Culture is the accumulation of beliefs and way of life of any people group, usually over generations and centuries.
Five realities I tried to introduce into the public debate in the 1987, 1990, and 1993 elections
1. Culture changes from century to century, generation to generation.
2. In any culture at any time there is both good and bad
3. A smart person, society, nation takes the best from each culture available to it and welds it into a new and better culture.
4. Every person must be free to practice their culture and beliefs provided they do not harm others.
5. In a just and thriving society all people must be equal before the law, irrespective of culture.
"A nation is like a rope comprised of many strands. When the strands are bound together the rope is strong and useful, When they become frayed and separate the rope fails" Proverb
" A nation divided against itself cannot stand". Jesus
" Grow up tender plant for the days of your youth. Your hands to the tools of the pakeha for the welfare of your body, Your heart to the treasured possessions of your ancestors as a crown for yoiur head, Your spirit to God the creator of all things. Sir Apirana Ngata.
Many of our problems in society now stem from
1. A deification of indigenous (In New Zealand's case - Maori) culture, (It is/was not all good)
2. A denigration of western culture. (It was/is not all bad)
3. A glorification of the 'me first' culture.
4. A denial of the creators culture which transcends all other cultures and gives us all the instructions we need for healthy, harmonious, thriving society RESPONSIBILITY (for ourselves and others), RESPECT (for ourselves and others), RESILIENCE (to cope with whatever life throws at us and get back up again), and GOOD RELATIONSHIPS (people to enjoy life with in the good times and to help us through the bad times) are essential to successful living. These things all come from the creators culture. They need to be taught from birth.
Indigenous culture, including Maori, has a primary emphasis on loyalty to tribe and family (iwi and hapu) and acting collectively. This has both good and bad points. The latest example was the vaccine roll out in New Zealand where many Maori and most non Maori accepted individual responsibility and got vaccinated while many Maori hung back in the shadows waiting for a collective movement - which in the end cost the taxpayer around $300 million extra to partly achieve (around $1,000 per person for the maori who did not exercise their responsibility initially to get jabbed) . As Debbie Ngarewa-Packer pointed out in a Newshub nation interview November/December 2021 Maori need to be treated differently to pakeha and 'encouraged' to do what most from a western culture regard as their individual responsibility to do. Shane Jones pointed out in the same Newshub nation broadcast that this led to bribery and corruption among his people. It stops Maori, and many other indigenous people, from embracing all the benefits inherent in article 3 of The Treaty of Waitangi. We cannot complain about poverty among Maori and Pacifika people without also pointing out that one of the reasons is larger families - along with low paid jobs, over expensive housing, diet and budgeting issues, etc. Most of the early British settlers in the late 1800's had a minimum of 4 and often up to 10-12 children. This part of settler culture changed over the next century to the now cultural norm for pakeha of 2-4 children enabling parents to better look after the material needs of the ones they have.
The creators culture demands that we do what is right because it is right - not because someone will bribe us if we do it!
Western culture has a primary emphasis on family, individual responsibility, and the greater good of all, irrespective of race and culture.This is why we cannot impose democracy on societies/nations organised on tribal/religious entities. One of the first countries in the world to try and impose it was New Zealand with the amazing Declaration of Independence in 1835. We never needed to have been a colony of anyone! It failed because of tribal distrust. The last one to try and fail was Afghanistan in 2021.
The prime virtues of thrift, diligence, truth, justice, temperance, fortitude, self control, faith, hope, and charity, are prime requirements for a flourishing society. Far too many Maori (along with many from other indigenous cultures) have been kept in a state of victimhood and grievance and had their mana destroyed by their, so called, 'leaders'. I have seen it in many countries in the world, and I see it daily in the beggars on the streets of Auckland. It is not essential to have all the latest 'stuff''. It is vital for human dignity to be self sufficient and provide for the basic needs of ourselves and our families for food, clothing, and shelter.
Western culture in the past 50 years has become obsessed with gathering 'stuff'. The latest and greatest gadgets, the bigger and more expensive and polluting car than necessary, the bigger and flasher house than necessary, the bigger supply of clothing than necessary, etc etc. Our 'rock star economy' has been built on greed, envy, and pride, creating a desire for things we do not need paid for in many cases with money we do not have and in the process we have severely damaged our planet. The day of reckoning will come.
The Creators culture has two parts. Some of the Jewish leaders came to Jesus over 1900 years ago and asked him "what is the greatest commandment?" Jesus reply was "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbour as you love yourself" Mark 12 v 30. In Matthew he said "Do to others what you would have them do to you". Matthew 7 v 12. When we have our relationships with God and each other sorted we will be in great shape individually and as a nation. The Secret of a successful Nation: Read More