I got to thinking about Waitangi Day, biculturalism and our national day when I dropped my youngest son – who is travelling to the UK for a gap year – off at the airport.
The majority of those in his group travelling were predominantly European. But the definition that this group pf young Kiwis would take to Europe, in regards to determining how and why they are different to other Europeans, Canadians, Australians or South Africans, is every one of them can do a haka and waiata.
The point of difference this new generation has is they are well-rounded in acknowledging biculturalism, as well as treaty rights and entitlement. More importantly, their discovery of who and what they are in a cluttered global village, will be determined by their Maoritanga.
It doesn’t matter whether they are Maori or not. What does matter is their Maoritanga will define them. That’s an outstanding acknowledgement of how far we have come as a nation.
There’s some folk who still like to use Waitangi Day in Waitangi as a platform for their protest. But they are a breed who are working on the sacrifice of their ancestors rather than on the substance of their protest.
So it doesn’t really matter what dinosaurs like Don Brash say about the Maori language. His children and grandchild will be defined in their reality by it.
Plush Auckland private school Kings College has had Maori as a compulsory subject for 9 years. Their kapa haka team has placed in the top 5 at the Polynesian festival in Auckland for the past 2 years.
Now to top all this off, we have a generational shift in direction and leadership of this country.
We have a Prime Minister who is absolutely at home and relaxed in biculturalism and multiculturalism. Nothing seems to fray that leadership and when you have a settled mature grounded leadership, the country can grow and breathe a sigh of relief that it is in good hands.
The honeymoon period for this prime minister seems to go on and on and so far there have been no major miss-steps in this early part of her premiership.
On the other hand, when you look across the House (Parliament) and see 56 members of the National Party it’s not a great place to be. All they can do is sit twiddling their fingers and thumbs for the next three years and protest and moan. It’s certainly not a healthy place to be for any individual who had aspirations to change the world and the country.
So of course the National Party caucus is going to have contests. Of course there will be conflict and of course there will be leadership changes.
But to combat a 37-year-old Labour Prime Minister, National are going to have to make a change.