Christchurch Gondola Heritage Time Tunnel Offends the Perennially Offended

Like many other kiwis, I am thoroughly sick and tired of people being offended by absolutely anything that hints at something other than their own narrow view of the world, particularly here and our history.

They seem to forget that New Zealand’s history belongs to all of us, not just to part-Māori. That we have our own views on how things happened, backed up by historical facts and documented evidence, not just feelings and word-of-mouth-Chinese-whispers.

There is an article on Stuff by Cate Broughton

Below are some excerpts and our comments on them:

‘Offensive’ Christchurch Gondola time tunnel attraction mispronounces te reo, ‘celebrates’ colonialism

Installed in 2006, the time tunnel takes visitors through a brief history of the area, narrated by a Pakeha girl who pronounces Māori as “Marry” and Kia ora as “kee-oar-ra”.

Nothing wrong with it being narrated by a Pakeha girl. After all it’s a history of the settlers in the region, which were Pakeha. So the choice is obvious and preferable. I haven’t seen or heard the display, but this is how I see pronouncing words in a language different from the one we speak every day. It is respectful to try and pronounce a word from another language as it should be spoken. However, it’s not always easy to get correct so I don’t condemn anyone who can’t manage it.

Trying, genuinely, to do the right thing is all that should be necessary. If no attempt is made then this is something that should be changed. But this is the only change necessary.

Key milestones include the formation of Banks Peninsula from volcanic activity, the growth of native forests where moa birds roamed, the arrival of Māori and European settlement.

The tour ends with a roll call of Canterbury’s “high achievers” – all of whom are European – including suffragist Kate Sheppard, aviator Richard Pearse, athlete Jack Lovelock, war hero Charles Upham, cricketer Richard Hadlee, TV personality Phil Keoghan, singer Hayley Westenra and rugby player Richie McCaw.

Some visitors say the brief depiction of early Māori, the poor te reo pronunciation, the exclusion of any Māori high achievers, and the “glorification of colonisation” left them feeling “sad” and offended.

“Some visitors”? How many exactly? 1 or 2?

Nothing to complain about here. If the “high achievers” are all European and that is an issue, then please provide the owner with the names and achievements of Maori people from the area who would qualify to be added to the display. Or maybe there are only European names on the list because they were the only “high achievers” available to be on the list?

None of the professional offendees offered to say sorry for their culture hunting moas to extinction, either. Selective recall – much? No surprises, there.

Former Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Tā Mark Solomon said he found the ride “insulting and a bit of a joke” when he visited the attraction after the Christchurch earthquakes.

“Was I impressed? Absolutely not. I thought it was one sided. There’s a whole history that just didn’t start in this country with the coming of the European.”

From what I understand, the display is about the Settlers. It is not about pre-settlement times, so why would those be included?

Anahera Clarkson, who is Ngāi Tahu and Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, visited the attraction with her 3-year-old son and Canadian partner in January and found it “super offensive”.

Clarkson said Māori were represented as “scary” primitive-looking mannequins, while European settlers were celebrated for turning Christchurch into a “thriving city”.

“It was like colonisation was a positive thing for New Zealand. I could literally feel my tīpuna [ancestors] and their disappointment.”

Clarkson relayed her concerns to a staff member and posted a Tripadvisor​ review.

She wanted the company to close the ride until it could present a more accurate and balanced representation of Māori.

I would say that Māori warriors of that time would look very scary to any European person not used to seeing them. So nothing to complain about there. As for looking primitive – Māori were a stone age culture. They were primitive. Again, nothing to complain about.

European settlers did turn Christchurch into a thriving city, and colonisation was a positive thing for New Zealand! Colonisation put an end to slavery, cannibalism, female infanticide and endless revenge and territorial warfare. It brought advancements in technology, standards of living, life expectancy terms, medical procedures and so on.

Clarkson sounds like a professional offendee. Always looking for things to be offended by and complain about. Why should the company close the ride and lose all that revenue just to appease snow flakes like her? Why should they change their display to show some false representation of Māori just to prevent the weak minded from becoming offended by the truth?

Sullivan would not give details of the updated ride as it had not had Rāpaki hapū sign-off, nor about when the ride would be updated.

“We invested significant money in it already and it’s something we would like to continue to do but the current economic climate doesn’t allow us to do that at the moment.”

She said changes were planned for “some of the imagery and also the story”.

“One of [the changes] is very much around the car park, we’re looking at putting native planting in there, so looking to weave the story of local iwi into that planting.”

In other words, they have caved in to PC pressure and are in the process of brown washing the story and display and perverting our true history. It’s time people stopped caving in to offended-by-anything-and-everything-part-Maori demands and stood firm. This country belongs to all of us, not just to 15% of the population. Just as modern part-Māori have their stories and histories, the descendants of those early settlers have their stories and their history and a right to tell their stories in their own way.

Stories which do not need the approval of professional offendee, rabidly racist, contemporary part-Māori.

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