Will women lose in culture clash?

Speaker David Carter wants to modernise parliamentary protocols.

The move was prompted by a cultural clash over women’s place and Maori custom and initial reaction suggests women are going to lose.

It follows an incident during a powhiri last year where two senior female MPs were made to move from the front row of seats, reserved for speakers.

Chairman of the oldest local Maori authority, the Wellington Tenths Trust, Morrie Love, says there is no shift in society that warrants change at this stage.

He says by accepting the form of the powhiri, the area for that time is deemed a marae, and protocol needs to be genuine and authentic to marae tikanga.

One could ask where Mr Love has been if he doesn’t think there’s a shift in society at warrants change.

However, goNZo Freakpower has an explanation for the continuation of women being seated at the back:

. . . I’m not convinced by the justifications of protecting women from taniwhas and bad atua for hui seating arrangements. My theory is that it’s a face-saving gesture to the old male kaumatua. Men go deaf more readily than women, and the old geezers sit in the front seats to better grasp what’s going on. The sharper eared wahine can hear just fine from further back. . .

That might not help women be treated as equals but it is a better explanation for the practice than any others I’ve come across.

12 Responses to Will women lose in culture clash?

  1. Andrei says:

    What’s the matter with you people?

    Does your husband get in a snitty because he can’t wear a ball gown to a formal event and has to wear a boring old suit and tie?

    I’ll bet he doesn’t.

    If you don’t like the customs and formalities that other people observe in their own formal events don’t attend them – it is simple.

    Even Helen Clark covered her head went she attended a mosque mind you she did offend some by wearing trousers to meet the Queen, and very silly she looked.

    For all the progressive blather about “tolerance” progressives are remarkably intolerant

  2. TraceyS says:

    My husband gets very snitty if he has to wear a suit and tie.

  3. robertguyton says:

    Helen Clark looked “silly” in trousers?


  4. Richard says:

    Back from holiday and see that Robert G has taken over-how sad
    The issue of powhiri and protocol is easily remedied. We have a wedding at my marae next month. At this powhiri – welcome to guests-there will be a a line of seats for the men and in the same line, but a couple of cms back, chairs for women.

    A man will speak first but after that it is anyone, male or female.

    Robert – your response to the issue HP has raised is not just silly but very school boy humour

    “Helen Clark looked “silly” in trousers?”

    You have been employed by a trust originated by Ngai Tahu but you have never learn’ t from the experience

  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    I don’t have a real answer to this dilemma but wonder if it should be the speakers prerogative to make changes to Maori protocols. Parliament also still starts with a Christian prayer despite less than 50% of New Zealanders now declaring themselves Christian and many members of parliament are atheist or of a different faith. Perhaps this should be the first tradition to be questioned?

    My daughter attended a Catholic mass recently and was horrified when the congregation were asked to partake in drinking the blood of Christ and eat his flesh. There are many archaic traditions in many institutions and it appears to me that there has to be a level of respect towards the communities that support certain protocols, even if another culture finds them at odds with their own.

    There are a number of respected and able Maori woman in Parliament who don’t seem to object to the powhiri seating arrangements: http://www.newzealandpacific.co.nz/maori-voice/maori-news/172-tradition/652-tradition-at-risk-in-powhiri-review

    Many maori women don’t see their role in a traditional powhiri as being subservient to men in fact women lead the ceremony with a karanga. http://ngaitahu.iwi.nz/our_stories/karanga-a-call-from-the-heart/

    Also as Catherine Delahunty says in the first link there are lots of other dodgy symbols used, such as the use of the mace which is in reference to the maintenance of medieval authority through violent means.

    I feel uncomfortable about the continued use of the Christian prayer and think a more generic reminder of the purposes of parliament and who the members represent in their deliberations would be more appropriate. Other traditions, like the mace and powhiri, are traditional connections to our past and reminders of the journey our country, and manner of governance, has taken to the present.

    I would be interested in other views (but minus personal comments).

  6. robertguyton says:

    Richard – your holiday hasn’t done you much good, has it! You seem more tense than you were before you went. I can’t understand your objection to my question of Andrei at all and welcome clarification from you. (Do you think Helen Clark should be criticised for wearing trousers when she met with the Queen – really??)

  7. Andrei says:

    I don’t have a real answer to this dilemma but wonder if it should be the speakers prerogative to make changes to Maori protocols

    There’s no dilemma here, Dave Kennedy, none at all.

    Just usual left wing fascism being displayed where a couple of exceptionally silly nonces demand that everybody falls into lockstep with what they believe to be true and correct and woe betide anybody that doesn’t comply, The world revolves around what this pair and a fuss is called for – they need to get a life but they are MPs of course, think they pee rosewater and that everybody should cow tow to them.

  8. Andrei says:

    8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

  9. Dave Kennedy says:

    Thanks for that dispassionate and thoughtful response, Andrei.

  10. Andrei says:

    I’m sorry Dave but the behavior of these two women MPs isn’t the behavior of a rational adult but that of spoiled toddlers whining because they don’t get their own way.

    And we pander to this juvenile crap, and that’s all it is – puerile behavior from spoiled over indulged people who haven’t got anything better to worry about.

    And while Ele writes in her post “That might not help women be treated as equals” Ele doesn’t actually want women treated as equals in all circumstances as this post of hers shows

    I thought it was a domestic’ and we all agree that the offender when caught, God willing, should be treated more harshly because his victim was a woman and not another man – you’d be hard pressed I’d posit to find anyone to argue otherwise. An assault by a man on a woman is a more serious matter than a similar assault on another man would be.

    Furthermore there is hand wringing over nobody coming to her rescue but that actually means male bystanders, not any female ones, am I right? We don’t place the same expectation on woman to pull a male assailant off his victim, regardless of gender as we do on a male – do we?

    How about we treat everybody with respect for who and what they are and not go chasing after mythical notions of “equality” because it does not and cannot exist except in the minds of Marxist theorists and post modernist tosh

  11. homepaddock says:

    ” we all agree that the offender when caught, God willing, should be treated more harshly because his victim was a woman and not another man ” – no I don’t agree. The offender should be charged for the violent offence, the gender of his victim is irrelevant.

    I wouldn’t have the same expectation of someone physically smaller and weaker to intervene – a young, fit woman might be able to help more than an elderly, frail man.

  12. Andrei says:

    The Herald didn’t see fit to ask any women bystanders why they didn’t intervene and that’s a fact.

    And males in this country are on the receiving end of these sort of assaults on a daily basis – what makes this newsworthy is the gender of the victim.

    Here’s a true story of real life in New Zealand circa 2013,

    At a night club a young man got into an argument with his female companion, it got physical when she whacked him on the head with her hand bag – one the young man’s companions intervened to try and cool the situation but ended up getting into a fight with his mate – to cut to the chase both male protagonists ended up being arrested and found themselves before the magistrate charged with disorderly behaviour. I personally know all the kids involved in this fracas. Make of it what you will

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