community – especially the past few years.

      Currently things are a mess. Conventional doctors are largely captured by protocols which ignore the social, mental and spiritual aspects of good health. They routinely fail to examine the whole patient and struggle to offer help where a direct cause and effect are absent.

      Equally the alternative community struggles with determinism and repeatability. There is precious little evidence to support their methods on a population basis, even when they might have great success with some individuals.

      If both sides were prepared to embrace humility, acknowledge their limits and failures, and listen constructively to each other – we might make some progress. (Much the same could be said of our political domain as well.)

      • roblogic 3.2.1

        Not to mention the replication crisis (or "P-value crisis"; widespread bad data analysis) throwing many results in the humanities and medicine into doubt

        • Molly

          I'm not disagreeing about the failures and weaknesses of current methodologies. I think most people can ascertain the failings. But we should endeavour to improve by adjustment, not accommodation only.

          Like most knowledge, the value of Māori knowledge is most valuable when it is used for the purpose intended and in the right context.

          Treated as an equal to any other source, it will have its proponents and its detractors, so we should ensure that the detractors will have less to work with than the proponents by providing more than assertion and adoption of what is put forth without critique.

          • RedLogix

            One approach to this problem came from a talk I heard years back. The idea was that we could roughly place the historic societies of the world into three categories.

            The Western societies saw the world primarily in material terms. From this we gained determinism, repeatability and all of modern technology.

            The Eastern societies tilted more toward the philosophic, giving us a great canon of literature, poetry, and layers of insight and nuance around the human condition and inner psychology. (Us westerners tending to be lamentably unaware of this wonderful legacy)

            And finally the Indigenous peoples – lacking for the most part access to science, technology and written languages focused their intellectual energies on what they describe as the spiritual, the non-material, the non-verbal aspects of reality.

            Emphatically these are not mutually exclusive descriptions, but I think do describe the very differing intellectual centre of gravities we see between European science and Mātauranga Māori. Each system of thought – as you say – has it’s own context and domain of validity. What I object to is not that these worldviews are different, but that some are setting one against the other – insisting that theirs is the only truth.

            • Incognito

              Your last paragraph is icing on the cake that is an excellent comment overall.

              They are not binary opposites but complementary frameworks, if you like – both/and. The problem with (binary) dualism through the Western lens – either/or – is that it often ranks (and rejects) based on presumed equivalence-equality and it becomes a win-lose competition with only one ‘winner’ that becomes the dominant-supreme accepted paradigm and ‘bench mark’ (and filter).

              Of course, there’s heaps more in your comment that I would love to discuss further but perhaps another time …

              Keep up the excellent work!

            • roblogic

              Yeah it's good to see your comments a bit more often RL, appreciate the wisdom in your words

            • Molly

              That's the best explanatory framework I've read for what I was inadequately trying to say.


            • Muttonbird

              The last paragraph is completely inconsistent with the call to not have Mātauranga Māori considered 'equal to' western science. That call literally is to insist western science is the only truth.

              • Nic the NZer

                I just did a page search and your comment is the only one to use the term western science? For you, how is this Taxonomy of scientific knowledge defined?

                • Muttonbird

                  I use the term with reference to comments like this:

                  The academics say although indigenous knowledge may play some role in the preservation of local practices and in management and policy – it "falls far short of what can be defined as science itself". They said mātauranga Māori should not be accepted as an equivalent to science, adding "it may help … but it is not science".


                  You have to ask yourself who are they to define what science is and what it is not? Theirs is indeed a practice to continue the use of western science to delegitimise Mātauranga Māori.

                  The point I was making is that RL cannot claim Maori insist theirs is only truth when the opposite is true.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    So your taxonomy says science and "western science" are identical sets of knowledge? I'm unclear because quite a lot of science was originally produced outside of the west.

                    Anybody claiming their, body of knowledge, is only containing truth is not doing science of course. You have to at least be open to the possibility that your ideas are untrue in experiment, and of course you remove any ideas you know are not true.

