Writing as a grindstone. Finished writing, unfinished writing, writing ideas, things that I'll never get round to writing, other things. Grinding it out, grinding away. Writing some more.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Not my destiny

About ten years ago, the leader of a church I hadn’t heard of was spouting something along the lines of it was the work of the devil that New Zealand had a female Prime Minister and a female Leader of the Opposition. Don't get me wrong, said Tamaki. I have nothing against women. It is just that this is a reflection of what is happening in society - a lack of men in leadership and sky-high divorce rates. (Tamaki, 2000) This is a situation that had never happened before and hasn’t happened since, women leading the two most popular political parties. Neither of these parties at the time, before or since, have come close to a majority of women MPs (see here for historical parliamentary stats and here for 2008 party stats).

However, according to Tamaki, God is very specific about the role and function of men (2006, More than meets the eye: Bishop Brian Tamaki), so maybe any women in parliament is too many. God must be stoked then that of the four political parties invited to speak at the Destiny Church political forum last night, not one sent a woman. Hone Harawira spoke for the Mana Party, Pita Sharples for the Maori Party, Shane Jones for the Labour Party, and Tau Henare for National ( RNZ) (Georgina Te Heuheu was scheduled to speak for National. I don’t know why she was replaced by Henare).

There are two possible reasons for the lack of women: either each political party chose their best Māori representative, and coincidentally they are all male; or, each party chose to send their best male, Māori representative, because it would play better. Either way, it says something really sad about party politics. In the first case, it suggests that Māori women are not getting the same opportunities as Māori men. In the second case, it says that parties are willing to support misogyny if it will buy them votes.

The Destiny vision of a uniformly heterosexual, masculine leadership was previewed for them at their forum last night. I haven’t heard if anyone spoke for those of us who are excluded from that vision (but please, if someone did, I want to hear about it). I know not to expect anything better from the other parties, but it disappointed me to see Mana playing to Destiny.

Seven years ago, parliament removed some legal discrimination against same-sex relationships. Thousands of Destinites marched to parliament in protest. I will not forget the righteous arrogance of those Destinites who threatened, pushed, hit, spat at, and generally abused those few who dared to stand for queer solidarity that day. Naively, I had hoped Mana would take the opportunity to stand with us last night. It would have shown more mana than a self-congratulatory, macho sound-bite about being no-one’s lapdog (RNZ: No lap dog status for Harawira).


  1. Anonymous11:32 pm

    I was there (in queer solidarity) at the destiny march you mention in this article. It made me sad and angry thinking that, out of the few hundred youth on the march, there must be dozens of queer kids trapped in a homophobic church. I was a Catholic child and hated myself for my queer thoughts and tendencies; I was a bit messed up then.

    Looking in one youngsters eyes, seven years ago, I saw more than anything else, confusion. I, really, hope someone is sending a clear message to queer Destiny kids, that God does not hate them.


  2. I agree Kim, I'm disappointed and worried - this was the opposite of what Hone should have done which is denounce the hideous destiny and their ideals - that would have shown mana. Pandering to these bigots is wrong and dangerous - did I mention I'm worried.

  3. I think you all miss the point because any person or group who gives Maori politicians free time to gain votes can only be setting an example for others to follow suit. For all the "knockers" organise an open forum in whatever way you choose to support any Maori politician to change the nations future to benefit all citizens and who know they have been called by Jehovah God / Ihoa o nga Mano who wants servants who follow his leadership and no other...Nga manaakitanga ma runga ia koutou katoa i roto i te Matua, Tama, Wairua tapu me nga Anahera pono me te Mangai hei tautoko nei aianei akenei...Ae

  4. @ Mark--Thanks for your comment. I've been thinking about the kids in Destiny too. It makes me really sad and angry that by going there and not talking about sexuality, those politicians are reinforcing to those kids that anything other than strict heterosexuality and masculine/feminine gender expression is evil, or sinful, or whatever. God, I remember how terrifying and awful it was to hide who I was from everyone around me. The only good reason to speak at the Destiny forum is to let those kids know that not everyone believes that shit.

