Rugby is the opiate of the masses

The other day I was talking to some of my politico friends about how the Springbok Tour of 1981 and the resulting mass civil disobedience was the most the political turbulent time in modern Aotearoa history. More than 150,000 people took part in over 200 demonstrations in 28 centres, and 1500 were charged with offences stemming from these protests.

But what was it about this event that provoked the masses in such a visible way when the average kiwi would not get off the couch over the slaughter of Palestinian innocents in Gaza or even lift a finger with what is happening in West Papua (which is right on our doorstep).  

I think it was something more basic than that, something more primal and fundamental to the NZ psyche. Rugby. And for sure Grown men frolicking up and down the field chasing an oval leather object while engaging in homo-erotic banter such as the 'maul' and the 'scrum' might not be for everyone. But Goddamit this is New Zealand and its religion. It wasn’t that Kiwi outrage of the oppressive racist regime that was apartheid South Africa was particularly unique or profound. Instead a critical mass of usually pliable parishioners pushed against the twin pillars of Rugby and State - those things that make this great Nation of ours what it is. Minto was Calvin/Luther rallying against the rigidness of the then religious order.

The lesson here? If you want to shake the shit out of sleepy olde Niew Ziland - you have to strike at the fundamentals of what makes this country what it is and it doesnt get anymore fundamental than rugby - its up there with pavlova, cows, sheep and mansplaining.

the apostle John Key with his holiness Richie McCaw
the apostle John Key with his holiness Richie McCaw

Theres a world cup going on you say? I honestly havent dutifully followed the holy proceedings as a good citizen should - its just that - well too many All Blacks or ex-ABs are to chummy with the PM and/or are National Party supporters ( McCaw, Dagg, Lomu etc ) and none of them are like my man Piri Weepu

Say no to TPPA.. We are not for sale!! @johnkeypm
— Piri Weepu (@piriweepu) August 3, 2015

or next level Aussie rugby player David Pock who chained himself to a digger to protest against climate change and has been vocal about supporting gay rights on the rugby field

No. this current crop of ABs are complete Tory Toadies - many of whom have forgotten where they have come from - 
So I hope Tonga crack them a good one next Saturday. Amene.

Behold the Nameanator!

‘Because the name is the thing,’ he said in his shy husky voice, ‘and the truename is the true thing. ‘To speak the name is to control the thing’ - The Rule of Names

We were playing the choose a mutant power game the other day. Someone chose Magento Magnetic powers (I usually choose that one). Someone else chose Quick Speed and another Healing Acceleration (wolverine). I decided this time I was going to be super subtle and pick something different. I chose Mutant Naming Powers.

When I exercise my Mutant Naming Powers those things that become named have those names as if it has always been that way - Its like a reverse amnesia sorta thing.
Auckland International Airport would be known as ‘Mos Eisley’, with everyone North of the Harbour Bridge referred to by the collective noun ‘Wildlings’. The Tron will still continue being called the Tron - people will just forget that it ever was called that sheep shagger title ‘Hamilton’.
Queen Street they would discover was actually Prince Tui Teka street. ‘Of course its Prince Tui Teka street’ they would say ‘We just forgot - Prince Tui Teka gave us the Ngoi Pewhairangi composed gift that is ‘E I Po’. The idea of naming an important street after some random Queen from a random place like 'England' simply forgotten.

It goes without saying that the cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch would instantly only be known as Tamaki, Poneke (Te Whanganui a Tara) and Otautahi respectively and Wanganui will now be spelt Whanganui - and all numbnuts ex-Mayors will now only know it as Whanganui.
The Beehive will become ‘Thunderdome’ and the area between Lambton Quay and Molesworth Street will be known as ‘Barter Town’. Cuba Street will retain name but ‘Diagon Alley’ can be used as an alternative for the non-muggle community ( and allies ).

