MIRROR ARTICLE 30/12/01
“AN EXCITING TIME IN AOTEAROA!”
Over the past few months I have read a number of interesting and challenging books, questioning Aotearoa’s place in the world and therefore its very future, its image, its culture, in fact the very essence of what makes a citizen of this far flung Pacific paradise.
What is it that makes us a nation of one people and many cultures.
But before I propose a path way forward in our societal and political development, I would just like to say quite clearly that I do not believe in the philosophy of who was here first or last and is judged accordingly, I do not believe that we are bi-cultural and that as a nation our founding document is the Treaty of Waitangi.
Fairly radical, however, one has to keep the Treaty in perspective, it is ultimately a legal contract between the British Crown and Maoridom, protecting rights of the original settlers and granting overlordship to the colonising power.
It is not setting the frame work for future relationships between peoples, it is not the founding document of a democratic and inclusive society. It is a document of historical importance that along with many other events, should be incorporated into and appreciated as part of our rich heritage.
Now back on to the exciting issue! New Zealand or Aotearoa as I prefer to call it, is in quite a unique and wonderful position in its development as a nation, it is in the process of bringing together all aspects of its society towards formulating who we are.
Few would argue that we are the gumboot wearing, buzz bee pulling, pavlova consuming, rugby and racing participating, beer swilling utopia we never where. And as a man in his early thirties I am glad that we are not, because little of the above represents what I have experienced or indeed what I associate with being an Aotearoian.
What I do see as the wonderful qualities we poses as citizens, is our modern tolerance for those of different cultures, religions or political persuasions, also there is our very strong sense of right and wrong, in other words that famous Kiwi belief of everyone entitled to a fair deal.
Our spirit of comradeship, of progressive societal development, the desire to create a better place in which we all can live and reach our individual potential benefiting the greater collective good.
I know we still have a way to go, but what fantastic building blocks! So where to from here?
It is my belief that in ‘growing up’ as Aotearoa, there are a number of practical steps we need to take. Firstly, we must address the issue of nationhood, of taking back our sovereignty from the English Crown, with that the replacement of the Queen as Head of State with our own President heading a Republic and the placing of full constitutional powers in the hands of Parliament.
Now some may say that surely Parliament is the highest authority in the land, not so, all laws must receive the Royal Assent from the Queen’s representative, the Governor General, further still, that same Governor General is the supreme Commander of our nations Armed Forces!