Friday, 6 February 2009

not a post about waitangi day... oops, yes it is!

i didn't do waitangi day this year. which is a break from my "tradition" of the past few years of going down to innes common in hamilton & participating in the events there. i can't say that i had any compelling reason to not go this year, other than the fact that i wanted to spend some time with my family.

that's something that really suffered last year, especially with the campaign combined with my other volunteer activities. so i decided that i needed some quality family time, and time to visit old family friends who i've neglected.

i thought others could deal with issues of nationhood and the treaty. i'm not sure there is much new to say on the subject. yet i'm extremely glad we don't have a celebration like australia day which seems to have become (for some) a time to express national pride by hating others. at least we celebrate a day when two peoples came together in agreement (or at least some subsection of each of the two peoples tried to come together to agree on certain principles, about which there may have been a bit of misunderstanding due to translation errors).

but i like that we recognise the difficulties; i'm glad there's protest because it keeps reminding us about the many issues that remain unresolved or not-very-satisfactorily resolved. i'm glad we don't do the military displays of strength, the jingoism. i much prefer the soul-searching, the little bit of confusion about what it really does mean to be a nz'er. i like that it's not a day about pride, but a day for thinking about values and whether we have really lived up to them.

so get lost peter dunne, who wants to "Establish a New Zealand Day separate from Waitangi Day to celebrate our nation’s history, multicultural society". we don't need a nz version of australia day, and waitangi is a crucial part of our history. this supposed celebration of a multi-cultural society does nothing more than deflect attention away from treaty issues, it's an attempt to reduce their importance.

we don't have a great history when it comes to multiculturalism (chinese poll tax? dawn raids?), and i'd much rather celebrate that as we do now ie with the chinese community holding lantern festivals around the country for the rest of us to share, with the hindu community holding diwali celebrations in october, with islam awareness week in august, and all the other expresssions of diversity across the country at the times when various communities are ready to celebrate.

besides which, mr dunne seems to have missed the fact that many communities across the country have chosen to incorporate ethnic communities into waitangi day celebrations. it certainly happens here in hamilton, with many ethnic communities being part of the celebrations.

the only area i think is seriously lacking is the discussion about how ethnic and pasifika communities can fit into the treaty debate and take a greater part in it. i don't think sufficient space has been made for that discussion, although things have been slowly improving in that regard.

hmm, today was not meant to be a post about waitangi day, but look where i've ended up! never mind, i'll write about today's topic tomorrow. i'll end with the 9th down under feminists carnival, now up at the hand mirror. thanx to deborah & others for all their work with it, there's some very interesting reading for the long weekend...

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