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Understanding goes a long way towards achieving unity

Opinion Piece

This letter is a response to the many ignorant and bigoted opinions published recently regarding our district’s proposed dual-name change: Their audacity and pale recollection of history is astounding. They speak as though history began the day Cook landed. Some could say he turned up, had a bad visit (ie didn’t get all he wanted) and left his mark by dishing out a spitefully-laced name with no regard for the district or its inhabitants. Hmm, some legacy.

For those of us with deeper connections to this land and sea, I doubt GPS issues, tourist opinion and someone’s incapacity to spell Turanganui-a-Kiwa will factor at all?. . . cultural thievery indeed.

In response to Mike Mulrooney’s latest rant (and others like him), I think he would benefit hugely by reading Dame Anne Salmond’s books and watching her He Tohu interview on YouTube if he values historical fact over colonial myth. She is an amazing lady, scholar and New Zealander, from this region.

Mike would learn that many European men of status commented extensively on the kindness and tenderness they witnessed within Maori families, the hospitality shown to strangers, and their genuine surprise that Maori men did not hit women and children (domestic violence was almost unheard of), plus many Maori women held high-status positions, which was also a foreign concept to them.

Meanwhile, back in Britain under the doctrine of “coverture”, it was legal and commonplace for women and children to suffer violence and abuse by their husbands, as they were considered his property to do with as he liked.

Add to that colonial nugget the introduction of alcohol and tobacco by European settlers.

I mention these facts purely as a direct counter-view to Mike’s insidious comments that what happened 100-200 years ago has nothing to do with many disproportionate Maori statistics today.

The truth can be uncomfortable and challenging Mike, but understanding goes a long way towards achieving unity. Not that I believe that is your intent.

To conclude, a heartfelt sentiment of gratitude to our councillors for the 13-1 vote, and to those people who have written in also expressing their opposition to the unfortunate number of ignorant, derisive rants ?. . . it is heartening to hear your voices, thank you.

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.