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Water and cultural values

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, October 8th, 2016 - 60 comments
Categories: capitalism, Conservation, disaster, Economy, Environment, farming, maori party, national, sustainability, water - Tags: , , ,

 October 8 – 10th is four International Days of Prayer and Action with Standing Rock on stepping up as Protectors of Water. Background and ways to take part are outlined here. This post is in support of that. 

Choose Clean Water and Action Station are currently running a campaign on clean water in the run up to presenting a petition and speaking to the Select Committee next week. There’s some good work being done here (follow the links, they’re all ways to take part), and it’s part of a larger movement in NZ to regain meaningful water standards. The main message from this movement is that instead of the National Government’s ‘wadeable’ standard, we want our rivers and lakes to be swimmable. On the face of it a laudable proposition.

Let’s start making some connections here. ‘Swimmable’ means you don’t expect to drink the water, otherwise the standard and the message would be ‘drinkable’. When I was growing up in the 70s, we swam in the local rivers, but we also drank from them. No-one even thought about this, it was a given. These were rivers bounded for the most part by sheep and beef farmland. When we went to the river it wasn’t just to swim, it was to relax and enjoy, be in nature, connect with places we loved, hang out, and all of that usually involved eating and drinking. We took food but we didn’t take water with us, we drank from the rivers.

A culture that doesn’t expect to drink from the rivers, has to carry water with it. For us at this time, that usually means plastic bottles. For many people, that is commercially bottled water.

On the other side of this is the intensification of farming and horticulture, particularly but not only industrial dairying. We’ve watched for more than a decade as our waterways become so polluted that we can no longer safely interact with many of them. Thus in 2016 we have the situation in Havelock North where two people have died, at least two people have ended up with serious, long term chronic illness and disability (that count is likely to be higher), and thousands of people have been made ill during a Campylobacter outbreak stemming from the town water supply. Good old clean green New Zealand’s rock star economy reaches dizzying new heights.

Meanwhile Havelock North local authorities sell access to the best water from the region at a minimal price to commercial, foreign-owned interests who bottle it and send it overseas. They also give them a hefty employer subsidy. The council doesn’t know how much water is there or what the impact will be, but it does know the aquifer has been slowly dropping over the last 20 years.

But it’s all just a mistake right? We can have industry and a rock star economy and clean water, if we just apply ourselves better. Let’s blame the government (local and national), and just reset the standards to something better and all will be well. We can always sell our water for a better price, and find the sweet spot between extraction and ecosystem collapse, that’s management.

There is something very wrong with this picture. It’s the cultural values that see water primarily as a resource to be managed, whether that’s for commerce or recreation. Waterways have no intrinsic value. Water is there for our use and if we manage it right then all will be well, as if we have ever been smart enough to know how to manage it right. But a culture that doesn’t expect to drink from the rivers will also not look after them to a standard that supports the ecosystem that the water itself is dependent on. Water is life not just because we need to drink it, but because everything we have depends on the environment we live in being healthy and sustaining itself over time. The Standard commentor Roy Cartland,

Wade-able, swimmable, drinkable: these are all standards lower than what most fish can survive at. Just because an adult human can drink it, does not mean an ecosystem can survive in it. We need higher standards than any party is promoting.

(I got all that and more from Mike Joy’s lecture.)

Let’s look at a different set of values. The Māori Party alone say fresh water should be safe to drink, swim in, and gather kai from. In their policy on water they frame it as a taonga.

Water – Te Mana o Te Wai

The Māori Party established Te Mana o Te Wai – the health and well-being of our water – as a driving policy for freshwater management. The three elements of Te Mana o Te Wai are:

te hauora o te wai – the health and mauri (quality and vitality) of water

te hauora o taiao – the health and mauri of the environment and

te hauora o te tangata – the health and mauri of the people.

The Māori Party want to “ensure that Te Mana o Te Wai remains as the overarching objective for freshwater management”.

