- Date published:
7:03 am, June 25th, 2017 - 79 comments
Categories: blogs, racism, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: Awataha Marae, interns, lizzie marvelly, Maori, marae, racism, the villainesse
Herald columnist Lizzie Marvelly
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.
Also, I wrote a little something after feeling pretty angry to see a marae characterised as a slum. https://t.co/5AB6lgeSEQ
— Lizzie Marvelly (@LizzieMarvelly) June 23, 2017
The Labour Party's campaign interns are giving glowing reviews of their marae accommodation https://t.co/SIiSJdcvGT
— Newshub Politics (@NewshubPolitics) June 24, 2017