Thursday, May 30, 2013

A (Kind-Of) History of New Zealand

New Zealanders of the sun burnable variety will often read stories from Australia and be disgusted at the treatment of Aborigines, will wring their hands about Inuits, and will plant a garden of remembrance to the injustices inflicted on African Americans.

Maoris? Bunch of lazy dole bludgers.

The history of the treatment of NZ's indigenous culture is not a kind one, and our reaction to it's inevitable results are not either. If you take ANY group of people, and colonise them, you will get the same result. And yet, as always, the colonisers think that they're special snowflakes and that their flourshing is due purely to individual achievement in a society that was set up for them to succeed on the backs of others.

The History of New Zealand:

Holy shit, everyone, a new country (your perspective may vary)! Everyone packs up and comes over, a Government is formed and a treaty signed (lets not get into that mess). Oh hey, we don't want Maori to be exploited (WINKETY WINK), so how about you can only sell your land to the Government at a incredibly low price, and then the Government on-sells it at a moderate price, using the proceeds to build infrastructure in areas which benefit the land-buyers, not the land-sellers. A great money stream for Government, a great deal on land that hugely benefits the newbies, and between this and a land war, Maori effectively lose most of their economic clout. (On a side-note, we're got some diary farms and electricity companies if you want in.)

Of course some land was out and out stolen, so Maori turned to the court system and were told that they were a bunch of "primitive barbarians" (actual words), the treaty was void, there's the door, and this narrative continued right up to the 1970's when the civil rights movement began because people were a leetle bit tired about how they were being treated (Bastion Point, a real highlight!). Add on to the fact that while living in rural poverty the Government decided to squash Maori culture by only allowing for the teaching of English, set up Native Schools in our only little homage to Apartheid - (you could be a maid OR a laborer, we really made sure that self-worth and pride was instilled at an early age), and generally decided that Maori were all going to die so we'd flick them a bit of welfare to 'ease their passing'. See ya, thanks for the land!

I took history in High School. Not exactly taught. Put it this way, we come across as benevolently awesome as we walk across the waters to New Zealand to drape blankets over the shoulders of the natives. Spoiler Alert: I think we wrote the textbooks.

Aaaand within this backdrop of history we end up with a group of people who are more likely to drink, gamble, take drugs and KILL THEMSELVES, in an effort to escape the utterly shittastic life that they can sometimes find themselves living in because history doesn't just happen and then we find ourselves in the present, history is what leads us to where we are now.  This outcome is no different to every other group of colonisalised people, because when you're stripped of what resources you have and labelled as lesser, it's probably not that psychologically healthy. Just saying.

So this happens, and our response, the sunburnable people of New Zealand?

"Maori? There must be something inherently wrong with them."

Really, you've almost got to admire the balls.

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