Pakeha Anger: Why Do They get Mad at Maori?

So on one beautiful Sunday arvo in downtown Auckland, I was out having a couple of catch-up beers with the cuz, when we unexpectedly got talking to a Pakeha, let’s call him Joe. In his late thirties, living in a predominantly Pakeha populated, small town in Southland, Joe has worked hard his whole life, made a decent way for himself and his family, which forms his philosophy and worldview towards living – work hard and reap the rewards. And so, according to Joe and his life philosophy, anybody that can’t make a life for themselves should suffer the consequences for being lazy and useless, which led him to offer opinions on Maori issues such as;

“Maori come from an aggressive culture and so Maori need to whiten up”
“The land is not Maori’s, as the Maori sold it and so Maori need to get over it”
“Maori/Pakeha conflict is a North Island thing, everybody is getting on quite nicely in the South”
“Tribal bodies are taking all the money and give nothing out to their communities and that’s why we have Maori poverty”
“Maori are corrupt”

Well, well, well, I almost felt sorry for the guy because he had no idea that he was a lightweight entering into a heavyweight fight! I live and breathe this stuff. I read, write and think about issues of equality. I talk with academics, psychologists’ sociologists, lawyers, business professionals and my peers on a daily basis about Maori transformations. I interact with international knowledge experts comparing and contrasting each other experiences. And I, unlike many of my fellow Pakeha who live in this country, have a pretty good awareness of the ‘actual’ history of this country. But most importantly I know these communities and understand these issues from a lived experience. This is my space! As for Joe, aside from the bias-ly skewed media which feeds him, his credentials on Maori issues include having beersies with a couple of Maori’s who he sometimes see’s at the local pub. And so began a sand-pit fight where poor Joe got a lot of sand kicked in his eyes.

But it wasn’t really a fight, because I felt quite calm and poised the whole time. And although Joe’s ignorant opinions were offensive because they are based on no research, facts or experience of Maori – I was not offended. Even more interesting, as I continued to expose the flaws in his arguments, he became angrier, he became more irate and he became increasingly intense, starting to lean and tower over me and pointing his finger in my face. He became quite wild with his accusations as if I represented every Maori in the world. And that was the part the completely fascinated me, why was Joe so angry? Shouldn’t I be the one getting upset? After all, it was not his land that had been stolen, confiscated and manipulated out from his hands. It was not his culture that had repeated attempts to be systematically annihilated. It was not his language that had experienced a violent and abusive history of eradication. But yet, Joe was losing it.

Which led me to the question, what do Pakeha have to be angry about? I pondered it.

I examined me.

Like many Maori, I have done a lot of internal work and reflection on us, understanding us, our place in New Zealand, our situation and the causes and consequences of our current existence. We as a people, have done an incredible amount of work examining ourselves from many angles and standpoints, and in that journey of looking at ourselves, we have come to understand how our past and history impacts our present reality. I wasn’t angry because Joe’s opinions were almost boring in their unoriginality.

I examined Joe.

What was his anger fighting against? Why was I such a threat to him if all I had spoken was words? Joe was fighting to hold onto the fabric of a worldview that was being unpicked, unravelled and becoming threadbare. He was fighting against himself, because for him to accept the things I was saying, meant having to look at things that are easier left unlooked at. For him to hear what I was proposing meant re-examining his own heritage and the part it play-ed/s on the current Maori reality. His anger came from denial, a complete denial about the history and trauma surrounding the foundations from which this country was built from. So why was Joe angry?

Because, he was fighting to stay in (un)comfortable denial.


A reading list to start those off who are interested in broadening their understanding of New Zealand history. King and Belich are both Pakeha.
King, M. (2003). Penguin History of New Zealand. Penguin UK.
Walker, R. (1990). Ka whawhai tonu matou. Penguin Books.
Belich, J. (2015). The New Zealand wars and the Victorian interpretation of racial conflict. Auckland University Press.


93 thoughts on “Pakeha Anger: Why Do They get Mad at Maori?

  1. You assist me so hard out with the way you choose your words to express such intricate yet phenomenally explosive dynamics that Māori and other Indigenous peoples of the westernised world face each and every day of our lives.

    You honour those of us who are able to make sense of why we’re so hated, disrespected, looked down upon, threatened, in poverty, in jail, psych systems … it goes on.

    You honour those of us who have worked very diligently – for years, to be able to hold our heads up as someone Māori and not just a ‘human being’ or ‘person’.

    You help me breathe easier.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Tena koe e te Whaea Rangatira!