  5. Anonymous7:51 pm

    Hi Kim - Cheers, you said it, "not everyone believes that shit"; and that's what makes life good : ) mark

  6. @ Marty Mars--Yeah, I'm disappointed. I probably had unrealistically high hopes for Mana. I hoped they had the integrity to not play the politics game. To me, that means speaking the truth even (especially) when it might cost them votes--speaking the same truths in every forum. For me, Harawira's team failed their first real test. I still hope they win me over.

  7. Anonymous2:46 pm

    The whole thing makes me sick. I just watched the news footage on Te Kaea and Te Karere, and the reporting was incredibly evasive.
    Its nice there is some resistance and solidarity on blogs, at least!


  8. Anonymous7:02 pm

    Cool Kim. Love what you write always. Just in response to this matter though:

    "I will not forget the righteous arrogance of those Destinites who threatened, pushed, hit, spat at, and generally abused those few who dared to stand for queer solidarity that day."

    I spoke that day of the rally at Parliament. One thing I couldn't help but think that day as I rolled about was how f'n important it is to hold our 'leaders' into account. I walked amongst the masses and very few people had a clear analysis of what the actual issues were that they had had enough of. What was clear is that a majority of the peeps there were Maori and were fed up with the way they were treated in society. One person spoke to me of his fear that his 14 year old boy could now become a gay prostitute and the govt was taking his rights as a maori to go to the beach. These messages were coming from his 'leader', the less than honourable Bishop Tamaki. So, I wasn't so sad/mad at those who stood in defiance to a system that they perceived as ripping them off - I was pissed off at the packaging their leaders had wrapped their f'd up and convoluted messages in. Capitalising on the fears of a largely dispossessed mass in the name of jesus... oh, and moral and political gain. For sure you can say that I am undermining the individual intellect of those who attend the church. But really, DC is kind of like lotto on a Saturday night. It offers a glittery out of a shitty mess that a heck of a lot of people are in. It's seductive. And B B Tamaki does an awesome job of latching on to our most vulnerable and disillusioned folks.

  9. Anonymous12:27 am

    Any one know what The Mana Party's saying about sexuality's, genders, sexism and homophobia, are they saying anything? I know Mana(particularly Annett Sykes) say they are there for the poor, for the dispossessed. Many politicians make this claim, however very few as convincingly as Annett. I still can't bring myself to trust politicians because I can't think of a single one (who has had any major influenc/power) who hasn't in some way or another hugely lied too and or harmed their communities.

    Who can we trust? Metiria Turei (wish she was in Mana)? I like Potaua's run-down of different politicians and parties on Tangata Whenua, not that I agree with it all; just like reading straight up opinions about peoples character.

    Does Mana have the mana? And will Hone reply to Marty Mars with a commitment to fighting homophobia and patriarchy? - that would show true strength with humility, and heart.


  10. Dear anonymous, love to hear from you, as always, and I reservedly agree with your comment.

    I maintain though, that the abusive/violent way many of the destinites behaved that day was hateful and arrogant. I can't put the blame solely on the church leadership for that, because (like you say) that would be patronising to those people who chose to behave like that. We all need to be accountable for our behaviour. What would it take for you or I to treat someone as they treated us? As if we have no mana? I don't doubt that some of those people have been treated like shit, but I don't accept that as an excuse for treating others like shit.

    I totally agree with you that the strategies of the church leadership are evil, and that they are responsible for the hatred and bullshit that they feed people. I agree that they are cynically using people to feel good about themselves.

    I also agree with what you haven't said (but I know you believe), that Destiny is appealing to so many people because of the abusiveness of our political system--the structural racism, the dismantling of whānau and of belonging. And that, ultimately, is where the solution is--rebuilding our tūrangawaewae in all senses, not fingerpointing and scapegoating.

    Thanks for your comment.x