Paddy and me – a journey

Bad weather can often be the subject of some pretty boring conversations, but this week it was the cause of a whole lot of debate, disputes and predictions as Paddy Gower of TV3 and I decided to share a car and drive to Waitangi when our plane was cancelled due to the weather.


It was a journey that traversed as many issues as there were bends in the windy road to Waitangi.

Throw Paddy’s mate, a PR man working with iwi, in the back seat (we invited Claudia Orange but she found her own transport) and there were plenty of opportunities for fiery two-against-one debates.

Our biggest dispute was over whether the issue of which kuia would escort Mr Key at Te Tii was actually news. Paddy, stoutly defending the relevance, while PR guy and I argued that it was predictable demonisation of Titewhai Harawira. Then it was the guys against me over the motive of the Popata brothers; me on my own defending the right of young Maori to protest and raise issues like mining while the others thought it was rent an issue without informed knowledge. By Whangarei we had moved on to why priests should be allowed to marry, the free trade differences between Labour and the Greens, the prevalence of rape and why young women give up their maiden names.

Then the PR man read out his blog on Waitangi which Paddy liked and I hated. We argued some more about the meaning of Waitangi Day, the constitutional issues, the iwi leaders group and the role of the media, and in a flash we were at Waitangi, with our different views but in common agreement;  this was a great way to travel.

 After all Waitangi is all about the journey and the conversation.

10 Comments Posted

  1. Why is so much attention paid to a small media beat-up? Were any of you actually there yesterday or today?
    What I saw: thousands of people, of all races and ages, having a great time in the sun, discussing serious issues respectfully in the big marquee, playing games, singing, eating, talking to each other, strolling along greeting friends, swimming. The focus of the hikoi was to respect women and stop domestic violence – postive, contstructive, peaceful.
    I do not understand this constant whining about the perceived problems of a great national day where the issues can be, and are, discussed, at the same time as having fun and learning things about the various community organisations: the firefighters, St John, Police, CBEC who were in charge of the recycling etc etc. All the educational institutions were there, from Wananga to polytechs to universities.
    There was no violence, no rubbish, and (perhaps surprisingly) almost zero smoking.

    I loved it. Come and enjoy it next year.

  2. Ah, such wit. I’m sure your Mummy finds you funny.

    Harawira has been convicted of assault on a psychiatric patient. She has disregarded the wishes of the Ngapuhi trustees. Any demonisation is the result of her actions, yet she appears to get a free pass from Catherine?

    Perhaps she’s the right race, political leaning and sex? Identity politics, eh.

  3. If it turns out that Titiwhai Harawira is in fact “an old, white male”, as Arana suggests, then it’s certain that she’s been demonised and someone needs to call a exorcist!

  4. If Harawira, someone convicted of assault against a mental patient, was an old, white male, I wonder if Catherine would describe him as being demonised?

  5. Titewhai’s actions irrelevant to the vast majority of people having a great day there today. I suppose the news guys have to report something – pity it’s so far from the real issues.

  6. “Our biggest dispute was over whether the issue of which kuia would escort Mr Key at Te Tii was actually news.”
    Well, it is certainly more newsworthy and of greater relevance to New Zealanders that so much else of the pap that is deemed “news” for the masses these days! The report I recently observed on telly, commented that Mrs. Harawira was apparently self appointed to this position and she looked rather determined to stay there. Not an overly humble attitude on her part or fair to others in Maoridom I’m thinking. Still I guess that will have to be one for the seniors to sort. Sad that we still have these contentious issues every Waitangi. Have to admit that it takes the shine off what has the potential to be a genuinely celebratory occasion but I think I’ll be out in the garden or fruit picking. Something more tangible and positive.

  7. “predictable demonisation of Titewhai Harawira”

    No, a convicted violent criminal, who used violence against mental health patients has demonised herself.

    What’s astonishing is how this monster has been rehabilitated, and you will wonder about violence among Maori, when respect is dished out to someone, because her politics aligns with your own.

    It’s disgraceful.

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