Alf is by no means astonished that somone is promoting the idea that Maori prefer to buy stuff from Maori rather than from non-Maori. To sell more stuff, accordingly, a business needs more Maori salespeople.
It’s just an extension of the idea promoted by Hone Harawira, the Maori Party MP (and hothead) that his offspring should only marry Maori.
But Alf would take issue with the notion that non-Maori are similarly guided by ethnic considerations when they pop into a shop to buy something, and that they prefer to deal with people of their own “culture” (a nice way of saying “race”).
If this be so, obviously, it would be racist.
These thoughts are raised by a Waatea News item headed LAND AGENTS SEE MAORI AS THE FUTURE FOR MARKET SEGMENT.
The item was triggered by the head of the real estate industry training organisation, who says getting more Maori real estate agents could help boost Maori home ownership.
Lesley Southwick says REAL ITO intends to run courses in schools with high Maori or Pacific Island rolls to encourage students to consider careers in the industry.
She says fewer than 1 percent of the country’s 17,000 real estate agents are Maori or Pasifika.
Interesting statistics, eh?
Alf wonders how many agents are – say – Chinese and the implications for property sales.
But it was the next bit of the news item that he found highly contentious.
“People like to buy off their own cultures so the more successful that Maori become and Pasifika become, then the more they are likely to want to buy real estate and participate in the industry so it is only natural that we should encourage those cultures, Maori and Pasifika, to gain qualifications to become real estate professionals,” Ms Southwick says.
Alf regards this as bollocks.
To what extent are Chinese people refusing to buy from non-Chinese?
Not much, he is sure, as he observes Chinese manoeuvres in tandem with Kiwi business people to buy up the Crafar dairy farms and to set sights on other farm lands.
The culture of the bugger who is the agent in the transaction doesn’t matter a toss to them.
Moroever if there were any truth in the notion that people prefer to buy off their own cultures, then a whole heap of Indian retailers would be taking a huge gamble in buying up the country’s corner dairies.
They won’t go broke, however, because non-Indians are quite willing to buy goods from their shops.
Back in the 1970s we had a splendid Indian family in Eketahuna who ran the local vegie shop. If they had relied on customers of their own culture they would have done a starve, because the Indian population in Eketahuna is more than somewhat sparse.
Mind you, it may well be that some Maori prefer to deal only with Maori, especially when it comes to buying and selling real estate.
They had some bad exeriences back in the early days of British settlement. Alf cites the this passage about a bloke called Wahanui te Huatare, regarded in his day as the most distinguished and influential chief of the Ngati-Maniapoto tribe.
When Witiora, Tawhiao’s uncle, wanted to sell land in Kawhia — that sacred part of the coast where the forefathers of the Maori, coming from their traditional home Hawaiki, are supposed to have landed — Wahanui was not able to obtain agreement between the Maoris. Owing to the ensuing dispute he sent chiefs to different tribes with the message that they should give up the sale of land entirely.
By deciding on this step he definitely renounced his former attitude of strict neutrality, and became the true representative of Maori interests. He saw that many of the chiefs, without being able to prevent it, had given away their land in exchange for rifles and ammunition to carry on warfare with their own flesh and blood. He feared also, as a result of continual land expropriation, that the Maori race would quickly die out. For with every ship came new pakeha to possess the land, and the inexperienced Maori sold his precious birthright for worthless truck, spirits, jewellery, and weapons. In a short while, he saw, they would be driven to hunger and want.
Wonder what sort of a percentage of the spirits, jewellery and so on went to the real estate agents in those days?