“Not a very complicated job” – the new Race Relations Commissioner

OK so it is day one for Susan Devoy but what about the Government? Why did they appoint a person to the role with no background in Te Tiriti issues or diversity politics? Why did they choose someone who is on the public record doubting the relevance and value of Waitangi to New Zealanders?

What is the take home message from a Government when the new Commissioner has no discernible background except she was once a minority on a male dominated Board?

Being a minority on a Board when you are a world champion at squash is not the same as being treated a minority every day in your own country because of your cultural background.

If the Government were committed to addressing racism they had plenty of choice, there are many people who work in the field of bridge building between he cultures. The previous Race Relations Commissioner’s were generally highly experienced, high calibre moderates who tried to bring clarity and positivity to the mine field of our cultural misunderstandings and dominant culture prejudices against difference.

It is a complicated job requiring a depth of understanding that Ms Devoy’s public comments so far do not demonstrate.

Judith Collins says many New Zealanders will support Susan’s views of Waitangi. However I am hoping when the new Commissioner settles into the job and receives the barrage of hurts and conflicts and complex misunderstandings she might reassess her views of the need for a founding document based on peace and respectful relationships.

She might grasp the point of addressing painful histories with bravery and honesty and she might step out of her comfort zone and take a more sophisticated and nuanced view than she has so far expressed.

But the Government must be challenged for this appointment. Does it suit them to have human rights commissioner who could continue l undermine Te Tiriti o Waitangi and foster a shallow nationalism?

We are now a country of many cultures and we have unfinished business with colonialism. There is a younger generation who value Te Tiriti and diversity, there are new migrants hungry for cultural knowledge of their new land and there are some entrenched prejudices against Te Tiriti and diversity.

Susan Devoy said on Radio NZ that it was not very a very complicated job. After 20 years teaching Te Tiriti o Waitangi with many New Zealanders I challenge that assumption. It is very rewarding work to take on racism but it is also very complicated indeed.

71 thoughts on ““Not a very complicated job” – the new Race Relations Commissioner

  1. That appointment made about as much sense as the appointment of Christine Rankin on Families commission…… given her track record….and interesting to note there is now going to be an inquiry about excess and overspending on entertainment and consultants there….GO figure! Have said for a long time we need a ministry of common sense…not likely to get one!

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  2. Maybe the massage is that central governments should be race blind?

    If I had it my way all race-based bullshit would be dissolved immediately.

    There are human rights, for sure, but not “Maori rights”. To be anything less than race-blind is actually a racist position. And the only reason why there is “unfinished business” with colonialism is because trouble-makers and profiteers (ie. people like you trying to win the Maori vote) keep on bringing it up, creating it, and dragging it out.

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  3. Catherine – antagonism towards someone, not because of what they have done, but because of who they are – is the definition of racism in my dictionary.

    That definition could equally describe your comments above.

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  4. “If I had it my way all race-based bullshit would be dissolved immediately.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Everyone should have the same rights regardless of race. If Maori want to steal peoples’ land, and keep it for decades before belatedly paying compensation, they should be entitled to. If a Maori or Chinese public servant chooses to work and communicate in their own language, they should be entitled to and the public should get used to it. If a person wants to follow Maori tikanga, rather than the European-based legal model, they should be allowed to do so.

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  5. By the way, could I propose Hekia Parata for the next New Zealand Olympic team? Probably for track and field events. After all she’s a well-known, high profile New Zealander and running around a track or chucking a shot putt doesn’t seem a very complicated task.

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  6. “antagonism towards someone, not because of what they have done, but because of who they are – is the definition of racism in my dictionary”

    Must get a copy of your dictionary.

    Racism: dislike of somebody on the grounds of their identity whether related to their race or not.

    Antagonism: suggesting somebody isn’t suitable for a job due to lack of experience or qualifications.

    Dictionary: device for ascribing new and politically convenient meanings to words.

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  7. Oops, accidently ‘liked’ Andrew’s comment when I very much disagree with him (shouldn’t eat lunch & comment I guess)

    Andrew, there is unfinished business because many Maori were ripped off in the past and there are injustices that need to be addressed and until the life expectancy for a Maori boy born today is the same as a Pakeha one, we also need to have race based health policies too.

    photonz- Susan Devoy has ‘done’ something that makes her seem a less than ideal choice for the job, she wrote that opinion piece about the treaty and Waitangi day. No one is saying she shouldn’t have the job because of who she is (Pakeha woman) but because of a previous publically stated position on a race based matter.