Leaving aside issues of the Māori Party’s dilemma in supporting National (please, not in this conversation), what would it look like if NZ decided that the mana of the water was the guiding principle not just for all decisions but for the very relationship we have with water itself?

60 comments on “Water and cultural values ”

  1. Sacha 1

    What would it look like? We would have spent the last half-century investing in smart, high-value, sustainable industries instead of trashing our environment and locking our low-wage economy into a reliance on extractive exports like milk powder, logs and coal.

    How we wind back that model and make up for the decades of wasted opportunities for change is a huge challenge. Removing the current govt is only a start.

  2. There’d be no disposal of sewerage to water for starters. Soil and the microscopic life that sails in her is the most suitable vehicle for receiving humanure. Rivers are not, nor are oceans, lakes lagoons or estuaries.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      I’ve always considered the best option for sewage is to treat and then dump it on our forests and let nature take care of it. Keep it up in the high country and the natural fertiliser will flow down on to the farms removing the need for artificial fertilisers.

      Of course, we would probably need more extensive forests than we have and a fairly massive decrease in farms.

      • …”dump it on our forests…”
        Er, yes. Native forests have an efficient nutrient cycle going on that might not respond well to the addition of humanure en masse, but production forests could benefit. Mind you, the amount of bird poo that isn’t falling on the present-day native forest floor, compared to earlier times when kakapo, moa, kiwi and takahe wandered at will, is significant, so perhaps…
        Really though, humanure should go back into the food cycle – energy out, energy in; market gardens, orchards, grain fields – wherever we get our food from 🙂

        • Draco T Bastard

          Native forests have an efficient nutrient cycle going on that might not respond well to the addition of humanure en masse, but production forests could benefit.

          I’m sure that even the native forests would simply take care of it. It’s just food for them after all.

          We’d have to be careful as to how much we dropped where. Simply dumping it on one hill top wouldn’t work but across all them would.

          Really though, humanure should go back into the food cycle – energy out, energy in; market gardens, orchards, grain fields – wherever we get our food from

          Putting it on the forests does put it back in the food cycle.

          • Stuart Munro

            It’s not just dealing with the decay cycle we should consider – phoshates are more limited than petroleum – we shouldn’t be pissing them away.

        • marty mars

          there are cultural aspects to consider regarding humanure – the restrictions were developed over time for very good reasons. Personally when I did our house for 4 or so years the stuff goes into a drum and sits there for a year of so and then gets put around non-food trees and plants.

          • Robert Guyton

            Marty – yes, a stand-off period is necessary and overhead application to vegetables not recommended. Digging in the matured manure is the best way. And as with most things, organic/unadulterated is best 🙂

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Thanks for this post Weka.

    What Sacha said. I reckon the Greens should steal the Māori Party’s policy.

  4. Foreign waka 4

    Clean Water – you can live without food for about 3 weeks, without water maybe 1 week depending on age, health condition.
    This is not an issue of who lays claim, this is an issue of survival. Not just for the individual but for the country in every conceivable way.
    So lets stop these talk fests, academically sectioning of opinions and demand the basic human right to be able to survive in the true sense of the word. This ought to be the standard, full stop, no discussions about wadeable or whatever.
    I have been recently to the south island and the waterways are being deliberately and by neglect (yes, and I repeat deliberately) contaminated. Rivers coming from the snow capped mountains and what do I see? Beer cans, rubbish, car batteries (!) which we took out of the water, nappies etc. – and further down the slope, cattle galore. Surrounding forests – I looked around and low and behold, rubbish everywhere. I mean, in the most unsuspected places.
    I really belief the average NZlander is not really interested – NIMBY, if there is no buck to be had, just let it go to rot.
    Meanwhile on planet political correct, we have now legislation that we wont have any pests by year x. Well, maybe they should add some humans to those.

