A meeting in Dunedin presided over by the mayor unanimously called for a ban on further Chinese migrants.
New Zealand in the 19th century strived to be a ‘Britain of the South Seas’ and Pākehā saw non-white migrants as undesirable. The discovery of gold in California, Canada, Australia and later New Zealand attracted many Chinese men wanting to make their fortunes before returning home.
In the 1860s the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce sought to replace European miners who had left Otago for the new West Coast fields. Chinese were seen as hard-working and law-abiding, and they were also willing to rework abandoned claims. The first 12 men arrived from Victoria in 1866; 2000 more had followed by late 1869. Chinese women seldom migrated to New Zealand. In 1881 there were only nine women to 4995 men, raising fears that white women were at risk from Chinese men.
When the man stopped for the amber light as he legally should instead of gunning through the intersection trying to beat the red light, the woman behind him laid on her horn, opened her window screaming abuse at him while giving him the universal finger of outrage for preventing her from running the light. While waiting for the light to change there was a knock at her window. It was a constable inviting her out of the car. He put her under arrest. At the station she was finger-printed and put in a holding cell.
If you live in Aotearoa New Zealand there are a few positives that have resulted from the horror of March 15, which doesn’t mean the price wasn’t way too high. New gun laws passed nearly unanimously within a couple weeks that have banned automatic and semiautomatic weapons. National and international efforts are ongoing to reign in social media as platforms for hate speech. In depth debates to distinguish free speech from hate speech fill public discourse. And in my mind, a greater recognition by non-Muslims that Muslims are not the threat they have been painted to be since 9/11 and continue to be by Trump and other politicians. They are more often the victims of violence than its perpetrators. They need protection from every religion’s far right fundamentalists as much as anybody else. The outpouring of support for the victims and the Muslim community shown at vigils, burying the local mosques with flowers of condolence, the raising of money for the victims’ families, concerts in support of the Muslim community, the government’s paying for the funerals and fast-tracking visa applications, non-Muslim women wearing hijabs in solidarity with their sisters, and mosques opening their doors to their non-Muslim neighbours to share their faith to build bridges have been transforming acts. We are not who we used to be. From my perspective, we are better than we used to be before March 15.
Last Sunday we focused on the Easter Story. This Sunday we focus on the ANZAC story.
You can be forgiven if you are experiencing spiritual whiplash, for they are oppositional narratives. While I’m sure it is only coincidence that they are juxtaposed so closely to each other, it is a helpful reminder of our human condition and our predilection for redemptive violence. For one is a white poppy story and the other a red poppy one.
I may have told this story on Easter before, but the Easter story has been recounted a couple of thousand times. So, I have precedents.
daughter had little choice when she was young about being active in
church. She went to a church kindy. She went to an Episcopal School
for girls her first two years in primary while I finished seminary.
She went to Sunday School. She sang in the choir and earned awards
as her skills improved. She was an acolyte when girls were first
allowed to serve at the altar. She was active in the church youth
group. As she was showered with love, affection and attention by the
congregations I served, she didn’t seem to mind her life as a PK (a