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  8. what about the Government? Why did they appoint a person to the role with no background in Te Tiriti issues or diversity politics? Why did they choose someone who is on the public record doubting the relevance and value of Waitangi to New Zealanders?

    Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you in 20 working days.

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  9. It is not encouraging that Devoy seems to glorify the way (white) Australians view Australia Day.

    We only need to look across the Tasman to witness how Australians celebrate their day.

    She appears to be completely oblivious of that fact that for many indigenous Australians, Australia Day is known as “Invasion Day”.

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  10. Viv: A Maori boy’s life expectancy will increase when his daddy stops punching him in the face. A Maori girls life expectancy will increase when she doesn’t lose her virginity at the age of 7.

    It’s called the “real problems” i.e developmental deficiencies and deeply imprinted trauma. Historic land grievances are a distraction – embraced by a psychology filled with hate, looking for a safe scapegoat to project its internal pain onto.

    Also there are groups within other races that have these problems too…Should we ignore them because they are not Maori? Race-blind does not mean need-blind. It just means addressing people who have needs regardless of their race.

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  11. @Viv 12:55 PM

    Susan Devoy has ‘done’ something that makes her seem a less than ideal choice for the job, she wrote that opinion piece about the treaty and Waitangi day.

    I guess we should just all be grateful they didn’t appoint Paul Henry to the job.

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  12. toad says “It is not encouraging that Devoy seems to glorify the way (white) Australians view Australia Day.”

    oooh – nothing worse than celebrating your nation. Should be made a criminal offence.

    We’re better off with our cult of endless negativity.

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  13. “nothing worse than celebrating your nation. Should be made a criminal offence.”

    I can think of worse things, but certainly blind nationalism is one of the more dangerous ideologies. Australia Day commemorates (according to Wikipedia) “the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia”. In other words, it’s a celebration of criminal activity – a gang declaring its turf.

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  14. “Historic land grievances are a distraction – embraced by a psychology filled with hate, looking for a safe scapegoat to project its internal pain onto.”

    Politicised pop psychology touted with no evidence to support the thesis. By this logic, the police shouldn’t investigate car thefts, but call in psychologists to query the motives of those whose cars have been stolen. Why are they making a complaint? What is the real reason for their anger and desire for the restoration of their property?

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  15. Sam says “In other words, it’s a celebration of criminal activity – a gang declaring its turf.”

    Also from wiki -“ninety percent of Australians polled believed ‘it was important to recognise Australia’s indigenous people and culture’ as part of Australia Day celebrations.”

    Unlike almost every country on the planet, we don’t have a national day to celebrate all the positive things about New Zealand.

    We have a day where a few people protest, and most ignore except for taking the day off. And another where we celebrate a military victory – er – I mean disaster.

    As I said – a cult of endless negativity.

    Which describes your comments on Australians celebrating Australia Day.

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  16. Maybe they should appoint your good, ‘moderate’ friend Tame Iti as you seem to think he is an upstanding citizen

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  17. I would strongly recommend that everyone who can visit Waitangi on Waitangi at least once – I have been attending since 2000 with only one year elsewhere, it is hardly a negative experience as there is great music, dialogue, ritual, stalls, waka ama races, political protest, education, book launches and cultural exchange. Te Tiriti isn’t negative it is an opportunity for peace and dialogue. Don’t just watch the media spin, join in.

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  18. “As I said – a cult of endless negativity. Which describes your comments on Australians celebrating Australia Day.”

    Your the one who’s moaning about Waitangi Day. Personally I think a day in which we address the reality of our history, rather than some state-sanctioned happy clappy version of it is a very positive thing (to the extent that this actually happens).

    I just noted that the Australia Day celebration had its roots in a very negative act, something I hope Aussies wouldn’t feel proud of. Actually I doubt most Aussies give the day’s orgins an iota of thought. National celebrations are usually marked by their deep superficiality.

    Personally I celebrate the positive aspects of New Zealand by living in it, enjoying it, tramping in it, swimming in it, picnicking in it, enjoying its music and other arts, and hanging out with its people. I love this place, I don’t need a ‘national day’ of flags, state ceremonies, parades and kilometres of red, white and blue bunting to demonstrate my appreciation of it.