                    • weka

                      Coyne said,

                      … from snuggling in beside science, the only real way of knowing we have.

                      Doesn't get plainer than that.

                      The term Western science refers to lineage and development of thinking/practice, not geography.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      I was asking why Muttonbird feels the need to characterize "the only real way of knowing we have" as specifically "western science", rather than the more inclusive term science. We do after all in NZ happily take knowledge and technology from all corners of the globe as well as all kinds of lineages, time periods, thinkings and practices.

                      You seem to be taking some kind of issue with what Coyne said in that sentence? Its certainly terse, but are you claiming its untrue?

              • Shanreagh

                Agree Muttonbird and it is surprising that it is accepted by those arguing against the Matauranga proposition eg.

                What I object to is not that these worldviews are different, but that some are setting one against the other – insisting that theirs is the only truth.

                Those of us saying hey taihoa let us not deny or deride Matauranga, Rongoa, Maori world view of water or land have been faced with people have been saying the western view of science is all you need, is the be all and end all. Moving on to a view that unless we know absolutely everything about the Maori world view of water then

                a it does not exist, full stop

                b if it does exist because we cannot prove or disprove it, using the scientific viewpoint of another culture, it does not exist

                This literalist view carried to an extreme means others cannot understand common figures of speech. Our communication becomes plain and the passing of information only, wordplay is non existent, (yet story telling is being sound as a 'new' way of describing from ads to differing opinions), describing beauty, a moment, becomes passe. Of course moments, views and beauty are all in the eye of the beholder and incapable of 'proof'. So the proposition for not being able to describe them scientifically is proved, and not being capable of description, according to western scientific norms, they become non-existent

                I made a comment that an opinion column in Stuff needed to have the word 'satire' inserted as well as being an Opinion. I found this sad.

                Don't get me wrong I love learning that the strange light is caused by ash/cloud from an eruption but that is not the be all and end all…..colours, thoughts on whether it evokes feelings, messes with perspective are all valid.

                • Nic the NZer

                  "b if it does exist because we cannot prove or disprove it, using the scientific viewpoint of another culture, it does not exist"

                  This sounds very much like Schrodingers Cat. Something which is both existing (alive) and doesn't exist (is dead) at the same time and we can only find out by examining it (opening the box).

                  Of course when making this example Erwin was literally making fun of what he was being asked to believe was occurring by other physicists. He made this example up as a idea for which expected no-one could possibly think such a ridiculous thing.

                  • Incognito

                    No, that’s not quite accurate. The cat exists in two or more (quantum) states; it never starts/stops existing as such. In any case, it only really applies to quantum systems 🙂

                    • Nic the NZer

                      I did have a very witty response to this describing what happens when you put too many entangled quantum systems into the same place at once. Unfortunately it got sucked into a worm-hole and nobody was able to see any of the results of the experiment.

                    • Incognito []

                      LOL! The worm-hole-ate-my-home-work is as old as the universe.

      • Anker 3.2.2

        Conventional Drs are their to treat illness/pathology. They have equipment and knowledge that makes them particularly good at this. Very often when pathology is found that needs treatment, they have some form of treatment, which research studies have shown has a …% chance of helping. That's what they do.

        Dr's aren't really concerned with good health as such, although public health campaigns and some advice from a GP or specialist, is something they do.

        The vast majority of NZders rely on Drs when they sick/unwell. A small number of people may prefer to seek out other health care. But to my knowledge there is very little evidence it works (with the odd exception such as St Johns Wort for mild to moderate depression)

    • Incognito 3.3

      I refer in this piece mainly to the role of tohunga in curing physical ailments, which, before science-based medicine arrived, was based largely on herbal medicine. Some may have even worked, but we don’t know as they were never tested, and they are powerless against ailments that can be cured by scientific innovations like antibiotics or antivirals.

      The denigration of indigenous medicine is strong in this haplessly biased piece. The writer also has his facts wrong and I suspect this is a deliberate ploy to push his narrative, as is often the case with many pig-headed closed-minded people who have an axe to grind. Any good (?) points he makes in his piece have to be taken with extreme levels of scepticism and warning.

