Reflective Reading Assignment

Micky Van Schie de Pont
student id 5675349

In this reflection I will look at two main readings Evan Poata-Smith‟s Ka Tika a Muri, Ka
Tika a Mua? Māori Protest Politics and the Waitangi Settlement Process. And Ip and Pang‟s
New Zealand Chinese Identity: Sojourners, Model Minority and Multiple Identities. These
articles both consider however concepts such as Understanding Identity and Neo-librism
relate to Aoteraoa New Zealand in a sociological context. I will be discussing what the
Authors main arguments are, and how their ideas link to the central themes and ideas
introduced in the course. Finally I will be looking at commonalities between the articles,
look elsewhere for supporting ideas and express my personal views.
The author‟s key ideas in 'Ka Tika A Muri, Ka Tika A Mua?' are the social and economic
divisions in Maoridom. This has come about with the introduction of neo liberalist ideas and
polices in New Zealand society. This is shown by the author saying the Maori who represent
Tribe in the treaty settlement process are benefiting directly from neo liberal pro-business
policy. (Te Ahu Poata-Smith, 2004, p. 63-64). The Treaty of Waitangi Settlements
establishment the tribe as a corporate business, which has control of the capital received
through the treaty settlement process. The Maori in representative positions in the tribal
corporation are highly educated successful Maori who are equipped to use neo liberal ideas to
make a profit. They are disconnected from the average working class Maori they are
The same Neo liberal policies that help the tribal corporates make a profit are anti-working
class and are widening the social and economic inequalities. This is exemplified by “the
dismantling of the welfare state, the cuts to benefit levels and the introduction of market rent
for state housing in the 1990s brought increased poverty for many new Zealanders”(as cited
in Te Ahu Poata-Smith, 2004 ). Especially New Zealand Maori who have a high percentage
of people requiring welfare and housing.
Neoliberalism has affected the NZ fisheries in terms of the quota management system. This
creates the ability to buy and sell “by creating harvest (property) rights to fish” (Alessi, 2012)
this allowed Māori customary access to fish under the Treaty of Waitangi. However Maori
corporate entities are also of a Capitalist mind set and are in turn seeing the benefits of on
selling the fishing rights to other companies. What was sold as a chance to increase the job
opportunities for working class Māori has been overtaken by their capitalist tribal leaders and
used as a chance to increase tribal profit.
The Maori working class have been disadvantage because of the breakdown of unions and
their relationships with employers. This reduced the workers ability to negotiate wages and
affected their right to strike when working conditions are unfair. The increase of Maori
unemployment is a reflection of the institutionalisation of neo liberal capitalist policy. Right
wing Policies implemented in 1984, to free up foreign trade have affected the jobs of working
class Māori. With the removal of industry subsidies and import tariffs the New Zealand
manufacturing industry began to collapse, this lead to a loss of factory and labouring jobs.
“The economic restructuring had a dis proportionate impact on Māori given their over
representation in the working class.” (cited in Te Ahu Poata-Smith, 2004)
In the 1980s this effect was seen with the closure of numerous factories like the Southdown
Meat Works and with the demise of the New Zealand textile industry, which lost 10,000 jobs
in the period between 1976 and 1992. (Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 2012)
Militant Maori activists are opposed the government settling treaty land claims with money.
This solution is seen as neoliberalism because by receiving large amounts of money for
compensation of lost land, Maori are being forced to engage in enterprise and capitalism. If
Maori were returned the land they lost, this would in contrast allow them the freedom to
engage in schools of thought such as environmentalism and socialism.
„While western countries like the united states and Britain have experimented with neo
liberalism in their own economies, they have also aggressively and often violently forced it
apon the postcolonial world‟ (Hickel, 2012)This is also true of New Zealand and is evident in
the treaty settlement process. This goes against the traditional tikanga or values of Maori and
Philosophies such as Kinship and „tangata whenua‟ which is literally people belonging to the
land and these would align better with these other social models.
Socialism would relate to the collective identity which is strong amongst many Maori.
“Reflected in attitudes, behaviours and lifestyles” and “There are genealogical, land, history
and spiritual ties that bind groups.” (Berghan, 2007). Maori moving away from capitalist
motives would help Maori reconcile the grievances with the crown and would put a stop to
worsening the divide amount their own people.
Ip and Pang‟s analysis on the changing view of New Zealand to Chinese migrant identity. It
identifies change from early immigration of Chinese men as sojourners working in Otago
goldmines to that of Chinese as a Model Minority during the period between 1950s-1970s.
Since the 1980s and the East Asian economic boom, our government and peoples view has
changed. The pan Chinese culture in New Zealand has become multi-faceted with a range of
identities from the Kiwi Chinese children of early gold miners to the newly immigrated
wealthy international students and investors.