  5. weka – how can people who don’t understand what “mauri” means or is, subscribe to a management system that uses that as a pivot around which behaviour is expected? In other words, can modern athiests with no knowledge of that particular tikanga Maori be expected to “get it”? I’ve sat at council tables where “Te Mana o te Wai” has been presented and heard the Gongs of Incomprehension ringing loudly.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      In other words, can modern athiests with no knowledge of that particular tikanga Maori be expected to “get it”?

      I’m pretty sure you’ll find that the average atheist is more than willing to go on the facts.

      The problem seems to be those who worship at the altar of Mammon: National, ACT, The Peter Dunne Party and even Labour to a large degree. These types ignore the facts so as to protect profit and privilege.

      • You’re right, Draco; I chose my word carelessly. Monothiests too, are perhaps unlikely to be able to conceive of the meaning of a polythiestic concept such as “mauri”. I wonder if it’s only the animists who can grasp what is meant and therein lies the conumdrum. I think “we” glibly nod with understanding when terms like “mana”, “tapu” and “mauri” are used, but do we modern New Zealanders really grasp the ideas?
        In any case, spending some time lying beside a pristine mountain stream, watching the fishes rise to catch tiny flies should be enough to reveal to any observer what is at risk here. In the lowlands though, a day spent beside the river would be a very sobering experience to anyone moved by a mountain stream contemplation.

        • weka

          how can people who don’t understand what “mauri” means or is, subscribe to a management system that uses that as a pivot around which behaviour is expected?

          That’s certainly the question I was left with after writing the post 🙂

          I think some of the answer to that is in your last paragraph. I’ve had interesting conversations with avowed atheists who spend a lot of time in the wilderness and when I listen to them talking about their experiences I hear descriptions of ‘spiritual’ experiences. They just think about them in different terms and because they have a belief system that rejects the spiritual, the experience gets defines in ways that take us away from being able to talk about it.

          And not just atheists, I think it happens across the board, where people either don’t think about it in that way, or don’t talk about it out loud or in public very much because they don’t want to sound weird.

          I put the word spiritual in commas because that’s also part of the problem, Roy has raised it elsewhere – mainstream Pākehā don’t have the language or daily concepts to talk about this easily. The deeper discussions get pushed to the margins. But I do believe that many, many Pākehā also experience the mauri of things and places but just don’t think about it in that way and lack avenues of shared expression.

          Many Pākehā also feel deeply about what is happening to water in NZ, and again lack avenues for taking action, although I tend to think there is more choice involved in that and it’s time we got over it. Culture is a strong inhibiting force at times.

  6. save nz 6

    Great post. Wish the political parties would concentrate a bit more on the destruction and/or sale of our water and our waterways. It’s shocking how Kiwis have to pay for drinking water through water rates, or bottled water while the council and government sells off the rights and allows wide spread pollution of it.

    Even worse people now are not able to interact with water and nature in the same way which destroys the next and current generations relationship and human and environmental rights with water. The waterways sustain life and without it, the ecosystem will die, destroying life with it.

  7. Two days ago, Frenchman Theo Rohfritsch arrived at Bluff, completing his 20 country cycling campaign for global clean water access. I met him there, shook his hand and listened to his stories from his journey. Lovely bloke. Here’s the report by our local journalists.


  8. Nice post. imo the concept of kaitiakitanga encompasses protection, guardianship and maintenance of mauri and mana. Those are manifested by the vitality, variety and abundance of nourishment (of all kinds) derived from, say the waterway. Those aspects reflect the mana of the people who are kaitiaki. It is a loop – the people maintain the waterway, the waterway provides, the mana of the people is increased, the mana of the waterway is increased, the ability to provide manaakitanga is increased and so on. The mana and mauri of the waterway is indistinguishabe from the mana and mauri of the people though they are seperate and distinct. This is the interaction, the connection, the interrelationship between the two (in this case ) entities. The same conception works with leaders and people.

