I came across this tweet at the weekend, and I really did not know what to make of it. Remember that the person who wrote it is a member of our elected government, and is supposed to uphold the law and represent all New Zealanders.
Initially, I thought she meant that no one had any right to be here, unless they were descended from Maori who were here prior to the arrival of the British. That, of course, is almost every New Zealander.
I questioned her on Twitter, and this was her reply.
So, I’m okay, because I am covered by Te Tiriti… although I thought I was covered by immigration law, but I guess she sees it as the same thing.
What does she mean then?
First, let us look at the definition of the word ‘indigenous’. Here is the Cambridge Englishdefinition.
Okay… so if you were born here, you are indigenous. So now we have most of New Zealand covered. The only people not covered, as far as I can tell, are illegal immigrants, and I am not going to argue with her over that.
So what was this statement all about?
I think Chloe was making the mistake that a lot of people make with the definition of the word ‘indigenous’. She seems to think it means ‘those who were here first’. It doesn’t.
What is more, as Maori arrived here in waka, they are neither ‘naturally occurring’ or even ‘indigenous’ by what seems to be her own definition. We are all immigrants, Maori included.
I think Chloe is saying that, if you are Maori, you have a right to be here, and if you have immigrated here since ‘colonisation’, you are also okay, because the Treaty covers that… but if you are descended from the dreaded ‘colonisers’ then you are a ‘conqueror’ and you have no right to be here.
Is that what she is saying? I cannot make sense of it any other way. Chloe also completely ignores the whole of European and world history, as those ‘colonisers’ were indeed ‘colonised’ themselves… by the Romans, the Visigoths, the Vikings and the French. Colonisation is fine for Britain, obviously, but not for New Zealand.
The other thing that Chloe misses completely is that none of the original ‘colonisers’ are still alive, and all of their descendants are ‘indigenous’, in the sense that they were born here. In other words, there is no one to whom the term ‘colonial convenience’ actually applies.
She also misses the fact that the Treaty was an agreement between the ‘colonisers’ and Maori. There may have been questions about the amounts of compensation given, which have been thrashed out for decades (and are still being thrashed out), but nothing alters the fact that the Treaty gave the ‘colonisers’ the right to settle here, in partnership with Maori, and that marked the end of any ‘illegal occupation’.
So, the only conclusion that I can come to is that Chloe Swarbrick, member of parliament in New Zealand, is deliberately trying to stir up racial divisions in support of a land protest that, in the end, is nothing more than a spat between 2 different Maori groups.
What we really need in this country is to be left alone to all just get along with each other, regardless of our racial origins, and just be allowed to be New Zealanders. Fuelling the fires of racism like this does nobody any good.
Nothing like ‘divide and conquer’, is there, Chloe?
P.S. a Note from me.
There were people here before the Maori.