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FIONA MACKENZIE: Why the Term "Non-Māori" is Unhelpful

Racial separatists in New Zealand have become significantly more strident of late, demanding undemocratic power and funding, along with greater control over anyone identifying as Māori. It all sounds scarily similar to the unhinged ranting of many of the world’s destructive despots. With this perilous state in mind, I ask our leaders to please take more care with their language.


Lumping New Zealanders into “Māori” or "non-Māori” categories is both lazy and misleading. This approach implies that those who cannot or choose not to identify as Māori are a less important, homogenous group that can be collectively relegated. Politically, this has already resulted in the “nons” having fewer rights in governance, legislation, public funding, and employment. So much for New Zealand being a democracy.


Meanwhile, those identifying as Māori are certainly not clones of each other with one world view or way of doing things (despite what the activists claim); neither are they of one ancestral bloodline or living distinctly different lives from all other New Zealanders.


So, the binary division is artificial and absurd. It totally ignores our country's history of migration and social mingling, and completely overlooks the healthy interconnectedness and interdependence of all communities within New Zealand.


The use of "non-Māori" is also dangerous. It positions Māori culture as the norm against which all people are measured. Rather than fostering unity and collaboration, this usage suggests a hierarchical relationship, creating barriers and fostering animosity in our society. Such tactics have been employed by many historical figures seeking to exert control over populations by delineating clear boundaries of exclusion and inclusion. By labelling people as "non-something”, such as “non-white”, “non-Han Chinese”, “non-Aryans”, or "non-believers", authorities and bullies throughout time have marginalised and devalued those who do not fit the preferred identity, justifying discriminatory practices, social hierarchies, and violence.


For New Zealand’s sake, it is essential that our leaders and policymakers adopt language that promotes inclusivity, respect, and recognition of diversity in our country. They can reject the belittling qualifier of "non-" and instead promote New Zealanders’ common humanity, shared experiences and love for this country, thereby fostering a sense of unity and belonging for us all.



Fiona Mackenzie is a businesswoman who has combined self-employment with voluntary work and is a firm believer in the safeguards that true democracy provides. She is also a Hobson's Pledge Trustee.

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386 comentarios


W deVries
W deVries
03 jun

Truth is that all 'Maori' as also non-Maori, none having a full-blooded lineage any more.


Division is the aim of the process, not just from TPM, but at least the Greens and Labour too. If you can divide, and can sell a story to bring reconciliation and regain the corridors of power. Perish the thought! It's a lot like the arsonist fireman.

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All well and good, but using the epithet 'Pakeha' will not do either. Using a Maori term that was always intended as an insult ignores the many ethnic backgrounds of New Zealanders who were never whalers and sealers....

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basilwnz
basilwnz
03 jun
Contestando a

I can't say I'm too keen on these labels that are thrown around, even though they're in common use. Derogatory names have been invented since humans realised they could belittle and irritate each other, so nothing's improved there.

I don't hold any suggestions, other than wishing folk would just do their collective best to adopt and use respectful terms for one another.

Is it really that hard?


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If politicians need to have logical description clarified then the voters who elected the dumbos are at fault. Careful who you vote for!

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Bazza
Bazza
03 jun

Pakeha women from Ireland marries 25% Maori with mixes of Scottish blood amongst others. and has 2 boys but divorces . She goes on to have 2 more children, girls to a Mexican born NZ citizen. Questions; How does she identify as Maori? How do her 2 original children identify as Maori , and what relationship do her second 2 children have with the stepbrothers in regard to Māori. It keeps giving; Can the originals claim Scottish or Irish citizen rights? Ditto Mexican for the girls. Are they all New Zealand Citizens by the fact they were born here? Does NZ citizenship have any requirement for specific bloodlines? Are ALL NZ Citizens considered equal according to the laws and statutes?

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Contestando a

It’s the way Māori have always done their mihi…but I can tell it bothers you, it sounds as if you want to tell them what to do? Do they tell you how to introduce yourself?

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Simply using the term " non maori " to describe the rest of the citizens residing in new Zealand is a lazy and provocative way of determining who must be catered to the most, who's idealism and thought process trumps all others, all based on race.

That alone frightens me.

Dress it up all day long, it doesn't matter, that's apartheid right there.

This country fought against racial segregation, and rightly so, 50 odd years prior, and now again this ugly revolting schecture in the form of a party that believes in that form of governance again rears it's head. No. No more.

They should be trialed for sedition, be kicked out of parliament forthwith,,because if they can't believe i…

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Contestando a

I'm hoping you can clear something up for me Aaron.

When you write 'indeed no place in our now multicultural society' what do you mean? Socially isolate them somehow? Limit their rights? Deport them to Madagascar? Or something a little more 1930's/40's.

I'm looking for a clarification as this isn't the first time you've threatened people / fellow citizens this way, so I'm just curious about what you have in mind ....

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