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Monday, June 27, 2005

If NZ history was 24 hours in a flat

Maori first arrived at the flat that is NZ at midnight.

Many things were done, many things were organised and reorganised during which time people set fire to the backyard and did some stupid things. However by lunchtime things had settled down and everyone had settled in, got comfortable after moving around the rooms and made themselves at home. There were disputes, usually over girlfriends - but they made for good songs and jokes, and there were arguments about who owns what in the cupboard. The odd punch-up; the odd alliance.

The first time anyone even saw of a non-Maori was about 4pm. Just drove past really, everyone finished their dinner around 7pm when quite a few started arriving in flash cars with new toys and wanted to doss on an ad hoc basis as permanent guests of the flatmates.

At 8pm they all agree in principle that they can start to doss here as equal flatmates provided the original flatmates want to assign them rooms or parts of rooms and to change the roster at some point and disputes between the original flatmates could be sorted out by the neutral new flatties. It seems to go well, they bring in a fridge and the power gets put on.

But by 9pm they had invited all their mates over, against the wishes of the original flatmates (had they known) and had taken over the whole show. They start destroying the backyard even though they were told by the old flatmates that last time they did that it was a mess. Everyone had agreed on where they were sleeping and then the gatecrashers barge in and start making threats, demands and backed by their mates from down the road they engineer a skirmish around a roster dispute and head tenancy issues at around 9:30-10pm that results in the old flatmates being overwhelmed and kicked out to the garage and the porch annex. Some of the skin heads remain on as enforcers.

Complaints flow but the new flatmates don't want them at the flat meeting either but they permit one delegate from the garage to be an observer to advise the old flatmates on how the new roster will affect them. Many untold new flatmates keep arriving all through the night, paying their bond straight to the new flatmates as the garage dwellers look on. And just before midnight a whole lot of Asian students are crammed in and all charged up-front fees. The garage-dwellers are now outnumbered almost 10-1.

At one minute to midnight and after a seemigly endless flat meeting that indicated they would allow some of the people in the garage to pick up some of their stuff the new flatmates had been using from the spare room and tentative agreements over how the water bill will be split a couple of new flatmates come running in and say the old flatmates are gardening down the back of the garage. The new flatmates say it's not on and they must have at least 80% of the garden strip to be reviewed at the next meeting. The old flatmates say this new rule is unacceptable, but the new flatmates say they should have put that in straight after they were kicked out. They add that to the house rules.

Now it's midnight.

That is the context.

Can someone who arrived after 9 at night understand that their behaviour and arrogance is insulting. Do they think the entire history only begins when they paraded onto the scene, waving their new roster around and claiming they were now the head tenants and the old flatmates had to do what they were told or else they would not be allowed back into the house? Many people are more akin to mates of those mates who have taken up residence in a room and don't talk to the people in the garage and believe every bullshit story they are told from the new flatmates about the history of the flat and how the old flatmates ended up in the garage where they belong and how cheeky they were for trying to get that strip of garden next to the garage all for themselves

That's our pathetic history in a nutshell.
(Garden=Foreshore & Seabed).

PS: The Crown is using my original notes on this as evidence that I am seditious.

9 Comments:

At 29/6/05 11:31 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Western civilization is just superior. Always will be.

 
At 29/6/05 3:25 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

Meaning?

 
At 1/7/05 4:31 pm, Blogger gazzadelsud said...

meaning: the new flatmates also built the flat - and the garage. The old flatmates were living in a drafty shack, and dying off in their mid thirties because they didnt have heat, or medicine, or healthcare. and because they had made such a wretched mess of the garden they were reduced to eating fernroots and the other old flatmate that noone much liked anyway.

anyway these new flatmates turned up, and they built the flat, and the garage and put the power on, and bought food with them which they shared with the old flatmates, and yeah they treated the old flatmates pretty shittily for ages, but guess what, the one with the limp is getting his leg fixed, and noone got eaten for ages and its quite nice having regular food and the power on, and some of those new flatmates have this thing called money, and theyve invented jobs and TV and stuff...

 
At 1/7/05 7:31 pm, Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

What about the Chinese? And who left the rats here from 2000 years ago?

 
At 2/7/05 7:08 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

AL: Rat theories, if correct, mean the day is about twice as long. Chinese? What's next - Ancient Egyptian Celts?

