Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why Pakeha dont get Maori

Tena koutou,

Well, it is Maori language week in NZ, and while such things are definately tokenism, they should be used as oportunities to promote and advocate for those things which they are tokens of. 

At Carey we took the opportunity to have a couple of speakers to share about the Maori experience of colonisation and of the gospel.  As you might expect it was a deeply moving time and something we need to do more than just once a year.  But one thing which really hit me yesterday was the way that the Maori approach to history was so at odds with the Pakeha (European-Kiwi).  I have know that for a long time, but hadn't applied that knowledge to the way that so many Kiwis react to Maori issues.

For Maori: History is alive, their ancestors live in them

For Pakeha: History is dead, it is written in books

For Maori: History is who you are, it is your identity

For Pakeha: Now is who you are, the past should be left behind

All this means that when the Maori want to address the injustices of the past the Pakeha roll their eyes and say "can't we just move on?"  " Why are you dragging up all that history?"  "Let's focus on the future."  For the Europeans the past is irrelevant and so those lazy Maori's are just trying to get something for nothing.  For the Maori the past is not irrelevant, they live with the legacy of the past injustices in their communities and families and know that they cannot move into the future untill the wounds of the past have been healed.  The Pakeha who doesn't even know the name of his great grandfather finds it hard to understand how the Maori can still be hurt by what happened to his.

The Pakeha needs to wake up to the history of the nation, the reality of the social legacy colonisation has left the Maori.  Until we do that, the Maori will never be healed, and the nation will never be one, and neither will the church.

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