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  19. Unlike almost every country on the planet, we don’t have a national day to celebrate all the positive things about New Zealand.

    Yeah we do. It’s called Absolutely Positively Wellington Anniversary weekend! (the Monday closest to 22nd Jan)
    3 holidays for the price of one – how’s that for value.

    Just because the rest of you lot in the provinces don’t celebrate the glory of Our Eternal Capital…

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  20. We have the Waitangi Tribunal, Maori committees, Maori advisors, and endless race-based bureaucracy. We don’t need any more of it, and we certainly don’t need a toothless figurehead.

    Although it bodes well Devoy wants the horrid Waitangi Day abolished. Fantastic! That would be a step away from focusing on the endless wailing of the few, and a step towards celebrating what we are: a peaceful, multi-cultural nation.

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  21. visit Waitangi on Waitangi at least once

    Why? We’ve seen, year after year, how guests, like Key and Clark, are treated. Strange idea of “peaceful” and “respectful”.

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  22. “The reality is that most New Zealanders either couldn’t care less or are frustrated that what should be a day of national celebration is marred by political shenanigans.”

    She went on to suggest New Zealand should find another day to celebrate as a nation because February 6 had been “hijacked” and did not reflect the country’s varied culture and identities”.

    Very accurate.

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  23. we have a PM who knows only how to sell our assets to balance books…what do we expect? They know best how to appoint the wrong person for just about all positions, that’s why we see scandals/mistakes one after another…

    When you hold no accountability for many bad decisions you make; how hard can that job be? take our minister of Edu for example,( and heaps more examples in last few years..)She is still sitting on her fat salary with bad performance and keeps wasting tax payers money to pay for her mistakes..
    Do i need to say more?

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  24. “The reality is that most New Zealanders either couldn’t care less or are frustrated that what should be a day of national celebration is marred by political shenanigans.”

    Why should this be a day of national celebration? The Crown signed a treaty which they believed, or purported to believe, transferred sovereignty, but which, for most of our history was considered “a nullity” by those in power. Whatever your opinions of the current ‘Treaty’ situation, to think that commemorations of such an event should be depoliticised is banal. We’re all grown-ups aren’t we? Why do people act as if politics is something dirty we must keep quiet about? Are we so insecure we can’t handle the fact that Waitangi Day, or any celebration of New Zealand as a nation, is a political act?

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  25. Because New Zealanders want to celebrate all that is good about New Zealand.

    And there is so much that is so good.

    Waitangi is about as popular as a haranguing old Uncle at a joyous wedding. Everyone wants to have a good time, and all he wants to do is shout about his endless grievances. He’s a tedious, ill-mannered, whinging oaf, stuck on infinite repeat. He’s just not what the wedding is about. Sorry, Uncle, but we’ve long since switched off, mate.

    We’re a *multi* cultural nation, and we have so much good to celebrate. Either join the fun or fade away.

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  26. “Waitangi is about as popular as a haranguing old Uncle at a joyous wedding. Everyone wants to have a good time, and all he wants to do is shout about his endless grievances. He’s a tedious, ill-mannered, whinging oaf, stuck on infinite repeat. He’s just not what the wedding is about. Sorry, Uncle, but we’ve long since switched off, mate.”

    After reading that I feel genuine despair for the future of this country (which I happen to like rather a lot).

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  27. Sam says “After reading that I feel genuine despair for the future of this country”

    Luckily for you we have an annual day especially for genuine despair on Feb 6.

    Complaints about protesters at Waitangi included “shouting, abusing, swearing, singing loud over the top of people.” ““Nobody could shut them up. They just shouted and denigrated people the whole way through the hui.””“psychological abuse” and intimidating people.

    And those complaints were from Tariana Turuia.

    It’s not surprising most people ignore Waitangi Day.

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  28. After reading that I feel genuine despair for the future of this country (which I happen to like rather a lot).

    Then might I suggest a change of approach.

    Because you know it’s not just me who thinks that way.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10784735

    The predictable response is “racist!”. So, many people tend not to say it. But they think it and act it.

    And there’s your problem.

    I was born here. This is my country. I didn’t steal anything from anyone, yet I’m being made to FEEL as if I did, and to PAY for it. How on earth does anyone expect that making me feel this way will get me onside?

