Analysis: Those jumping to defence of Judith Collins over speaking rights on the marae - 'Blind leading the blind'

Maiki Sherman
Source: 1News

If this week at Waitangi has taught us anything – it is that there is still much work to do.

The challenge of course is that some simply cannot recognise what that work looks like.

It’s a case of ‘the blind leading the blind’.

Those jumping to the defence of Judith Collins over speaking rights on the marae simply expose themselves as lacking cultural competency at best, and a sad sense of white fragility at worst.

Even more ghastly are the cheap and tired claims of "drop the victimhood" they so shamelessly tack on the end in their stand of solidarity for all “wahine toa”.

‘Wahine toa’ - I shudder to place such a powerful term in a sentence filled with so much diatribe.

A term which represents so much for my own daughters and their daughters in years to come.

A term they casually bandy about while in the same breath dismissing a Māori woman for bringing a “sour note” to the argument.

National Party leader Judith Collins attends Beat the Retreat with the NZ Navy at the Waitangi Treaty grounds.

Marama Davidson said what almost every other Māori woman is thinking.

Discussion and debate over the roles held by women on the marae will – and has always been – led by wāhine Māori.

But it seems the Māori culture need have no boundaries with pākehā entitlement stretching even into areas unknown.

“Well too bad,” said one prominent commentator this weekend.

Change your tikanga/protocols, they say.

Māori lost so much through the impacts of colonisation and yet even today – over 180 years later – there is a sanctimonious demand for Māori to hand over and give more.

Change on the marae at Waitangi will come but it will be at the discretion of Māori.

Dover Samuels made an interesting observation on Waitangi Day.

Yes, he may be a former Labour Minister, but he also has no problem calling a spade a spade and taking a dig at either side of the political spectrum.

Having attended Waitangi events for over 60 years he reminded us that it wasn’t that long ago a former prime minister had mud slung at his face, while another was jostled at the lower marae.

In recent years, he said, the mood had changed, and he put that down to the attitude of the current Prime Minister.

Words matter and humility goes a long way.

All politicians would do well to ponder that today as we enjoy the Waitangi public holiday.

This well-known Māori proverb sums it up nicely;

“Ko te kai a te rangatira, he kōrero – The sustenance of chiefs, is words.”