London columnist weighs in on New Zealand republic talk

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Calls for Aotearoa to break ties with the British Monarchy are being heard in London. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told BBC News earlier this week that she believes New Zealand will become a republic in her lifetime.

Reporter Ngahuia Wade talked to UK/Kiwi London political columnist Simon Carr, who says the Brits favour the relationship between them and New Zealand but wouldn’t be surprised if a New Zealand republic does happen.

“Britain is getting on a bit in life. Young, vigorous nations want to be self-governing, self-ruling. You might want to be a little bit careful about it. There are invisible benefits to belonging in some way to Britain,” Carr says.

Seventeen-year-old Kahu Burrows (Ngāti Maru) is one Māori in London who agrees with New Zealand becoming a republic. If that were to happen, however, it would mean cutting ties with the Crown and, ultimately, the Treaty of Waitangi.

“Is it something she’s completely thought through?” Carr said in response to Burrows.

Nationhood conflict

One on the fence on the idea is Matt Burgess (Ngāti Raukawa), who is of Pākehā and Māori descent and has lived in the United Kingdom for over 24 years.

Matt, who loves both of his ancestries, says, “There’s a lot of unanswered questions and colonisation that has to be answered for. That’s how I feel living in two different cultures. Sometimes it can be very conflicting.”

Carr says he understands Burgess’ conflict. “I never had the temerity to use the phrase ‘we New Zealanders’. Nationhood, citizenship where you feel you belong is tied up with so many tiny little roots that go deep down into the subsoil.

“I can understand entirely his commitment to both sides of his heritage.”