Of course John Cleeese’s ‘Don’t mention the war’ is regarded as classic comedy …

… but when it comes to the Treaty of Waitangi, there are other, not nearly so satirical calls to avoid discussing contentious topics.

Indeed, there are attempts to continually dismiss calls for redress — of genuine, documented, historic injustices (including large scale land theft) some enabled by racist government policies and actions over generations. Some contemptible ‘commentators’ characterise any Waitangi claims as coming from sub-humans looking for handouts from a gravy train.

In my opinion, the negotiations to settle Treaty of Waitangi claims that have succeeded (as some unquestionably have) have resulted from the exercise of courage and goodwill — under fire sometimes, as we discussed relating to Doug Graham. The willingness of Maori to accept Crown apologies and, in some cases, merely symbolic settlement of grievances has been striking. Forgiveness always is.

But of course, none of that stops the heckling.

Is the system of monetary or asset-based redress imperfect? Yes. And it’s also given to ego-based macho ‘negotiation’ and ‘chiseling’ tactics like wincing, false bottom lines, the reluctant manager, and subject to other vagaries of personality. But it’s start.

It seems to me progress means ignoring racist rednecks with their prejudice and their offensive calls for a ‘brown out’ (yuk) or their shallow slogans and tropes like ‘look forward, not backward’.

Yeah, it’s easy to say that when you’re holding the stolen treasure.

– P