    I’d much rather watch the lantern festival.

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  29. Why do people act as if politics is something dirty we must keep quiet about? Are we so insecure we can’t handle the fact that Waitangi Day, or any celebration of New Zealand as a nation, is a political act?

    Because, for one day, people will like to celebrate all that is good about themselves are where they live. That is the focus, not politics, grievance, and whining.

    We get enough of that every other day.

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  30. Sam as a first generation NZ’er you are very naive on our country’s racial issues. What gives you the right to have such an opinion on our country? I say let’s wait until your family has been here more than a generation before the preaching starts shall we?

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  31. Susan Devoy should keep to what she does best – playing/coaching sports. She does not have the skills for this position and will merely be another Collins puppet. Nodding her head with Collins hand firmly up her backside. Devoy has never demonstrated anything other than her own-self serving ability. Where are examples of her strength of judgement, her sense of justice and equality, even the academic skill required of the position – they are simply missing. Give her a racket to bash any sports cause with – but race relations in this country is one racket Devoy should not be playing with.

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  32. Susannah, what credentials do you have to give such an enlightened opinion as this?

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  33. Susanah says “Devoy has never demonstrated anything other than her own-self serving ability. ”

    With all respect due, what a load of ignorant nonsense.

    Have YOU walked the entire length of NZ to raise HALF A MILLION dollars for charity?

    The reason she was awarded a knighthood was her charity work – not just her earlier squash career.

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  34. even the academic skill required of the position – they are simply missing.

    To be fair, the academic qualifications of the thread starter aren’t up to much, either. It hasn’t stopped either woman occupying a high position.

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  35. Photonz

    Walking the entire length of NZ (with many others involved in the organised event who did not receive Knighthoods because they were not ‘in’ with the right crowd) does not give her the skills required of this position. It gives her skills in fitness, and it gave her a title. Sure it raised money – but that money also includes the efforts of a great deal more people than just Devoy. And there are a great deal of people throughout New Zealand who give plenty – without making a big thing of it and seeking acknowledgement of it.

    I am sure Devoy has some wonderful attributes but the one you have pointed out just adds to the ‘self-serving’ claim I’m afraid – especially if it resulted very quickly in her receiving a ‘title’ and with the appropriate title enabled her to be acceptable for directorships in paid positions of some big companies. The one thing it didn’t do is provide the specific skills, knowledge and understanding that are required in her current position.

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  36. “What gives you the right to have such an opinion on our country?”

    It’s called democracy.

    But that aside, I’m a New Zealander, I plan to live my life here and I want what’s best for this place. But you seem to believe I have no right to an opinion because six decades ago, my family lived elsewhere. Are we not entitled to an opinion because our families weren’t on one of the first seven waka? So how many generations of ancestry do you think is required before a person is entitled to an opinion?

    “I was born here. This is my country. I didn’t steal anything from anyone, yet I’m being made to FEEL as if I did, and to PAY for it. How on earth does anyone expect that making me feel this way will get me onside?”

    I don’t feel like that, why do you?

    “Because you know it’s not just me who thinks that way. ”

    I don’t think linking to an angry, venom-filled rant is the best way to demonstrate your support. Not that I’m denying your position is supported by others – just that the basis of that support is emotional and ignorant (when its not just a political manoeuvre).

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  37. “Because, for one day, people will like to celebrate all that is good about themselves are where they live. That is the focus, not politics, grievance, and whining.”

    Any sunny summer afternoon in Wellington, I see lots of people celebrating the things they enjoy about life in New Zealand. They don’t appear to be given a thought to “politics, grievance and whining” (which by the way, is a good summation of the content of your comments), and good on them. Why the obsession with this being officially mandated by the state on a particular day? Are New Zealanders unable to celebrate themselves without government permission and a subsidy?

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  38. Susannah says “Devoy has never demonstrated anything other than her own-self serving ability.”

    and “Walking the entire length of NZ…”

    You’re second comment shows how absurd your first comment was.

    Susannah says “especially if it resulted very quickly in her receiving a ‘title’ ”

    Her knighthood hardly came “very quickly” – it was a decade after her walk.

    Please tell us what “big companies” she is a paid director of.

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  39. Sam says “Are New Zealanders unable to celebrate themselves without government permission and a subsidy?”

    Silly comment as it applies to every celebration and memorial.