        You kept both your mana and your integrity intact.
        This is the Maori way in terms of conducting oneself.
        You did not degrade or belittle the person in question, and this is something of an art, being that many of us are too quick to let emotion take over in these situations.
        You have demonstrated that by keeping strong in your convictions, one does not need to resort to profanities or obscenity to express ones position.
        I wish to say, you have reminded me and many others that by conducting ourselves in the way you yourself have demonstrated, we too can retain and strengthen our own mana and integrity by adopting a similar attitude.
        You have truly inspired many,
        and you are a credit to Maoridom. Thank you, e te Whaea Rangatira, nga mihi nui atu ki a koe.
        You have done us all, and your Tupuna so very proud.
        Mauri Ora!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Check out another Book Called Te Arawa by Don Stafford he Spoke with Many Old Maori over Many years before his First Edition (1964?) Real Stuff like how they Ate each Other ..If A Offended B A could Kill and Eat B If a Tribe was defeated in Battle Tribe A would then Own Tribe B’s Land and their People who became Slaves or Food. When a Tribe Won they Owned the Losers Land .Which When Pakeha Arrived they Could Sell as if it was theirs So Many Land Claims Demanding Stolen Land Back Land Back So Maori Stole Maori land from Other tribes and Sold it,So Those Tribes Should Pay Compensation But That Will Never Happen I have Maori Blood our Tribe and IWI got Millions of Dollars i have not Seen one Cent of the Csash


      1. So, my question to you is what are you doing about it? Take your whakapapa to your Iwi and find out what has happened to the money. Do you bother attending their Hui? Go ask the questions, go over the financials, get involved in the decision making.

        Not everyone is perfect but I’m lucky enough to have seen the benefits of some of the settlements – Iwi Health Practice set up locally for Maori and Non-Maori, Another ‘virtual’ health practice set up to serve another community in our area; Kaumatua programmes providing transport to the supermarket, entertainment, daily support; Tamariki Ora to get our kids off to a healthy start; Education scholarships, Internships and second chance learning and training programmes, other Rangitahi initiatives like Spirit of NZ and other leadership courses; generous provisions for retirement and investment saving like Whai Rawa; Sporting and Cultural grants … the list goes on.

        I am so grateful for this support of me and our whanau. There are a lot of people working hard to deliver these services. I see the settlements as a way to acknowledge the wrongs of our history, address the losses since then, and to provide a quantum that goes some way to investing in improvements to the lives of our people. It’s not intended to be a handout to individuals but rather assuming responsibility for the collective welfare of our Iwi ie the cheque’s in the post … NOT!


      2. Iwi health practice is drugs instead of nutrition.
        My ancestors living on fish and vegetables were far healthier than todays iwi health practioners with their vaccinated, antibiotic treated, milkpowder feed, drug company mantras.
        Come on. Admit you are wrong and reverse your drug and alcohol policies.
        Lets have high quality organic vitamin, mineral and enzyme rich fruit and veg, wine, beer, tobacco and marijuana at $3 a kg.
        Instead of taxing them to pay for prisons and hospitals, these ancient herbs will restore the nation and pharmac can close it’s doors too.
        Redirect the drug squads to busting into the homes and offices of the poisoners and adulterators and their shareholders.
        Somehow I doubt you are sufficiently compost mentis.


      3. Very good question. If historically we conquered and took land by force why then couldn’t the colonists do the same. This is the tricky part. In our cultural norms prior to contact, our law was might and it went as we all well know.

        Under the Christian colonial rule however, the conquest was based on the rule of law determined very much by the religious influence of the Christian Bible. Because colonialism not only imposed rule but also law and regarded all men as equal under that law, the European law at the time is the spanner in the works so to speak.

        Under this law the methods employed to take the land is classified as theft. Due to the colonial powers requiring the colonized to recognize and obey these laws they themselves need to comply.

        Should the land therefore be given back? All land that is in dispute should be given back. Realistically however this is impossible in many cases as it would displace many of the families of the original colonizers and as we are all mostly now under the influence of Christian or other religious beliefs we can look to other mechanisms that can helpfully resolve this land issue.

        A great option that comes to mind is a “Native land Owners tax”. Maori are not one people just as Africans are not all one people. Maori are a collective of various groups of Polynesians associated with tribes, individual families and land holdings. These land holdings need to be clearly identified and the owners of various tracts of land should be paid a lease payment for that land that others now occupy. This way both sides can win.

        Just a thought.


      4. The analysis is a bit simplistic. Stolen is also the wrong the framing. Any land fought over was usually to do with struggles over maintaining mana. Mana was the driving force behind Māori society. The displacement of an entire country of indigenous peoples can not ever be justified.


  2. tena koe e Kiri, me mihi mahana ki tou kupu rangatira. Your words resonate deeply. I have always been astounded by those that are angry at holding a position of privilege. The colonial affect of denying language and heritage continues and it seems that to have such things would offend the privileged. For, should we possess them then it would put them at a disadvantage, the same disadvantage that was enforced upon my elders and generations that followed.

    Mauri ora!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Kiri, when the energy is right I’d love to see a post on this phenomena you mention regarding “if Māori get more, Pākehā will get less”. I agree, it’s so not the case – so why oh why do the mainstream so want to buy into it?


