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Racist attack on marae living

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, June 25th, 2017 - 81 comments
Categories: blogs, racism, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , , , , , ,

Herald columnist Lizzie Marvelly

Marae are not slums. Interns are not slaves.

On Thursday morning, a Pākehā right-wing blogger said that foreign students that had been accommodated at a marae were staying in “slum accommodation”. Throughout that same day, the mainly US students who had applied to take part in an internship programme run by people associated with the Labour Party were described on social media as “slaves”.

Slaves. Living in slums.

When I read such characterisations, my eyebrows rose so high on my forehead that I was concerned they were about to revolt, liberate themselves, and disappear into my hair.

The problems with this story are numerous. The Labour Party became implicated in a scheme involving unpaid foreign interns when it has spoken out against the exploitation of immigrant students and workers. Concerns have been raised about the legality of such a scheme under both immigration and employment law. The students involved received an experience that was very different to what they expected. The list goes on. But the thinly-veiled glee behind the descriptions of slaves and slums betrays an ugly underbelly of New Zealand politics that slithers out from under a slimy rock everything three years. Come election time, there are people who will stop at nothing to land a blow on the party they most hate.

And somehow, inevitably, someone will aim a kick at Māori.

Insinuating that the conditions at a marae are “slum-like” is both deeply offensive and staggeringly privileged. It is galling to hear Awataha Marae characterised as such when the harsh reality is that historically many marae over the years fell into disrepair as Māori communities became more impoverished. Any “slum-like” conditions at marae (of which there was little substantial evidence at Awataha) were likely due to the harsh effects of colonisation and the many decades of oppressive Government policy that followed.

How’s that for a scandal?…

Read the whole piece on The Villainesse. It needed to be said.

81 comments on “Racist attack on marae living ”

  1. red-blooded 1

    Yeah, those early reports and the gleeful comments arising from them were pretty dismissive about communal living and betrayed a lack of understanding about marae life that was basically based on an assumption that the pakeha way is the right way. It’s clear that this was the attitude of some of the interns, but it’s also clear that plenty of them appreciated a chance to experience something different and were happy at the marae. Let’s just hope that this viewpoint is shared in the media too.

    • North 1.1

      “Let’s just hope that this viewpoint is shared in the media too.”

      You’ll be lucky. In the hearts of many (who’ve never been near a marae in all likelihood) marae are nothing more than plastic tiki frill……..to be acknowledged and shown off as it suits them, but not for real life. That’s the way most of the snotty, up-themselves, boys/girls of cafe society media will continue chatteringly to paint things. Of course. New Zealand harbours a normalised anti-Maori racism,

      • Anne 1.1.1

        “Let’s just hope that this viewpoint is shared in the media too.”

        Huh. Q&A have just done a hatchet job on Labour. A very good interveiw with Andrew Little, the content of which was totally ignored by the panel ( Josie Pagani , John Tamihere and Michelle Boag), who proceeded to repeat all the media created crap of the past few days. And this gem from Josie Pagani:

        Labour are hypocrites because they have been accusing foreign students of being the cause of the housing crisis and now they’re bringing them here to work for them.

        I kid you not. She said this.

        Edit: and an equally good interview by the chairman of the marae in question which immediately followed Littles’ interview, was completely ignored by the same panel.

        • newsense 1.1.1.1

          This infuriates me that this foul and poisonous woman is allowed to continue to work against progressive government in New Zealand. She is on RNZ, the Herald and TVNZ.

          Corbyn was able to avoid the wise punditcon. Not sure if this will be so possible in NZ.

          • Ed 1.1.1.1.1

            Bypass the media.
            Mandelson and other Blairites were given a lot of airtime there.
            They failed.

            Switch off.
            Pagani and the corporate media are both owned by billionaires.
            Listen to social and independent media and listen to people.

            • James 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Listen to people who only agree with you – isn’t that what you mean?

              • Ed

                No, I mean ignore the opinions of billionaires who own the media. Have you been paying attention to what has been happening in the UK?

                Now a question for you.
                What’s your view about us being ranked 34 out of 41 in the OECD for child wellbeing by UNICEF?

        • Johan 1.1.1.2

          Anne,
          “Labour are hypocrites because they have been accusing foreign students of being the cause of the housing crisis and now they’re bringing them here to work for them.”
          I was under the impression that Labour was against uncontrolled immigration which as we all know, has put a heavy strain on employment, housing, hospitals, roads etc, generally our infrastructure. Why put the emphasis on foreign students? When you quote a tiny part of what was said from the TV discussion you show your dishonesty and bias. Please correct me if I am wrong.

