There was a bit of controversy among Youth MPs because of the way the Powhiri was conducted. Youth MPs were lined up according to race and then gender and seated as per Powhiri guidelines but members of the public who came along were free to sit wherever they liked, rather than having women directed to the back.Can someone explain to be why this is tolerated? I would be interested to know what was the exact order of preference, given the composition of the Parliament. The seventeen Maori have a ceremonially superior status to those of other races, as do the minority of men to the majority of women. Were the Asian women at the back?
The people who go to Youth Parliament are some of our brightest and best, yet this discrimination is so institutionalised that nobody does anything about it. The youth parliamentarians seem to have been unconcerned about the practice in itself, just a little annoyed that members of the public were not categorised in the same way. Shouldn't they be shouting about this? Are we not simply letting another bunch of old men continue with their age-old practice of putting themselves and their sons ahead of everyone else?
Immigrants to this country should be warned that, while New Zealand is a progressive Social Democracy with equal rights for all and a Human Rights Act, in some circumstances they will be subject to discrimination on the grounds of race and gender. Whilst such discrimination may appear to be insulting, immigrants should understand that it is a traditional Maori cultural practice and is, therefore, acceptable.
Here's Sonic Youth: