Historian’s Role in Ngai Tahu Claim

February 11, 2017

Richard Tankersley’s article* on Ngai Tahu’s long fight for justice,
culminating in its successful 1998 Treaty of Waitangi claim, does not
acknowledge the key role played by Pakeha historian the late Harry C
Evison.

His 1949 thesis on Ngai Tahu’s land claim “Te Kereeme” and  his
subsequent research in the 1980s, when government archives became more  freely available, led to a number of publications, including his 1993 book  “Te Wai Pounamu-a History of the Southern Maori during the European  Colonisation of New Zealand.”

Evison’s research and evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal was crucial to the
success of the claim, as was acknowledged by Ngai Tahu leaders at the
time. He blazed an historian’s fair and even-handed trail through the
minefield of oral and written history. As Sir Tipene O’Regan said in the
foreword to “Te Wai Pounamu”: “Our own self–view lacks his dogged
objectivity and enquiry. We have been nourished by our sense that we were  wronged. Evison, independently, has worked out how it was done.”

The fascinating story Evison uncovered, based on carefully documented
evidence, illustrates the importance of the role of historians at the
fraught intersection of history, law and politics. In the “post-truth” era
of alternative “facts” this is worth remembering and celebrating.

*Blinks
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/89033172/on-waitangi-day-remembering-a-fight-for-justice-that-took-generations     6/2/17
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/17380200/Kiwis-oblivious-to-our-own-history  10/2/17
http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/87162375/donald-trump-has-ushered-in-a-world-without-facts-and-thats-scarier-than-you-think  5/12/16
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/7/misinformed-millennials-and-civic-ignorance/  14/11/16

#Lyall Lukey 11 February 2017
http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz
My other less serious blog: https://bluggerme.wordpress.com/

 

 

 


Post-Quakes Recovery Act II: Building Momentum

April 13, 2014

The 2013 Festival of Transitional Architecture evening parade featured some ambulatory 4m puppets. Clever examples of jerry-built woodworking, they bore a clear resemblance to national and local notables leading Christchurch’s post quakes recovery .

Unlike normal puppets their interior workings were visible so you could see the strings being pulled and the wheels being turned. Glaring spotlights on the giants did make it hard to discern supporting members of the street theatre cast. The public was left in the dark.

As the parade promenaded from the Bridge of Remembrance past the demolished Clarendon site to the Square the scene became better lit. No longer centre stage, the puppets were parked to one side. Near the grim west end of the Cathedral erstwhile spectators now found themselves in the limelight. Were they ready to act or had they been on the sidelines too long?

As Festa reminded us, the Christchurch rebuild is going to take a generation. But transitions are not just about architecture. They involve sharing knowledge and sharing power.

We may like the idea of a city in a garden but more than three years after the quakes of 2010/11 we still have only a shaky grip on the consequences of living in what for many is still a city in a swamp.

Lest we forget, the collapsed PGG building once housed the old Christchurch Drainage Board. John Wilson’s 1989 history of the board was entitled Swamp to City. A sequel might be called The Swamp Strikes Back. A new Council is coming to grips with the implications of recent manifestations of hydrological and seismic natural hazards,.

Transitions are also about changing power structures to facilitate collaboration and innovation. What was responsible leadership during the disaster response process may be unresponsive and inappropriate at this stage of the recovery.

Stirred up even more by the impending election, these are the tricky waters which Seismics and the City 2014 Building Momentum will navigate next Friday.

This is the third annual forums for representatives of public and private sector and community organisations involved or interested in the post-quake recovery process, progress, problems and solutions . It is being held at the new Rydges Latimer, on the fringe of the new city core, near the Cardboard Cathedral and the proposed Breathe Urban Village. This is an appropriate venue to reimagine the future of new Christchurch, share scientific and business knowledge and build relationships.

The rebuild may be starting to ramp up but there is traffic congestion at the on ramp and the need for a more integrated approach to get things flowing. Right now there seem to be more orange and red lights than green, though it was heartening to read recently of progress on the new library and the old Provincial Chambers.

The challenge is to balance speed and momentum with getting the direction right by avoiding the extremes of political pollyannaism and corrosive cynicism .

This stage of the recovery and renewal process should no longer be a spectator sport. People will support what they help to create not what is imposed upon them. To improve the quality of recovery implementation it is crucial that a broad range of organisations collaborate.