  3. Kia ora sister. This is fantastic. Thank you for these reflections … I am a white Australian woman living in New Zealand and have had many conversations of this nature with fellow Aussies sticking hard out to their story about our Indigenous whanau …. The violence of racism in Australia is overwhelming as a vast majority of the country still refuses to learn the bigger picture as to why things the way they are. Thanks for this angle sister…next time I meet another Joe, I’ll consider having some compassion for his ingnorance & his own fear of annihilation. Mauri ora!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. White fragility…..its wat we do wen we get called on our white privilege and have to face the posibility that we have benefited from and perpetuated the continuation of colonisation thru our racism. We hate it…..makes us face the possibility that we dont know everything and we are not superior and maybe someone might take away our privilege…..and that is scarey….. superiority is in our DNA…..its to our shame that you have to tolerate that sort of crap conversation……we need to get off our privileged butts and call ourselves on our racism so it doesnt keep coming back at non- white…..time for us to get ourselves sorted. Thats my 2cents as a pakeha woman who is sick of the crappy pakeha racism and white fragility anger.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Aotearoa was built on dispossession, and then the happy denial of that dispossession, based on myths like the Hobson quote. Saying this means that Pakeha have to look in the mirror, which they are not brought up to do. That aggression is a burden on Māori, and is used by politicians to play divide and rule. Ironically, if it’s good for Māori it’s good for all, but Pākehā are taught to not see the wood for the trees.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. People hate those they wrong. Haven’t you noticed?
    Hence it’s denial, or justification i.e. ‘that person deserved it’ A lot of murderers of their victims say “he was asking for it”. Pakeha profit from the past, so they have a story about why they deserve it and it’s always going to include a story of making wrong those that they wronged. Kat.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it goes beyond fear Manuhiri. When I’m trapped “in a corner” by someone informing me truth (I know truth when I hear it whether I’m willing to acknowledge it or not). Even when I’m fearful of having been exposed of something I’ve been hiding – I’ll fess up to it as shameful / embarrassed / whatever it is that I may feel, I do not have the right to crap on someone’s truth.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kia ora for your words. In my observation, people often become angry because it’s easier and less challenging to experience than guilt and shame. When we have wronged someone, we often retrospectively demean them, partially in order to justify previous bad behaviour, and partially to salvage the validity of the status quo (which for us as Maori, as women, is incredibly problematic).

    Because if it’s not OUR fault that we languish behind in all those grim and familiar statistics, then just maybe, colonisation and ongoing systemic bias have something to do with it. And that’s simply too unpalatable for many Pakeha.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I put it down to an extreme cognitive dissonance, when a persons entire world view is built on ignorance, misinformation and outright lies, challenges to that view are going to bring that whole world view crashing down. This creates a great feeling of psychological discomfort that can trigger the fight/flight response and manifest aggressive behaviour. Combine this with an attitude that your own culture and values are superior to those you are discussing, means that the actual facts are just too challenging to even comprehend.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I liken this to much the same response you get from people on earthquakes. Some people shake in their boots when they hear the word and other shrug their shoulders and carry on. People are fed by the media and the media only tell you what they want you to hear. Hence there are a huge number of people in the world that are being misinformed about a whole lot of different subjects and the conflict between our different races is really no difference

      Liked by 1 person

  8. whereas being a Pakeha woman with a Maori sister, and a Maori son I find prejudice from both sides.
    Living in Rotorua, I had many and I mean MANY snide comments from Maori people when they saw me out and about with my child.
    Comments like
    “free ticket to the marae? ”
    “someone wanted Whanau… Ahhh no”
    I also received “so you like the chocolate boys *insert pathetic laughter here ” from Pakeha.
    I moved away. My son deserves to see his family as just that. Family. That love is love.

    Unfortunately, this filters to my child even today. Getting comments at 8 years old from Maori and Pakeha alike.
    Neither one has been kinder or more accepting.
    Neither one has been stand out obviously more nasty either.

    My point is, this really can go both ways. Cynicism and assumptions have much more to do with poor community education within the home, than race.

    I can only raise my chin and leave those who won’t see past the tan or lack of on our skin. I can only raise a gentleman. One who embraces and learns openly about his ancestry, on both sides. Who is proud of both sides. A supporter of both sides.
    I can only try.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes they do go further, which is why I do my best to immerse my son in Maori culture rich environments. Because I can only give a “learned” perspective of what that culture means for him.
        His Kaitiaki have all been fantastic in taking it to a personal place, a spiritual place I’ll never be able to fully do.

        We need more education around it. Both ways


      2. good on you Heather I applaud you for such dedication to exposing your son to his taha Maori. And I think whats great is that you know what is appropriate for you to teach and what he needs to get from his own.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. As a pakeha woman…..i just gota say the difference is that pakeha racism is inshrined in every system, structure, institution of power, every process from education to law to language to ownership. So when a white person is racist it echos 175yrs of genocide, oppression, the stealing of land, language, lore, children and resources thru the process of colonisation. And pakeha racism effects who ends up in jail, who gets a job, who gets and education and so many other areas of life everyday. Racism sucks whoever does it, and I dont want to minimise the negative impact of that for you and your boy….just gota say that when its done by the dominant culture, the power dynamic is different, and the pain runs deeper

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I feel you, I grew up being a minority and the amount of grief I got for being white. I was not racist, by brother is Maori and my best friend is but because I was white I was racist. I was far from it and was happy to learn as much as I could but i was never really excepted because I was white. I was given grief from adult and kids! Made me wonder who really was racist. I did understand that a lot was taken from the Maori so just put it down as they were taking that all out on me.


