Accommodating multiculturalism and biculturalism in aotearoanew zealand
An example of ethnic conflict occurred between Maori and Pakeha in 2004 over public access of the Foreshore and Seabed of New Zealand.The Court of Appeal addressed this on the premise that as part of the Treaty, Maori were entitled to “redress past injustices”.
1 New Zealand is home base for Māori We do have people from all cultures living here but New Zealand is the only ‘home base’ for Māori.In theory, the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 secured equality and respect between Maori and the Crown (and therefore its British subjects).It was also the starting point for New Zealand's evolution of inter-ethnic relations.However, in CACR's Colleen Ward and James Liu's study the changes are highlighted as having been largely only in theory.New Zealand may have ’symbolic biculturalism,’ however in practice Pakeha New Zealanders are still, to some extent, unwilling to redistribute their resources.If the language and culture aren’t given special status here in Aotearoa New Zealand, the simple fact is that in today’s Western-oriented, English-language dominated world, they will struggle to survive.
We know already it only takes one generation to lose a language but three generations to reclaim it.
The same applies to the term bicultural - we aren’t a bicultural nation simply by virtue of having two founding cultures, or simply by having Māori and other New Zealanders co-existing on these islands. We’ll be a bicultural nation when all New Zealanders have a genuine respect for and basic understanding of Māori culture and language, and can move between Māori culture and the mainstream New Zealand culture with ease and comfort.
This aim is the driving force behind our new Te Rito e-learning modules.
It’s a legacy from our ‘egalitarian dream’ back-story, and it’s human nature to be competitive, and to resent those with perceived advantage.
It tends to be easier to brush off the sometimes difficult and demanding task of becoming bicultural (comfortable in two cultures) by insisting we’re multicultural, a state you could easily believe requires no investment other than observing the different colours of the faces we pass in the street, then going home for a cup of coffee. The terms multicultural and bicultural tend to be bandied around without much thought.
However, it was only in the 1970s and 1980s that our immigration policy stopped favouring European descendants and began accepting immigrants on the basis of skills, financial assets and family relationships.