Jim by Kiwa Huata

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The first thing I was told on my first day of University was Always ask questions, challenge your lecturers, always ask why. Little did I know how important these words would have on me for the years to come. Being taught by the works of my tupuna and Kaumatua, challenge was non-existent in my vocabulary. Kaupapa Maori teaches rangatahi to respect our elders, yes even if theyre wrong be it Maori kaumatua/tuakana or non-Maori.

I recall the first time I challenged my lecturer- lets call him Jim. Jim is South African.

He first moved to New Zealand 10 years ago with his wife and child. He scored a high paying job at AUT University teaching Business (for obvious reasons I cant say specifically what he teaches). Every lecture consisted of him criticising something related to New Zealand. Did I mention this was not a social science lecture? No, it was business, where culture played only a minor role in these lectures. So I was flabbergasted when he would consistently berate New Zealand culture, New Zealand practice, New Zealand poverty, New Zealand welfare, New Zealand asset sales, New Zealand this, New Zealand that. These daily lectures turned in to a nightmare for every New Zealand student in the room. No Im not exaggerating; the room had become segregated- New Zealanders on the left, non-New Zealanders on the right.

In the midst of discussing the use of foreign exchange during a global financial crisis lecture, Jim made the sly statement that New Zealand could have dodged the crisis if they werent so lazy and got a job. He spoke as if the words had slipped out yet he did not apologies nor did he seem apologetic. What was more interesting was when the non-New Zealand students began supporting him. As if Im not noticeable enough with the colour of my skin (yes, I was the only brown student in the room), they proudly stated Native New Zealanders have it so easy here, if you cant make it in New Zealand then theres something terribly wrong with you, Did you know you can sponsor a child in NZ, $1 a day?! That money is better off elsewhere, Maayoreys and New Zealanders constantly complain about nothing, they should try living in Africa, and my personal favourite from my incredibly obnoxious lecture, no one was profoundly affected by the 2008 global financial crisis, because there is no such thing as poverty in New Zealand. Thats right. He said it. A South African migrant, who has lived in this country for a decade just told his class there is no such thing as poverty. Who hired the man!? This is a lecture, not a conversation with an old buddy at the bar whom you havent seen in a few years catching up on all the latest. This was a man, who was given the right to educate students. This felt like a church service gone horribly wrong. His attempt to brainwash the non-New Zealand students and degrade the New Zealand students was an embarrassment to the system that has been put in place to maintain equilibrium between all citizens.

After many attempts, Jim refused to allow the NZ students to challenge the humiliating comments as he deemed it unnecessary and time consuming. All I can say is, for a split second I thought of campaigning to be a politician just to implement a stronger barrier on immigration laws. I chose to share this story with you because a friend approached me the other day with a story very similar to this. Were at that stage now, where people are speaking out against the prejudice behaviour of our so-called superiors. Employees challenging corporations (Taxi drivers vs. Air NZ), students challenging lecturers, voters challenging politicians (Asset sale referendum), and customers challenging suppliers; were becoming more self-conscious and cognisant to the emotional and intellectual assault of our leaders. It is wise to remind any leader that without their followers they wouldnt be a leader. The fact that Jim created such a negative atmosphere between students, and prohibits us from challenging their ideology springs too close to home; 1975 Land March; 1981 Springbok Tour, 2004 Foreshore and Seabed march. Too often do we get shunned to question our superiors. My only regret is not challenging Jim any further. Since then, I have made it my responsibility to defy any lecturer that decides to degrade the land we call Aotearoa and the people on it. In a sense, Im glad Jim made those comments and allowed students to behave hideously because it goes to show that when push comes to shove, Maori and Pakeha can work together; it is also a reminder of the level of ignorance that we are facing as a country. So I suggest every viewer challenges their boss, lecturer, politician or local leader; because if we dont contest to their incompetent behaviour they will continue to manipulate the system and the people in it.

On another note,

Merry Christmas you beautiful person reading this you!

Be kind, be jolly,

Naku noa,

Kiwa

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About Kiwa Huata
Kiwa Huata has just completed her Bachelor of Business degree double majoring in Economics and International Business. Being raised on the Marae she has witnessed and experienced the tragedy of Tino Rangatiratanga due to the rise of capitalism, globalization, western influence and the loss of sovereignty since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Her strengths are in Maori sovereignty, Maori Economic Development, Treaty claims and Macroeconomic frameworks. She is an advocate for Maori, students and women. She is currently in the Hawkes Bay working on behalf of the Ngati Rahuna i te Rangi hapu on the Water claim and Racism claim. She intends on beginning her Masters in Business at the University of Harvard in 2015. She is 21 years of age.

1 COMMENT

  1. A question put forward to Jim would be to ask him if it is so bad here in NZ, then why does he still live here after 10 years? The moron should have stayed in Africa.

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