          • Anne 1.1.1.2.1

            Go back and listen to what the woman said! She accused Labour of hypocrisy and she specifically mentioned “foreign students”. That was a distorted claim designed to create a false impression of Labour’s intentions to “slow down the immigration levels until such a time as the infrastructure of the country can be increased sufficiently to cater for them”.

            As far as I know there is nothing about foreign students in that policy, nor is there a grain of relevance with that policy and what we now know were grossly over-egged claims about an internship programme.

            Josie Pagani has a long history of attacking the left and yet she claims to be part of the left. It’s time she was called out once and for all for her hypocrisy and dishonesty.

            • Bill 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Between 15 000 and 22 000 of the proposed reduction in work visas is ones currently available to oversea students

  2. dv 2

    It was only one? intern that had a moan?

  3. Stunned mullet 3

    Lizzie Marvelly … 🙄

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      …has made some good points, and you are incapable of substantive rebuttal.

      • Psycho Milt 3.1.1

        To be fair, defending the indefensible is a tough job. Mullet’s just making the most of the very limited options available.

        • marty mars 3.1.1.1

          I thought mullet did really really well, considering it probably took him an hour or so to think of it. A great effort worth a C.

        • Stunned mullet 3.1.1.2

          It is must be so distressing for Lizzie, in between her coq au vin and Pinot, being permanently outraged on behalf of those of us less politically enlightened.

          • weka 3.1.1.2.1

            So this is a class criticism?

            • Stunned mullet 3.1.1.2.1.1

              No it’s trolling

              • weka

                You’re trolling? And you’re telling a moderator that?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I think he might be forgetting Poe’s Law.

                  • weka

                    Beyond me sorry. It would be good if this didn’t turn into a derail of the thread though.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      …without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression of the parodied views…

                      I think Mullet’s comment is an attempt at parody regarding recent arguments about what constitutes trolling at The Standard, but without a smiley or some other such “indicator of intent”, it’s impossible to tell, hence Poe’s Law as quoted above.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Looks like you’re accusing LM of ‘virtue signalling’. Careful with those ‘alt-right’ arguments or who knows what you might end up defending.

              • Ed

                You always troll.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.2.2

            Yeah, you just keep giving a little bit.

            intolerance and overt attacks are on the rise

            The Human Rights Commission.

    • Ed 3.2

      Are you happy with our rating of 34 out of 41 for child wellbeing?

  4. barry 4

    ..and with the talk about “slave labour”. National had better not use volunteers in their campaign.

    • The Fairy Godmother 4.1

      The problem is they have so much money and rich donors that National could and probably does pay people to campaign for them. It’s a case of dirty politics. Making up a a fake story about a million dollar bottle of wine when National actually does it.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 4.2

      National will have highly Crosby Textor trained canvassers driving around in BMW’s

  5. saveNZ 5

    +1 “Insinuating that the conditions at a marae are “slum-like” is both deeply offensive and staggeringly privileged.”

  6. The Fairy Godmother 6

    My 17 year old daughter spent 10 days on the Spirit of New Zealand. They slept in hammocks 21 young women in one room and 21 young men in the other. They washed by jumping over the side of the boat each morning. She thinks it was a wonderful experience. She made lots of friends and would love to do it all again as a volunteer. She never complained about the substandard accommodation.

    • mary_a 6.1

      @ The Fairy Godmother (6) … oh dear, careful the Spirit of New Zealand could be labelled a slum/slave ship … (sarc).

      My son had the privilege of doing the same many years ago on the old Spirit of Adventure, an experience he fondly remembers. Hasn’t done him any harm.

    • lprent 6.2

      The marae sounds rather luxurious compared to my Army training back in the 1970s.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1

        School camp? Forget it.

      • greywarshark 6.2.2

        These people volunteering were seemingly mostly from the USA, were up for travel, adventure and new experience and learning about different culture, and about political campaign in a country other than their own. If they had been working for some minor party other than the big two, in the USA, they would have found themselves having to get down to hard work in meagre conditions there.

        For those who had feather bed conditions at home and lived on that astral plane, anything different would be a rude shock. And the younger NZ people that I meet often seem locked into the me-first approach and can only relate to middle class strata thinking. Simple marae living would not match their expectations, and good on those who have adapted and responded positively to the caring and concern shown to them. Learning about aroha will be their biggest and lasting experience.

