Friday, 20 February 2015

The Protest in Oxford and the TPPA

On Facebook, Katie wrote this to me:

"You know what? I agree with what you were protesting, but there is a time and a place. This was not it. The poor people who worked hard to put on something lovely for our wee community, the KIDS who practiced so hard to do their part, ruined. I heard the picketing from my house and was really sad that this sort of thing happened in our quiet town."

I wrote back:

"You know what, Katie, I appreciate what you are saying here. This was a very difficult decision to come to. It is so much more personal to join a protest in in our own small town, especially because I know how important this Town Hall opening was for us all. I was always going to attend the Town Hall Opening myself, not as a protester but as a citizen of this town. Especially because I am not going to be living here much longer. I only found out that the protest was happening the day before and I spent a sleepless night, will I, won't I. Hadn't even made that decision until after I got there. But let me explain this. I'm getting older all the time. I'm a mother, a grandmother. I won't be here forever and I so strongly feel that I want to try, try very hard to leave this world going in a better direction than it is now. For my children that I brought into this world, for my grandchildren, for you and for your children. this government is fouling our environment, it is dumbing down our education system, and with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, it is selling away our sovereignty, yours, mine, and the futures of our children and grandchildren (cos you will have grandchildren too, one day). For me that is terribly important and this was an opportunity to stand there, in front of Key, and let him know what I felt about that. And I took it and I make no apology for doing so. I would also like to correct one thing from the article linked here. The protesters were not "drowned out" by the children's Kapa Haka (and incidentally the children were awesome). The protesters stopped calling out during the children's singing out of respect for the children. Kia ora."

 After the big earthquakes, and while the aftershocks were continuing on and on and on and on, our Waimakariri District Council did checks of our public buildings. Many were found to be unsafe and immediately closed off. Some have been inoperable for years now. Like our Oxford Town Hall.

After a time it was decided that the main portion of the Town Hall which had been part of Oxford since 1931 would be saved but strengthened. This is an imposing building in Oxford, a strong statement of the solidity of our township. However, the add-on rooms and kitchen were too expensive to save and the town would be better served by knocking those parts down and rebuilding. Which is what they've done and we have all been watching with great interest from the outside, as our town hall has appeared to keep its character but grew more beautiful.  

So finally we have come to the morning of the re-opening of our town hall. I was so looking forward to going in to see it but then was horrified when I heard that John Key, our corrupt and deceitful Prime Minister of all people had been booked to open the hall. It almost stopped me going down but I realised, as I wrote above to Katie, that this might be my last chance to see inside the building before I leave for Christchurch.

And then I read on Facebook, just the day before on our Waimakariri Greens page, that a protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was being organised. Because it is important to keep up the opposition to the signing of this agreement which will take away our sovereignty in our own country. What this agreement means for us, is that we cannot object to any product that a global corporate or any corporate from somewhere else in the world might want to sell here. For example, we might wish to make sure that genetically-engineered (GE) seeds might not be planted anywhere in Aotearoa, we might wish to grow organic crops instead, but the TPPA obstructs us from taking decisions like this. Under the TPPA the Global Corporate, Monsanto maybe, for example, can sue us for billions and trillions of dollars for obstructing their right to Free Trade within our country. We simply can't afford to pay out such vast sums of money, nor can we afford to fight such a case. We really won't have money to feed and educate our kids under such a scenario. This is what is being sold here, our right as a country, as a people, to control our own destiny. And there are several versions of this agreement being pushed all over our world. If - and I must say if, it is too terrifying to think when - these agreements are all signed, then our world will be run, not by a democratically elected global government, but by Global Corporates. That is what we are fighting and why it is important. And why it is so important to keep trying to raise awareness of this issue, to educate people about the TPPA and to let John Key know, at every opportunity, that we will not roll over and let him sell off our futures and the futures of our children, and our grandchildren.

Meantime, inside the Town Hall, John Key laughed it all off. So funny after all. On the video clip below is his "in depth" and misleading explanation of the TPPA. Tailored to his audience of farming folk of course.  

Friday, 13 February 2015

Stupid Men

I was on Facebook reading so many posts about stupid men, especially stupid men in America (but not confined to them). And I guess a kind of anger rose up inside me. 

What kind of a world do we bring children into, I said. I said, I am the mother of five children, now I am a grandmother of five with our lovely wee Lily being born last year. And I had my children because I love children and I always wanted children and I never thought any further about any other issues. And I would never not have had them. And that's the truth. But over the last 15 years or so,  since the twin tower thing when Al Qaeda hit out at the US and then the US plunged our world into this never-ending war which has now bred ISIL, and atrocities on all sides, and so much hate and so much venom, and then add global climate change onto all that - man, I plunged into such a depression some years ago and I looked at my beautiful children and I thought about how selfish I was to bring you all into this dark horrible world. Even now it still brings tears to my eyes. I didn't want this for my kids. 