John Ballance, Von Tempsky, George Grey and others of a similar ilk will be referred to by the collective noun my mother knew as ‘Those thieving bastards’. Such would be my power that when a person passed one of their statutes - they would immediately think - ‘Why yes of course - there's George Grey - he’s one of those thieving bastards’. Collective nouns can also be enhanced with adjectives giving a more specific emphasis. Tempsky need not be just a ‘thieving bastard’ he could be the more specific ‘murdering thieving bastard’.
The naming power extends to those things like buildings and towns that were named by those things that now have new names and will naturally abbreviate as appropriate. For example instead of Greytown becoming ‘Thieving-Bastard-Town’ it could abbreviate to ‘Bastardville’ or ‘Thiefston’. All such names can of course be alternatives to the Māori place names. ( I’m good like that )
Massey University named after anti-communist farmer William Massey would be change to Emma Goldman Uni or Patrice Lumumba college. Something on the redder side of the colour spectrum. Oh and Otago University would be known as Hogwarts. Its literally looks like the only school in NZ capable of teaching the mystic arts.
Streets with real pretentious names like John F Kennedy Drive ( this is honestly a street in Palmerston North ) would get a more appropriate makeover - ( How about John Campbell drive?). Yeah why not.
John Key would be known by his new name ‘Creepy Fucken Weirdo’, Simon Bridges -’Evil Richie Cunningham’; and Mike Hosking ‘80s boy band reject’.

My Uncle has a saying ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ so I only use my powers for good - to help Balance the Force etc. I do however take requests. Is there anything out there that needs a name? or needs to be renamed? please leave a comment.

Movie Review - Jupiter Ascending

so I finally got around to watching Jupiter Ascending its the Wachowski latest foray in films ( they brought us the Matrix ). I was like WTF just happened? literally.  theres Channing Tatum as a half-wolf angel hybrid who gets around on space skates. He rescues Mila Kunis from roswell aliens who kidnap her to harvest her eggs because it turns out shes a reincarnated galactic princess - it turns out her family owns the earth and lots of other planets in the galaxy. wow. and bees know all of this beacuse they can smell galactic royalty. there are tons of bad ass effects.

 - its like the personifications of Dune, Star Wars, 5th Element got drunk at a karaoke bar and spewed psychedelic magic mushrooms all over the pavement - thats this film.  if you can tune out the plot - well you might just enjoy this ride. as with most over the top galactic exploits you might have to park reason at the door as well - (white dudes ruling the galaxy - pullleeeze. if the galaxy is anything like Earth - well then the rulers should be speaking Mandarin).


the thing is if your going to go with the whole over the top galactic ruler is going to destroy the earth schtick you dont go half-way - you A L L the W A Y.

Get a bunch of buff men and put them in S&M gears - give them golden wings.

Make sure theres plenty of spandex, get everyone drunk on $2 jelly shots - and dress up the main villain / galactic ruler like he just walked out of a 1990s Hero parade. 

ensure you have a killer rocking soundtrack.

and presto - intergalactic magic.

Disrupting the narrative - an oasis found.

‘The natives in Egypt have nothing in common with the Maoris. They belong to races in the lower human scale and cannot be treated in the same manner. The slightest familiarity with them will breed contempt which is certain to have far-reaching and harmful consequences. Every member of the force in Egypt is charged with the enormous responsibility of maintaining the prestige of the British race’ - Special General Order to the New Zealand Forces in Egypt by Major-General Sir A.J. Godley, 30 November 1914 at Suez ( a quote sourced from Disrupting the Narrative Exhibition, Thistle Hall, Wellington 21-26th of April 2015 )

When I go back to my marae and gaze at pictures on the walls of my Wharenui there are a significant number of faces who stare back that I know have seen War. They have taiaha or muskets from the Land Wars or like my great grandfather who went to WW1 as a part of the Māori contingent they are wearing soldier uniforms. Im sure the walls of my Wharenui are fairly typical with others around the country. I figure my great-grandfather and his brother went for the adventure a tendency that runs in the family. He lived to the age of 97, til this day I still remember the morning he passed - it was sunny and the roosters were making a racket outside and my mother was sad.

However the dominant narrative that has come to epitomise how 'we' see ourselves as a Nation in light of WW1 in my opinion disrespects those people on those walls - it seems to me to be more spin than truth.

That narrative is easily packaged with slogans which tell us that ‘They died for us’ or ‘Fought for our country’ (They didn’t). It is designed for 'us' the willfully uninformed citizenry and relies on the Nation’s collective amnesia around the New Zealand Wars and the inconvenient truth that Gallipoli was a place we invaded ( and they would like us to apologise ).

These myths are fueled by politicians talking guts and glory chomping at the bit to send other people’s children to fight their Wars. ( Notice how they or their families never go to fight these Wars? ) On the eve of New Zealand force's departure for Iraq, Sam Neill said New Zealanders should "be cautious when you hear politicians use the word Anzac". I agree with him.

That narrative points to a time between Gallipoli and the Western Front as the preferable birth of the nation. It is less inconvenient than Waitangi ( white guilt anyone? ) and definitively the point where we can collectively say that the British ruling class really did not give a flying fuck about our people who they sent to fight in their imperialist Wars.

