Monday, September 17, 2018

Maori Language, Once Shunned, Is Having a Renaissance in New Zealand

h/t to Uncle Jim, whose eagle eye keeps us updated on all things NZ. More here, at NYT.

Maori is having a revival across New Zealand. Indigenous people are increasingly embracing their language, rejecting generations of stigma and shame associated with its use. And white New Zealanders are looking to Maori language and culture to help them make sense of their own cultural identity.

“This is the new New Zealand,” said Ella Henry, a Maori studies lecturer at Auckland University of Technology. “It’s not a blip in the cultural landscape. This is what New Zealand is becoming: a truly integrated place.”

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Lady of the Rings: Jacinda Rules

Yeah, it's Maureen Dowd, but still a worthy read.

Jacinda Ardern, one of the young, progressive leaders countering Donald Trump, talks about being only the second world leader to give birth. More here...

Thursday, August 16, 2018

How Māori-Owned Small Businesses are Reshaping NZ

Kākano means ‘seed’ in Māori. For Jade Temepara, a Māori woman who was crowned New Zealand’s Gardener of the Year in 2012, though, it means a lot more. Temepara owns Kākano, a Māori restaurant and cooking school in Christchurch, one of the country’s many small businesses helping to promote Tikanga Māori.

After the devastating Christchurch earthquake in 2011, some of Temepara’s koro including her grandfather, asked her for help caring for their devastated lands.

In particular, they needed help keeping alive a seed for a strain of potato that their iwi had been cultivating for generations.

Of course, she said yes.

More here...

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

New Zealand to Australia: Get Your Own Flag

Via the NYT (click for more)...
The acting prime minister of New Zealand accused Australia this week of copying his country’s 116-year-old flag, and demanded that Australians come up with a new design.
h/t to Uncle Jim for the refer

Monday, July 16, 2018

Good People Don’t Defend A Bad Man

It's a challenging time to be a USian, and that's an understatement, especially given the jaw-dropping Helsinki performance today. 

Maybe I'll wear this t-shirt for the duration of our next visit to NZ. Meanwhile, here's a piece by John Pavlovitz (a preacher yes, but one who makes sense) that reminds us all how easy it is to spot a horrible person.

Good People Don’t Defend A Bad Man

At times in this life it can be a challenge to figure out who the bad people are, but sometimes they help you.

Sometimes they do the work for you.

Sometimes with their every vulgar, bitter word from their mouth, they testify to their personal malignancy and they make it easy to identify them.

Generally speaking, there are things that good people do and things good people don’t do.

Good people don’t refer to entire countries as “shitholes”—most notably countries that have given birth to our very humanity; ones that for hundreds of years have been colonized and poached and mined of their riches by powerful white men; countries whose people have been enslaved and sold and forced to come and build your country. 

Good people by any measurement we might use—simply don’t say such things.

Of course good people also don’t say they could grab women by the genitalia, either.
They don’t defend racists and nazis and call them “fine people,” days after murdering a young girl and terrorizing an American city.

They don’t brag about their penis size during debates, or suggest protestors at campaign rallies should be roughed up, or crack jokes about captured war heroes, or make fun of the physically disabled.

They don’t.

Good people don’t tweet anti-Muslim rhetoric in the moments immediately following a bombing in order to bolster a position.
They don’t leave American territories filled with brown skinned people without power for months upon months, after publicly ridiculing their public servants and questioning their people’s resolve.

They don’t pull children from the arms of their parents and place them in cages and detention centers.
They don’t erase protections for the water and the air, for the elderly, the terminally ill, the LGBTQ.
They don’t take away healthcare from the sick and the poor without an alternative.

They don’t gouge the working poor and shelter the wealthy.

They don’t abuse their unrivaled platform to Twitter-bait world leaders and to taunt private citizens.
Good people don’t prey upon the vulnerable, they don’t leverage their power to bully dissenters, and they don’t campaign for sexual predators.

But this President is not a good human being, and there’s simply no way around this truth.

He is the ugliest personification of the Ugly American, which is why, as long as he is here and as long as he represents this nation, we will be a fractured mess and a global embarrassment. He will be the ever lowering bar of our legacy in the world.

And what is painfully obvious in these moments, isn’t simply that the person alleging to lead this country is a terrible human being—it is that anyone left still defending him, applauding him, justifying him, amening him, probably is too.

