Matthew Tukaki, self proclaimed “Chief Barking Dog”, Executive Director of the National Executive of the New Zealand Maori Council, is well known for popping up on any show where a token Maori viewpoint is needed. But he showed his true colours yesterday on TV3’s Newshub Nation.
On the 10am Sunday slot, Tukaki, while partaking in a panel discussion around housing, came up with a clanger. The discussion surrounded the language that the Government was using to describe their actions around the latest housing interventions.
The terminology used quite frankly is just nonsense. It’s Hoha. [sp?] I mean just say it what it, call it what it is, this Brightline Test for example, it’s a Capital Gains Tax, let’s just call it a CGT, move on with life, set the parameters around what the CGT needs to look like, learn the lessons from what happened in Australia and come on let’s all just get on with it. But this overuse of language that quite frankly the average New Zealander, let alone the average Maori cannot understand, means that you’re looking at the TV every night thinking ‘but what did you just say, I don’t understand what you just said’Newshub Nation 28/03/2021.
While I give Tukaki credit for seeing through the Government’s duplicity, he seems to be saying that your average Maori is too thick to understand!
Perhaps he only understands it because his Mum, Margaret O’Flaherty, was your typical Irish Rose and he was sent to a private school so he could get himself some of that good colonial education?
Now what he is saying may very well be true. Perhaps he is right and your “average Maori” does get easily confused by the government’s big words and obfuscation. I’m not so sure but hey, he’s the one telling the story.
George W Bush, in a 2002 speech that marked the lauching of the No Child Left Behind Act, coined the phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations”.
It was used to highlight how a biased system will create division and how people will inherently meet those lower expectations of them, and how damaging that can be to indigenous people.
The accusation in New Zealand of course would be that less is expected of Maori, so they naturally meet that expectation.
I’m sure that Matthew Tukaki would deny that what he said is racist.
But plenty of people have been called racist for suggesting that Police Ten 7 isn’t a racist TV show just because it is showing the reality of policing in New Zealand and not some touchy-feely New Age, diverse, sanitised version of reality that might make Maori people feel less picked on.
Maybe Tukaki’s comments show an inherent bias within Maori?
Are Maori’s own supposed champions actually themselves showing what, in New Zealand, might be deemed ‘Racism of Low Expectations’?
Or is it even really racism? Perhaps ‘prejudice’ might be a better word?
Is Matthew Tukaki unconsciously prejudiced against his own people (well the brown-skinned ancestral side of him anyway), by expecting the “average Maori” to be too dumb to understand what their government is telling them?
But what does your average Maori hear when he says something like that? Is he really telling them that he is superior to them because he can understand?
More importantly, are these low expectations and prejudices the sort of thing that one should expect of the New Zealand Maori Council? Or, like Police Ten 7, is Tukaki simply being a realist?
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