The first Chinese started arriving in the 1860s, selectively brought here by New Zealand
government bodies such as the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce because they were
hardworking and polite. Chinese men came to work in New Zealand without their families
and because of their strong connection with China it was thought they would be unlikely to
settle here. “The implication was that no decent Chinese person would wish to leave china for
to long. Ultimately, like fallen leaves returning to the ground', All overseas Chinese must go
home” (Ip & Pang, p178). 'This was important because at the time New Zealand wanted a
labour force but did not want permanent migrants. For the most part they were brought to
New Zealand to prospect for gold in the Otago gold field‟s especially undesirable work like
reworking abandoned claims.
However the sojourners were a very small minority in the area. They were barely tolerated by
New Zealanders of the time and so they did their best to fly under the radar and not offend.
The Chinese where living a humble life working in small specific areas where they were not
in direct competition for jobs with mainstream New Zealanders such as laundrymen market
gardeners and fruiterers. They still had a strong connection with their homeland and the fact
they were unable to bring their family with them to New Zealand meant that they sent a lot of
the money they acquired back to china and the New Zealand public were outraged and
accused them of striping New Zealand Resources. This perpetuated racial and cultural
predigest towards the Chinese even passing into legislation “Chinese were designated
“undesirable” aliens they were the only people subjected to a poll tax. Introduced in 1881 at
ten pounds, it was raised to 100 pounds by 1896” (Ip & Pang, p177).In 1920 a permit for all
non-British people was introduces to all people wishing to enter the country was the
beginning of the attempt to remove the Chinese population from new Zealand returning the
country to a white haven. This growing hostility for the Chinese as well as a lack of welfare
support meant they had to start up mutual help support groups within their small
communities. „County organisations and clan associations were founded from the late 1870s
onwards. They offered their member‟s services like loans, temporary housing, employment
advice and banking as well as immigration help‟ (Ip & Pang, p178).
This was a crucial survival method for living in a foreign somewhat hostile nation. These
groups continued to be used and grew until in the 1920s and 30s. The success of these groups
allowed the Chinese to put up a united front showing calm and collected non radical singular
view thus perpetuating the idea that Chinese as a people are always polite and united.
The second phase in the evolution of Chinese identity in New Zealand was described as the
Model Minority phase this is seen to be between the 1950s till the 70s. After world war two
Chinese were able to come to New Zealand as war refugees now able to bring with them their
families. This was a step towards accepting Chinese people into New Zealand however in
1945 there were still twice as many Chinese males as Females. (Bickleen-Fong, 1959)
The Chinese also did not know that there citizenship was conditional on them giving up there
language and culture and adopting a white English culture of New Zealand at the time again
these ideas spread into policy for example “in 1951, when Chinese finally regained their
rights to apply for citizenship, they had to satisfy more criteria than other applicants, first,
they had to prove that they were closer to the British way of life (rather than the Chinese way
of life).” (Ip & Pang, p179) This treatment split the Chinese immigrant community. For those
Chinese people who were born in china and had a connection to their Chinese ness and
homeland became introverted sticking within their small community unwilling to abandon
their Chinese culture the second group were often born in new Zealand and were quick to
distance themselves from their Chinese heritage and assimilate as best they could with the
white new Zealand culture. “in self-mockery they would even call themselves „Bananas‟
(yellow on the outside white on the inside)” (Ip & Pang, p179).
Things didn‟t improve for Chinese immigrants when in 1949 the communist party in China
took over after the civil war during the time of communist rule the Chinese where involved in
the Korean war and new Zealand as members of the allied force were technically at war with
china also the communist party at the time commenced a social experiment of collectivisation
in which 30 million Chinese died of starvation. This brought about mass distrust of the China
as they hid themselves from the rest of the world. This unrest left Chinese living overseas
with a lack of pride in their homeland and allowed them to distance themselves from China.
In New Zealand there was an increasing tolerance for minorities and Chinese were able to
live comfortably with the generosity of welfare and the least amount of discrimination. From
the outside things were looking up however there was still a great separation between
Chinese and the Pakeha community.
The final stage in the evolution in Chinese identity according to the article is Multiple
Identity. This idea refers to Chinese in New Zealand from the 1980s till now. During this
time period China have built up as an economic powerhouse and Chinese have become
academically and financially very successful which puts them in high regard in our neo
liberal and capitalist society. It can be seen that the assimilation of Chinese has happened
especially within the Kiwi born Chinese. Chinese remain “recognisably alien in looks from
the rest of the population, and retaining some marked differences in cultural characteristic.”
(Bickleen-Fong, 1959 p.72) The New Zealand born Chinese have inherited there families
work ethic and have taken advantage of the New Zealand Education system and therefore
seen as very successful. The change in the social class of Chinese and the developments of
the Chinese Republic have advanced New Zealander views on the Chinese and they now are
seen as powerful allies and potential investors that could benefit New Zealand. If this hasn‟t
led to acceptance of Chinese it has at least created curiosity that can be seen though New
Zealand with the teaching of Asian Languages in schools and the diverse celebrations of
events such as Chinese new year and the lantern festival.
There is now an increased respect for China and Chinese people this is because New Zealand
now sees the importance of business relationships between the two countries. There is
economic gain to be made by keeping close ties to china and as an export nation we are
heavily reliant on china purchasing from us and investing in our country. “Former Australian
Prime Minister John Howard has said New Zealand should not be hypocritical when it comes
to foreign investment from China. He said that the two countries can't expect to sell resources
to China and then turn their backs on the Chinese when their businesses want to invest.”
