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Posted by karere under Maori News
Broadcaster Paul Holmes’ role as presenter of TVNZ’s Q&A Sunday morning current affairs show is being questioned after a “racially offensive” column he wrote about Waitangi Day.
AUT indigenous studies adjunct professor Dr Rawiri Taonui has joined Mana Party leader Hone Harawira and broadcaster Willie Jackson in questioning Holmes’ suitability for the role.
“It’s a sad day when a great writer repeats the prejudices of the past, but Holmes’ offer on Waitangi Day is a fall from grace,” Taonui said.
Taonui, a regular Sunday Star-Times columnist, said Holmes was an intelligent writer, but said his article in the Weekend Herald, contained a “staggering number of half-truths and stereotypes”.
“In a tirade he depicted Maori as ghastly, smug, politically neurotic, uneducated, violent child-bashing, greedy fat over-eating weirdos filled with hate,” Taonui said.
“While racially offensive, he has a right to his views, and talkback radio clearly shows many hold similar ones. But before the Treaty of Waitangi, when Europeans depended upon their indigenous hosts, Maori were ‘Noble Savages’. Then as they expressed concern about what was unfolding, prominent European writers began describing them as ungrateful, depraved, polluted, immoral, degraded, vain, arrogant and cowardly uncivilised savages lacking moral courage.”
Holmes said Waitangi Day was a “repugnant national holiday” that had produced hatred, rudeness, and violence against Prime Minister John Key, and he described protesters as hate-fuelled, calling Waitangi a “loony Maori fringe self-denial day” no more relevant than Halloween.
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira replied, calling the column mean-spirited when Holmes must have known it would hurt a lot of people. He said it harked back to a day when Maori played guitars and nobody complained.
He said Maori still lagged behind in health, welfare, education, employment, housing and justice statistics, and that was not something “to wave pom-poms at”.
Jackson said he had seen enough to know what a talent Holmes was, but he had a “dark side” when it came to Maori issues. “The same goes for Michael Laws, Paul Henry and Leighton Smith. They’re all talented, but they share a toxic mix of arrogance and ignorance about our history.
“There have been times when the show pony has taken over and he’s performed for the rednecks in his audience. That’s what he’s done in the Herald,” Jackson wrote in his own newspaper column.
Taonui said our history included the NZ Settlement Act, which confiscated land from “evilly disposed natives”, and protests over the Native Land Court system, which MP Robert Bruce praised as an “ingenious method for destroying the whole of the Maori race”. “Fast forward to 2004, when Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples led the hikoi against the Foreshore and Seabed Act and Prime Minister Helen Clark described them as `haters and wreckers’.”
He said Holmes was reinforcing prejudice. “He generalises all Maori as child bashers. There is a serious problem when between 2002 and 2006, 28 Maori kids were killed. We know their names. But who remembers the names of the 48 Pakeha children who suffered a similar fate?”
TVNZ current affairs head John Gillespie told the Herald last week an opinion piece would not undermine Holmes’ position as Q&A presenter.
Attempts to contact Holmes yesterday were unsuccessful.[here]