    3. I think you hit the nail on the head. There is good and bad on both side of the fence. The problem is we only hear most from one side only


    4. Kia ora Heather. I feel for the pain, the shame, the humiliation that you and your son have endured by some Māori and other Pākehā. I (Māori) was raised by very British people that had only known the ideas that had come down through the generations from their culture. I too was ridiculed, shamed and humiliated for being too brown to be Pākehā and too white to be Māori. Welcome to the wounds that colonisation has left. It’s affected everyone in some way. Will do for some time to come. What I can agree with is that it is up to everyone – in their own time – to step up and heal their own unresolved issues. For some people it’s going to be about re-educating themselves on the actual reality of this country’s history. For others, it will be about healing the deepest of deep wounds that go back eons surrounding the violence that has now, according to science, caused the dna structure within but not only Māori to alter – thus, predispositioning us (Māori) for ‘more of the same’. This goes way beyond poor community education in the home schemes. It’s about a specific privilege that the dominant culture here has that is not afforded to Māori.


    5. I would like to suggest that the responses from Maori you mention do not reflect how Maori traditionally regarded Pakeha but that it is a constructed/learned response from being raised in a systemically racist (pakeha) environment. All the best to you Heather. You appear to be making good choices in raising your child to be a good person.


  9. Excellent piece Kiri. It feels similar to the recent world events, (arguably) based on anger which is resistant to evidence. Trump, Brexit, Polish & Hungarian government elections – they all have something in common: an electorate angry about “the other”: Mexicans, asylum seekers, muslims etc., an electorate which seems to get even angrier when confronted with facts. Would you agree that there is a similarity? I have had an experience talking to a pro-brexit family member, where more I problematised it, more angry he became.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only problem here is that, unless you actually live in that country and hear the speaker(s) you rely on the media to publish the fact and that is the BIGGEST MISTAKE we all make


      1. I disagree John. I rely on the lived experiences of my past and that of my people to know exactly what is going on in the world around me. The outcomes are always the same. The dynamics are always the same. The words are always the same. What changes from year to year?? The faces. The rhetoric /narrative, doesn’t. The only need that mainstream media serves is to prey on the insecurities of those who are yet to awaken and know who they are in essence.


  10. “Joe” is mad because who and what he was born as and who he was raised and educated by were completely out of his control. (Same as if he were born a woman and/or a Maori and/or gay and/or muslim etc etc). All he knows is that lots of clever and popular “lefties” say he’s the enemy because of it. He doesn’t feel like he’s done anything to intentionally hurt anyone and therefore has any debt to pay or apologies to make because of how he came into this world and the people he was raised and educated by (however poorly that might have happened) potentially trained a bit of gender and race defensiveness into him. Now I’m not saying that he’s in any way right or should be left to his views unopposed. I’m just answering the question of why he feels on the defensive at these discussions and might come out swinging. Fight or flight. It’s in the DNA.
    It reads here like you went about it exactly as well as you might and with any luck your input and a few other well considered conversations might start bringing “Joe” around a bit. It’s probably not fair that “the historically disenfranchised” as I’ve heard it termed recently should have to be more diplomatic and well versed than the great unwashed majority but if we want to make change it’s an approach that will work best for some.
    Just to be clear I’m answering “why” not say “OK”. Empathy not sympathy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Historically disenfranchised”? Love it!

      This historically disenfranchised person agrees with your DNA statement. She also agrees that the response Kiri offered to our mate Joe was more than appropriate considering any feeling Kiri may have actually been feeling – remember, she kept herself extremely calm, even in the face of his tormented rage and Joes perceived loss of power. I also agree that the calm approach works for some and doesn’t for others. The point I want to make is this: being proactive in any appropriate way is FAR more productive than being a bystander, an observer or even an academic that gives thought to such things.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Kia ora,
    This is a very interesting and useful analysis in my opinion. I’m a Pakēha of Irish descent and I’ve spent sometime, while trying to understand my own cultural baggage, comparing the colonisation experiences of both Māori and the Irish. Most Pakēha have not. As you point out, they have little understanding of the experience of Māori, and also of their own whakapapa and socio-cultural and political past. Most are happy to swallow the colonial propaganda served up by past education systems and to base their views of Pakeēha entitlement and privilege on that propaganda. This is a standard western power and control model.
    When you point out the truth in the reality you see as Māori to Joe Pakēha, you are challenging that entire world view, and rightly to. But Joe, even though he may deep down see, understand, feel the truth or tiki of what you say, he resents it because you have released to him the falseness of the world view that gives his lifestyle meaning. Yeah, he gets angry. His reality has just become potentially meaningless. That’s not an easy reality to accept.
    Those of us who have excepted it do so by telling iurselves we own our children and grandchildren more than our often deluded and greedy parents generations have given us. And I for one are thankful to the Māori who have helped me see that reality and better understand our history and cultural baggage. We need to teach future generations the reality that was our colonial and imperial history that got us here and to understand the power and control mechanisms that threaten to perpetuate Joes delusions. The sooner he wakes up the better we’ll all be.

    Ngā mihi

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “even though he may deep down see, understand, feel the truth or tiki of what you say, he resents it because you have released to him the falseness of the world view that gives his lifestyle meaning ”

      this is gold!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m Pakeha, moved here from the UK when I was a kid. I have been through a massive re-education about my mother country after I found out all of the awful things that happened in the name of “expanding the empire”.

