How proud it is to be Kiwi at the moment to witness the success of the New Zealand Olympic team. I noted with some irony the use of the oft-criticised haka the New Zealand team members performed whenever we won a medal or in support of team-mates still in competition. Nick Willis wore a korowai as he led the New Zealand team at the Olympic opening ceremony.
The women's football team did a haka, the victorious Chiefs performed their own haka, the NZ Army Band did a haka, and there was Pokare Kare Ana at the Edinburgh Tattoo in 2010 complete with a giant Maori moko motif and so on. I raise these issues because I found myself wondering what is New Zealand culture?
There is currently a polarising debate about the Maori Council's challenge of the National Government's partial asset sales, Te Reo Maori in schools and the recent Maori language week. Blog sites and talkback are rife with people opposed to Maori politics and philosophy.
Yet paradoxically some of these opponents would likely embrace Maori culture as predominantly defining our Kiwi uniqueness when we compete against the odds and triumph.
We've led the world in race relations with the advent of the Waitangi Tribunal. Let's not lose sight of that progress and remain focused on the issues of national importance while at the same time celebrating the uniqueness of our New Zealand culture.
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