And I wrote all this to to my friend on Facebook, I wrote, no, dear Meggam, you are not being selfish, I think perhaps you are being very wise and that Pope needs to engage his brain before he opens his mouth. (Because all this came from comments the Pope made, that couples who don't have children are selfish) . But also from other thick and stupid men who want to control what women wear be they fundamentalist Christian or fundamentalist Muslim or fundamentalist anything else, and want to control women's reproductive bodies. Cover-up your bodies, men will get horny otherwise; don't cover-up your bodies, men want to ogle you; have children, don't have abortions, don't have too many children, remember the world is overpopulated already!

What is wrong with this world is not the women in it, not what we do; it is the stupid, stupid men who have reduced our world to an over-heated blood bath. Kia ora.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Is Key a Psychopath?

I know what I think.

I was watching an Australian programme, a series about murderers and psychopaths. The previous programme or two had been focused on psychopaths who murdered, but last night the audience are informed that not all psychopaths become murderers or even criminals - at least not the kind of criminals who usually wind up in prison. Those kind of psychopaths are the unfortunates often brought up in dysfunctional families, perhaps abused, sexually or violently so that the traits of psychopathology exhibit more extremely. Traits of psychopathology often run in families but I guess at this point we could start arguing nature or nurture. But what when our psychopath is born into a more normal family, when nothing in particular, nothing out of the ordinary happens to him (or her)? According to the programme (and I have read this stuff before in a book years back but I am reminded again), there are many psychopaths in this world, many psychopaths grow up to be leaders, they may be risk takers, they do particularly well in the banking world (any of this sound familiar folks?). They are liars. An expert on the programme said you can tell a psychopath by his eyes, when he is confronted, you will see the eyes of a snake (her words), the eyes go flat and hard, there's no light on them. We saw film of a psychopathic murderer in court, when he turned to look at his accusers his eyes did indeed go flat and hard. Like a snake.

Before he became a politician. Key was a banker. He worked for Merrill Lynch, where he became head of Global Foreign Exchange. In 1999 he became a member of the Foreign Exchange of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He made money speculating with other people's money.

The first time I recall observing this phenomenon in Key was late one night when I wound up watching Key being interviewed by a BBC journalist. An excellent interviewer too. No touching of the fetlock here. No letting Key off with yet another of his flip remarks. Instead he pushed and pushed Key. The subject was New Zealand's environment and our "Pure New Zealand" slogan. "But it's not true, is it?" said the interviewer, citing a well-respected New Zealand scientist. Key's eyes go hard and flat. One can feel the rage being held down. "That's his opinion," said Key relegating the eminent scientist to the great unwashed where Key apparently believes he belongs, down here with the rest of us masses, objects in Key's world.

Most of the time when we see Key on the telly, he answers in flip manner. He's been caught telling lies many times. He pretends to not remember things when it suits. He laughs at serious questions, show little respect for his constituency. And yet people vote for him. We live in a strange world.

Lately Key wants us to send soldiers to fight ISIL. "It's the price we pay for being members of the club," he says.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Email to the Prime Minister of Āotearoa.

Redmayne, Thomas, fl 1880s-1890s. Redmayne, Thomas, fl 1880s-1890s :Attack on the Maori Pah at Rangiriri. [1863].

This morning I sent an email to Āotearoa/New Zealand's wilfully ignorant Prime Minister. I sent it following his appalling comments on the history of our country reported on the 19th of November, 2014. ( I just had to mention the year, some people might have thought the article was dated 1914, such is the ignorance of the attitude displayed).
"When we talk about the treaty and sovereignty and all those matters, [Mr Key said] you take a step back and say well what was really happening. In my view New Zealand was one of the very few countries in the world that were settled peacefully. Maori probably acknowledge that settlers had a place to play and bought with them a lot of skills and a lot of capital," he says.

Dear Mr Key,

Just thought you might need a little bit of help with Aotearoa/New Zealand History.
Someone started a facebook page asking people to send you their history books, but me, I'm a cheapskate.