    The state of our waterways reflects the state of the people – fix one of those in a tika way and the other will be sorted too.

    • weka 8.1

      Thanks marty, that’s such a powerful description. I especially like the last sentence.

  9. roy cartland 9

    Excellent post. I guess I should eat some of my words, having been quoted, and thank you for steering toward the Maori Party policy.

    As many seem to have commented, what this would look like is a change in cultural attitudes. Language has a lot to do with this – recognising a water body’s ‘life’ or ‘spirit’ will instantly be derided by the likes of big mouths like Bob Jones, Brash et al because they are unable to understand that anything can have a value outside economics.

    An advantage we have is that we have the Maori language to take some of the ‘airy-fairy’-ness out of words like ‘spirit’, ‘life-force’, etc: kaitiakitanga, mauri, mana, taonga should all become a central part of the political discourse without English translation. The onus is then for those who don’t understand to learn about it before they can engage.

    Incomprehension maybe – but re-learning about water’s intrinsic, non-financial, value is what needs to happen. It should start with language.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      An advantage we have is that we have the Maori language to take some of the ‘airy-fairy’-ness out of words like ‘spirit’, ‘life-force’, etc: kaitiakitanga, mauri, mana, taonga should all become a central part of the political discourse without English translation. The onus is then for those who don’t understand to learn about it before they can engage.


    • RedLogix 9.2

      Mostly +1 roy.

      Still the fault does not lie with words like “spirit” or “life force”. It lies with the neo-liberal madness which insisted we were all ‘economic rational actors’ with no such thing as a soul.

    • Foreign waka 9.3

      Every culture on this planet has held water in special regard – because every human being with normal functioning senses will know that it means life – in any language and over thousands of years. To imply that this can only be conveyed in Maori is an insult to all other cultures who might use terms that seem to you “airy fairy”. By extension, if I may add, using indigenous language might increase the marketability and hence achieve the opposite: making a taonga a commodity (i.e Waiwera)

      • All cultures haven’t held water in equally high regard, Foreign waka, hence the problems we now face. Our present modern culture here in NZ is failing to hold water in special regard, as the quality of our water attests.

        • Foreign waka

          Well, all cultures have in their past held special regard for water, i.e the Ganges for Indians, the Nile for Egyptians, the Tigris for the Persians, the Po for the Etruscan’s etc… water is seen as life giving, cleansing and even used in meditation. Over the millennia it has and does hold the same appreciation by most people.
          Unfortunately, commerce has now taken over all facets of life and in the same way as we ignore gen modification and the ramification of the supply of food, the same is now underway with water. The way we treat water on the farms, in the environment etc (see my previous post) could make one cry – honestly. When a pristine river will carry 1080 because it is strewn out nily willy over days (fact) without a second thought of the consequences down stream, I feel despair. The constant depletion of water tables lead to salination on contamination of the very drinking water as we have seen in Hawkes Bay.

      • Incognito 9.3.2

        The etymology of “water” is most interesting.

    • weka 9.4

      “I guess I should eat some of my words, having been quoted, and thank you for steering toward the Maori Party policy.”

      I think your quote and the Mp policy sit side by side (and demonstrate values from different cultures).

      An advantage we have is that we have the Maori language to take some of the ‘airy-fairy’-ness out of words like ‘spirit’, ‘life-force’, etc: kaitiakitanga, mauri, mana, taonga should all become a central part of the political discourse without English translation. The onus is then for those who don’t understand to learn about it before they can engage.

      Incomprehension maybe – but re-learning about water’s intrinsic, non-financial, value is what needs to happen. It should start with language.

      Nice. That’s what I’m thinking too. The dominant (Pākehā) culture doesn’t have the language or concepts via language to get beyond swimmable. I think many Pākehā do in fact have a deeper relationship with nature but we lack the ways to talk about it in the mainstream. Probably a result of the cultural suppression in our own past.

