Open letter from Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga to Don Brash
Hey Don Brash, we remember your Orewa speech, trying to make it like “we are all New Zealanders now.” We remember how you used us migrants for your colonial agenda to whitewash differences and give legitimacy to your anti-Māori racism. You don’t get to talk about Māori privilege or favouritism under a system we can all so clearly see to be consistently racist against Māori. Maybe you can’t see it as clear, with that mud on your face (haha) and your white privileged lens.
This country was already “racially based” when your ancestors began to colonise. It was already “racially based” when the colonial state instituted laws dispossessing Māori from their lands and forcing assimilation/cultural genocide. It was already “racially based” with the poll tax, the dawn raids and the racially discriminatory immigration policies that privileged white settlers. It must be easy for you to forget the ‘white New Zealand’ immigration policy and claim we are all ‘Kiwi’ when clearly some are always more equal than others.
As Asians living in colonised Aotearoa, we see right through your use of multicultural imagery to undermine tino rangatiratanga of tangata whenua. Your arguments are pale, stale, male and doomed to fail.
We are not all New Zealanders. Some of us reject the one-size-fits-all assimilating identity of “Kiwi”. We don’t want to subscribe to an identity that pleads allegiance to a nation-state that is illegitimate, founded on colonial injustices and continues to perpetuate white supremacy.
We are Tangata Tiriti and we don’t support your Hobson’s Pledge to maintain the status quo that is Pākehā favouritism. We don’t support your Hobson’s Pledge for colour-blindness that fails to recognise existing racial inequality and white supremacy. We don’t support your Hobson’s Pledge for willful colonial amnesia of the history (and present) of systematic dispossession, impoverishment, assimilation and mass incarceration of tangata whenua.
The system is by default based on Pākehā laws, Pākehā values, and Pākehā culture. You may not see that, but it’s easy for every other non-Pākehā living in Aotearoa to see. We have to assimilate to your culture, learn your language and navigate your boring, but deadly bureaucratic form-filling processes to survive here. The idea of “Māori privilege” is as big a fallacy as the claim that Māori ceded sovereignty in Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Maybe try learning te reo Māori and reading the Māori version of the treaty, you will find no evidence of an agreement to cede sovereignty.
We don’t buy your appeal to “one law for all”. This law will still be your law centring Pākehā capitalist cultural values and it will continue to entrench anti-Māori racism and settler colonialism. Your Hobson’s Pledge campaign is just another reincarnation of colonial racism to be honest.
We would rather pledge our allegiance to Māori struggles for tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake. We want to see a decolonised Aotearoa, where Te Tiriti o Waitangi is actually honoured, where The Declaration of Independence is respected, where the visions from the Matike Mai report for constitutional transformation become reality.
Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga
P.S. Don, you couldn't even be bothered taking your own photo, so how do you like this one?