The leader and deputy leader of the National Party are Maori.
So is Labour’s deputy, the leader and deputy of New Zealand First, and one of the two contenders for the co-leader of the Green Party.
That ought to be something to celebrate.
It is except that several commentators don’t think National’s Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett are Maori enough.
. . Bridges’ generational change then is about as solid as his claims to his Maori heritage and that of his deputy, neither of whom have made much of it in their rise up through the ranks; not altogether surprising considering their new leader is just three sixteenths Maori and Bennett’s grandmother was half-Maori. . .
Funny how it’s only an issue when it’s the National Party.
That aside, the furore illustrates one of the problems with identity politics – they divide rather than unite.
There is no single way to be a Maori, any other race or ethnicity, gender or any of the other groups people may or may not identify with.
There will be a lot of urban Maori whose experiences are similar to those of the National leadership duo, does that make them any less Maori?
Of course not.
Let’s celebrate that we’re in a country where race, gender and any of the other factors which separate and are used to discriminate against people in other countries simply don’t matter without nit-picking over what does or doesn’t constitute this or that identity.