An open letter to the Helensville community

Sent to Dave Addison, Editor, Helensville News.

Sir,

As a whiteskinned New Zealander of Maori and European descent, I have been privileged during my time in the Helensville and surrounding community.

I have witnessed many of the instances of genteel racism that fill this community. I have heard my people referred to as “they”, and our habits described as lazy in public forums. I have heard names in my precious language deliberately mangled for lighthearted amusement, even when the name in question is of a personage of national importance.

I am a generous and tolerant person, and I have done the middle class thing and allowed that some of my friends were brought up in different times. I am unable to do so any further.

This morning, I received an unsolicited email on an undisclosed distribution list. This email was sent by a prominent member of the Helensville community who seemingly views themselves as an unappointed political organiser and authority.

This email used rhetoric that alarmed me. Like an earlier document, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the email described Māori as controlling the government through conspiratorial manipulation of power balances.

It is very easy to survey the institutions of Helensville. Looking at local group memberships and compositions at directorial level, the European face is in still comfortably in control. There is no Māori power elite, and it is both wrong and malicious to suggest otherwise.

For the first time, I am ashamed to live here.

Sean Murgatroyd

Awaroa Road

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About seanmurgatroyd
Library (Shared blog): http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Personal including infoculture, book reviews: http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Music: http://seanfishmusic.wordpress.com/ Last.fm band page: http://www.last.fm/music/Seanfish @seanfish

4 Responses to An open letter to the Helensville community

  1. lewis says:

    post the email and name and shame!

    • seanmurgatroyd says:

      I live in a very small community. The people I am talking about are also close friends of mine. While I wish the community to ponder the meaning of communications happening within their midst, I do not wish to point public fingers, for I am talking of my own shame in not telling my friends how I felt earlier.

      The wider issue is not about my community. The email is a protest chain letter, and will receive wide circulation in the current climate. If Māori means ordinary people, Helensville is a very Māori community in this country.

  2. seanmurgatroyd says:

    Clarification: The non-macronised “Maori” in the first paragraph was an error.

    On reflection I am leaving it in as my white-skinned trojan horse.

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