self determination – tino rangitiratanga

Finally, it’s been a long time coming, a l-o-o-ng time coming, but New Zealanders are going to have an officially recognised identity. They can be known as – wait for it – New Zealanders.

Self determination – tino rangitiratanga – has long been sought by Maori, and with due justification. What has been somewhat washed into a back corner is the self determination of New Zealanders. We have, I guess, finally shaken free from the Privy Council, and it’s timely that we can finally find some identification in being New Zealanders.

I’m a fifth generation New Zealander. My ancestors arrived here in 1842. I’m proud of my Danish and Cornish ancestry, but I’m neither Danish nor Cornish. My ancestors did not come here to rebuild England or Denmark in their own image, they came to create new lives in New Zealand – their own country’s not doing them any particular favours. I have no rights in Denmark or Cornwall any more than any other tourist. They are not home to me – they are both very foreign countries. I have often asked how long do we have to be here to stop being identified as a ‘New Zealand European’?

Thank you, Mansoor; the answer is March 7. I was one of the ‘more than 78,000 people [who] ignored the official boxes and wrote “New Zealander” as their ethnic group’. I entirely reject the epithet ‘Pakeha’ feeling that is on a par with ‘New Zealand European’.

I feel delighted to finally come home to being a New Zealander. Yes, more than 78,000 people – approximately the population of Palmerston North – is a significant number.


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