    I can never apologise enough for all that happened BUT I can work on being part of creating a much better future for our beautiful country. That involves feeling that burden of shame. It involves acknowledging the privilege that comes with a skin colour. It involves a deeply uncomfortable process but not nearly as uncomfortable as the process of having your land, culture and language stolen, undermined and marginalised.

    Hopefully Joe will have heard what you have said and it will sink in. Until then, thanks for explaining it so elegantly to him.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I was born and raised in the Netherlands and have seen both sides of the fence. I believe that what we as “people”, regardless of color breed or race, need to put the past behind us and move forward and stop blaming our ancestors for what they did (because there are atrocious events on both sides of the fence). Personally I do not feel superior to anyone but in some case I may feel intimidated or wronged just because my skin is white and get judged by what the british did in this country in the past. Why blame me for that.

    Before becoming involved with my Maori wife I was much of the same believe as Joe (fed by the BS the media gave me). Once I became involved with the various Maori communities I saw the other side of the fence and saw a people who are really no different to me a people who are struggling to survive much like me. One of the questions that I asked from a number of Maori groups was why they as a people did not make public all the good work that they do rather than letting the media publish all the bad stuff. The question never go really answered.


    1. because Maori don’t control mainstream media, and we don’t control media because we don’t control the resources and we don’t control the resources because we were dispossessed of them in our colonial past. Understanding the past is crucial to understanding the present.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I fully agree with that. The biggest problem is that even the Media in New Zealand is not controlled from New Zealand but is controlled by organisation who do not care what happens to people and are only interested in feeding their own pockets and we as people listen to the BS and form our opinions. Therefore unless that opinion is changed by inviting the Joe’s of this country into the Maori culture and showing them what the real Maori culture is and in that way educating them the Maori culture rather than berating them for the believes that was fed them by the media.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree with that – but. I think we under-estimate ourselves and the resources that are available now to have a voice in media. There’s organisations like Intercept and DemocracyNow that are speaking against main stream media that is owned by a handful of companies that restrict the voices of not just Maori – but any voice that doesn’t fit the agenda that media serves. It’s not a race problem only.

        Like them we can start speaking out – but I think it’s not just talking Maori culture – it’s instead showing how Maori thinking can make a difference to anyone’s life. I did that with a pilot I ran taking 4 burger flippers and having them outperform University Post-Graduates to secure jobs in top tier companies after only 8 weeks training versus University 3.5 plus years. I used Maori techniques.

        It got the interest of Google, Atlassian and I’m getting support to scale it up. I see so many ideas that have made a difference to this world that originated with Maori culture – so many dam things that Maori don’t even know about. In this digital – entrepreneurial world there is opportunity to make for balance I think. Let’s not let the past restrict us.


  14. This is an unfortunately uncommon occurrence and I often wish I had studied New Zealand History in more depth and with a less biased perspective. What we learn in NZ schools is too often the colonial narrative; Maori traded land to Pakeha or that they were “defeated” in the “Maori land wars”.
    What I understand as someone who has moved beyond my “education” and learned more from the diverse peoples of NZ and AUS and our role as European colonials juxtaposes these excuses.
    Comments such as “Abos just cant process liquor the way we do”, “Maori come from a savage culture” etcetera cant be let slide the way they too often do and although I always feel like people look at me like a party pooper when I challenge these statements It is necessary for things to change.
    I want to read more articles like this, I want these discussions to come out of the shadows in both countries.
    In NZ as well as AUS we need this conversation at the Christmas table, you aren’t going to change Nanas mind but don’t dare let her poison the kids with the colonial narrative.
    Personally I have gotten through the “white guilt” I once felt and instead live with compassion and reverence. Its definitely not about shame or guilt it is about acceptance and a willingness to move forward by leveling the table.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “White guilt” – I love that. I so commend you Liam for having had the courage and the resilience to honour the process you walked. I did it too. And I experienced a tremendous amount of shame at what my white ancestors had done to my brown ancestors. Giving you a virtual hongi my friend. Kia ora.


  15. Kei te mihinui ki a koe, e Hine. I am a lover of people and cultures and sometimes I have to force myself to be. I find most of us are at the mercy of the powers to be irrespectively of our race and culture. The real battle seems to be between Upper classes/powerful and the needs of the poorer classes and the poorer classes are losing ground all the time. I feel this is the reason we argue so much: we’re afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A better book to consult ,or at least use as part of your study ,would have been The Travesty of Waitangi for the simple reason it is the only history of NZ to be taken through the courts to determine validity and fact. Your views,and they are simple views,and very one sided and bias do absolutely no justice, to your title.The fabrication of “Joe” and this story puts your whole article in the same line as the tripe written by a fellow hack Marvelly. The fact you had more answers than “Joe” is simply because you live within your relm of bias and racistness and happen to study answers to justify your cause. Most people dont ,but a debate with educated people in this field would see you woefully lacking in both knowledge and answers.


    1. I have both a proud Pakeha heritge and Maori heritage, so I come from a position that understands both worlds very well. I have more education than most and I debate with your so called educationalists on a daily basis. I read and study business strategy, organisational conflict, and teach theoretical perspectives on entrepreneurship at a Post Graduate level and Maori Land Issues to undergraduates. I have read and analysed extensively NZ’s history, especially with regards to Maori land legislation and it impacts. It is your ignorance through assumptons that is being highlighted here.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. A One Nation supporter – no surprises there. If you have proof that there is no “joe” than give it. Otherwise that’s mudslinging and lying.
      Mudslinging and lying in a conversation on race is a typical response from people who feel entitled and want hold to their post-truth* view of the world.

