The trouble with never giving offence is that we must be hugely respectful – even to Morris dancers

May 19, 2015

Alf was drawn today to an article by one Joanna Norris, chair of the New Zealand Media Freedom Committee and editor of the Press.

Her subject was freedom of expression and the things that threaten it.

She discussed freedom of expression in terms Alf thoroughly supports.

At its very simplest, freedom of expression gives people the right to express themselves in a manner of their choosing. Whether you want to write a letter to an editor, write a column, dance in a park, or even burn a flag, your freedom to express yourself is protected by law (unless your flag burning results in public disorder).

The Bill of Rights Act gives New Zealanders these rights. Specifically it says this: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.” There are of course limits, for example your right to express yourself must not result in a crime, but generally our courts have erred towards freedom of expression when balancing competing principles.

But from time to time, Norris went on, issues arise that quietly threaten the rights of New Zealanders to express themselves.

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If Ngati Toa say Te Rauparaha was the composer of Ka Mate, it would be impolite to ask for proof

December 8, 2012

The Herald has done Alf a big favour today, by publishing (here) the words to a haka along with the translation.

Not just any old haka, let it be emphasised.

This is a widely known haka, because it is the haka most often performed and made famous by the All Blacks.

Why the All Blacks would want to belligerently shout the words before test matches is something of a mystery to Alf, because as you can see from the translation, the words are…

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, they are banal, and you have to track down attempts like the one here to explain them.

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Need an antidote for your mass haka gripes? Then try a beer produced by the McCashins

September 12, 2010

Praise be, a bloke down Nelson way with the splendid name McCashin has restored Alf’s faith in the collective common sense of the Tasman region community.

He had become profoundly anxious about IQ levels down there on learning that more than 2500 of the buggers had deliberately set about leaping up and down together in the rain and cold, sticking their tongues out, rolling their eyes and looking somewhat silly.

At first blush it seemed to Alf they must have suddenly become possessed by demons and he was wondering if he should bring in an exorcist.

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Everton offside with lawyer over haka

August 9, 2009

Why, oh why do a few precious Maori get so bloody precious about the haka?

And so litigious?

The Brits have done them no good, introducing an otherwise wonderful legal system to this country.

At least one Maori is now getting uppity about plans by one of England’s top premiership soccer clubs is to perform a flippant haka before its season-opening game this week, “despite legal protests that it insults Maori.”
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Icon on Ngati Toa’s cake

February 12, 2009

Now that Ngati Toa have been given some sort of right to the Ka Mate haka as part of a treaty settlement, and say they want to protect it from “inappropriate use”, here’s hoping they deliver the goods.

Inappropriate use should be any use of the haka by anyone anywhere except on a Ngati Toa marae, preferably in a sound-proofed room.

If that means Alf never sees one again, or hears the intimidating whoops and grunts that go with it, he will breath a sigh of enormous relief.
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