If you oppose War the narrative suggests that you are denigrating those that went to War. You may only commemorate in the way the State has sanctioned that you commemorate - you must buy into the bullshit. I take the opposing view. If we are to truly commemorate those who fell and try to understand and respect the silence of those that returned then we must tell the truth about the nature of the conflict. While with the same breath hold those that sent them and those who continue to send others with the utter contempt and disgust that they deserve.

the aftermath of poppy-geddon

The day before ANZAC day I found myself in Peter Jackson’s ANZAC parade. There were vintage WW1 vehicles and planes and people dressed up in soldiers uniforms with some of them on horseback. As they approached Taranaki street 120 million poppies rained down upon us in a downpour of euphoric nationalism. I expect his Te Papa exhibition will be equally gaudy and unenlightening. He is of course the best placed person to put a glamorous spin on a fictional war narrative because he has won a ton of Oscars for staging fictional battles.

However, amongst this sea of patriotic bile there was at least a small Oasis of reason. Disrupting the Narrative was a week-long event incorporating an exhibition of contemporary art, historical material and public talks that sought to reframe existing narratives about New Zealand’s participation in the First World War and link it to contemporary issues.

The purpose of this event was to provide a counter narrative to the official 100-year commemorations of the war and offer people an opportunity to experience the ways in which ideas and concepts about war, conflict, resistance and survival can be reflected in art.

For me the space that art opens up is there to be filled with your own understanding. It has none of the condescending mainstream hollywood schtick that demands a beginning a middle and princess saved at the end - instead it is an invitation - there are parameters which allow deeper reflection and contemplation. I’ll be honest. I love that shit.

However when art is shown during a downpour such as we have now then invariably the open space around it will be filled with nationalist sewage. Art must instead speak truth to power. It must actively confront, disrupt and expose the narrative for what it is. In this case Imperialism fueled by blind patriotism sprinkled with a healthy dose of xenophobia.

Disrupting the Narrative

‘Disrupting the Narrative’ counters this by intersecting uncomfortable WW1 truths with the cumulative Art of the Mataaho collective, Ati Teepa, Brett Graham, Bob Kerr, Elijah Winter, Bridget Reweti, Mr Sterile Assembly and Tame Iti.

From poignant homages which reference location like Elijah Winter’s Memorial/Whakararatia a memorial to prisoners of Parihaka, incarcerated at Mt Cook prison and forced into hard labour. Mt Cook literally a stones throw away from the exhibition venue backs onto the National war memorial an irony referenced in the work. 

This idea of bringing of reflecting how space once used to intern prisoners of War can become disconnected in their present form continues in Bridget Reweti’s work Second Class where people in colourful rain coats gaze out over Matiu (Somes) Island.

Who knew both of these Wellington places had such dark histories? I know now.

Bob Kerr’s iconic No1 Field Punishment was also on display - detailing the treatment of conscientious objectors specifically Archibald Baxter.

Others subverted the ideas of War - like that of the Mataaho collective, which envisioned the masculine Military chevron as Kaokao a tukutuku pattern symbolising feminine strength and associated with birthing positions.

The works of Tame Iti, Brett Graham, and Ati Teepa all reference Tuhoe.  Ati Teepa’s installation the aptly named He moumou ki te po has different arrangements of toy soldiers and weapons compartmentalised - which for me symbolised how the ruling class view those they send to fight their Wars. Brett Graham’s Absolution - references the connection between terrorist rhetoric with the middle east and how that is used to paint those who dissent as ‘the other’ - it is reflected in oil - because after all, that’s why they are over there.

Tame Iti’s work is a compilation of different items confiscated during the Terror Raids, one of the items being a single child’s gumboot. There are also books on Michael Collins and Geronimo. His artist statement is translated using Google translate - highlighting that just because they are intercepting your emails they still might not understand what you are trying to say ( below in all its glory )

“Ko aku taona i haria I raro te ture whaka tumatuma, I to raatau poheehee tana, kei te nanakia a Tuuhoe. Mau hei Tuhi he kupu paakeha ….

“My cooking susceptible Under the Act Tumatuma, their ignorance is bitter bush. Have to write a word in English”

And of course the magic that is the Mr Sterile Assembly:

Yet through the diversity of underlying subtexts in this exhibition for me there was one main overarching question.

What really has changed in 100 years?

Upon reflection. The short answer?

Fuck all.

Some quotes from the Exhibition.

