RIP Dr Ranginui Walker

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, February 29th, 2016 - 11 comments
Categories: history, Maori Issues - Tags:

As widely reported this morning:

Dr Ranginui Walker dies

Dr Ranginui Walker, the noted academic and writer on Māori issues, has died aged 83.

He was a leader in many of the debates and developments among Māori.

Dr Walker became secretary and later chairman of the Auckland District Māori Council, and was appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal in 2003.

An educator and historian, Dr Walker was also biographer of Sir Apirana Ngata and of the master carver Paki Harrison, and a commentator. His columns in the Listener ran for nearly 20 years. ….

11 comments on “RIP Dr Ranginui Walker”

  1. Karen 1

    This is a huge loss to NZ. A great man who did so much to educate Pākehā like me about Māori perspectives on NZ history and social issues.

    Aroha nui Ranginui – you will be missed

  2. Moe mai rā e te Rangatira

    A great man for all in this country – a man of great mana, a man of the people – he will be missed, he will be missed.

  3. Ad 3

    Awesome man who really led the charge.
    Such impressive, learned, focused rage that really achieved change.

  4. weka 4

    Ranginui Walker’s column in the Listener was inspiration and awakening for this Pākehā girl’s political coming of age in white suburbia in the 1980s. Hugely influential, it was like ‘wait, what?!’ moments after moments as he laid out Māori perspectives right in front of the Pākehā middleclass worldview and forced us to rethink what was really going on. I can’t find any of those articles online, hopefully some will be republished.

  5. Tautuhi 5

    RIP Ranginui Walker truely a great New Zealander, I am sure your Whakatohea people are proud of you and you will be remembered by many, both pakeha and maori.

    Another great totara has fallen.

  6. greywarshark 6

    The quote below from Dr Ranginui Walker shows the depth of his understanding and his determination to reveal to NZ what the true situation of Maori was rather than the misty or confused myths.

    In an article from NZ Herald about his 1990 book calling attention to lack of commitment to dealing fairly with Maori:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=8500602
    “He thought he had finished revising his 14-year-old best-selling Maori history Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou — Struggle Without End at the end of last year but “then in the New Year Don Brash opens his mouth in his Orewa speech”. The anthropological doctor was “so pissed off” with the economic one that he reopened the book.

    “What really angered me was here was a really privileged white man who has a narrow view of reality — he’s a money man, a banker — and he doesn’t know what’s going on and he pronounces things like ‘no race-based funding in universities’,” says Walker, 72. “He doesn’t begin to understand why those quotas are there … I have no time for privileged people who take advantage of their privileged position to attack the weakest people in our society.”

    …The foreshore and seabed thing will not go away … and that’s why the struggle without end goes on,” he says.

    Although he’s not as forthcoming with his opinion of the Government as he is about Brash, he does say that Maori feel nothing has changed since the 19th century — the “colonial mindset” of those with political power is still the same. “I’m sure Clark and the Attorney-General know they shouldn’t be doing it [passing legislation that puts the foreshore and seabed under Crown ownership] but it’s their political life that depends on it.”

    For most of the book, Walker — who is often asked by both Maori and Pakeha to autograph copies of the first edition — explains and dissects potentially explosive subjects in a non-confrontational, clinical style. But the man who says he was once identified as a “pointy-headed intellectual radical” just can’t keep his combative side down. He describes the Holmes Show as “particularly culpable of hyping up racial angst to keep ratings up” and as especially fond of the words “taxpayer’s money”. “That’s code for ‘Maori shouldn’t be having this’,” says Walker.

    Sir Doug Graham, former Minister of Treaty Negotiations, comes in for some scathing treatment. “Doug Graham just threw money at it to get what he wanted,” says Walker, of the unsuccessful Government negotiation with his own iwi, Whakatohea. “He wept at the signing of the Sealords deal and the Tainui deal — he was making history. Well he spat the dummy on us. He was the great white chief, the great white father.” (Walker’s latest project, which he has been researching for two years, will be a history of Whakatohea.)

    But political machinations aside, Walker is far from doom and gloom in Struggle Without End. Much of the new text charts “the most powerful cultural renaissance in the history of a colonised people in the world”. The list of cultural achievements includes the whare wananga, the revival of traditional Maori martial arts, ta moko and music, and the entry of Maori words into everyday English usage, as well as lesser-known but equally impressive stories of Maori entrepreneurship.

    And to those who do not know all or anything about Whakatohea.
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te_Whakat%C5%8Dhea

  7. Grindlebottom 7

    A great man. Great dignity. Whenever he spoke he had something valuable to impart. He was worth listening to. RIP and thank you.

  8. greywarshark 8

    He mentions Sir Douglas Graham. I wonder if Dr Ranginui Walker was ever offered a knighthood. He deserved it far more than many of the other knights.

  9. left for deadshark 9

    Very sad news, that was a great man. peace to his family

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