      (*post-truth is the term out of the States where people don’t want facts they want stuff that believe to be true to be held over objective truth.)


  17. A nicely constructed piece of writing and the comments which have followed it have been especially interesting.

    To expose the fallacy of someone’s entrenched and addled views may explain their “riri” towards us, but it doesn’t do anything to change their attitude. In my experience it tends to deepen their resentment. Some things need to be experienced in order for value to be found and acknowledged in them; which is why the marae is so influential in changing mind sets.

    Sadly not every pakeha can have a noho marae and just as sadly I know of some whose views remained unchanged even after receiving the most remarkable hospitality and warmth which is unique to a marae experience.

    On the other hand I have seen more than a few pakeha come on to a marae for a tangi, or some other event, with stony faces and jawlines set, only to leave several hours later in a confusion of smiles and tears. These are the ones who need to be supported with the kind of softly conveyed knowledge and information that helps them to reconstruct their thinking. These are also the ones who have a better chance than we have of changing the minds of people who they used to be like .

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Kiri, tino hira te kaupapa o kupumamae, tena koe! Grant and Joe must be feeling the discomfort of losing a little bit of their privilege and I stay conscious to the tides turning which would be no better! The article below gives a non race related if somewhat long winded example of the same anger at how equality can feel like opression and concludes there is hope. I’d love to know what happens to Joe going forward from your korero. Ka nui te mihi!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. As an immigrant to NZ, I know that immigrants are not expected to learn the history of the land. So we mostly get the history through cultural osmosis. From what I can see it usually boils down to absorbing the colonialist history, and the colonialist view of Maori, rather than a more critical view.

    IMO the colonialist views cannot be changed through a simple conversation. It can only be changed through cultural osmosis (again), through further and deeper interactions with Maori and Maori culture, over time.


  20. I was brought up in central King Country. Surrounded by Maori history and culture. My parents said we are all visitors to the land. As such we must learn the history, the rules, tapus, the culture etc of that land. That there are reasons for everything that the original people practice and believe. I was so shocked at the beginning of high school. Maori children knew less. They weren’t proud of their heritage. No-one had shared the knowledge. We spent only a few weeks at high school learning the real history of New Zealand and then we sat learning of wars and queens in far away lands. The teachers didn’t understand that not everyone learns in different ways. Those that didn’t fall into the box of learning the way our education system expected were slow and learning impaired. These kids were some of the most intelligent within the school! In a school with half Maori and half non-Maori. I felt the person without any connection to culture. My ancestors came from Ireland 5/6 generations ago. The English left them no choice but to leave the land. I find it hard when people say “You invaded our land and killed our people” “You Pakaha!”
    I didn’t do it!! I can’t change what happened. If I had been there to stop the horror that is our history. I would have done my dandiest! I REALLY don’t like been called “Pakaha” Even if it is now considered acceptable. Casual racism often becomes acceptable and looses its true meaning over time. I left New Zealand for many years and have been saddened on my return that although most Maori have a greater sense of identity. The education system still isn’t addressing ways of approaching learning. Professionals such as social workers etc have no real understanding of the complex issues that are below the surface that they deal with. As a nation we have a long way to go. Calling people “Pakaha privileged” is going to put their backs up. Not help bring an actual understanding of the complex issues Maori are facing.
    I hope that been non Maori I haven’t offended anyone by expressing my opinion. If I have it was not my intention.
    kia kaha kia manawanui


  21. Having grown up with not white enough skin to be proper white yet not Maori , living around NZ as I have – I cringe hearing our people say things about each other that are generalisations.

    I’m not buying into this ” Bloody Marrys” and “Opressor Pakeha” crap , because the people I’ve met on my extensive travels of 30 odd years all over – just all aren’t stereotypes, they aren’t stats , they are spiritual beings all of them first – then they are what they have lived and been born

    personally when I hear “Bloody Marrys” or “Pakeha” said in a nasty way I feel a great pain deep inside , it was a small pain as a kid cos I didn’t even realise I who was who, dad took me to some Marae visits – never got called a pakeha then in a mean voice , but having got the soil of this land under my fingernails and being bonded it is almost too much to live within a culture of blame – its haunting and uncomfortable , and the feeling insecurity is palpable.

    I can relate to this story posted here , I grew up in the south and I’ve been in that pub taking to “Joe” and “Tracy” who assumed I was Maori

    Thing is – I’ve sat with “Hone” and “Huia” at the pub and been told all about how all the Pakeha do this and that.

    The best thing that happened for me re all of this: was my family re union of the branch of our family that came here not so long ago (1800s) , A few hundred people – Maori and Pakeha were who came all related , the room was full of Aroha – amazing how that cuts out all that talk when you are almost all touching . And I was proud to have all of them in my family .

    I don’t understand a lot of things, and I don’t wish to derail this very good dialog or to abuse my “white privilege “- I can only give my life experience to this forum and I only know how to tell it as a story .

