The Human Rights Commission has drawn a line in the sand and in doing so it has weighed up two competing human rights and decided that it will protect only one of them. No prizes for guessing who got the short end of the stick.


Human Rights Commission Says “Te Reo Maori Is a Right”

The Human Rights Commission will no longer consider individual complaints over the use of te reo Maori or the term Pakeha.

It has announced that in future only a standard response will be provided.

Chief Executive Rebecca Elvy says the Commission does not offer its resolution service for these complaints.

“The Human Rights Act sets out what types of discrimination are unlawful. The use of te reo does not fit the criteria,” she says “So, this aligns with our legislation, and better directs our resources”.

So to translate, this means that you can insult someone in Maori all day long because you have the right to insult people just as long as it is in te reo. This reinforces the current discrimination against Pakeha who are told that because they are in the majority it is not possible for them to experience racism. Maori now have carte blanche to be as racist as they like. To be fair it has always been that way anyway but now the Human Rights Commission has made it official.

Additionally, this ruling also means that non-Maori will not have complaints upheld when they complain that important health, news or warning messages are presented in a language that the majority of the population cannot understand. I recall not that long ago, when there was a Tsunami warning. Some of our readers complained that the messages they received included enough Maori words to make the warning incomprehensible to them. Well, suck it up guys because you do not have the right to receive information in a form that the majority of the population can understand thanks to the Human Rights Commission.

Perhaps they think that non-Maori aren’t human, given that they have no respect for their rights.

Past complaints inaccurately suggested the use of the word Pakeha was derogatory, and that forms and greetings in te reo discriminated against Pakeha.

Te reo Maori is an official language in Aotearoa New Zealand, and all indigenous people also have a fundamental right to self-determination, and the protection of their language, culture, and heritage. This is especially the case in Aotearoa, where He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi have affirmed the inherent right of tangata whenua to Tino Rangatiratanga.

New Zealand sign language is also an official language but no one is trying to sign the news to us because the majority of New Zealanders wouldn’t be able to understand their message. The same applies with Maori. Maori already have the right to speak and write in Maori and to have their own Maori News here in New Zealand. How is their right to use Maori harmed in any way by the language of the majority being used to inform the majority of the population? It isn’t and we all know that. The only people who are being harmed by this nonsense ruling is the majority of the population who all speak and write in English.

The Office of Human Rights Proceedings is an independent office within the Commission. Individuals can apply for legal representation there if their complaint has not been resolved at the Commission. Its Director of Human Rights Proceedings is Michael Timmins.

“I tautoko this kaupapa from the Commission. While I am Director, my office will not be accepting such applications for legal representation,” he says.

I have no idea what he just said as I do not speak Maori but from the part he said in English it is clear that if you are non-Maori with a complaint about being unable to understand messages in Maori he will not accept your application.

Today’s announcement is in line with other public bodies such as the Broadcasting Standards Authority, which announced in March it would cease hearing complaints regarding the use of te reo.

There you have it folks. You can no longer rely on even the Broadcasting Standards Authority to maintain the basic standard of ensuring that the majority of its audience can understand what is being said.

Since they don’t care about the needs or rights of the majority the majority will go elsewhere for their content. It is as simple as that.

GIF by South Park
GIF by South Park

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When One Right Trumps Another
Juana Atkins

Juana Atkins

Editor of The BFD: Juana doesn't want readers to agree with her opinions or the opinions of her team of writers. Her goal and theirs is to challenge readers to question the status quo, look between the...