Culture 2


Whatever people may think, culture is not about the clothes we wear on high days and holidays, nor the ornament on a string around our neck, nor even about the moko on our chin.

CULTURE is about how we actually live, work, play and relate to other people. Thus the typical part-maori — as almost all are these days — lives in a house with a real floor, supplied with piped water, electricity and sewage disposal. The family will get most of its food from a supermarket or a junk food outlet and its clothing from a retail store — not a flax root or grass skirt in sight. It will have a TV set, a refrigerator, a car and several cell phones. The men and boys will play or watch rugby —in one code or another — have a few beers with mates on a Saturday evening and sometimes go to church on Sunday.

There will be a hospital not too far away and even a helicopter to rescue really urgent cases. For all or most of the time, the language it speaks is English, and members will read or write in English as the occasion requires. Now there is nothing wrong will all this, and I hope it is a minimum for the majority.

HOWEVER, AND THIS IS THE KEY POINT, IN EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE, EVERYONE OF THESE ASPECTS OF LIVING, GOOD OR OTHERWISE, IS A DIRECT INHERITANCE FROM THE FAMILY'S ANGLO-SAXON CELTIC FOREBEARS AND COUSINS. IN SHORT, ITS CULTURE IS BRITISH, none other, and its lifestyle not very different from that of most people in the United Kingdom or Australia and better than that of many in the United States.

Of course there is some Maori influence around — the names of towns and rivers and so on, and if a local group offers a concert where the women and girls whirl poi and sing a canoe song, well and good. Most of us would go along and enjoy it, BUT, TO BE HONEST, THESE ARE NOT THE ESSENTIALS OF LIFE.

Again, concocted 'Maori' words on supermarket signs for words like 'biscuits', 'wine and 'air fresheners,' or for 'police' and 'council' on government buildings, are nothing but the window. dressing of foolish bureaucrats and others with nothing better to do.

Somebody said not long ago that it is only a matter of time before the Maori language becomes an ornamental one like Latin, but even Latin has no need for such artificialities.

And while we are at it, there is that haka composed by baby- eating savage Te Rauparaha, with words beginning “'Tis death! 'Tis death!". It is surely beginning to look well past its use-by date, and it would be kind to consign it to the dust bin of history. Anyway, it probably makes much of the world believe we are half-naked savages with bones through our noses.

So, I say forget all this politically correct and self-conscious rubbish about 'biculturalism; which even Sir Paul Reeves could not describe coherently. Let us allow our culture to evolve naturally, without force-feeding. If some Maori flavour endures in it, so be it, but inevitably we are and will remain the nation founded by the British, and in that surely we are fortunate

By Bruce Moon