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PETER WILLIAMS: End Judicial Activism

Judicial activism is showing no signs of slowing down, and it’s a stain on our society.

If you have any fraction of Maori in your bloodline, it is, according to a Family Court judge, “necessary to consider familial, community and cultural matters which are inherent in the development of the identity of a Maori child. These considerations are different from those for a Pakeha child.”

If you’re concerned about the growing level of tension in race relations in this country, look no further than those appalling words from Family Court judge Jill Moss.

How can a member of our judiciary state that Maori are different from non-Maori and say that some children in New Zealand need a different kind of upbringing to others?

What’s more this judge says the obligation to consider those “familial, community and cultural matters” arose from the Treaty of Waitangi.

That is insulting and arrant nonsense.

Which Article of the Treaty says some New Zealanders should be treated differently to others?

Even those with just a rudimentary knowledge of the Treaty understand the three Articles: 1 - the Chiefs ceded the right to govern to the Crown, 2 - Maori would retain ownership and control over their lands and other property, and 3 - all New Zealanders would become British subjects.

It is in Article Three that the concept of “all the ordinary people of New Zealand” having the “same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England” is clearly spelled out.

How can a learned judge of the Family Court re-interpret a much studied document of 183 years ago and find that some ordinary people of New Zealand have different rights and duties?

This whole Family Court debacle came about after a gay female couple wanted a child and decided for reasons best known to themselves to have a Maori sperm donor.

The complication came when the mother and the sperm donor signed an agreement allowing the donor to have a role in the child’s life.

Bad, bad mistake.

If you’re female and gay and want a child, keep the father anonymous and out of both your life, and the life of the child. It’s much less complicated.

In this case the relationship between the mother and the sperm donor fell apart, yet the donor wanted not just to be part of his daughter’s life but also insisted that “she be aware of her identity and proud of her heritage.”

A psychologist’s report quoted the sperm donor father as saying his daughter needed “urgent attention to matters relating to her identity and a defined sense of belonging within her whanau.” The psychologist went on to assert “that approach does not accord with Eurocentric social science theory.”

In the end the Judge decided this sperm donor father can see his daughter once every three weeks. The young girl is currently five years old. I despair of the confusing upbringing she will have.

But I despair more at the insults that educated people are throwing at my non-Maori, or if you like Pakeha, culture. I’ve always led a way of life where family connections are paramount and where we all have a sense of belonging.

I’m deeply offended that a Family Court judge says that Maori children should have different considerations than those for a Pakeha child, and that a psychologist believes “Eurocentric social science theory” (whatever the hell that is) does not include a sense of belonging inside a family.

It is time academics in ivory towers stopped praising Maori and whanau life as superior to the rest of us.

It is not.

We are all New Zealanders. We all have, under Article Three of the Treaty the ”same rights and duties of citizenship.”

It is time to stop the insults and the division. It will ease the tension.

Writer and broadcaster for half a century. Now watching from the sidelines. Subscribe to Peter William's Substack here

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