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Portal column  – a  faux plea for democracy

 |  Roimata Taimana  | 

The recent ‘Through the Portal’ column from Trevor Ammundsen (9 January) is yet another racist temper tantrum from the writer, this time poorly hidden behind a faux plea for democracy and sprinkled with racist dog whistles.

It is clear that Ammundsen world view doesn’t allow for comprehension of the different needs of different cultures, and also that this lack of vision results in hostility towards Māori.

There is obvious dog whistling crafted into the sentence stating that at the meeting to vote on Māori Wards there was “a dominating physical presence from the Maori contingent” – hinting that the vote was passed due to intimidation by Māori. It is very ugly to imply that a gathering of Māori people at a public meeting is some kind of gang intending to intimidate, rather than a group of people who wish to have input into their own destiny.

Having lived for 53 years with a brown face in this country, I (Roimata) can speak of more than half a century of flinching as my people are misrepresented, talked down to and marginalised. Imagine what 53 years of being told you are ‘less than’ does to a person, and yet my pride in my culture directs much of how I live my life.

I work as a Rangitahi/Youth Support Worker, working within a kaupapa Māori framework to help lift our youth up. I spend a lot of time with both young Pakeha and Māori helping them to connect with te ao Māori and to find pride and purpose in our culture. When one of my rangitahi opens your paper and hears Māori described as if they are gang members for attending a public meeting about a subject that directly impacts Māori, it is devastating to the mahi that I do.

We don’t wish to debate the details of the meeting but we understand that claims of secrecy and underhandedness are inaccurate and are being responded to by TCDC and Len Salt. In this age of dis and misinformation it is so important that news is accurately reported. Carolyn has worked as a journalist and within academia and has first-hand knowledge of how important accuracy and truth are in reporting and publishing. The Informer would greatly benefit by more accurately describing the things people do and say.

By continuing to publish Ammundsen’s racist articles The Informer is very clearly flagging that they support his views – this is not the first time he has described Māori in derogatory terms. Therefore, we would like to see an apology from Ammundsen and The Informer for this racist and inaccurate piece, and a promise to do better when it comes to representation of everyone, especially Māori, in this community paper. The weight of tackling racism should not have to rest on Maori shoulders.

 

Ngā mihi

Roimata Taimana and Carolyn Wadey-Barron

Kūaotunu

The recent ‘Through the Portal’ column from Trevor Ammundsen (9 January) is yet another racist temper tantrum from the writer, this time poorly hidden behind a faux plea for democracy and sprinkled with racist dog whistles.

It is clear that Ammundsen world view doesn’t allow for comprehension of the different needs of different cultures, and also that this lack of vision results in hostility towards Māori.

There is obvious dog whistling crafted into the sentence stating that at the meeting to vote on Māori Wards there was “a dominating physical presence from the Maori contingent” – hinting that the vote was passed due to intimidation by Māori. It is very ugly to imply that a gathering of Māori people at a public meeting is some kind of gang intending to intimidate, rather than a group of people who wish to have input into their own destiny.

Having lived for 53 years with a brown face in this country, I (Roimata) can speak of more than half a century of flinching as my people are misrepresented, talked down to and marginalised. Imagine what 53 years of being told you are ‘less than’ does to a person, and yet my pride in my culture directs much of how I live my life.

I work as a Rangitahi/Youth Support Worker, working within a kaupapa Māori framework to help lift our youth up. I spend a lot of time with both young Pakeha and Māori helping them to connect with te ao Māori and to find pride and purpose in our culture. When one of my rangitahi opens your paper and hears Māori described as if they are gang members for attending a public meeting about a subject that directly impacts Māori, it is devastating to the mahi that I do.

We don’t wish to debate the details of the meeting but we understand that claims of secrecy and underhandedness are inaccurate and are being responded to by TCDC and Len Salt. In this age of dis and misinformation it is so important that news is accurately reported. Carolyn has worked as a journalist and within academia and has first-hand knowledge of how important accuracy and truth are in reporting and publishing. The Informer would greatly benefit by more accurately describing the things people do and say.

By continuing to publish Ammundsen’s racist articles The Informer is very clearly flagging that they support his views – this is not the first time he has described Māori in derogatory terms. Therefore, we would like to see an apology from Ammundsen and The Informer for this racist and inaccurate piece, and a promise to do better when it comes to representation of everyone, especially Māori, in this community paper. The weight of tackling racism should not have to rest on Maori shoulders.

 

Ngā mihi

Roimata Taimana and Carolyn Wadey-Barron

Kūaotunu


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