May 19, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Paul Holmes a “toxic mix of arrogance and ignorance about our history”

3 min read

Broadcaster Paul Holmes’ role as presenter of TVNZ’s Q&A Sunday morning current affairs show is being questioned after a “racially offensive” column he wrote about Waitangi Day.

AUT indigenous studies adjunct professor Dr Rawiri Taonui has joined Mana Party leader Hone Harawira and broadcaster Willie Jackson in questioning Holmes’ suitability for the role.

“It’s a sad day when a great writer repeats the prejudices of the past, but Holmes’ offer on Waitangi Day is a fall from grace,” Taonui said.

Taonui, a regular Sunday Star-Times columnist, said Holmes was an intelligent writer, but said his article in the Weekend Herald, contained a “staggering number of half-truths and stereotypes”.

“In a tirade he depicted Maori as ghastly, smug, politically neurotic, uneducated, violent child-bashing, greedy fat over-eating weirdos filled with hate,” Taonui said.

“While racially offensive, he has a right to his views, and talkback radio clearly shows many hold similar ones. But before the Treaty of Waitangi, when Europeans depended upon their indigenous hosts, Maori were ‘Noble Savages’. Then as they expressed concern about what was unfolding, prominent European writers began describing them as ungrateful, depraved, polluted, immoral, degraded, vain, arrogant and cowardly uncivilised savages lacking moral courage.”

Holmes said Waitangi Day was a “repugnant national holiday” that had produced hatred, rudeness, and violence against Prime Minister John Key, and he described protesters as hate-fuelled, calling Waitangi a “loony Maori fringe self-denial day” no more relevant than Halloween.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira replied, calling the column mean-spirited when Holmes must have known it would hurt a lot of people. He said it harked back to a day when Maori played guitars and nobody complained.

He said Maori still lagged behind in health, welfare, education, employment, housing and justice statistics, and that was not something “to wave pom-poms at”.

Jackson said he had seen enough to know what a talent Holmes was, but he had a “dark side” when it came to Maori issues. “The same goes for Michael Laws, Paul Henry and Leighton Smith. They’re all talented, but they share a toxic mix of arrogance and ignorance about our history.

“There have been times when the show pony has taken over and he’s performed for the rednecks in his audience. That’s what he’s done in the Herald,” Jackson wrote in his own newspaper column.

Taonui said our history included the NZ Settlement Act, which confiscated land from “evilly disposed natives”, and protests over the Native Land Court system, which MP Robert Bruce praised as an “ingenious method for destroying the whole of the Maori race”. “Fast forward to 2004, when Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples led the hikoi against the Foreshore and Seabed Act and Prime Minister Helen Clark described them as `haters and wreckers’.”

He said Holmes was reinforcing prejudice. “He generalises all Maori as child bashers. There is a serious problem when between 2002 and 2006, 28 Maori kids were killed. We know their names. But who remembers the names of the 48 Pakeha children who suffered a similar fate?”

TVNZ current affairs head John Gillespie told the Herald last week an opinion piece would not undermine Holmes’ position as Q&A presenter.

Attempts to contact Holmes yesterday were unsuccessful.

– Sunday Star Times

12 thoughts on “Paul Holmes a “toxic mix of arrogance and ignorance about our history”

  1. Hello Paul,
    I have an idea that should work very well for getting people off the benenfit.
    If John Key really wants this it could work. He would have to be honest with people and no twisting the knife.
    It is as simple as running classes to teach beneficiaries how to work the share market as he does, with limits in place. Maybe half of the people would be able to do it. He needs to share his knowledge with people less fortunate.
    If they had their own income they would then not need the benefit.
    I would be interested to hear feedback both positive and negative, thank you.
    Kind Regards Lynn Elliot

  2. I dont think Holmes should be silenced – we need to honour the gift of free speech.

    People should be allowed to believe, say and think what they wish, even if we dont agree with it.

  3. Good on ya Paul,I now know what and who you are…no more hiding in the shadows along with so many others. Fear and ignorance breeds contempt, what are you afraid of Paul.This being said,
    I too have have encounted arrogance among some Maori and also the “so precious” and “world owe’s me attitude”. No race is perfect,and we cannot undo the past but we can learn from it.I believe that Maori have and are looking in the mirror and saying there are some things that need to change, well guess what it is people like Paul Holmes that add fuel to a dull fire and this fire create’s reflection.

    Instead of wasting energy every time someone dares to question, I say this to Maori people, why not get involved in bettering the social and economic ills that are crippling all people of NZ.

  4. Well done Paul. Seems the replies to your article all have a radical maori barrow to push. I wish this country would grow up and stand up to these radicals to benefit all not just a lazy few. I am proud of my Country, I am proud to be a New Zealander and I am proud to be a founders sons.

    1. Yeah nah bro! The minister, Tv Presenter and many others should seriously look at how detremental their racist personalities and actions have effected many communities and nationalities. This upbringing and manner of many a powerful and influencial people is volitile to the unity of all communities, they are very dangerous individuals to the future of this Nation,the scourge of all creation desperately needing a come to Jesus Meeting with the FILTHY FEW and Open Heart Surgery with The HELLS ANGELS. CHEERS!