      • RedLogix 9.4.1

        The dominant (Pākehā) culture doesn’t have the language or concepts via language to get beyond swimmable.

        I agree that in the past few decades it has been suppressed, but certainly the trampers, hunters and anglers I meet in the outdoors understand exactly what we are talking about here. They typically may not be very eloquent about it .. but they do know.

        • weka

          Quite. It’s there in the culture, but we don’t have the expression of it because of the lack of language and concepts (see my comment elsewhere in the thread about that).

          I think the reason we don’t have that expression is because of the European past of it’s own colonisation that suppressed indigenous understanding. It’s still there because it’s innate inhumane, and we have the remnants of it in Pākehā culture, but I’m guessing the reason why we’ve stood by for 2 decades and watched the situation get so bad is because we aren’t supposed to talk about it.

  10. Brendon Harre 10

    I like this article because it goes from looking at ‘what’ to do -announce a target on water quality to ‘why’ we should do it -it is part of our cultural values (or should be). I think if the ‘what’ and ‘why’ are more carefully explained then it creates a bigger movement for change and then the ‘how’ becomes more effective.

    National have been very good at periodically producing nice sounding ‘whats’ -predator free by such and such date, exports as a % of the economy up by such and such date, house prices should be 4 times median incomes by another date etc. But quite light on the ‘why(s)’ and useless on the ‘how’ -the implementation. It seems for the right failing to deliver on the ‘how’ is not important.

    So in my view, we on the left should be debating these sort of ‘why’ articles but also considering the next step the ‘hows’.

    Something I have played around with in my head is a young adult ‘Conservation Core’-something that would be loosely modeled off some combination of the Territorials, Civil Defence and Outward Bound but with the task of achieving conservation goals. I would imagine a reasonably modest sum from central government -say $100m, would go along way in activating and resourcing young people in an organised way to work on the ‘how’.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      National have been very good at periodically producing nice sounding ‘whats’ -predator free by such and such date, exports as a % of the economy up by such and such date, house prices should be 4 times median incomes by another date etc. But quite light on the ‘why(s)’ and useless on the ‘how’ -the implementation. It seems for the right failing to deliver on the ‘how’ is not important.

      That’s because they’re not interested. It’s just a sound bite that will help them get re-elected and not something to be actually enacted or fulfilled.

  11. Siobhan 11

    To imply that National and its friends regard Water as something as valuable as a ‘Resource’ is an unwarranted compliment.
    For them Water is another Commodity, to be traded away as quickly and cheaply as possible.
    Ultimately self defeating and arguably criminally insane, but that’s how they roll.

  12. Jenny 12

    The other issue at Standing Rock, is of course, climate change.


    Jill Stein of the American Green Party takes a more direct and principled approach.

    “Ajamu and I will continue to mobilize support for immediate action on climate change and to respect Native American treaties and the rights of indigenous people…”

    “……among the first steps I would take would be instruct all federal agencies to respect the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples and seek the full and informed consent of indigenous communities. “
    Jill Stein US Green Party leader and US presidential candidate


    [As you know full well telling lies about authors is a bannable offence. I am writing a series of posts over 4 days. Read the post, follow the links, and you will see that I have already talked about climate change as a central part of what is happening at Standing Rock. You also appeared to miss the ironical tag in the current post. Banned site wide for a week for knowingly telling lies when you have been warned about this multiple times by multiple moderators over multiple conversations in the past. If you ever pull this shit again under one of my posts I will give you a lengthy ban without warning. – weka]

  13. RedLogix 13

    Love reading your posts weka. They bring a wonderful balance to The Standard.

    I’ve long maintained that NZ’s ‘clean and green’ meme was merely an artifact of our low population. That in fact we were such poor managers of our land that long before we hit a fraction of the population densities common in Europe, we would be in deep shit. Literally.

    But sitting about ‘railing how shit it all is’ isn’t going to help.