So below is a website.
"In all, there were an estimated 3000 casualties during the New Zealand Wars – the majority of them Māori. But for some Māori the wars were only the beginning, with land confiscation being the fate of many of the survivors. After the wars the struggle for land entered a new and, in some respects, more damaging phase, giving rise to a whole new chapter in New Zealand's history.
" (from the site)

I hope you realise that it is incredibly embarrassing to the people of this country to have a Prime Minister showing himself to be so incredibly ignorant.
Please up your game,

ka kite,
Liz Odell

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Roger Sutton and Sexism in The Workplace

I want to say that I am extremely disappointed in Roger Sutton because up until recently I thought him a decent bloke, but any man who can only use sexual innuendo when in conversation with women clearly sees women only as sexual objects, and not as fully-functioning human beings. We have an old bloke round our neighbourhood whom I am sure is perfectly harmless but every time you see him he has to comment about your attributes or refer to any group of women as his harem. This while his wife stands by his side - she smiles and says this is just how he is. Which reminds me of Roger Sutton's wife on tv saying similar stuff - this is just his way etc etc. It becomes old, it becomes tired, it becomes stale and as far as the local old feller goes, most of us avoid him now. 

But when you are at work, in your place of employment, when you need to work with these people, you can't avoid this kind of weary innuendo and as a woman (albeit a cranky old one now), you get fed up with it. It's not funny, it doesn't make you feel better or sexy even, it makes you feel objectified. It makes you feel like a thing. It is outright depressing. 

Roger Sutton did not own his behaviour in my eyes watching his so-called apology on the news, he down-played it, he was just a jokey bloke, he said, caught out in [a wee bit] of inappropriate behaviour. You other lads, you'd better watch out, eh. 

I say, you other lads, you should have learnt this stuff years ago, it's been a long time since the seventies when all this discussion first came to the fore. And given the stuff we are not told - we know Roger Sutton is charged with serious misconduct so he must have gone far further down the track than being a bit inappropriate. 

And here's another thing. While all this was being gone into, he got to stay at work while the woman complainant was sent home where she got to work in silent, gagged isolation. I will argue that this is an instance of institutionalised sexism, old boys club stuff. Why was it not the other way around? Why was Sutton not removed from all those other women in his office, left to put up with his "inappropriateness"?

"I'm not a victim," says Roger Sutton. "I've been seeing my psychologist." As though this is a crime against him. Words fail.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

My Final Assessment - A debate on Whaikōreo

this photograph, taken in 1950, of  Ngāti Porou leader Sir Āpirana Ngata giving a whaikōrero on the Raukawa marae at Ōtaki, on the centennial of the Rangiātea Church.

Over the last three years I have been working hard to learn to speak te reo Māori through Te Wananga o Āotearoa, something I have always wanted to be able to accomplish. I still have much to learn but at the end of this year, assuming I pass this next āromātawai (assessment), I will have earned myself a diploma of which I shall be very proud. This last āromātawai take place next Tuesday evening and comprises a debate about whaikōrero and whether it is alright to whaikōrero in English on the marae ātea, and whether Pākehā should be enabled to whaikōrero on the marae ātea? My rōpu take the negative side of the debate - we argue that te reo Māori is the only language that should be spoken on the marae ātea and that if Pākehā should be speaking on the marae ātea, that they should only do so if they are fluent in te reo, and understand Māori tikanga etc. It would, of course, not be me, if I did not introduce a feminist element to this debate. 

I am the second speaker, below is my speech. Underneath that is a Pākehā translation.

Tihēi mauriora!
Kia hiwa rā, kia hiwa rā!
Tēnā rā koe, Arama.
Tēnā rā koe, Gina.
Tēnā rā koutou.

Me ki tino he kaingakau atu nōku ki tō whaikōrero, heoi anō, kāore koe e puta he tautohenga ngoto! He koe kōnukenuke! He hē rawa!

Ki ōku nei whakaaro, i a tātou hitori pūwhenua he pānga tō tane Pākehā kei roto i ngā āhuatanga o ngā tane Māori, anake. Nō reira, e ai ki tēnei pānga, he rerekē te āhuatanga o te whaikōrero o ngā tane i te āhuatanga o te karanga o ngā wahine. 

He whaikōrero tino hirahira! He whaikōrero hikihikitia! He whaikōrero te tūnga o te whakataetaetanga, ināianei!

Engari, kei whea ngā tautohenga mo te karanga? Kei whea ngā tane i pirangi ki te karanga? Ki tōku mohiotanga - kahore!

Nā whai anā, ka kōrerotia te reo Pākehā e ngā Pirimia tane o Āotearoa i te marae atea. E ai ki ngā tangata Pākehā, kei te pai! E ai ki ngā tangata Māori, kāore ahau i te mohio?

Nō reira, whakaturia rawa mai e tātou katoa ō tātou Pirimia wahine, timata tonu rekareka! He aha ia i kōrero ai i te marae ātea, ā, kāore e taea e te wahine Māori? He aha ngā Mīnita Pākehā i kōrero ai i te marae ātea, ā, kāore e taea e te wahine Māori? Ka ngakau-hihiko i ngā wahine Māori!

