It’s a day to pause and reflect on Waitangi Day. Māori TV is always wonderful, as are many articles in the media.
However, one interview stuck out for me. It was one in the Sunday Times and Glenn McConnell interviewed Kelvin Davis. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300510126/can-the-crown-and-tino-rangatiratanga-coexist-kelvin-davis-walks-a-delicate-line.
I have never met Kelvin Davis, but he strikes me as somebody who arrived in parliament for all the right reasons. He is there to improve the lot of the families he used to serve as a former school principal. In the interview he spoke as somebody who probably has a deep understanding of bureaucracy having been on the receiving end of a Ministry saying “no” to essential needs for his poor community.
The article wrote about one of his ancestors being the third signatory on the Treaty document. Then it was stated:
Fast-forward 182 years, and Davis is driving with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern through Paihia. Word had got out that they, alongside Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro, were at the Treaty Grounds. Quickly, a group of protesters arrived.
They saw Davis, and shouted “Kelvin kūpapa” – an insult used to describe traitors who sided with the Crown against Māori
In public life this is the sort of challenge you get from people who have never been in a position of authority in their lives. However, Kelvin shrugged it off as:
But Davis says it was symbolic of a bigger issue, where a very small but vocal minority of Māori have such distrust in the Government that they have joined American-style anti-vaccine groups. They refuse vaccination and object to any attempt to control Covid-19.
…… “It may come down to just the total lack of trust in government, ever since 1840,” Davis says. “And you know, I don’t begrudge people for having that mistrust.”
Here is a Minister who is not gilding the lily. He is committed to facing up to the injustices which exist in our society and is not going to avoid them in the portfolios he is responsible for, which is the most important challenge.
Kelvin Davis strikes me as somebody with a deep commitment to Māori who are missing out. They appear in the negative statistics in our society in every area. His audience is not the vocal, guilt-ridden pakeha who fall over backwards to show how committed they are about the Treaty. His commitment is to those not being served by the very institutions of state which are there to supposedly look after them.