The Origins of Maori Privilege

Michael King states that a defining characteristic of the New Zealander is a “fiercely egalitarian instinct”. Herein lies what Dr. Peter Meihana identifies as part of the reason the idea of Maori privilege prevails in New Zealand. Referring to Peter Gibbons, Meihana states that suggestions of a ‘national identity’ as anything other than an ‘ideological construction’ is a form of continued colonization (Meihana 30). It is due to this ideology of the quintessential New Zealander that legislations regarding the protection of Maori interest are viewed by some as Maori ‘privilege’. The reality, however, is that Maori are far from afforded privileges above non-Maori New Zealanders.In my last

In my last post, I shared research that shows how Maori are currently under represented in health, employment, and justice systems. With this information, how is it that the notion of Maori privilege continues to pervade discussions of race relations in New Zealand?

Meihana asserts that Maori privilege has its roots in colonization declaring the notion of Maori privilege as used to “mask the realities of colonization” (Meihana 18). In this case, it seems that, as long as issues regarding the Treaty of Waitangi and colonization abound, the idea of Maori ‘privilege’ will continue to “serve as a cloak against the cold wind of reality” (qtd. In Meihana 18).

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