If you believe, having watched this year's Waitangi Day celebrations, that racism and tolerance are on the way out in the Land of the Long White Cloud, unfortunately you need to think again.
I thought the Day went well. The media reports were positive, and the single unpleasant incident, where Brash was hassled, was not made into a major feature. His speech still had racist overtones but he did show some understanding of Maori perceptions.
Now, unfortunately but predictably as expected, we have two Pakeha with massive media coverage, who couldn't resist spoiling our Day.
Their combined influence will do much to undermine the good that was done at Waitangi.
The first is the well known Mike Hosking whose views are regularly reported on The NZ Herald, and whose Breakfast show is broadcast daily on NewstalkNZ:
"Open your mind to the world with New Zealand’s number one breakfast radio show. Without question, as New Zealand’s number one talk host, Mike Hosking sets the day’s agenda. The sharpest voice and mind in the business, Mike drives strong opinion, delivers the best talent,and always leaves you wanting more. The Mike Hosking Breakfast always cuts through and delivers the best." [Advertisement?]
The second is Cameron Slater on his WhaleOil blog that has 2.2 million visits a month. You can visit free or subscribe for between $120 to $1997 a year. By now Slater must be a wealthy man.
Self-opinionated ("the sharpest voice and mind in the business") Hosking is calling Waitangi Day a national "grievance day.
Ultra-right winger bloggerm Slater in WhaleOil says why he doesn't celebrate Waitangi Day. He agrees with Hosking on "grievances" and says Maori are always moaning, and always wanting "us" (sic!) to "dish out dough" to lift them (sic!) out of poverty.
We must be on a different planet.
Waitangi Day does provide an opportunity to think about what the Treaty meant and means (see my post pn263) and some part of this must concern legitimate grievances. But it is not "grievance day." Nor are Maori always wanting "us" (sic!) to "dish out dough."
Maori leaders are not moaning, the state is not pouring out money, and much Treaty settlement money is being used for business development. See the posts on Maori enterprise worth $40 billion (pn260) and five Maori leader's views on aspects of poverty (post pn264).
Waitangi Day this year was a success. There were sincere signs of reconciliation and understanding. I thought it a national day of sharing. Another important step forward.
The sad thing is that the massive media audience enjoyed by Hosking and Slater will result in many New Zealanders thinking otherwise.
Simon Bridges thinks teaching Maori and Colonial history should be compulsory.