Saturday, January 12, 2008


I'm feeling a touch of self-pity tonight, and not without justification. Perusing the online speeches of Tariana Turia in The Maori Party, I was struck by the unpalatable truth about New Zealand: Maoris are oppressed. [Don't roll your eyes!] For myself, this unenviable condition is compounded. Allow me to explain.

It's no secret that Maoris are reviled; we'd never win a congeniality contest. Although it's common knowledge that the Maori race is divided into tribes, fewer recognise a separate internal dynamic at work inside Maoridom. Each regional clan competes for honour and stature. Some are held in high regard, while others are burdened by disfavour. And my tribe, Ngati Porou, is the most villified of all, despised by every other tribe. We are, in effect, an opressed minority within an oppressed minority.

The tribes themselves are further divided into hapu (sub-tribes) which exist within a hierarchy of prestige and acclaim. I guess it's just bad fate that my sub-tribe has the lowest status: we're the most marginalised, the most oppressed.

All sub-tribes, in turn, may be broken down into marae (villages). Again, these groupings are ranked according to eminence and nobility. When it comes to the village with the least esteem, guess who drew the short straw? Yup, my village indeed. Consequently we suffer enormous ignominy and persecution.

But wait, there's more. Each village is a conglomerate of that smallest of social units, the whanau (family). Within the pecking order which characterises every village, my family bears the most shame and denigration. As the village scapegoat, we endure perpetual torment and social privation.

Finally, every family comprises individuals. As most will attest, in all families there's one child who is most picked upon, the least popular, the most harassed. In my case that person is me. You'd be correct in saying I'm the 'white sheep' of the family. So you can see appreciate my unfortunate predicament.

Now, I'm not looking for compensation or any apology, nor sympathy. All I ask is due acknowledgement that I am, in fact, the most oppressed Maori in New Zealand.


Anonymous said...

you are oppressed? or are you just depressed....

Phil said...

Depressed? Oh hell no, I always look like this.

Perhaps 'misunderstood' might be a better word.

bruddah said...

Nahh bro you got it all wrong. I am mostly white but have Ngapuhi background. Because I am from the 2 biggest tribes in Aotearoa I don't get jack s**t! The gummint expects me to work and s**t. That's oppression of MY rights for real bro. Check out Maori TV they will help you see that the Man is keeping the brown race Down.

Anonymous said...

Kia Ora - we are oppressed and have been for over 168yrs. Perhaps the answer is in 'transforming' the feeling. Tino rangatiratanga - Freedom of the mind, emancipate yourself from those eliminate oppression for our Maori race - begins within
apopo Nga-Puhi Wahine