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  40. Silly comment as it applies to every celebration and memorial.

    Silly comment photonz1 as it doesn’t apply to me having a few mates around for a barbeque, which I believe is the crux of Sam’s point.

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  41. photonnz1 – while I’m not sure Devoy has the required qualities (as opposed to specific qualifications) to be the RRC, I do support your position on Sussanah’s comments.

    The attempt to personally smear Devoy is ludicrous.

    Whether she is fit to hold the role (i.e. has a history of this type of work, has a nuanced understanding of the issues at stake etc.) is an entirely different matter and I think, one that should be challenged.

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  42. Gregor says “Silly comment photonz1 as it doesn’t apply to me having a few mates around for a barbeque, which I believe is the crux of Sam’s point.”

    So the reason we shouldn’t celebrate a national day is because Gregor and Sam’s ability to have a few mates around for a barbeque?

    That’s as silly as saying we shouldn’t have ANZAC day because I can go to the cenotaph any day I want.

    As for Devoy – spending quarter of a century sticking up for people who are unfairly dealt with because they are disabled and mentally ill, has more than a few parallels with sticking up for people because of their race.

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  43. So the reason we shouldn’t celebrate a national day is because Gregor and Sam’s ability to have a few mates around for a barbeque?

    Not at all.

    Sam’s point being that we don’t have to have a government holiday in order to celebrate our national character / what we might think is great about NZ.

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  44. As for Devoy – spending quarter of a century sticking up for people who are unfairly dealt with because they are disabled and mentally ill, has more than a few parallels with sticking up for people because of their race.

    There are parallels definitely. But her public comments as a public persona wrt Waitangi do somewhat undermine her suitability.

    I’m not saying her opinion in necessarily unfounded or that it isn’t in lockstep with a lot of NZ, but the role of the RRC is to be above that and where necessary, steer a course against public opinion for the betterment of our society.

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  45. Gregor says “Sam’s point being that we don’t have to have a government holiday in order to celebrate our national character / what we might think is great about NZ.”

    Either it an incredibly weak argument for not having a national day?

    Or it’s an extremely banal and obvious statement.

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  46. There seem to be a lot of quite large and much enjoyed celebrations that aren’t official holidays, don’t have much government involvement or government-run official ceremonies. I don’t see anything stopping somebody getting together to organise such an event, be it a BBQ or a large public affair.

    But it appears for some people, the demand for a national day isn’t their desire to celebrate, but is mostly put forward to stifle debate, historical remembrance and protest around Waitangi Day.

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  47. Actually I’d say that, as far as expressing our pride in New Zealand’s achievements goes, an official national day with the usual government ceremonies would be weak and banal. National days overseas tend to be either taxpayer-funded entertainment, organised by a committee tasked to ensure anything controversial or edgy is kept out, or a compulsory display of patriotism and military might.

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  48. What’s the line of reasoning which says that any alternative “national day” could occur without racial tension, at least until the racial issues which have followed New Zealand through its modern history are adequately resolved? I can easily see how we could have a national day that didn’t include angered people and lively protests, because the issues being raised are fundamentally about the nation.

    We could argue about how best to resolve the issues, but it doesn’t seem to me that the people concerned will go away from celebrations about New Zealand until they feel they have something about the nation to celebrate.

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  49. Sam says “{But it appears for some people, the demand for a national day isn’t their desire to celebrate, but is mostly put forward to stifle debate, historical remembrance and protest around Waitangi Day.”

    No – I think it’s merely they want a day to celebrate New Zealand.

    Rather than a so called national day when even the leading Maori politicians complain about abusive protesters.

    We can keep Waitangi day, but if it continues as it is, the large number of people who currently ignore it, will continue to grow.

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  50. I say that because this demand for a national day only ever seems to come up in discussions on race/colonisation issues. As is the case with this thread. When these issues aren’t being discussed, nobody seems to give a damn about a national day. And nobody seems inclined to initiate an event to celebrate the nation themselves.

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  51. Either it an incredibly weak argument for not having a national day?

    You misconstrue, photonz1.

    My comment was merely intended to point the flaw in your logic when you imply that celebration of national virtues could not occur without government consent.

    To reiterate, celebrating national character means different things to different people – I don’t particularly like the jingoism that goes on with ANZAC Day but I can empathise with and respect the ideals of sacrifice and the bonds of national comradeship that it represents.

