‘It ain’t necessarily so’

By Frances Denz

teara.govt.nz

I get very frustrated when I keep hearing about how Maori are disadvantaged and therefore poverty is entrenched.?That the fact of being Maori means being poor.? In the words of the immortal song from (I think) Porgy and Bess, ?It ain’t necessarily so.?

Many of us who are descendants of Maori, along with a lot of other?
nationalities, are not poor, at least in spirit and aspirations, and are?
in fact doing very well in life.

In the lane I lived in for fifteen years until recently, in one of the?
better Tauranga suburbs, the eight houses are all owned by their?
occupiers.? None are rented out.? Of these owners, five families have one
or more members of Maori descent, and four have a distinctly Maori approach to?life with active involvement in whanau and hapu?
relationships.?

One family is Pasifika, one is Indian and one is?Pakeha.? All have had good executive jobs, worked hard and contributed to?society and their broader family. They are not poor.? Their families may have helped them buy the house in the first place. I don?t know, nor is it my business.? What I do?
know is that they are doing well and walk in both worlds, Maori or their?
own culture if Pasifika, Indian or Pakeha as is appropriate.

No one whinges about poverty except in the usual context of blaming the?
government for everything that is so common around the barbie.

I have had Maori staff and have trained students who are graduates ??
but who have started from nothing.?One highly talented person with a?
Masters degree spent her early years in a tent on family land while her parents built a house from recycled materials as they came to hand. It?
took five years.? But that family was taught to be aspirational and to?
have high ambitions.? And achieved them.

I know that one of our members of parliament also did the same.?But we never hear about her rise from being a battered wife in abject poverty to achieving power. That is a pity, because it is an amazing story.

We hear about failure, poverty and deprivation.  We do not hear about 
how people overcame their disadvantages and became successful.  What did they actually do to succeed?  What small and big things helped them achieve their objectives, and who provided the support and what was that 
support?

New Zealanders? self-deprecating approach to life, and pride in not?
‘showing off’ about our successes, are causing untold damage.? Why are we?
not celebrating everyone?s (genuine) success?? Why is it acceptable for?
trolls, in both the real world and the pretend world of the Internet, to?
be so destructive?

We even allow the halfwits at the UN to believe and say such terrible things
about us that are patently untrue when compared to the poverty?and alienation of their own countries.? New Zealand is the land of?opportunity and community support and caring.? The UN are just focussing on?the worst examples and presenting them as the norm.? They are not.

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