Four years ago my life was tipped upside down after making a rash phone call to my friend, Barry Copeland. We had just attended a small protest on Queens Wharf where we learned of Ports of Auckland’s 90 m expansion plans to Bledisloe Wharf. When I saw the extent of the port’s proposals, it touched a nerve. That evening I called my architect friend and said: “Barry we’ve got to do something about this”.
Category archive: NZ History
“This is not us” is the phrase many of us have used after the shock of the Christchurch Mosque massacres which claimed the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers. It may come as a surprise to Kiwis, but that sentiment is being challenged on a leading US website, Buzzfeed.
Australian Buzzfeed reporter Hannah Ryan, found examples of Muslims who had been discriminated against or were the victims of hate speech – and actions.
Television cameras and interviewers were present on Christchurch’s last vigil for the 50 Muslims who’d been slain a week before. A young Muslim woman said the “Free-speech people” had a lot to answer for.
She used the expression ‘free-speech’ people once more in the interview, clearly in the belief that the law allowing free speech was partly to blame for the massacre. Or did she? Was she referring to the hateful, divisive and unregulated racists ensconced on social media?
The Prime Minister was right to announce to the world that in New Zealand we are all ‘us,’ but although it made us feel virtuous to agree with her, we know that’s not true.
You could say that, in general, we have tolerated Muslims, but they will tell you about being held in Customs for longer periods than other New Zealanders and that they have a harder time than European immigrants trying to get their parents to visit from places like India and Pakistan. And that feels like discrimination.
One of the joys of de-cluttering for people who didn’t want to do it in the first place, is that you sometimes find unexpected treasures. Things that weren’t that special but for some reason you just couldn’t throw away.
As we foraged through paper mountains in a spare room, we found a special 100th issue of Metro magazine, dated October 1989 and called In Our time – Auckland in the Eighties.
Note to self: Must stop going to the welcoming sunshine of Nelson. Not because I dislike the place – that’s impossible. It’s because the visits usually coincide with calamities of one sort or another.
First a giant squid washed ashore at Farewell Spit in 2011, then the next year, a mass stranding of pilot whales in Golden Bay in February 2017. And finally, last month’s Nelson fires – the worst in 60 years and the third worst in New Zealand’s history).
This year we asked some of our contributors to write about what the day meant to them. Their views show that there’s cause for celebration, potential for greater involvement and appreciation of the day’s significance. First off, freelance writer Chris Horan:
Like most New Zealanders I’ve never been to Waitangi and doubt I’ll ever get there. What I’ve seen on TV has very often been divisive. However, a few years ago I happened to be in Oamaru on Waitangi Day.The event was celebrated a few miles from town. We drove over a grass track through a field ready to harvest sun-flowers.
It’s a risky business looking beneath the surface of the social media midden, but hard to resist when the subject is close to your heart. I lived and worked in South Africa in 1963-64, where the reality of apartheid became a shocking formative experience for me. I’ve since keenly followed the politics of author Alan Paton’s ‘Cry The Beloved Country’, his lament for the arrival of a rigidly segregated country.