Monday, February 07, 2011

Dunne wants to deny our history

Poor Peter Dunne. Acknowledging our real history makes him feel bad about being a New Zealander. So he wants to erase it, and replace it with comforting patriotic lies instead.

It's a problem with New Zealanders of a certain age, who grew up with the myth of "the best race relations in the world". Any suggestion that there are two sides to our story, that the government did not behave honourably, that we stole this country from its original owners, makes them feel deeply uncomfortable. Our history is not something we should feel proud of. But rather than acknowledging the truth and seeking to make amends, they want to sweep everything under the carpet, so they can feel proud again.

But in doing so, they miss the very thing we can be proud of and that is worth celebrating: that as a society, we are acknowledging that history and seeking to make amends. That while we previously denied the Treaty, now we are attempting to abide by it. That in the past 30 years, we have moved towards becoming the decent country the Treaty promised: one where Pakeha and Maori are partners, not master and slave.

Its not always going to go well. Like any partnership, there will be ups and downs. But we can't build that partnership, that country, that future on denial. And while it is uncomfortable for some, building that future is far more important than smoothing the pillow of Dunne's dying generation.