    I the same vein, I don’t particularly like the collective hand-wringing associated with Waitangi Day but I appreciate and respect the ideals of co-operation and shared nationality that it represents.

    While I like a public holiday as much as the next guy, I don’t one to attach these feelings of what I think of ‘New Zealand-ness’ to – I can celebrate these things privately or with friends every day if I so choose.

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  52. People want a day to celebrate New Zealand and being New Zealanders.

    It’s that simple.

    Waitangi Day isn’t it. Never will be. That lot will never be satisfied no matter what we do, so what’s the point?

    Leave them to it. The rest of us can do something more positive.

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  53. I don’t think linking to an angry, venom-filled rant is the best way to demonstrate your support. Not that I’m denying your position is supported by others – just that the basis of that support is emotional and ignorant (when its not just a political manoeuvre).

    It’s accurate, and widely felt. Label it however you like, but that’s the mountain to climb if anything is to change.

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  54. Gregor says ” I can celebrate these things privately or with friends every day if I so choose.”

    Again you’re stating the blatantly obvious – you go ahead and do that.

    It has zero relevance to people who want to a National day to celebrate.

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  55. The above discussion demonstrates clearly just how difficult and contested any discussion around race relations is in NZ. To be the person who is charged with being a leading player in this area for the next five years requires some quite special skills and attributes. the first requirement on the position description is relevant professional qualifications or experience in race relations. As Susan Devoy does not meet this requirement she should not have been appointed. Her comment that it is not that difficult demonstrates her limitations and naivety and does not bode well for the quality of her work. Will she be worth the 200K plus of public money per year she will get is doubtful.
    That the government would make this appointment says much about their agenda and beliefs about the place of cultural diversity within NZ.
    This is not a personal attack on Devoy as I have not met her and really have no opinion. She is probably a very nice person and she has raised a lot of money for charity. That does not make her capable of successfully taking what is a difficult and important role in NZ.

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  56. Barrie says “That the government would make this appointment says much about their agenda and beliefs about the place of cultural diversity within NZ.”

    You mean like the last govt who appointed someone who was working in PR at the Department of Conservation (but just happened to be a Marxist activist)?

    Funny there were no complaints about that.

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  57. her capable of successfully taking what is a difficult and important role in NZ.

    It hard to imagine her being any worse than some of the chair-warmers who have occupied this token role in the past. Seems to be the main skill is to fire off the occasional press release, usually after Harawira has said something.

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  58. Thanks photonz1.

    Maybe you’ll see fit to allow me recognise the blatant silliness of your previous comment that implies the State is permission is required for every celebration and memorial associated with New Zealand nationhood.

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  59. If there were only two races in Newww Zealand, the original post might make sense, but there are far more than two.

    At some point we, as a nation, have to realise that we do not live in a 9:1 Anglo-Saxon British : Maori population. Dame Susan has shown her ability to set standards and adhere to them, set goals and achieve them, accept governance responsibility and uphold it and be a patriotic New Zealander.

    If the Green PArty can be upset about the government picking holes in Auckland’s plan before it’s official, perhaps the could also wait until the new Commissioner does something they disagree with before picking holes in her ability to do the job!

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  60. Why did they appoint a person to the role with no background in Te Tiriti issues or diversity politics?

    Simply because Te Tiriti issues are not the only issues to be handled by the office of the race relations commissioner.

    Like the constitutional advisory panel, the race relations commissioner office has been hijacked, by a minority race group to look after the interest of that minority.

    Both need to represent ALL New Zealanders, not a 16% minority only.

    It would be interesting to have a list of names that the Greens would find acceptable.

    But remember that ALL kiwis need to be represent, not just a minority of 16%.

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  61. Susan “my mother’s name was Tui” Devoy is the wrong person. The tokenism she demonstrated yesterday is more evidence of that lack of suitability. If you saw her mother “you’d instantly think we were Maori”. FFS how much evidence do we need that this person knows NOTHING about race relations – which as the previous poster correctly pointed out, are not just about Maori.

    Thinking she can excuse her lack of qualification with statements like that are more reason why Judith Collins – who is an expert in cronyism – needs to find something more suitable for Devoy, if she must have her ‘friends’ in high positions. Devoy’s determination to ‘read a library of books’ to prepare herself for the job is pathetic. She should have had that knowledge before being given the job.