      Western medicine is slowly moving away from its mechanistic foundations of simple lock & key, drug & target biological interactions to more holistic thinking such as systems biology.


      Old testing paradigms and dogmas in medicine and clinical trials are approaching their use-by-date to make room for personalised medicine based on validated biomarkers and unique patient profiles, which is ironically similar to what tohunga practised.

      • weka 3.3.1

        that is a superb comment. I've been trying to write a post on the problems with the article (inaccuracies and unacknowledged bias), but this is so much better.

      • Nic the NZer 3.3.2

        I had in fact noticed a certain kind of hardline from the site author. I think that reflects the fact he's been defending evolutionary science teaching, against recent earth creationists who may prefer a Christian creationist tradition be taught in Science class. This is often reflected in snark that Matauranga Maori is directly creationist.

        As a review of my own comment surrounding the original link will show, I was more highlighting that de-colonists are not above characterising policies endorsed and advanced by Maori MPs and leaders, as colonial cultural suppression. Somehow I don't think calling historical acts of sensible Maori governance and leadership, Pakeha oppression, enhances trust in Maori leadership and governance (or even Medicine in this case). I would suggest Willie Jackson is well qualified to make such a judgement about the acts intent, and he does.

        The act was repealed in 1962 of course, which didn't concern me in the slightest.

        Systems Biology: Hmmm, my actually quite extensive knowledge and understanding of mathematical, statistical and computational systems says, you tend to get out what you put into your model. Maybe that indicates my actual talent for it though.

        • Incognito

          I didn’t want to take aim at the messenger, because that’s almost always a weak argument at best, but he does have a well-known history as ‘hardliner’. I was more interested in shining a light on the contents and some of the (incorrect) claims in his piece.

          It seems that nowadays many things are lumped together and thrown on the maunga called Mt Murray. Sometimes, this is accidental because people are confused, and sometimes it is deliberate in order to confuse people and pull the debate into a quagmire of quarrels about everything and anything under the sun.

          Your PoV of systems biology is valid and I’m more than happy to talk about some more, as it is a fascinating area. One of the main differences, a paradigm shift if you like, with ‘old-school’ biology is the integrative function of levels/scales/dimensions, models, and networks. The keyword is “multi”. The (internal) state of a complex biological system is often not know and cannot be known – it is a ‘combination’ of multiple interacting components or ‘players’ in a dynamic process with many spatio-temporal changes – but how it behaves and responds to environmental (external) stimuli is. You throw [something at] it in a computer and something comes out of it, a bit like Conway’s Game of Life that appeared here recently on TS buried in a YT clip about Gödel's incompleteness theorems (https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-20-11-2022/#comment-1922132). Fun games in fun times 🙂

          • Nic the NZer

            Is that claim actually factually wrong? Do you have a counter example. I can't think of any even if its comparing herbal medicine a hundred years ago to modern treatments.

            • Incognito

              Here’s one example:

              Kanuka honey versus aciclovir for the topical treatment of herpes simplex labialis: a randomised controlled trial


              Let’s see whether this creates any buzzing.

              • Nic the NZer

                Ok, that's a good example and novel to me. I'm convinced that there are natural treatments which have equivalent performance to certain antiviral treatments.

                On the verdict of miss representation however I'm voting not guilty. The statement seems well fortified, and as such a counter example should prove as effective as something which can cure. If you identified a wealth of traditional medicines which cured in alternative (or even the same) areas to medicine I could have been convinced of the Scottish verdict of unproven, though there is another layer of fortification.

                The next layer is that its a comparison with traditional medicine practice. Now its entirely possible that tohunga may have developed a practice and tradition where they only advocated treatments they knew worked. Its a lot less plausible that this tradition would have been as effective yet also completely different to scientific medicine however. As the study shows some traditional treatments may be as effective as laboratory developed treatments even when judged by modern medical standards.