    I’m a Vege grower and I make things with my hands, I can be friends with anyone who is kind most of the time – I don’t give a stuff who they came out of or where from – but I totally respect the importance of that to them –

    So this is what I feel after travelling here as a real wanderer my entire life of 45 years and having been overseas and back

    The Popular Identity on this island chain of who we all really are starts off with this chopping block mentality that you loose their cultural identity if you don’t take up a label or a brand – as recent events wasting money on a flag have shown. It goes deeper than 2 races , the problem we have is patrichal toxic masculinity within our national culture that requires a competitive pride in identity , this makes it very hard for anyone here to be a person who is a Maori , A person who is Japanese French Lithuanian (that would be pakeha right ?) – your On the Maori team or the Pakeha team … deal with it, harden up, be loyal to The Team .

    This steely Jawed and stoic resolve to not be “the other” suits the Military Industrial Complex that is leeching the land and the energy of the people who live here because it keeps them divided and that makes them easy to control and tax and exploit and it distracts the people from their real spiritual purpose – to love the land, to keep the soil , to feed the family , to create and teach the next generation to perpetuate this goodness .

    So I guess I’ll tie it all up with this – if you want to shake the colonial oppression, as I certainly do – The legacy of colonialism is most certainly tied up in dividing people and keeping them hungry for what the “other” has got – and the legacy of colonisation – is Simply more colonisation , because while we all fight for our identity not to be the “other” a new wave of colonisation begins – and this again is the Industrial Military complex creating Diaspora

    Peace is where it’s at right ?


  22. Great article I have been thinking about this a lot lately. You just have to look through the comments of any facebook post to do with Maori and the majority of comments are racist. But it’s not just racism it’s a deep seeded anger a victim complex pakeha have where they believe Maori are the privileged class when all the stats say the opposite. And the sad part is the biggest racists are the older generation who should know better.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I’m a South Island Pakeha who studied Maori language and culture in school. Never really knew much of the history of New Zealand until I did a 3 day course on the Treaty of Waitangi during a tertiary degree.

    I’m pretty sure I had never lived in denial (comfortable or otherwise) but I found out that I had lived in complete ignorance – and that to me, was even worse.

    It’s grim to find that Maori started out with the opportunity (which they completely embraced) to be self-sufficient and commercially successful on a par with the European settlers and farmers. It was the way their freshly confirmed rights were systematically stripped by subsequent legislation that really horrified me.

    Imagining how different this country would be if that legacy had been allowed to continue is a matter of conjecture – but I would guess that so many of the stereotypes of Maori failure as contributing members of society that people like “Joe” cling to – would be impossible to imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’ve always tried, but lately I’ve committed to doing my very best to learn more and do better even if I don’t like what I find out about myself (because it’s not about what makes me feel good). What I have learned so far is that part of this is accepting it’s going to be uncomfortable and that it should be.

    I think people get angry because having your privilege revealed to you is a painful experience, especially if you’re all comfortable in your worldview and had no intention of altering it or finding out you were wrong all along. It means accepting that even if you worked hard and tried to be a good person, you still had and benefitted from privilege even if you never got rich from it.

    I think it sometimes they/we feel they’re being blamed for something they had no part in, that happened generations before they were born, without realizing that despite having no part in it, they benefitted from it anyway.

    It’s something that requires more self-examination than a lot of people are willing to do, and a lot more discomfort than some are prepared to put themselves through. Especially when it’s not to your own benefit (except that it is to the benefit of yourself, your country, your world). It’s not so hard when you realize it’s the LEAST we can do, and we OWE that. It’s going to suck. It’s not fun. But it’s not meant to be. You do it because it’s right.

    Every one of us who has that privilege should be making ourselves as uncomfortable as possible.

    Thank you for this post. I learned a lot from reading it. I’ll be sharing it 🙂


    1. “I think it sometimes they/we feel they’re being blamed for something they had no part in, that happened generations before they were born, without realizing that despite having no part in it, they benefitted from it anyway. ”
      this so hits the nail on the head!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s one of the bigger complete misunderstandings that Pakeha really have to get past to do better. I realized it when it kept coming up every time I tried to talk to people about these sorts of subjects. “But it wasn’t me!” “Not the point!”


  25. Really interesting post. I think it gave me some insight into my parents behaviors, not just on this, but other prejudices they hold as well. Thankyou for this food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Kia ora Kiri! Ka nui te aroha kei roto i o kupu! I am Pakeha but I get it! Although it is NOT the same, it reflects the almost anger I faced in the university caf in the early 1970s when I decided I would add to my study of two foreign languages by studying Maori, which was, after all, the only ‘other’ language I heard as a tot growing up in the rural Bay of Islands and for me it re-inforced my passion for and my belonging in this country.