      • Red 6.2.3

        Yep it’s all relative, just wish the left would apply the same logic I. use of nz poverty stats,

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.3.1

          NZ poverty stats are relative. Relative to the median wage, for example. Your problem is you deny them then whinge and wail when anyone notices.

  7. BM 7

    Looked like a bit of a dump from the pictures I saw.

    Slum was probably a bit harsh though, can’t say I’d be too happy to travel to the other side of the world on my own dime to work for free and have to live in those shitty conditions.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      I guess you probably shouldn’t volunteer for it then.

      • BM 7.1.1

        Depends on how it was promoted.

        By the looks of things, the reality didn’t quite match the hype, which is why this ended up in the media.

        The thing is we’ll probably struggle to find out the truth since they were all made to sign non-disclosure statements.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.1

          This “ended up n the media” months ago, when Hone Harawira criticised the program. It “ended up in the media” again as a way to distract from the problem of Bill English.

          …they were all made to sign non-disclosure statements.

          1. [citation needed] and
          2. A voluntary commitment to non-disclosure is hardly surprising given that they’re working on an election campaign. The agreements don’t seem to have covered their accommodation etc, as their blog posts attest.

          Go back and find some other lines.

        • dv 7.1.1.2

          By the looks of things, the reality didn’t quite match the hype, which is why this ended up in the media.\

          Ist the BRIGHTER FUTURE BM

        • Tricledrown 7.1.1.3

          The Marae’s response in the Media was kind and supportive.
          It put an end to the beat up.

      • “I guess you probably shouldn’t volunteer for it then.”

        OAB – deadly ripost!

        • In Vino 7.1.2.1

          Riposte, s’il vous plait. But you are right. No response from BM, not that I would want the boredom of seeing one.

    • greg 7.2

      privileged individualism elitism that you represent BM would not allow you to volunteer in fact you possible consider volunteers communists reds under the bed, not people who want a better world.thousand people volunteer for labour and the greens that is something that does your head in .how dare they undermine nationals me me me message. should voluntary work be made illegal ?????

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1

        Should accepting help or donations from overseas be illegal?

        What will National do without Crosby Textor and Lord Ashcroft?

    • Gabby 7.3

      May come as a shock but that’s how the proles live when they’re not tangling themselves in the drivetrain of your 4×4.

      • +1 Legit LOL Gabby

        In all seriousness, many of us ordinary peoples actually live our daily lives in those conditions or very similar. Marae-style living for such gatherings isn’t anything odd. Guess it just proves how out-of-touch some people are.

  8. red-blooded 8

    Then you’re not likely to sign up as an intern for a political movement, BM. The experience is bigger than the photos and the motivation isn’t self-interest. I think it’s a real pity that this has been portrayed in the way it has. Having said that, Little and Kieron have done absolutely the right thing to step up and take charge of sorting out any problems that did occur.

  9. ankerawshark 9

    Glad you are able to acknowledge that slum is a bit harsh. BM.

  10. The Chairman 10

    A little background on the Awataha Marae (see the clip for more).

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/shows/2017/06/tug-of-war-over-iconic-auckland-marae.html

  11. Karen 11

    Just to put this debate in context, it should be remembered that all the rightwing commentators using the slavery line are mates of one Rodney Hide (former Act leader and coalition partner for National) who wrote an article for the NBR saying slavery wasn’t so bad:

    https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/southern-slave-owner-vs-modern-democratic-state-lf-135202

  12. swordfish 12

    Herald columnist Lizzie Marvelly

    But the thinly-veiled glee behind the descriptions of slaves and slums betrays an ugly underbelly of New Zealand politics that slithers out from under a slimy rock …

    And somehow, inevitably, someone will aim a kick at Māori …

    Insinuating that the conditions at a marae are “slum-like” is both deeply offensive and staggeringly privileged.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox on the issue

    Labour had duped the young volunteers into coming to New Zealand … misleading them and putting them up in poor substandard accommodation

    “That is slave labour, not free labour, and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

    • marty mars 12.1

      What do YOU think?

      • swordfish 12.1.1

        I think that on Lizzie Marvelly’s terms … Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox is
        part of “an ugly underbelly of New Zealand politics”, is “slithering out from under a slimy rock”, is as bad as “a Pākehā right-wing blogger”, and by “insinuating that the conditions at a marae are “slum-like”” is “aiming a kick at Māori” and being both “deeply offensive and staggeringly privileged.”