                As seems to have been understood at the time, contemporary tohunga were not advocating only for treatments known to work at that time. In fact they were understood to be impeding the introduction of modern medicine as well understood by Maori leadership at that time.

                In an ongoing discussion about applying the same scientific standards to Matauranga Maori knowledge as to any other bodies of knowledge that is obviously very relevant. I also agree there are also a wealth of examples of western alternative treatments which are being advocated as accepted without scientific validation. Somebody who was more worried about not appearing biased might very well have catalogued some of these to show they were not being unduly unkind about native medicines contemporary effectiveness. But I also see no obligation to do so and it requires more writing which may obfuscate the point considerably.

                This contradicts the argument about as well as the first speaker of the debate at post 4 for me.

  4. weka 4

    In contrast, the motion’s opposition consisted entirely of undergraduate students. A speaker from the floor lamented this discrepancy: “Inviting a huge and polarising figure to debate no invited opposition, only students, is just not good enough,” he said. In response the Union’s president, Lara Brown, clarified that although many speakers were invited to argue in opposition, all declined.

    Lol. No Debate coming back to bite.

    Piece on the Cambridge Union debate "the right to offend". Left wing feminist and philosopher Kathleen Stock wiped the floor with the negatives, who were undergrads (including one who was meant to be on the affirmative, but instead used his time to attack Stock). I agree that lack of an experienced speaker on the other team is a problem, but that is squarely on the genderists who have championed no platforming (including the student speakers). Own goal.


    • Visubversa 4.1

      None of them will be smarter than Doc Stock.

      • weka 4.1.1

        it was almost painful to watch from the pov. Not that they have to be as smart as her, but just completely outclassed in terms of critical thinking. They don't seem to have the ability to think past their own navels. Tbf, i was probably like that at that age, but I wasn't part of a colonising movement either. The adults are failing these young people as much as anything.

        • weka

          the first dude may have harmed his career. He broke the debating rules (prob not such a big deal), but he also defamed Stock very publicly. Not a good look.

          • Anker

            Weka, I agree. thanks for posting the Cambridge debate. The lack of critical skills and the only assertions by the first speaker were attacks on Kathleen Stock, shows up how compromised the idea of debate and arguement are but these young academics.

  5. Anker 5

    Great article thanks Nic.

    Yes the Tohunga Act 1906 was largely introduced by Maori

    "It was introduced by James Carroll" …..
    "It was praised by many influential Maori at the time inlcuding Maui Pomare (NZ first Maori Dr) and all four Maori MPS. "

    'Here's a quote from an article by three Maori who are able to separate the wheat of truth from the chaff of superstition, ideology, undocumented tradition, morality and religion'

    "In short uncritical acceptance of Maori Knowledge is arguably just as patronising as its earlier blanket rejection' – "Na Dr Michael Stevens, Emeritus Professor Atholi Anderson and Professor Te Maire Tau:

    • Nic the NZer 5.1

      This is the site which originally gave me the impression of this Matauranga Maori dispute being about idea laundering and departmental dispute. That quote is from a paper where those authors refute a prior paper which claimed that Maori (actually their ancestors) had discovered the continent of Antarctica.


      This is an obviously bunk historical claim and was based on interpreting how early myths were recorded as textually accurate and exact claims.

      I interpret Hendy and Wiles own statements about this to be more along the lines of, "we think Auckland University should get the funding it receives including for Matauranga Maori research projects", and I don't interpret it as "I was doing some Matauranga Maori research just yesterday and it taught me this new idea which I have added to my latest paper".

      • Adrian 5.1.1

        You don't know that Maori navigators didn't discover Antarctica. There were reports of large double-hulled waka with the ability to sail into the wind and visiting the sub-Antarctic islands around the time of the early European navigators so the skills were there and the ability to dress for the tough conditions, so it was an entirely possible event. Many small sailing craft have ventured very far south including an acquitance of mine who unfortunately didn't make it back.

        Locally a craft is being built along the lines of the ones described by Cook seen well south of Rakiura.

