New Zealand Grapples With Its Past
“New Zealand is a land where people openly boast of having the best race relations in the world with their Indigenous inhabitants, the Māori. Over the past century, this myth has been reaffirmed by the country’s politicians and taught in its history books,” American medical sociologist and author Robert Bartholomew writes in an opinion piece for Psychology Today.
“Those who question the need for settlements, scholarships, and university entrance quotas or do not think Māori have had it bad in recent times, should look no further than the racial segregation that took place in the South Auckland town of Pukekohe from 1925 to the early 1960s,” Bartholomew writes.
“It is important for New Zealanders to know the story of Pukekohe. It is a poignant reminder of the obstacles faced by Māori. What would happen if you lost your land and ended up as a second-class citizen in your own country? How come most Kiwis have never heard of Pukekohe? Why isn’t the story taught in Kiwi schools?
“The true test of a civilised country is its willingness to acknowledge past wrongs. The best time to address them is now. Confronting injustice and acknowledging past wrongs is part of the process of healing for the country. It is time to break the taboo and have a national discussion about race. In the light of recent global events surrounding the death of George Floyd, the time has never been better.”
Original article by Robert Bartholomew, Psychology Today, June 14, 2020.