Much of the left in NZ loses their critical faculties when the issue of the Maori Queen (and now the Maori King) comes up. Chris Trotter was quick to line up with Paul Holmes in admiration for the indigenous royalty in A queen casts her spell. And then Matt McCarten wrote his Herald column this week on Maori royalty: Now's the time to get rid of the English monarchy and get our own in which he correctly says it's time to ditch the imperial royal line, but then strangely wants us to be subject to yet another (local) one.
And why do we 'need a head of state who is symbolic and who binds us together as a people'? Matt must think that there's something radical about having local royalty. But it's interesting that here in the UK the newspapers have had quite a lot of coverage of the Maori queen's death and her replacement. It's telling that the Establishment here think that it's actually a good thing for NZ to have its own version of royalty. Affectively this bosters all the silly old ideas of us having our betters.
But for what it's worth, I never really minded the old Maori queen. I agree with my friend Phil, who was saying last week, that he's a lot more tolerant in relation to the Maori Queen than the British one:
She was (kind of) elected, doesn't exactly live a high life off the surplus-labour of the working class or act as an effective means of social control. Nor does she have to be a Protestant and marry a Protestant, or be any particular religion and marry that same religion. And she's not the embodiment of a major imperialist state and the richest woman in the world. But all the mourning is over-the-top. She may have been a nice little old lady [but she was] the leader of a movement that is about 100 years out of date now.