May 19, 2016


I’d actually agree with people who say “I’m not racist”. I think racism is essentially the characteristic of the society we live in and all of us are caught up in it. Most of us are well adapted to living in a racist society. Of course, there are a few bigots who are enthusiastic and consciously participate rejoicing. Then there are lots of us who are uncritically accepting of how things are, or who have the luxury of putting it in the too hard basket. A growing number are trying to live in a resistant way.
It is good to have had a discussion on radio. If media would stop reinforcing the settler-coloniser mindset, I think the pace would pick up. However Jenny Rankine is doing a thesis about racism on social media, and at present that is a nightmare of prejudice where bigots romp and evangelise!
After focusing our energies on institutional racism, we haven’t had much impact on personal prejudice as yet.  However there is some evidence that attitudes follow change rather than initiate it, and again that takes a change of generations to show up.
Remember that anti-racism theory says that if nothing changes, whether the dominant group are glad or sad about it doesn’t really matter.  It is changing what happens that counts.
October 26, 2015

The Rugby Haka Debate

Attacks on Māori tikanga and taonga routinely place Pākehā who wish and work for a Tiriti-based future for this country in an invidious position. The targets of the assault are not ours and we rarely have the knowledge and spiritual connection to them that would support a direct defence. At the same time we know that there must be a vocal opposition to the attack because, as our Pākehā lore has it, silence means consent. An example of such attacks was provided by a Listener editorial that questioned the rightness of All Blacks performing a haka before international matches. The following was my attempt to challenge the thinking and claims behind the editorial.

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June 18, 2014

Press complaints against Te Tiriti article thrown out

By Susan Healy, with the full Press Council findings provided under the cut.

Cecily McNeil is editor of Welcom, a monthly newsletter for the Wellington Catholic diocese. In February, she wrote an editorial saying it was important to know the history of our country and to honour the Treaty partnership. In the same issue she wrote an article presenting to readers some of the key evidence from Ngāpuhi Speaks, the independent report on the hearing of Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu’s claim concerning He Wakaputanga (the Declaration of Independence) and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Subsequently, Mike Butler took a complaint to the Press Council, saying the editorial and article were a case of unbalanced journalism. The Press Council have now assessed the complaint and decided that it is not valid. Here are extracts from the Press Council’s assessment:

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December 23, 2013

Belated Response to Muriel Newman on Institutional Racism

I recently stumbled upon a disturbing blog posted on 14th July 2013 by Dr Muriel Newman from the right-wing think tank New Zealand Centre for Political Research. It was about a subject I am passionate about – institutional racism. Her post is riddled with misinformation and factual inaccuracies that, in the interests of informed debate, I feel moved to unravel for the discerning reader.

The following points address only a handful of the inaccuracies in her post.

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July 14, 2013

Fairness and the Myth of Equality

We were interested to read the very expensive advertisements which appeared across New Zealand’s main daily newspapers in recent weeks. These advertisements advocate for constitutional arrangements without regard to the Treaty of Waitangi and the signing of a proposed ‘Declaration of Equality’. Placed by a group calling themselves the ‘Independent Constitutional Review Panel’, they rely on patently false, alarmist and fear-based messaging; claiming recognition of the Treaty in the constitution would “entrench iwi in a position of unassailable racial, legal, cultural and economic superiority over all other New Zealanders” and “forever condemn our country to a future of racial division”.

From the outside, calls for ‘equality’ and ‘one law for all’ may seem fair and reasonable as everyone is treated the same – as in the satirical cartoon below.



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