G: Your 9 o'clock attitude is as faulty as your historical assertions.
"The new flatmates also built the flat - and the garage. The old flatmates were living in a drafty shack," - Trying to say they created the flat to start with - and the garage! Refusing to even accept the premise?! Typically outrageous.
"dying off in their mid thirties" - Experts (TE IWI MAORI: A NEW ZEALAND POPULATION PAST, PRESENT AND PROJECTED Ian Pool, 1991.) say the pre-European life expectation was 28-30 years. What a bloody disgrace, eh... until you understand the context: In 1800 it was 30 years in France and 36 in Britain according to this article and was even less during intense warfare or civil upheaval one would think.
"because they didnt have heat" - So all those fires were just ceremonial were they? Not only is the suggestion that Maori did not use fire for heat ridiculous, it is also true that even today many people do not heat their homes and go about with multiple layers of clothing on complaining about the cold - most of them Pakeha.
"or medicine" - So Maori remedies etc. made from indigenous flora and fauna are not medicine? Does a white guy in a white coat have to put a label on it for it to be "medicine"? Leaches anyone?
"or healthcare" - Britain only had it's first proper hospital (Guy's) in 1724. Florence Nightingale only died last century. Caring for unhealthy people takes many forms. Europe and Asia had quarantine and major epidemics to deal with whereas Maori would have very few and no need for those institutions. Doctor's don't want to live in small settlements even today. The similarity in life expectancy shows how irrelevant different medicine and healthcare are as causes.
"and because they had made such a wretched mess of the garden they were reduced to eating fernroots" - Mess: Most areas, are and have always been productive - that's why they were targetted by war parties and later confiscation. Every area has cycles of unproductive times (drought, flood, social/economic changes) as Pakeha farmers also experience on marginal land that Maori would not touch because of those reasons. There were a number of highly controversial planning decisions in the early days. I used to think that burning down the entire Canturbury Plains forest was a particularly bad call until I actually visited there. It's bad enough trying to find where you are without it being in the middle of a forest AND no landmarks, and then there's the most boring journey in the country: CHCH through Ashburton. Then again if Pakeha did all that it would be classified as "development"... wouldn't it.
Roots: The only links with starvation and fern roots are European explorers who ran out of food - not Maori. To think that even a large minority of Maori were constantly eating only fern root is wrong. Settlements under seige and/or when normal supply lines and cropland are cut may be reduced to this temporarliy eg. Parisians eating the zoo animals in 1870.
"and the other old flatmate that noone much liked anyway." - "During the Norman invasion of England (1069ad) there were widespread reports of cannibalism. Some texts say that human flesh was sold on the streets of London." according to this article. If you are going to kill someone because you hate them to the extent of hanging, drawing and quartering, what one does afterwards hardly seems to matter.

Apart from taking credit for building everything and not acknowledging that the sharing/trade of food was both ways (without that hospitality the Europeans may have perished) I concur with "putting the power on."
"they treated the old flatmates pretty shittily for ages" - Yes, but has it really stopped (F&S Act)?
"but guess what..." - Therefore? There's a money system based on property speculation that you can't really take advantage of so they should be happy with that? Nice house, mate? Why are we in the garage again?

I will keep the analogies but add to the story very shortly.

 
At 3/7/05 5:31 pm, Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Tim: actually the Chinese theory is alot more plausible than the ancient Celtic mallarcky (which is based on mis-identified natural geologic structures from what I can see). We already know the Chinese mapped much of Australia's coast in high resolution about 500-600 years ago. Its not unlikely they were the ones who dropped off various odd plants here on a short stopover. I'm sure you've heard of the book '1421' - the author thinks he's identified a Chinese naval map of the Auckland and Campbell Islands, meaning they were certainly in the vicinity and far away from the safety of Australia's coastal waters.

 
At 3/7/05 7:29 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

AL: I haven't heard of 1421, but am generally aware of a "Chinese naval mapping" idea of pre-European "discovery." I would be interested in any links you may have.

 
At 16/7/05 3:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent idea, I really like it, except you have the first hours wrong. Midnight to 3am there was this amazing party when the first flatmates used up all these easy to obtain resources in an orgy of consumption until there were none left. Then life in the flat got a whole lot more difficult, but by 6am it had settled down and everyone learnt to live using the resources that were left.

Try reading the polynesian chapters in Jared Diamond's book Collapse for some more detail of what happened when polynesian people first moved into the neighbourhood.

 
At 16/7/05 5:38 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

Anon:
Yes, I've been meaning to give a little more detail about the earlier hours.

Perhaps: Small groups of flatmates came from the flats from way up the top of the road.

And: They had a great flat-warming party almost immediately and consumed a bit too much so that by the time the last groups from up the road finally moved in, at dawn there were some sore heads and a better appreciation of moderation.

 

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