    How often, sweating and toiling along some rough track, or tussocky spur, have I come across a flow of the purest, sweetest water. Crouching down awkwardly under a pack, or slinging it off, scooping with cupped hands, or a metal mug. Sucking it down greedily, fearlessly with both and adult gratitude and a childish delight. Then standing up over stiffened knees to let the cool damp hollow seep over and through the senses, the soul.

    And at that instant the primal connection is laid bare, that here is the root of all things, all life that mostly we cover over with technology and tat. In those crystal moments is a glimpse of life’s energy, it’s mystery, if you want to look.

    The taonga is still there. It’s just retreated back up into the high country, waiting for us to welcome it back down into the cool braided rivers, the gentle shaded swimming holes and shingle banks where children can splash freely again.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      I’ve long maintained that NZ’s ‘clean and green’ meme was merely an artifact of our low population.

      Yep, learned that one in the 1990s from my nephew. I’ve extended it a bit since then as I’ve come to the conclusion thatfarmland is traditionally seen as ‘good’ and so being mostly farmland that to as been added into the clean and green image when it should be indicative that we’re destroying our land.

      There’s no way that you’d want to drink from a stream on a farm.

      • RedLogix 13.1.1

        There’s no way that you’d want to drink from a stream on a farm.

        Generally a wise idea, though the runoff from ruminants on hill country land isn’t too bad. Many times you’d get away with it with drinking it.

        It’s human shit that’s really dangerous.

    • weka 13.2

      Apparently you do have the language and concepts 😀

      The only thing I would add is that we also need to be with the rivers in our backyards so to speak. The Leith in Dunedin, the Avon in Chch, the Waihopai in Invercargill are three good examples of city rivers that are still beautiful and that we can connect with. They’ve been treated badly but they are still there.

      “Love reading your posts weka. They bring a wonderful balance to The Standard.”

      Thanks for that Red, the encouragement is welcome.

  14. Takere 14

    It is interesting when an important issue like fresh water and the environment pop up. The word “Maori” is thrown into the conversation. Some believe this can add some weight to the argument?

    “Iwi entities run by the same rules as any capitalistic business venture, however, I think some iwi do make the environment & environmental issues a “Business Prerogative – Tenet”, but many people (maori & non maori) use this broad sweeping assumption and think that we all do. This is wrong to assume this as many of us already know that as a private entity,on the balance sheet, the first objective is profitability.

    The Maori Party’s position on this issue and any other is purely lip service. If they were the big – swinging – dicks in the room after the Cabinet meeting. Why is Poverty, Health & Education, homelessness are still major issues?

    We hear from them about the $452m/yr (including compounding sums of what wasn’t spent the previous year) of gains been won for the “Brown Ministry, Te Puni Kokiri.” But where does that go and what are the results, bang for bucks?
    Oh that’s right, there aren’t measures for the difficult “tasks.”

    With 30m Sheep & 7m Cows. That’s a lot of shit!
    What happened in 2010 when IRD had failed to collect the “Herd Tax” since 1987 of $8.8bn from all of these farmers, they cancelled it! Left them off the hoof! (Hook!)
    $8.8bn would of been a fund & a great way to address this issues!

    Get rid of these clowns and their crony’s coalition partners!

    • weka 14.1

      I agree with a lot of that Takere. The tricky thing about writing this post is that the only party in parliament who had an actual written policy that matched what I was talking about was the Mp, and there are IMO pretty clear cultural reasons for that.

      So yes, great irony, but I tend to think that that irony reflects much about the situation we are in. If we look at how Māori have had to struggle to regain so many things, and still have to struggle, and especially politically if we look at how the Mp came into being (via Labour and the Foreshore and Seabed Act), then there are hard truths there too about the consequences of Pākehā culture and the decisions that Māori will make. This doesn’t excuse the Mp for their sins, nor corporate Iwi, but as a Pākehā I find it hard to condemn them given that the Pākehā system still basically says be like us or you’re fucked (happy to condemn the actions though where appropriate).

