Brash under fire again for continued criticism of Māori

updated By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Don Brash has come under fire again this time for his criticism over the Whanganui River being legally recognised as a person and Taranaki iwi seeking recognition of their mountain as an ancestor.   Political commentator Ella Henry says such comments are deeply racist and deplorable.

Henry is livid over Brash's latest criticisms of the Whanganui and Taranaki iwi for personifying their river and mountain.

Political Commentator Ella Henry says, "It is so profoundly racist to brand the belief system of any other culture as primitive and animist that it's beneath contempt.  This is deplorable."

The lobby group, Hobson's Pledge Trust is opposing the Whanganui River being granted the legal status of a person and the Taranaki iwi claim their mountain is considered as an ancestor.

Don Brash, Spokesperson, Hobson's Pledge Trust says, "We're talking about a very primitive belief systems an animist view where rocks and hills and rivers and mountains have personalities.  It's a very very early stage of human development.  21st century Māori do not believe that."

Ruakere Hond (Parihaka) says, "He is renowned for his views like this. Criticising our practises and beliefs.  These will remain as truth despite what he says, so, he doesn't have the authority to oppose those truths that have been held in this area."

A war of words ensued yesterday between Greens Party MP Marama Davidson and Brash over Hobson's Pledge stance opposing an inquiry into why many Māori children under state care were abused.

Marama Davidson, Green Party says, "We should not pay any attention to the rhetoric by Hobson's Pledge. Most of what they say is racist and also ignorant."

Brash says, "There's always a case for investigating situations where children may have been abused, whether they're Māori, Pasifika, Asian or European.  I don't think there's any particular grounds for doing this simply because the Waitangi Tribunal calls for that inquiry." 

With elections months away Henry believes their stance won't have much sway with voters.

Henry says, "Don Brash's constituency would be the extreme right of National Party supporters and we've seen consistently over the last three elections that that's rarely 10 percent of New Zealanders, which is very gratifying from my perspective."

Te Kāea asked lead negotiator for Whanganui iwi, Gerrard Albert for his response to Brash's comments.  He said, "we inherited the authority long ago, we will retain possession of and firmly grasp.  I do not want to lower my integrity to validate words."

The Taranaki maunga negotiations team is working to connect with all eight iwi of Taranaki and how to best reconnects them with their tupuna Taranaki.