"The Appeal Court judges have suggested how tough the tests could be. Left to the law, our rights to be on a beach anywhere around the country would be fairly safe, I suspect. But the Government hasn’t given us a chance to find out.
The decision-makers, Helen Clark and Michael Cullen, didn’t even go and listen to Maori gatherings before producing their firm position paper this week. Chances are Maori would have rewarded recognition of their mana with recognition of the rights of public domain.
You’d think that this Government would be better than most at dealing with Maori. ‘Good faith’ is one of its bywords, a cure-all in Labour’s eyes for employment relations and much else.
Good faith would have its own reward from a people acutely sensitive to ceremony, manners and procedure. But ceremony, manners and procedure are not the style of Clark, Cullen and co.
They are secular utilitarians, uncomfortable with formality, averse to pomp and graces, unmoved by spirituality, embarrassed to sing. They would sooner die than dance.
In their inhibitions they are typical of most of us. If I was a Maori I think it would strike me starkly that New Zealand needs the expression of its indigenous culture more than it knows."
Amen to that.