      I don’t know if the Mp are paying lip service to their water policy. I still think there is a possibility that they will be part of the left forming the next government, and I would welcome that in part because of that policy.

  15. Incognito 15

    Good post, thank you.

    Water is life

    Indeed it is, literally, when you consider that the first part of our life cycle we develop whilst floating in water and our bodies are composed of mainly water. We have specialised organs and tissues (cells) to maintain the high quality of our bodily fluids (water) and preserve the equilibrium that not only sustains life but also allows us to optimally function and perform.

    I cannot understand why some people are so blasé about water and the environment.

  16. In case anyone is interested, I was re-elected to the Southland Regional Council today – our focus for the next triennium?

  17. Ad 17

    I like this post as a political sympathy. But that’s it.

    I just find it too hard to imagine such an alternative world occurring in our local, regional, or central political orders, ever.

    I was listening to Minister Smith getting ready to roll over out aquaculture regulations, and I thought, yup: doubling down.

    We’re so far gone re fresh water it’s too hard to re-imagine with a fresh set of positive ideas. The RMA reforms will go through with Maori Party support. Too damn hard.

    • RedLogix 17.1

      I just find it too hard to imagine such an alternative world occurring in our local, regional, or central political orders, ever.

      The thing is Ad … I don’t. I can well imagine it. I’m not just saying this to naysay you.

      At one stage of my life I was shown that human nature is not a fixed thing, forever brute and greedy. It is instead a palette of light and dark, and we … collectively … choose the pictures we create. Sorry if that seems hopelessly naive, but I assure you it is not.

      • Robert Guyton 17.1.1

        I strongly support what you have said there, RedLogix.
        Where I’m sitting, Ad’s “alternative world” is becoming more and more apparent and as this post is (in part) about words, language and the power they hold, I say, speak it and it will become real (what are wordsworth?). And yes, they are doubling down, but that was always on the cards. We just have to treble up 🙂

        • weka


          For me, I can’t not imagine it.

          • Ad

            And life without utopians like you would suck.
            But currently, leftie life sucks.

            • weka

              Interesting. I wouldn’t think of myself as a utopian (especially as at the political level I’m a pragmatist). I suppose belief systems have a lot to do with it, and those are informed by our experiences and what we perceive happening.

              I get the sense you’ve been quite disillusioned in the past year or so. I can’t function effectively if I focus too much on how bad things are (which is not the same as being in denial, I still know what’s going on). So always looking for where things are working as well. And where the potential is.

              I’m a leftie in terms of political life in places like ts, but I more identify with deep green politics and indigenous politics, and I’m more and more interested in post-left progressive politics and what that means. All those take a different approach so that it’s not as bleak as one might think if looking through a left-wing lens. Indigenous peoples in particular take the long view.

      • Draco T Bastard 17.1.2

        At one stage of my life I was shown that human nature is not a fixed thing, forever brute and greedy.


        Same applies to culture. It shifts and changes and we can affect those changes.

      • Ad 17.1.3

        It’s good to have people like you around.

        • RedLogix

          Likewise mate. It’s a terrible cliche, but it really does take all sorts to make it work.

          My vision for The Standard is for it to be a place where a healthy diversity of pro-left, life-affirming ideas could find expression.

          Coming to Australia it was immediately noticeable how much more diverse the media is here. Not just a still strong public broadcaster, but across the commercial media there is decent range. Much, much healthier.

          The Standard will always see shades of opinion jostling for position. Open scrutiny and challenge is essential, and the robust debate can take some getting accustomed to.

          But ultimately I see everyone who contributes here in good faith as part of my family.

    • Incognito 17.2

      If you believe it won’t be possible, it won’t be.

      If you believe it will be hard, it will be.

      You’ll see it when you believe it.

