This week, Brian and Eda are out of their depth in a discussion about politics.
The National Party is stuck on a rollercoaster, and Judith Collins is the one trying to yank the lever to get it going again. I’d say they’re top of the log flume, bracing for a big splash. Yet whatever Judith does, it seems that they just inch closer.
While it’s entertaining to picture Chris Bishop’s face bracing for impact, the sad reality is that the politics of the party these days seem quite destructive. While we’re not exactly political junkies, it’s hard for us to look at Judith Collins, flanked by Chris Bishop and Nicola Willis, and think ‘that represents us’. But if you shop at Farro Fresh, it’s probably your type of crowd.
While admittedly it isn’t everything, diversity is one factor to point to, and it’s an important one too. For instance, the National Party has more caucus members named Chris than Māori. To forgo the representation of minority communities is one thing, but lacking indigenous representation, who we have a treaty commitment to, is worrying.
Our News editor Ella Morgan and political scientist Dr Lara Greaves, co-writing for The Spinoff, describe how National leader Judith Collins is using Māori to drive a separatism tactic among voters, and warns of the dangers of polarising voters to our democracy*. This seems to have come to a head, when Collins recently used the term ‘segregation’ to describe the Māori Health Authority, throwing out the severe and oppresive connotations of racial segregation.
It begs the question of why the complex, long-standing race relations in New Zealand, and our treaty commitment to Māori, is being reduced like National is attempting to do. While the wider topic continues to be discussed by those far more eloquent and knowledgeable than us (check out Ella’s article on Spinoff if you’re interested in learning more), on a smaller scale, we want to reassure our commitment in Craccum to voices marginalised in media, particularly to tangata whenua.
Historically, the newsroom has typically not been a space welcome to racial and gender minorities and even at Craccum we can testify to that, considering our name is actually a scrambled acronym for Auckland University College Men’s Common Room Committee. We can say that at least for the last three years that we’ve both been involved in Craccum, there hasn’t been a structured effort to make space for kaupapa Māori journalism. We recognise this takes time and funding that our student associations don’t have to systematically change the way we produce news.
And we’re working on it. Any newsroom and publication house holds the immense power and responsibility of shaping opinions and influencing our behaviours and we can’t call ourselves a student magazine until we can be accessed by all students and reflect a representative variety of experiences.
A project that we have for Semester 2 as part of this kaupapa is an issue put together completely by Māori and Pasifika writers and artists, and we are handing over editorial direction to guest editors Mairātea Mohi and Aria Toilolo-Ite. We personally welcome any student who is Māori or Pasifika to write or create art for this issue whether or not you have been involved in Craccum before. We’re here to help you get your voice and your work out – just get in touch with any of us!
Nau mai, haere mai, or if your husband is Samoan, talofa.
Brian Gu (he/him) and Eda Tang (she/her)
Co-Editors of Craccum 2021
*This week’s editorial was inspired by ‘National won’t find its brighter future through divisive Ōrewa-style rhetoric’, co-written by our News editor Ella Morgan and Dr Lara Greaves for the Spinoff.