‘our armies do not come into your cities and land as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.’Lieutenant General Frederick Stanley Maude to the people of Baghdad -19 March 1917

Attitudes of Westerners to Arabs particularly around the massacre of Palestinians at Surafend by the Anzacs

“One can hardly help regarding the niggers as animals when you see them lying about”Private Benjamin Colbran referring to Egyptian People 7 November 1914

“a lot of cowards and murderers”General Edmund Allenby to the New Zealand troops at  Surafend16 December 1918

I hope this exhibition gets to tour it really needs to be seen out in the provinces - we are going to have 5 more years of wall to wall WW1 War commemorations - if this is all new to you - then I invite you to use the power of google and find out about my two heroes of WW1 Te Puea Herangi and Archibald Baxter. Two people I think who embodied the principle of independent thought.

and finally when the Drums of nationalism and patriotism beat, look for the dissenters, the artists or those taking action, the voices of reason and remember always .... always

solid sounds to help get your protest on

So you read my ranty blog about why Māori should support Aboriginal people and you were thinking hey I'll need music to help get my protest on

heres a few to help get you started

Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities in Australia - Solidarity in Aotearoa

If you havent heard - the rednecks running the Australia Govt intend on shutting down around 150 remote communities in Western Australia - communities which are predominately Aboriginal. Many Māori are comming out in support both here in Aotearoa and in Australia. Mean.

So if your free please get along to support but also to find out more about the struggles of our bothers and sisters on the other side of the ditch.

Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton,

I think its important to remember that decisions like these that kick Indigenous Peoples off their lands are not made in isolation.  They are connected and they are often made by the same people and the same corporations that want the minerals and perceived wealth sitting under those lands.  Those mining sites are often Dreaming places or part of songlines with immense spiritual significance making them even more important to protect.  Imagine how catholics would feel if Mining companies wanted to dig up the Vatican?

A number of years ago I remember pondering and discussing many of these issues at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.  We sat around the Fire with Aunt Isabel Coe and other elders getting ready to march on Parliament protesting the Aus Government passing amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act which was a part of the Northern Territory Intervention.

If we are to truly support the tangata whenua of another land then we as Māori need to support that struggle in its entirety. Its all very well to talk about Papanui (sic ) and Rangituanuku (sic) while here in Aotearoa - but then up sticks and get a mining job in another Indigenous Peoples land, which may desecrate their sacred sites and/or pollute the environment on which those communities are reliant upon.

When we are manuhiri in another persons land - we must try to whakaiti ourselves and to understand their tikanga and ways of being.

When I tell my Mozzie cousins this ( Māori Aussies) some of them get all angry birds and shit.  I'm always like. Hey Gummon cuzzies, I know everyone is in Aussie because the jobs are shit in Aotearoa.  Being Māori is more than putting on those felt-tip pen moko when you do your cultural thingy.  We/you/ them should at least talk about it.  Mā te kōrero ka mohio, mā te mohio, ka mārama, mā te marama ka tika te mahi ( and shit like that etc ).


Some of the political parties have even come out in support Greens, Labour, Māori Party. One MP in particular wanting to call out head convict in charge PM Tony Abott

Shot Marama Fox

Will this mean that these parties will support people getting turfed out on on their ear, here in their own backyard? You would fugin think so im sure.  It happens in Australia and it happens here as well, differently of course, people are being turfed out of affordable places to live and/or being told where to live if you want to access appropriate services.

Because so many of our people fall into the lower socio-economic when State houses get sold off that means our people get the arse. So gummon. If your supporting people over there - you can support them here. Just recently four housing activists were arrested (28th March) as a part of the Tamaki Housing Group the struggle of that community is symptomatic of the struggle of many of our communities throughout Aotearoa.

NZ First on the back of their success in Northland are not supporting the call to call-out the Abott regime.  I suspect that this is because they will soon need to kick into xenophobia mode to exploit their growing support base amongst hillbilly NZ. [Thanks for the by-election laughs Uncle Winnie - but ah yea nah bro..]

Incidentally the last time an MP wanted to call out the Australia Govt over Aboriginal Rights it was Hone Harawira - remember that? he was in the Māori Party then.

Anyway wherever you are dont be afraid to be heard.

and if you need help here are some solid sounds to help get your protest on

Top 10 Songs about Time

Merovingian: Yes, of course. Who has time? Who has time? But then if we never *take* time, how can we have time?

Hey time travelers some random music videos about ya know time stuff. something to chill too between bounces on the space-time continuum.