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Kate Hawkesby: People are choosing to ignore Waitangi Day because of petty point scoring

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Feb 2023, 8:07am

Kate Hawkesby: People are choosing to ignore Waitangi Day because of petty point scoring

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Feb 2023, 8:07am

So another Waitangi weekend done and dusted.. and what did we learn?

Well, not much. I think part of the disconnect around it these days is the coverage of it. Why does it always have to get so petty? 

What we learned was – who spoke with notes and who didn’t, who spoke te reo and who didn’t, who attended what and who didn’t. How is that taking us anywhere or telling us anything or bringing us closer as a nation? 

We are not being well served here when we let the sneerers on the sidelines get news headlines out of their pettiness. 

David Seymour went to the trouble of doing his entire speech in te reo – the only coverage of that? The Greens Marama Davidson sneering at him as he did, and afterwards telling the media.. ‘it’s still racism it doesn’t matter what language it’s in.’ 

So the fact the media made a big deal of that was either A, because they don’t know any better and are happy to allow themselves to be hijacked by pettiness, or B, because they wanted to let her comment speak for itself. Hopefully it’s the latter. 

Likewise Chris Luxon was criticised for using notes. Bear in mind he would have been criticised no matter what he did, but the criticism of using notes came again from the sidelines and again from bit players. 

Shane Jones, sneeringly told media you should be able to speak from the heart and off the cuff. Well maybe for some orators or those who’ve grown up on a Marae where that's customary, that may be the case. But no allowances are made for people who are just trying to do their best. Surely that’s just arrogant and petty.. to attack people just because they happen to hold an alternate political view to you. Would the attacks have been as forthcoming if Chris Hipkins had spoken in te reo or used notes? 

By the way Hipkins did actually have notes, he was holding notes the entire time, he didn’t refer to them as much as Luxon did, but that was the barrel we ended up scraping for coverage. Who spoke in te reo, who used notes and a big tsk tsk from the bit players who didn’t like it and were seemingly affronted by it. 

When it dissolves into political bickering it just becomes tedious doesn’t it? I mean we have enough of that all year round, do we really need it on Waitangi Day too? 

One of the arguments around our National Day is how we engage and involve people more in it and I’m not sure scaring them away from participating by judging everyone on how they participate is the answer. 

I personally could not care less who spoke from notes and who didn’t, I’m not sure off the cuff speeches are necessarily any better than ones with notes. Off the cuff speeches can get rambly and long winded.. and if you’re someone with a message to get across and want to make your points well, then having the foresight to prep and make notes on that seems like the right thing to do. 

So another day of petty point scoring and judging and in that is the lesson as to why Waitangi Day is something many people are choosing to ignore, rather than participate in.

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