Oddly, it's not the proposal for a separatist judicial system that has attracted opprobrium, but the response by Don Brash in the Herald on Sunday that there were "few, if any" full-blooded Maori left.
There are clearly many New Zealanders who do see themselves as distinctly and distinctively Maori but it is also clear there are few, if any, fully Maori left here. There has been a lot of intermarriage and that has been welcome.All the usual suspects have been invited to be up in arms today, but not as far as I can see at Judge Baragwanath for proposing what amounts to a slippery slope to apartheid [PDF], but instead at Brash's unwise comments that the judge continued to talk "as if the Maori remain a distinct indigenous people."
For my own part, if asked, I would have simply said that good law is colour blind, and I am just as opposed to racist Pakeha as I am to racist Maori.
That the colour of the blood in a person's vein should be of no relevance to any politician, nor to any court, nor in fact to any one at all. We need to begin seeing people as individuals, not as representatives of their race, their tribe, their ancestors or their bloodline.
That how much blood of whatever type anyone has running through their veins is of far less importance than the ideas that are in their heads. It is the ideas in their head and the choices they make based on them that a person should be judged, not on what their ancestors might or might not have done.
That the choices that people make are a more important determining factor in the need for a justice system than whatever their whakapapa might say about them -- the need for a single and objective justice system must override whatever politically-correct nonsense is momentarily fashionable, and it most certainly overrides the purported need for a separate, racially based justice system, which can only be seen as a slippery slope towards apartheid.
That ideas and choices are what move history and what make us human, not superstitions, "blood quantum" and ancestor-worship.
That's what I would have said if asked.
UPDATE: Link to Baragwanath's paper added, courtesy of Idiot/Savant.
LINK: Few if any full Maori left comment horrifies - Stuff/NZPA
What is distinctive about New Zealand law and the New Zealand way of doing law? New Zealand law and Maori [PDF] - Justice Baragwanath, Address to Law Commission
RELATED: Racism, Maoritanga, Politics-NZ, Politics-National, Law