Mai i tōku māramatanga Pākehā ake, ki ōku nei whakaaro ko te reo Māori anake i kōrero i te marae ātea mākūare ki ngā ira tangata. 

Ki tā motuhenga, "Whaikōrero", āhea te Kaikorero ka kōrero anō i te reo Māori, kāore e mārama e waru-tekau paihēneti o ngā tangata. Me kōrero ia ngā pakitara. Ka pouri tātou.

Ki tā Alison, me kōrero te whaikōrero i te reo Pākehā i te marae ātea! He aha te tikanga o tērā? Ki tānā, he kai-roto i ngā tangata katoa, ā, ka harikoa katoa i te mara! Ehara i te tika!

He aha te marae ātea? He wahi tū o te reo Māori! He wahi rerenga mo te reo Māori! He wahi rānga-wairua! He wahi o te reo Māori ātaahua, ka kōrero te reo Māori, ka rongo tātou te reo Māori ātaahua! 

Mā te whakarongo te mārama. Mā te pātai te mohio. Mā te ako te mohio. 

E tika ana te kōrero i o tātou tupuna, "kaua mā te waewae tūtuki, engari, mā te ūpoku pākaru".

E ai ki tōku rōpu, ka riro mā ia tangata e tiaki te reo Māori. Ka riro mā tātou katoa e ako. Ka riro mā tātou katoa e akona ā tātou tamariki.

Ka riro mā ngā kura e akona ā tātou tamariki, hoki. Nā te mea, i haina Te Tiriti o Waitangi, ka riro mā te kawanatanga e utu ngā rauemi mo akona te reo Māori.

Ano, e tikia ana te kōrero i ō tātou tupuna, " He manga wai koia kia kore e whitikia".

Kia ora.

Greetings everyone,

I must say I really enjoyed your speech, however, you have not produced a telling argument. A crooked paddle - that's too bad!

To my thinking, in our colonial history, the interest of the English male was only in the roles of male Māori. Therefore according to that interest, the role of male whaikōrero is different to that of the female karanga. Whaikōrero became more important. Whaikōrero elevated. Whaikōreo, now a site of contention.

After all, where is the argument over karanga? Where are the men desiring to karanga? To my knowledge there are none.

That's why the male Prime Ministers of Āotearoa speak in English on the marae ātea (the space in front of the wharenui). According to the Pākehā people, that's all good. According to the Māori people, I don't know. 

However, when we all eventually elected a female Prime Minister, that's when the fun began.

Why should she speak on the marae ātea and Māori women cannot? Why should Pākehā ministers speak on the marae ātea and Māori women cannot? Māori women are switched-on!

From my particular Pākehā perspective, I think the Māori language only should be spoken on the marae, regardless of the speaker's gender.  

According to the documentary "Wahikōrero", when the kaikōrero (speaker) speaks in te reo Māori, eighty percent of people don't understand. He might as well talk to the walls! That is sad. 

According to Alison [the speaker from the other group that I follow] English should be spoken on the marae ātea. What is the point of that? According to her, this will be inclusive for all and everyone will be happy in the garden! Not true!

What is the marae ātea? It is the place of standing for the Māori language. It is the place of refuge for the Māori language. The spiritual place. It is the place of the beautiful Māori language, the place to speak the beautiful Māori language, the place for us all to hear the Māori language spoken beautifully. 

Listen and you will understand. Ask and you will know. Learn and you will know. 

In the wise words of our ancestors, "Don't relinquish because of a mere maimed leg, rather, only give up if your injury is very severe, like a crushed head!"

According to our group, it is our responsibility to care for the Māori language. It is our responsibility to learn. It is our responsibility to teach our tamariki and our mokopuna.

Again, using the wise words of our ancestors, "It is a big river indeed that cannot be crossed. 

Kia ora. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Blimmen Incompetent Females

Crikey! So ya can't have a female or a Māori deputy leader in the Labour Party rather than a white bloke 'cos "we need the most competent person" apparently David Shearer said on the redneck Paul Henry Show last night. (Yet another reason to not bother watching this programme if that's the level that discussion can reach on it). 

So what ya sayin' here Mr Shearer (or should that be Dr - ya know us females are so dumb eh) anyhow so whatcha be sayin' is that females or Māori of any gender, we just not as clever as you white blokes and ya wouldn't want us dumbing the show down eh. Man, and yet it is white blokes what brought the Labour Party down to it's knees in the last election, ya know. Ever since that white chick, Helen Clark left to go international and run some part of the wide world, those white blokes have been running the Labour Party downhill. 

Perhaps Ya wanna check out the Green Party to see how it's done, whatcha reckon, eh?