On Race and Harawira

Senior Lecturer at Victoria University’s School of English Film Theatre and Media Studies Dr Alice Te Punga Somerville discusses Maori party MP Hone Harawira’s recent comments about intermarriage in the Guardian. “Harawira stated to a newspaper journalist that he ‘wouldn’t be comfortable’ if one of his children was dating a Pakeha,” Te Punga Somerville writes. “He went on to clarify that he is ‘just like every other New Zealander, except [he] is comfortable in recognising that prejudice exists.’ Whether Harawira is a media spectacle, an astute social commentator, a loose cannon or an honest leader ‘telling it like it is’ the public response to his comments slid quickly into assertions about the ongoing presence of European blood in Maori veins, rather than dealing with the question of social prejudice. I wonder if Harawira’s ‘discomfort’ is not so much with the hypothetical person standing on his doorstep nervously wondering if they can step inside, but with the two centuries by which the size, shape and ownership of the doorstep has been decided by a series of unfair and prejudiced processes.”

Tags: Guardian (The)  Hone Harawira  Maori  Victoria University