Privilege in Perpetuity: Exploding a Pākehā Myth
'The idea of Māori privilege continues to be deployed in order to constrain Māori aspirations and maintain the power imbalance that colonisation achieved in the nineteenth century.'
The ‘idea of Māori privilege’, as Peter Meihana describes it, is deeply embedded in New Zealand culture. Many New Zealanders hold firm to the belief that Māori have been treated better than other indigenous peoples, and that they receive benefits that other New Zealanders do not. Some argue that the supposed privileges that Māori receive are a direct attack on the foundations of the nation.
Privilege in Perpetuity charts the eighteenth-century origins of this idea, tracing its development over time, and assesses what impact this notion of privilege has had on Māori communities. Central to this history is the paradox, explored by Meihana, of how Māori were rendered landless and politically marginalised, yet at the same time were somehow still considered privileged. The idea of privilege is revealed as central to colonisation in New Zealand and the dispossession and marginalisation of Māori – and as a stubbornly persistent prejudice that remains in place today.