Could Rokx be rolled by a fluency fuss?

November 21, 2009

There’s some bemusing stuff about a bit of workplace how’s-your-father at the Maori Language Commission in the The Dom-Post today.

A dispute between the chief executive of the Maori Language Commission and her staff has prompted the board to order an investigation.

The independent inquiry, conducted by Sir Wira Gardiner, was begun after some staff wrote to the board expressing concerns about Huhana Rokx’s management style.

Management style? Alf would be much more concerned about hiring someone with the curious name Rokx for a job in an agency charged with promoting the Maori language.

But what does he know about these things, eh?

Well, he can tell you (based on his reading of the Dom-Post) that –

Commission chairman Erima Henare has been acting chief executive since November 10, when the board appointed Sir Wira.

Both Mr Henare, who earned $58,150 from the board for the year ended June 2008, and Ms Rokx declined to comment personally about the dispute yesterday.

What’s more, Henare has hired Wellington public relations consultant Chris Wikaira to do any talking on the issue and management and staff have been told not to speak to the media. All media inquiries should be made through Wikaira.

But papers obtained by The Dominion Post claim staff members fluent in the Maori language use this ability to “show superiority” over their colleagues.

There have been at least two meetings between management and staff this year aimed at resolving the in-house problems.

One employee noted that, after one of these meetings, staff did not feel trusted and found their work environment suffocating.

Is that it?

Is it all about a pecking order where your position is influenced by your fluency in the language the commission is promoting?

Why should this be a matter of concern?

If you don’t speak Maori, or speak it poorly, you wouldn’t want to work there anyway, surely.

Alf would like to think the buggers who know a cow has four tits on its udder, and that you don’t milk bulls, and that wool comes from sheep could feel superior to those who don’t in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Likewise, knowledge of economics should push you higher up the perch at The Treasury.

Blokes are unlikely to prosper at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

And so on.

Mind you, we run into problems with this line of thinking when we get to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

Or do we?

Putting the outfit in the hands of a bunch of kids is unlikely to do much mischief because Alf doesn’t see it serving any useful purpose anyway.