    As well I remember when I was accepted for a posting with VSA how the Red Cross came to our induction and payed a “trading game” with us – counters of different colours representing different numerical values – the idea was to beat others down until you were in the plush seats with all the add-ons and the right to make the rules. The political message was clear as day – it was about privilege and the advantages that come with belonging to a privileged group. A very likeable well-intentioned English born woman from a “good class” became very upset at the message that this game intended to teach us and was inconsolable. So you have put into words that young woman’s despair – it wasn’t anger but it was certainly a parallel response! She “………… was fighting to hold onto the fabric of a worldview that was being unpicked, unravelled and becoming threadbare. [She] was fighting against [her]self, because for [her] to accept the things [the game] was saying, meant having to look at things that are easier left unlooked at. For [her] to hear what [the game] was proposing meant re-examining [her] own heritage and the part it play-ed on the current [world] reality. [Her] anger came from denial, a complete denial about the history and trauma surrounding the foundations from which this [and other countries were] built from.” Kia manawanui i to mahi, e hoa.


  27. Kia ora Kiri, I acknowledge your experience. Although I am also pakeha, I learned through my own studies of Te Tiriti o Waitiangi and the Land Wars, that the history I was taught and informed about through much of my life was remarkably biased and flawed. History is a subject I have a keen interest in but I have learned context is essential when deciphering it. I am not yet informed as to the whole truth about our colonial history but I am able to gauge in part how it has impacted on Maori. It will be impossible for me, as a white pakeha, to ever fully feel the weight of the oppression and exclusion Maori have endured. The privilege I inherited as a white pakeha ensures I never can. But as a trasngender woman I can relate to some of the persecution Maori have endured, and continue to endure. I had a conversation similar to the one you refer to in your post. In my case it was with my father. He was already unhappy with me being transgender, but when I challenged him on his bias, the anger he expressed was visceral, to the point he clenched his fist and even made to strike me. We never held another conversation after that, right up to his passing last year.

    But I also feel anger within me. I feel cheated and lied to. It is not just that the history with which I was informed during my childhood and youth was flawed. That is pretty much true of all history. It was the fact the history with which I was informed was deliberately constructed to uphold the image of white pakeha supremacy, magnanimity and righteousness. It angers me more when I observe our politicians and civic leaders perpetuating the same lies and untruths on a largely disingenuous public.

    And I am frustrated in not knowing how to make good on my own failings without appearing patronising and insincere.

    I suspect I am not alone and for many it may be far easier to remain in denial than to risk making oneself appear in some way foolish and/or incompetent in attempting to build bridges. But I try my best to do my best.

    Kia kaha Keep up the good fight. I am with you all the way . . . Just tell me which way to point my canon!!!


  28. when our country’s history becomes part of the education curriculum in schools,then maybe the future will look brighter for all.


  29. I talked to my koro about this keha attitude he told me the soulution is aroha yes aroha he tells me love one another moko. I said what the hell ow well il try koro. Weeks later i meet a pakiha a work mate of mine an i called him a keha he got angry an said what the f did u call me i tell him keha means a kiwi white new zealander he tells me no im pakiha i tell him pakiha means foreign white person. Now me an the bro get on i asked him bro y u get angry when i called u a keha . He says he dnt know what keha ment . Then i say u dnt have to get angry when u dnt know about something dickhead lol .you know if i had meet this falla last year wen i had a bad attitude against pakiha i would of booted him in the mouth for saying what the f did u call me. You lucky i love my koro tony.


  30. The behaviour you observed in ‘Joe’ has been called ‘The Backfire Effect’. It’s when ideas, information, evidence, words are to confrontational to a persons beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, view of reality that they are perceived by a part of the brain called the amygdala as an actual physical threat, enacting a flight or fight response. Since many like Joe have based their world view on a lack of information and lots of misinformation, reality and education is what is threatening to them.

    Studies have found that those who are victims to the backfire effect will not change their view when presented with the facts and evidence that are contrary to that perception, but instead dig their heels in even deeper holding on to their belief in the face of reality.


  31. To kaha hoki e George. I sit in history class in a kura that makes NZ wars, colonisation, Declaration of Independence and Treaty of Waitangi – COMPULSORY and I hope I can prepare our taiohi for these arguments. I hope this helps when they inevitably meet angry tauiwi (up in their face). Many of them have lived in a world where they won’t meet too many like this but when they do, I would encourage them to speak their truth – with humility and strength. The must read list is a great idea. Let every one take responsibility for their own understanding. Catch up people, it’s important.


  32. There is another aspect in every society and that is social status. Maori are on the Bottom rung of the social ladder. Nobody wants to take their place. Therefore those just above Maori will do everything they can to stop from taking their place such is the western thought process


  33. You have really great points in this article but it could have been presented to be more convincing. I agree, ignorance around this subject is an issue. Our history needs to be taught in schools. However, tarring people as “ignorant” is going to achieve nothing.

    You implied offence in the third paragraph with “as if I represented every Maori in the world.”

    Yet you contradicted yourself in previous paragraph with “unlike many of my fellow Pakeha who live in this country, have a pretty good awareness…” and later on with “what do Pakeha have to be angry about?”

    Again, I agree with you. This is a very important part of all of our history and an important issue to solve. I want Pakeha on Maori side and vice versa. Nobody wants to be hated for their skin colour. That’s why these sorts of “blame-the-white-man” tone of editorials aren’t going to help anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your issue seems to lie with semantics. I can just as easily rewrite that to say ‘some Pakeha’. The point of the blog, is that ignorance is the foundation of that anger.

      I do not blame white men, I blame ignorance.

      ps, i also have a strong pakeha heritage.


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