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  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
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    14 hours ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
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    4 days ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
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    4 days ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
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    4 days ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
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    5 days ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
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    5 days ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
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    6 days ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
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    6 days ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
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    6 days ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
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    6 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
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    7 days ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
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    1 week ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
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    1 week ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
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    1 week ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks
    New Zealand is expressing unity with all victims, families and loved ones affected by the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, and all terrorist attacks around the world since, including in New Zealand. “Saturday marks twenty years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to SPREP Environment Ministers
    Talofa Honourable Ulu of Tokelau Faipule Kelihiano Kalolo Tēnā koutou katoa and warm Pacific greetings from Aotearoa to your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. The new science released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 8 August paints an alarming picture of the projected impacts of climate change on the ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Additional Resurgence Support Payments to support business
    Businesses affected by higher Alert Levels will be able to apply for further Resurgence Support Payments (RSP). “The Government’s RSP was initially intended as a one-off payment to help businesses with their fixed costs, such as rent. Ministers have agreed to provide additional payments to recognise the effects of an ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • More Dawn Raids scholarships announced
    Details of the ‘Manaaki New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarships’, a goodwill gesture that follows the Government’s apology for the Dawn Raids of the 1970s, were released today by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio. “These scholarships that are targeted to the Pacific will support the kaupapa of the Dawn Raids’ ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • One-way quarantine-free travel for RSE workers starting in October
      One-way quarantine-free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu starts in October New requirement for RSE workers to have received their first vaccination pre-departure, undertake Day 0 and Day 5 tests, and complete a self-isolation period of seven days, pending a negative Day 5 ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Govt boosts Pacific suicide prevention support
    Applications have opened for the Pacific Suicide Prevention Community Fund as the Government acts to boost support amid the COVID delta outbreak. “We know strong and connected families and communities are the most important protective factor against suicide and this $900,000 fund will help to support this work,” Health Minister ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Govt parks the expiry of licenses, WoFs and regos
    As a result of the Delta outbreak, driver licences, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), vehicle licences (‘regos’) and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021 will be valid until 30 November 2021, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today. “While this extension won’t officially ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 community fund to provide support for vulnerable women and girls
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today announced a $2 million community fund that will provide support for women and girls adversely affected by COVID-19. “We know that women, particularly those who are already vulnerable, are disproportionally affected by the kind of economic disruption caused by COVID-19,” Jan Tinetti said. ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Next phase of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response announced
    A further NZ$12 million of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response has been announced by Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today. The package builds on previous tranches of assistance Aotearoa New Zealand has provided to Fiji, totalling over NZ$50 million. “Fiji remains in a very challenging position in their response to ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Robotic asparagus harvester aimed at addressing industry challenges
    The Government is backing a $5 million project to develop a commercial-scale autonomous robotic asparagus harvester, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) is contributing $2.6 million to the project. Project partner Robotics Plus Limited (RPL) will build on a prototype asparagus ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Additional Pfizer vaccines to arrive tomorrow
    More than a quarter of a million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine are on their way from Spain to New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The additional doses will arrive in Auckland on Friday morning to help meet the current surge in demand for vaccination. “It’s been ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Young people to have their voices heard in Youth Parliament 2022
    The dates and details for Youth Parliament 2022 have been announced today by Minister for Youth Priyanca Radhakrishnan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Youth Parliament is an opportunity for 141 young people from across Aotearoa New Zealand to experience the political process and learn how government works. ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Boosting support for tertiary students affected by COVID-19
    Students facing a hard time as a result of COVID-19 restrictions will continue to be supported,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government is putting a further $20 million into the Hardship Fund for Learners, which will help around 15,000 students to stay connected to their studies and learning. ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Immediate relief available for Māori and iwi organisations
    The Government has reprioritised up to $5 million to provide immediate relief to vulnerable whānau Māori and communities during the current COVID-19 outbreak Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. The COVID-19 2021 Whānau Recovery Fund will support community-driven, local responses to gaps in access and provision of critical ...
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    2 weeks ago