        But enough about me … What on earth is YOUR take on things ?

        • weka 12.1.1.1

          It would be an odd reading of Marvelly’s post to think those generalisations you quote, based on observation of Pākehā responses to the issue, were aimed at Marama Fox. Including because I don’t think Fox called the marae a slum.

          But shame on Fox for her use of ‘slave labour’.

          • Richard McGrath 12.1.1.1.1

            Now is this a racist attack on Marama Fox, or were her comments about ‘slave labour’ racist, or is the generalisation about critics (of the Labour Party’s very awkward use of foreign labour) being Pakeha racist?

            • Richard McGrath 12.1.1.1.1.1

              …and would it be racist to criticise Hone Harawira for his call for the government to execute Chinese methamphetamine importers? Are drug dealers being racist by selling methamphetamine to non-Pakeha users? It’s all so confusing.

          • swordfish 12.1.1.1.2

            It would be an odd reading of Marvelly’s post ….

            No … I’m suggesting that if one objectively employs Marvelly’s criteria – Fox would deserve precisely the same critique.

            I don’t think Fox called the marae a slum.

            “Poor substandard accommodation” comes pretty close.

        • marty mars 12.1.1.2

          Thank you for your response. I still aren’t sure what you think but fair enough.

          I generally agree with lizzie but I don’t see it as Māori bashing. And I think marama went too hard too far.

          I do think Fox gave a -dismal- political response and as a Māori she should have been more careful in her language. Seems she just wanted to belittle labour.

          I haven’t heard much other Māori commentary on this which makes me think it is a nothing issue – which is what I think.

          • weka 12.1.1.2.1

            The slum/slave labour thing is a nothing issue, or Fox’s statements?

            • marty mars 12.1.1.2.1.1

              The Māori bashing by calling the accomodation slumish is a non issue imo.

              The whole intern issue is also a beat up to save English and a non issue imo.

              Fox’s statements are pathetic, wrong and offensive and just politics. Just reinforces my view that the Māori Party and Mana working together is never going to work. Not for me anyway.

  13. Stuart Munro 13

    I think there’s actually a parallel with the SNP and UK Labour, and the MP & NZ Labour.

    On policy, the SNP was closer to Corbyn’s Labour than any other party. But electorally that meant Labour could in principle wipe them out – so the SNP moved away from Labour & bagged them at every opportunity.

    That’s pretty much what the MP have been doing, trying to keep the separation that arose with the FSSB issue alive. If Maori roll voters distrust Labour, MP seats become safe.

    The MOU with Labour that ended their fratricidal competition with the Greens has thankfully ended that weakness. But the MP are facing an existential threat as their voters look at their lack of achievements. They’ll not be missing opportunities for cheap shots.

    • marty mars 13.1

      Good points.

      Bad blood and both sides get hurt by attacks the other makes on them.

      It is amazing to me how much damage the foreshore and seabed debarcle caused and still causes.

  14. Ethica 14

    I suspect most Nats have never been on a marae and have no idea about what it is like. But what a nice place for young volunteers from overseas to stay.

    I was also disappointed that Radio NZ news fell for the spin. They were quoting ‘dozens of complaints’ for about 24 hours as headline news when it was actually just one or two people and the story had racist undertones. So someone is feeding them anti-Labour information which they headlined uncritically. I expect this will happen regularly during the election campaign.

    Meanwhile Mike Hosking has open access for his right wing hate speak across multi media platforms including those state funded.

    • Anne 14.1

      I was also disappointed that Radio NZ news fell for the spin.

      I was too. Especially from John Campbell, but at least he had the grace to front a riposte from a couple of the young interns involved the following day.

  15. Richard McGrath 15

    “Come election time, there are people who will stop at nothing to land a blow on the party they most hate.”

    And you’ve only just realised this, Lizzie?

  16. The Real Matthew 16

    It’s little wonder Nationals vote had held up for 9 years.

    Lizzie “Miss Privilege” Marvelly is the personification of why mainstream voters tick National. I hope the Herald gives her more column space because her columns are the best advertisement National could ever have!

  17. peterlepaysan 18

    I agree that the whole intern marare story is a beat up by assorted interested chatterati.

    The story is, however ,not “A racist attack” on maori or marae.

    The headline to this post is misleading, furthering the descent of “racist” into a a meaningless epithet.

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