At this point, the only reason left to support this President, is that he reflects your hateful heart; he shares your contempt of people of color, your hostility toward outsiders, your ignorant bigotry, your feeling of supremacy.

A white President calling countries filled with people of color shitholes, is so far beyond the pale, so beneath decency, and so blatantly racist that it shouldn’t merit conversation. It should be universally condemned. Humanity should be in agreement in abhorring it.

And yet today (like so many other seemingly rock bottom days in the past twelve months) they will be out there: white people claiming to be good people and Christian people, who will make excuses for him or debate his motives or diminish the damage.
They will dig their heels in to explain away or to defend, what at the end of the day is simply a bad human being saying the things that bad human beings say because their hearts harbor very bad things.

No, good people don’t call countries filled with beautiful, creative, loving men and women shitholes or do most of the horrible things he does.

And good people don’t defend people who do.

You’re going to have to make a choice here.

Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

As Housing Prices Soar, New Zealand Tackles a Surge in Homelessness

New Zealand has the highest homelessness rate among the wealthy nations that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Yale University study found last year, though it noted that definitions of homelessness vary by country. Social workers here say the country’s homeless — 1 percent of the population, according to a comprehensive study from a New Zealand university — increasingly include people with jobs.

More here.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Kahu huruhuru: Feathered Māori Cloak Bestowed on Chiefs and Dignitaries to Convey Prestige, Respect, and Power

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has caused a stir with a striking image of her walking the halls of Buckingham Palace swathed in a traditional Māori cloak during this week’s Commonwealth heads of government meeting.
The prime minister wore a Kahu huruhuru; a Māori cloak adorned with feathers and bestowed on chiefs and dignitaries to convey prestige, respect and power, said Mark Sykes, guardian of Māori special collections at Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand.

Sykes said Ardern’s choice was a proud moment for Māori around the world. “Cloaks are worn for warmth, protection and to symbolise your status and mana [power],” said Sykes. “I think it shows how she is portraying herself as a leader of Māori, of all of New Zealand, of everyone. It made me feel proud. She wore it well. She wore it so well.”

On social media in New Zealand the striking image went viral, with many people commenting that the picture captured the inversion of traditional gender roles; a female world leader wearing a powerful cloak while pregnant and representing her country.
More from The Guardian here... 

If you're thinking this is a moment of cultural appropriation, read this BBC piece for a broader understanding.

While traditionally worn only within the Maori community, the cloaks can now be seen also on the shoulders of non-Maori New Zealanders – as a gift to a politician or dignitary for a special occasion.
Ms Ardern’s korowai would fall into that very category and Mr Olsen-Reeder cautions not to see it as a case of cultural appropriation. 

“Given the premise of that gift to her, what she’s doing is entirely appropriate. That particular korowai has been given to her to signify her as a really important part of New Zealand culture.”

Friday, January 19, 2018

NZ Prime Minister Pregnant

It's an elegant circle that starts with NZ being the first country in the world in which all women had the right to vote...continues with Ardern's election as prime minister in 2017... and now this.

Why does it matter? For heaven's sake, pregnant women used to have to go into confinement. Now they can run countries! (Plus, stay-at-home dads.)

“I am not the first woman to multitask. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby,” Ardern said in a news conference Friday. “We are going to make this work, and New Zealand is going to help us raise our first child.”

Via Ardern's twitter...
We thought 2017 was a big year! This year we’ll join the many parents who wear two hats. I’ll be PM & a mum while Clarke will be “first man of fishing” & stay at home dad. There will be lots of questions (I can assure you we have a plan all ready to go!) but for now bring on 2018

Via Jezebel...
Ardern will take six weeks maternity leave, then return to her post. To those who have questioned her ability to work and be a new mom, Ardern said, “None of them detected I had pretty bad morning sickness for three months of establishing the government.” Hell yeah.

And finally, via BBC...
Ms Ardern, 37, is now set to be the second elected world leader to give birth while in office - and the first to do so in almost 30 years. In 1990, Benazir Bhutto gave birth to a daughter while serving as Pakistan's prime minister - in what was reported to be a first for an elected leader, rather than royal families.

For more on NZ's impressive record on women's rights and a video of Ardern's announcement, click here.