        • Anker

          Adrian, we don't know that Maori navigators didn't discover Antartctica. (personally it doesn't matter to me who did).

          But we need actual evidence that it happened if we are going to claim it as a historical scientific fact.

          I am sorry to hear about your friend. the Southern oceans are trecherous.

        • Nic the NZer

          Yes, this is correct, there is zero documented evidence that Maori (or their East Polynesian ancestors) discovered Antarctica (starting from East Polynesia).

          I'm especially confident that pre-Maori navigators didn't sail down to Antarctica on a ship made of human bones circa the 7th century. Your acquaintance ship was vastly superior to anything available around the 7th century which adds to my confidence that this is bunk.


          Good thing the original authors decided they weren't really claiming that either, I think.

          • Anker

            There is a weird paralell thought stream around science in this country.

            During the height of the pandemic and the Parliament protests, rightly or wrongly people were condeming the anti vaxers as being science deniers and they and their views were treated with complete derision. We must follow the science and there is so much mis information around yada yada (and for the recored, I did follow what the science was able to tell us re the vaccines etc).

            But at the same time, ideas that have no scientific bases eg. the discovery of the Antarctic by Maori and the theories of people like Judith Butler (biological sex is a social construction) are taken as factual truth over which there should be no debate.

            We need to be very clear about which ideas have under gone rigourous testing and shown to be verifiable and which ideas haven't.

            • roblogic

              IMHO it's not just disinformation, is is also a matter of cognitive ability & the Dunning Kruger effect.

              Morality is a cognitive skill; it takes time to develop and mature. Kohlberg proposed a useful scale: from children needing firm rules, to adults, and then on to the abstract political and philosophical realm, where most humans simply have no idea what those (we) educated nerds are going on about.

            • Incognito

              We need to be very clear about which ideas have under gone rigourous testing and shown to be verifiable and which ideas haven't.

              The irony seems to be lost on you that you didn’t verify your own ideas about NZ dental care workforce.

              • Anker

                You are incorrect Incognito. I never claimed there wasn't a dental health workforce shortage.

                Someone raised it and my response was "Is there a crisis in workforce numbers in dentistry.? I didn't think so"

                (in other words before somebody mentioned it I hadn't thought there was). There is an emerging pattern of you picking at me (following on from about three weeks ago when you made personal attacks, which I asked to stop and you apologised for).

                It you want to disagree with my arguements that's fine, but if you continue to pick at me, the way you have of late, I will not be replying.

                • Incognito

                  Yes, I do think I am correct, in my approach to your comments.

                  You never attempted to check & verify the facts yourself because you’d already made up your mind. When others pointed out to you that there is in fact a staff shortage in NZ dental care you argued against it being an issue for the narrative that you were pushing here. Repeatedly.

                  When one ask a question immediately followed by:

                  I didn't think so.

                  It comes across as having answered the question already, with a negation. So, it does not come across as a genuine question.

                  If you had said something along the lines of this:

                  I don’t know about this. [present tense]

                  Then it would be much more like a true genuine question.

                  The fact that you keep coming back to your personal anecdata also suggests you’re resistant to accepting facts presented by others that don’t suit your own biased narrative.

                  I’ll keep picking on, or rather unpicking, your comments because evidently too many of your opinions are based on inaccurate information and/or lack the necessary foundation for robust debate, much of which can be avoided by a few simple fact-checks and a little research on Google beforehand. You don’t have to reply to my comments but that won’t get you off the hook.

            • Nic the NZer

              Not every department at university produces truth. I suspect the marketing department often considers it a handicap actually.

  6. bwaghorn 6

    Gees what's happening in other people circles with regards to COVID, I know 3 people who have tested positive this week, way more than at any other time in my smallish world, none will report it either if that's still a thing

    • weka 6.1

      I guess if it's in the community it will be spreading in the community. Especially if people aren't taking precautions.

    • Anker 6.2

      Bwagon I certainly know of cases and although not much is published we appear to be in a third wave.

