Monday, April 7, 2014

Bare-bottoms draw international attention to the royal visit to New Zealand.

This blog is not actually about bare-bottoms, but it did serve to get you reading. I leave you to ponder the reason why it attracted your attention! What I really want to discuss, albeit in a pretty perfunctory manner is the subject of New Zealand becoming a ‘Republic.’ It seems that not a year goes by whereby this touchy subject comes up and it is the present royal visit, where two future Kings are gracing us with their presence, that the discussion has been reignited.
If the polls are correct, there has not been a huge movement within NZ re New Zealanders favouring a new ‘Republican’ status for us within the Commonwealth of Nations. For those less familiar with our history, we may seem to be some quaint South Pacific throwback to colonial times. Many New Zealanders still hold the British Royal family in high regard, especially the younger versions; although that does not mean that the ‘older gracious lady’ does not have support too. Of course there is also a section of New Zealand society that has never loved the royal family and if one listens to talkback radio, those ‘voices’ are not shy in putting their case for a dissociation from the said family.
For me, the debate is one of interest from a historical perspective rather than emotional linkage to the British Crown. I most certainly do not adhere to the old adage that ‘where Britain goes, so shall we,’ because we have seen that Britain is no longer capable of doing a great deal to defend our shores, if the chips were down again. Britain’s last great adventure in the Falklands (Malvinas) represented the last gasp of that colonial vestige.
New Zealand is a member of various alliances, most of them more attune to the geographical area in which we live and even those relationships come with a few hooks. In this new age of a ‘global economy’ and many trade arrangements, with more to come, it is assumed that war is a ‘no-brainer,’ although tell that to the people of Afghanistan, the Middle-East and parts of Africa and they would say we live on a different planet!
There is of course a different way of looking at NZ’s links with the ‘Crown’ and that can be found in our ‘founding document,’ The Treaty of Waitangi.’ There is a special relationship between the Tangata Whenua (the Maori People of NZ) and the British Crown and many NZers underestimate the importance of that arrangement. If New Zealand became a Republic, the Treaty would or could be assigned to a place where most Maori would feel very uncomfortable. The Treaty is not something that can be cast aside and the ties between the British Royal family and Maori are sacrosanct.  Any debate that does not take that into account is doomed to propelling NZ into a place where we do not want to go. For New Zealand to move forward, the debate about Republicanism must be wide-ranging and not hurried. Politicians and New Zealand as a whole must embrace this question in a sensitive, yet pragmatic manner. The answer is there, but we need to ‘talk to one another as equals, if we are to find the answer and still be ‘one nation and many people.’
The world media is in New Zealand; something that tell us that more than just the British follow the journey of British Royals, so bare-bottoms may feature, but there is much more to the relationship between the people of NZ and the ‘Family.’