(Xinhua, 2012) Is a modern example of the Western Nations forcing ideas on to other
countries, a process as I stated earlier that has been happening since colonial times. This
example also shows a neo liberalist approach to Chinese business, it also fits with the idea
that if they have the money to buy and invest we should not regulate against them.
In terms of class structure for the Chinese people when they first arrived in New Zealand they
were humble working class people doing work that New Zealanders at the time didn‟t want to
do. In contrast, now the Chinese people who are both brought up in New Zealand and
arriving in New Zealand are highly educated and highly adept at working the neo liberal
capitalist system and alternatively to the past china itself has gone away from its communist
ideas of the 1940s and wealth is now held by a few at the top whom we readily invite and
encourage to come and invest in New Zealand. Maori people are having conflicting cultural
values with the Neoliberals society with economically successful tribes embracing Neoliberal
concepts whilst traditional Maori are being left behind. The adoption of the neo liberal ideas
for both cultures has resulted in acceptance by the Hegemony. Allow them to be viewed as
successful and valued in our society. This shows our society has been constructed to
appreciate monetary wealth.
With the general acceptance of Chinese as a benefit to New Zealand. The Multiculturalism is
raising concerns with Maori. This fear is rooted around misconception of the treaty as a Bi
Cultural document. There is concern that the new immigrants are not knowledgeable about
the grievances and implications of the Treaty of Waitangi and fear that with the growing
multiculturalism the treaty could lose value to non-Maori. However the treaty is a document
signed by Maori and The Crown. The Crown is represented by our new Zealand governing
body representing all Non Maori Pakeha in New Zealand. Pakeha is not just white residents
of New Zealand. It is a “ phenomenon that could only accrete in New Zealand from the
Maori, European and wider human ingredients that history has cast up on these shores – then
what we are acknowledging here is not something foreign: it is a second indigenous New
Zealand culture.” (King, p.40). This definition represents Pakeha as an inclusive group of all
non-Maori New Zealanders.
My views are shaped by my whakapapa. My family are Immigrants to New Zealand, who
came from Holland in the 1940‟s and 1980‟s. My father who came 1985 believed in making
an effort to assimilate with the people of Aotearoa. He saw New Zealand as a Maori Nation
with a focus on the environment and so studied the language at Te Whananga O Aotearoa. He
passed this importance to me by immersing me in a bi lingual primary education. My views
on the Maori treaty settlement process are conflicted as I disagree with the Maori corporate
entities using the system for financial gain rather than benefiting environment and social
causes. However I also think why is it that Maori need to be morally responsible? When large
corporate businesses and even government service such as the post service are all expected to
make a profit, The Maori too deserve the right to make money off their assets. This is the way
to be viewed as successful in the Western World.

Alessi, M. D. (2012). The Political Economy of Fishing Rights and Claims . Journal of
Agrarian Change, 390-412.
Berghan, G. (2007). What does a collective identity mean from a Maori point of view? .
Hauora, 3.
Bickleen-Fong, N. (1959). The Chinese in New Zealand. Hong Kong University Press, 145.
Hickel, J. (2012). A Short History of Neoliberalism (and how we can fix it). New Left
Project, 1-6.
Ip, M., & Pang, D. (2005). New Zealand Chinese Identity: Sojourners,Model Minority and
Multiple Identities. New Zealand Identities: Departures and Destinations, 174-188.
King, M. (2004). Being Pakeha now : reflections and recollections of a white native.
Auckland: Penguin .
Xinhua. (2012). Former Australian PM tells New Zealands to Accept Chinese investment .
Xinhua Economic News, 1.
Te Ahu Poata-Smith, E. (2004). Ka Tika a Muri, Ka Tika a Mua? Māori Protest Politics and
the Waitangi Settlement Process. In Tangata Tangata: The Changing Ethnic Contours
of New Zealand (pp. 59-89). Victoria, Australia: Cengage Learning Australia.
Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand (2012, July 13). 5. Inflation and deregulation, 1970s to
2000s. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from
Alessi, M. D. (2012). The Political Economy of Fishing Rights and Claims . Journal of Agrarian Change,
Berghan, G. (2007). What does a collective identity mean from a Maori point of view? . Hauora, 3.
Bickleen-Fong, N. (1959). The Chinese in New Zealand. Hong Kong University Press, 145.
Hickel, J. (2012). A Short History of Neoliberalism (and how we can fix it). New Left Project, 1-6.
Ip, M., & Pang, D. (2005). New Zealand Chinese Identity: Sojourners,Model Minority and Multiple
Identities. New Zealand Identities: Departures and Destinations, 174-188.
King, M. (2004). Being Pakeha now : reflections and recollections of a white native. Auckland:
Penguin .
Xinhua. (2012). Former Australian PM tells New Zealands to Accept Chinese investment . Xinhua
Economic News, 1.