    • Anne 6.3

      Go back to full time mask wearing is my advice bwaghorn. Cases are rising at a rapid rate in Australia. It will be only a matter of two to three weeks when it starts to climb rapidly here.

    • joe90 6.4

      Dropping like flies at my SO's work. A couple more who attended the week before last's super-spreader event and two who worked closely with event attendees.

      Occupants of the 90 household are testing daily.

    • Graeme 6.5

      There's a bit doing the rounds in Queenstown. In a builder's supply last week and watched a builder lamenting that he wasn't going to be ready for settlement at end of month because Covid was going through his crew. Cue polite expedient exit stage left of the group he was in who'd been who'd good gripe up to this guy's turn. Lots of wry smirks on those watching from afar and some of us had to go out to the yard for a bit.

      Also a courier outfit that got a bit behind because everyone was 'sick'

      Boxes of masks have appeared on counters too, and some wearing them. You don't get as much shit for wearing on now, a least from locals, visitors sometimes have a go but it's mostly having a dig at Queenstown

    • Entirely anecdata. But, just had a catchup with a wide-spread group of friends – centring on a friend who's been overseas during the whole Covid situation, and just returned – so lots of people from different spheres of her life. Approx 25 people there (outdoors – so much less risk of any infection) – but 5 people who had planned to be there were in isolation because of Covid. So a fairly high percentage affected.

    • Anker 6.7

      And two days later after your question about covid bwagon, it turns out the nasty flu I have is covid. Tested posted this morning as did my significant other

  7. joe90 7


  8. The shit show circus act, aka. "Twitter 2.0", aka "Elon's ego trip", aka "Oligarch trashes public discourse", aka "Re-enacting Enron"… finds a new low

  9. Thread: An excellent piss-take of Elon sycophants & their creepy bootlicky tweets

  10. weka 10

    thread. A sign of our times that this has only just been sorted out. Finally.

  11. Anker 11


    GPs having to launch a campaign to highlight their soul destroying plight.

    where’s Andrew Little

  12. Graeme 12

    Looks like it's Open Season at the National Party

    Next week could be interesting…

    • Incognito 12.1

      I believe that Luxon and his PR minions missed a golden opportunity by labelling them Labour camps. Or would the connotation go too far?

  13. weka 13

    Thread explaining Musk’s strategy.

  14. weka 14



  15. newsense 15

    Who is Chris Luxon and does he know?

    It’s interesting to see that there is a version of Chris Luxon who might have done better on the right of the Labour Party in a trade or tourism role. Or in a newly created role working with the private sector over climate change. Or perhaps Andrea Vance is gilding the lily too far.

    Luxon is trying to keep out ACT and NZ First to the right, but it’s hard to see his genuine self shining through. He can’t genuinely believe in boot camps, but it sells. Did he believe in tax cuts for the wealthy? Maybe to get party donations flowing. He is also politically indebted to the conservative and religious side of the National Party.

    Key was ruthless, he waited and allegedly nobbled both English and Brash. But he did an apprenticeship in a shadow finance portfolio and had time in parliament. Key had excellent instincts at attempting to outflank Labour to the left, at least in appearance, and to get himself on the podium as a problem solver, whose mana was seen as equal to Helen Clark’s during to the resolution to the so called ‘anti-smacking’ legislation. Key moved effortlessly between worlds- getting the love from the Queen or the Chinese leadership and also projecting satisfaction at home in a bach. He had no moral absolutes or awkward ties that surfaced. It made it hard for his opponents to pin him down and easy to like. He never attached himself to anything too controversial or disliked.

    Luxon may overcome the wobbles, but he was early anointed and has struggled to get out of tricky situations. He’s been pinned down in some unpopular policies, even if they’ve been backed away from. And as a CEO some have pointed out that he has to read the wind a bit less than a trader.

    But still the right fancy their chances and as a commentator noted poo-pooing Willis’ chances, any new candidate has to get buy in from all wings of the party, so change may be difficult to secure or unpalatable.

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