  5. I reckon Paul Holmes needs some JAIL TIME for reflection!! I’d call the Police to him JAILED…But they are ALL on the same bloody side!!

  6. I believe our poor education system is responsible for the many misguided, ignorant and racist views held by many european NZers and other immigrants towards maori today. Many have no Idea we were at war in the 1800’s, numerous rights were stripped from us including the right to determine our own future! you just don’t lose that right its taken from you! as was the case for all indigenous peoples who were colonised. Numerous maori were murdered trying defend what was rightfully theirs! millions of acres of land was illegally confiscated after the signing of the treaty, a majority of which has never been returned and the money offered as a form of compensation by the crown didn’t amount to more than 5% of what the claim was worth! We’ve never asked for money! only the return of what was wrongfully taken. Had proper history been taught I believe pakeha would be more sympathetic towards what we’ve been fighting for! there would be real progress for us both.

  7. Every day pakeha Pauls in New Zealand: you’re thieving, land-grabbing, child molesting, race-hating, melanin-deficient people.

    I know that you may not have committed any of the above personally (well I don’t actually) but as you’re pakeha, by extension – I link you to, and blame you, for all the negative behaviours exhibited by some melanin-challenged citizens and believe that pakeha people in Aotearoa are all the same…

    How does that feel Paul?

    It’s very similar to your comment, only reversed…

    1. Brent, I’m a little melanin challenged myself but I certainly don’t hold any of Paul Holmes views – Paul is representative of so many New Zealand Pakeha men raised in the 50’s and 60’s – often uneducated, ignorant, sexist, racist and down right pathetically sad!! I know Maori are represented in many of our not pleasant statistics but there are also many, many, many fine Maori and I truly believe in my heart that if Maori had not been exploited as they have been we would not bee seeing the problems we have today.
      Paul Holmes true colours are being shown!! He is disgusting just like so many of his cronies!!

      1. Hi Kathy,

        Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post.

        You are right Kathy, when you say that not all pakeha display the traits that Paul Holmes has promoted publicly and I agree with you that this view is shared by a good number of middle-aged pakeha who were raised in the middle of the 20th Century.

        The problem we have here though, is that the majority of leaders in New Zealand just happen to be middle-aged pakeha men and this not only allows the discrimination against Maori in both the workplace and in society in general, but also promotes and reinforces the ‘lazy, drunken, child abusing Maori’ stereotype held by the majority of Kiwis – especially the repetitive negative media portrayals of Maori and incidents in which Maori are involved. Every week there is an article or two, highlighting Maori crime or ill-treatment of their families by family members and these reinforce the view held by many. Why aren’t crimes committed by pakeha represented in the media as regularly? I am hope ful that it is not to try to infer that pakeha society is superior to Maori because we must be a better class of people if we hear nothing of our own faults – this way we can deride and insult another group of people as being somewhat ‘lesser’ than ourselves.

        There are also Maori who discriminate against pakeha too, which is wrong – however they are carrying and holding ‘take’ or issues which have been instilled in them as youngsters, in relation to the treatment of their ancestors and in some cases themselves even today.

        Many Maori, including myself and my wife, have chosen to do as well as we can in life. My wife and myself have gained tertiary qualifications, I work as a school teacher (after having served in the Army for 10 years ) and my wife is Manager of Australia’s biggest Youth Centre ( ) and we also give back to our community (not just Maori but others) by coaching local sports teams, tutoring students at a free homework support centre, etc. We don’t drink, smoke or gamble, nor do we feel the need to do so (like many more Maori that we know).

        It is so hard to witness the negative public viewpoint in relation to Maori, when you do all you can to help promote the positive aspects of Maoritanga, only to see the negative aspects promoted and reinforced in the mainstream NZ media, and then taken on board by the pakeha masses. So, even though Paul Holmes may only be one outspoken man – there are many more that hold similar views, yet remain quiet about the issues. It really is disheartening, as this shows that it appears the only thing important – is what pakeha think…

        Once again Kathy, thanks for taking the time to respond to my post and here’s wishing you and your family all the best for the remainder of 2012.

  8. What an awful man to write such rubbish from a professional point of view…. there are many races including pakeha who have similar problems. To highlight Maori problems in specific is just bad taste and a show of his actual class.. Coming from a man who has many flaws in his personal life such as divorce and a wayward child one would think to choose his wordz carefully. Everyone was sympathetic to his public humiliation of his daughters addiction. Now he opens not only himself up for critism but his whole family especially his daughter who probably dosent need the pressure considering her circumstances.

    He’s just embarrassed himself and his family i think the crown would frown upon his peasant comments lol … Poor Holmes from Media Icon to Media Clown with NO CLASS … Shame on him !!!!

  9. Has it got to do with the fact that the accumulation of money,land and assets robs us of our common sense,our sanity. When we acquire too much we tend to become selfish,arrogant,ignorant, in denial…./….if we become too much like John key and his fellow cronies…… watch out even lots of your brothers and sisters will follow this trend…trickle down..yeah right…trickle up you mean…blessings

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