    The belief in equality doesn’t come in a book – nor do books provides hints on how to demonstrate it. Devoy first needs to read a book on the ability to keep your mouth shut and not make inappropriate remarks – something Devoy has demonstrated she lacks the ability to do.

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  62. Susan “my mother’s name was Tui” Devoy has demonstrated further with yesterday’s display of tokenism that she is most certainly not an appropriate choice for the position. “If her saw her you would instantly think she was Maori” – oh FFS how much more proof do we need to know this is a huge mistake.

    I am sick to death of Judith Collins cronyism – if she must insist on putting her ‘friends’ in high places, then at least put them somewhere that they will do as least damage as possible.

    Race relations in NZ are a ‘bubbling pot’ at the moment. As the previous poster pointed out, it is not just about Maori – there are other races – however, Devoy has demonstrated her intolerance and lack of understanding on those issues as well.

    She is going to read a library full of books to prepare herself? Oh really? So in order to believe in equality – one just has to read about it, do they?

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  63. Firstly, there is an old saying in that the “proof of the pudding is in the eating”. So could we try to be less assumptive and accusatory as to Ms. Devoy’s capabilities in this new and testing arena and give her time to establish a job performance without the premature performance review?
    For goodness sake, she’s hardly put her foot through the door even though some would have her doing time for the perceived “boot in her mouth”.

    Where’s the time honoured New Zealand tradition of a reasonable “fair go” and I thought the Greens, of all people, were supporters of the egalatarian society??

    I am also fed up with the “racist” accusation ruthlessly hurled (particularly by some polititians and “academics”)at anyone who has the temerity to voice a view that is, anyway, probably on the mind of the greater thinking populance. If the newspaper report was honest, I for one, fail to see what was rude or racist about Dame Susan’s comment. It is acknowledging a truth and in so doing acknowledges a problem that, when bought into the light can be faced and dealt with. And boy, it is high time it WAS dealt with! And if Waitangi Day has it’s happier moments as Catherine asserts, then could we please hear more of it and less of the negative, or is it just that bad news sells better?

    If you can get a hold of it try reading “Killing Us Softly…Challenging the Kiwi culture of Complaint” by John Bluck. Very interesting read for the $2.99 I forked out all that time ago!

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  64. Devoy is a political appointment designed to segue the way for a legislative change under the Bill of Rights which will water down the Human Rights Commissioners and merge the areas together.

    There is no other reason, and certainly it doesn’t come down to her competence or skill set for the roll which is simply non-existent.

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  65. “And if Waitangi Day has it’s happier moments as Catherine asserts, then could we please hear more of it and less of the negative, or is it just that bad news sells better?”

    Agree with you there – remember a couple of years back when the papers were full of debate about whther Hone Harawira’s speech on the state of the nation’ was upstaging Pita Sharples’ speech on the same topic? Yet none of the mainstream media seemed at all interested in reporting the content of either speech.

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  66. I have a lot of time for the Susan Devoy’s, John Kirwin’s and other well known sports people, who have used their position, by lending a hand to volunteer work.

    Shows a degree of compassion and empathy for those less fortunate.

    Unlike so many well known people who rest on their laurels and take well paid figurehead roles.

    One, or even a few, foot in mouth comments does not disqualify people. We all have those moments. Joris D-Bres was not immune from them either.

    We may yet be pleasantly surprised by Susan Devoy.

    And no. I am not a jock. I always felt sorry for them. A brief moment of success at high school followed by a lifetime of anti-climax.

    If we are looking at skill sets for political roles, we would disqualify most of parliament. Including the Greens.

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  67. Since Susan Devoy got the job with zero qualifications in the field, what is the selection process?

    I need a dictionary too, so I can spell nepotism.

    peace
    W

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  68. Susan Devoy’s appointment to such a “plum job”, in a field for which she has absolutely no verifiable relevant previous qualifications or experience, is clearly a POLITICALLY-INSPIRED APPOINTMENT DUE TO PATRONAGE! Such relevant qualifications and experience could and should be in sociology and social work with contact with racial minorities, or in law including dealing with Waitangi Settlement and Maori Land Court cases. Her appointment can only be because of Devoy’s being a National Party hack and Party bankroller. There must be dozens of more suitable appointees than her for this job.

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