Open letter to Mic( )ael Laws and more or less the whole city of Whanganui.
some time ago when I was a young ideological student in the late 1980’s I watched with absolute horror at the country and it’s frenzy to keep the Homosexual Law Reform Bill from passing. So fervent was the opposition, that nearly 80% of the country was opposed to the bill, hundreds of thousands of people signed the petition – so impassioned was the opposition they even managed to get Mickey Mouse to sign the petition. This was a moral campaign.
Skip a couple of years watching a Spike Lee movie. The most memorable moment in the movie to me was when the father was teaching the son that the most important thing in the world is respect. Respect for fellow human beings leads to greater understanding and empathy. Despite all of the racial mayhem going on around them, the father was taking the time to teach the child this most wonderful and basic of human traits – respect.
Fast forward to Wanganui 2009. Same impassioned people, same fervent opposition, to yet another seemingly non issue. I care not one bit for your opposition to the name of the city being returned to it’s correct spelling. I care that the somewhat ‘majority’ of the people have been conned into thinking that disrespecting the local indigenous people is a good state to be in.
It is very simple, the name of the River and the city includes the H, without it, it is meaningless, further it is disrespectful. It says, we know this is how it should be spelt, but we don’t care, your language and mana whenua mean nothing to us. Just as Micael Laws without the H is meaningless, so is Whanganui.
I always mistook you for someone with a level of reason and intelligence, however seemingly backing oneself into a corner with no way out often results in intrenched opinions at the detriment of rational debate. The respect that I once held for you would easily be found again, if you showed the local IWI that very same respect and gave them their name back. Hundred year old injustices don’t need to be perpetuated in New Zealand 2009. Just as our elected officials took the less popular approach and bought Homosexuality into the public realm with dignity, as should the elected officials in the case of the correct spelling of the city Whanganui
Thank you very much for your time sir.