Morgan Godfery is the writer of the excellent Maui Street blog which gave a real inside view into Maori politics. He has resurrected the blog and made it subscriber based. For the modest amount of $60 per year his analysis will go straight to your inbox as well as being available online.
His example of seeking financial recompense is not unusual. Blogging is a rather intense hobby, demanding that you are on top of current events but also understand the history of issues. Good bloggers are concise but also comprehensive, and able to describe complicated events simply. Morgan is one of the best bloggers in my view and is also able to offer an insight into Maori politics that few are capable of providing.
His skill at describing current events and also providing historical perspective and the absolutely vital whakapapa background is elegantly captured in the first paragraph of his latest post:
For students of Māori politics, this is worth remembering: land reforms end even the best careers. “Toitū he kāinga, whatu ngarongaro he tangata.” The land remains when the people disappear. Criticism over Āpirana Ngata’s land reforms forced his resignation from the ministry in 1934, the end of an otherwise glittering career in law and politics. Matiu Rata walked away from Labour over compromises his leader, the so-so Bill Rowling, sought in Māori policy, including compromises over the Waitangi Tribunal’s power to return stolen land. The mere act of proposing changes to the Māori Land Act helped put Te Ururoa Flavell out of the job at the last election, and the so-called #ArdernConfiscation could make Flavell’s successor, Labour’s Tāmati Coffey, a one-termer.
Or so the Māori Party thinking goes. The party’s national executive is meeting next week and some of the big chiefs are keen to confirm Rawiri Waititi, an ex-Labour candidate, as their man in Waiariki in 2020. This is inspired. Waititi is a leader in Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, a ‘tūturu’ iwi at Waiariki’s edges, and a politician in the best tradition of Dame Tariana Turia. In other words, he left Labour on a principle. In his words, “mana motuhake”. There are very few theoretical candidates who could defeat a Labour incumbent – could Flavell do it again, or even Annette Sykes? – except Waititi, a bloke who learned at the foot of Dame June Mariu. Former MPs Tuku Morgan and Tau Henare were his neighbours. Former Labour Minister John Tamihere is his father-in-law.
His description of Lauren Southern in an earlier post is also exquisite:
Southern’s world tour arrives in Auckland this evening, an “alt-lite” treat for the country’s exceedingly small fascist scene. We can expect Southern’s greatest hits. In the UK she marched through Luton handing out leaflets reading, among other things, “Allah is gay,” the adult equivalent of drawing a dick in the school toilets. In Australia she turned up in Lakemba, a supposedly “sharia-ruled” suburb in Sydney, asking “do you see many British pubs?”
The locals pointed her across the road to the Lakemba Hotel, where VB’s Aussie green is plastered over the front wall…
His blogging model is an interesting one, indicative that blogging is not for the faint hearted and to make a proper go of it you have to have some way to at least replace income otherwise lost. I hope he succeeds and that it provides him with the head space to write more often.
Various models already exist in New Zealand’s blogosphere. Richard Harman’s Politic provides timely insider analysis of recent events and is also on a subscriber basis. Russell Brown’s Publicaddress and Stephanie Rogers Bootstheory (haven’t seen any recent posts) both rely on Presspatron crowd funding. I am not aware how this is working out.
Of the big political blogs Kiwiblog has this appalling mess of advertising which push such relevant merchandise as introductions to potential brides from the Ukraine. Whaleoil is one awful mess of clickbait. Neither site strike the sense of fear that used to be caused in the past. And the Daily Blog, which relies on financial support from various unions, is getting into some weird places although they did show sense in not posting this particularly weird piece by Chris Trotter about how multiculturalism is bad.
And here at the Standard we are trucking along, thanks mainly to the generosity and commitment of lprent. Unlike the other blogs it is a very low cost model and provides a sense of freedom no other blogs have.
We could use a couple of more writers. I suspect that a new theme and a refresh would be helpful. And it might be time to consider a Paetron model and a possible use for the resources. Perhaps the occasional video interview, something that Bradbury was not too bad at but which has since disappeared.
Looking forward to reading your thoughts.