As David Killick points out there is a plethora of plans from different agencies and the need for a more simplified road map. But whence? Where to? How do communities and organisations get from where they are now to where they want to go? How do they shift beyond black and white thinking but also avoid too many shades of grey?

Imagineering needs to precede engineering. Engaging people starts with an initial vision. The way to evolve that is with some big picture satellite views, zooming in on the topography from different perspectives, then the main highways and finally at street level.

Bold though it was the initial inner city rebuild plan in 2011 was called a “blueprint”, a cut and dried label which neither allowed different scenarios nor allayed the suspicions of some inner-city property owners that they had been framed.

At CECC’s 2013 AGM Ian Taylor from Animation Research in Dunedin showed his animation of the Euan Harkness-initiated concept of a Living Cathedral for Christchurch. He demonstrated that visual tools can be used not just sell a series of decisions reached behind closed doors but to openly share alternative visions and designs as part of the decision making process itself.

It is good to mark positive milestones as the rebuild builds momentum . But if we are to leave a worthy new legacy, having removed much of the old, we need to welcome constructively critical perspectives on the future shape of the city which challenge us to open our minds to a range of possibilities rather than being limited to an à la cart menu.

The recent flooding, made worse by the earlier seismic land slumps, highlights the need to accelerate the pre-quakes evolution of Greater Christchurch as a polycentric city, with vibrant business and community hubs connected in new ways to a leaner and healthier city heart.

The lifeblood of recovery and renewal is the energy of individuals and organisations collaborating, and shaping their own futures in new ways and in new places to ensure the future of New Christchurch.

Recovery Act II: are we ready or have we been sidelined too long? Lights, action…

*Blinks
Seismics and the City 2014 Building Momentum was held in Christchurch on Friday 28 March. See videos of presentations and other digital resources at   http://www.smartnet.co.nz/events/other/2014seismicsandthecity.htm 

#Lyall Lukey  13 April 2014 http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz https://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/
My other (bit less serious) blog: http://bluggerme.wordpress.com/   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Seismic Night, Holey Night….

December 25, 2011

“You could see the panic on people’s faces. That’s the end of Christmas – it’s so unfair,” Sue Joy, florist  23 Dec 2011 

On the eve of Christmas Eve, just when things seemed to be all calm and all bright, the serious jolting started again.  Not only shepherds  were once again quaking at the sight of the quakes. No seismic Christmas truce here in Christchurch in the demolition  trenches  but lots of new sink holes- and a sinking feeling. 

As I write this, at 8am on Christmas Eve, GeoNet has reported 63 earthquakes around the wider Canterbury region over the last 24 hours.* This ended six months of relative calm for the city and will further set back  recovery as insurance companies re-start their risk raters. 

Christchurch residents hoping Christmas celebrations would be a brighter end to a bleak year are instead dealing with more seismic damage to homes, infrastructure and businesses through shaking damage and liquefaction.

Two large magnitude earthquakes on Friday heralded the new activity – a Richter 5.8 and a 6.0, the latter being the 4th largest magnitude since the seismic season started here in September 2010. 

I was upstairs at home for the first 15-20 seconds roller and was out in the garden for the second shorter, but more feisty shock, talking to our Student Job Search gardener who was just describing how he’s seen our whole house jiggle at the earlier quake when we had an even jigglier encore.

Our post World War II rough hewn rimu house is obviously very elastic and goes with the flow. It probably also helps that it is sitting on a foundation of crusher dust from the old Halswell Quarry across the road which acts like base isolation. The grandfather clock downstairs and the cuckoo clock upstairs kept going through the first but were stopped dead, but ever to go again, by the second. 

Once again we were fortunate but a lot of people, especially on the east side of town, were not with power cuts and liquefaction silting up  parts of the eastern suburbs for the fifth time in 15 months.* Not the Xmas present they were expecting. There appears to have been a Mercalli migration further east. Most of the recent quakes were centred in faults below Pegasus Bay, off the coast of Christchurch, within 8-21 kilometres of the city centre, and many were less than 10km deep. 

Whatever the new physical damage from these earthquakes-and there were scores of minor injuries-  they have further set back the recovery of the city. Retailers who have struggled to survive were dealt a major blow as stores packed with Christmas shoppers were evacuated. Some face being shut on the busiest trading days of Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. 

 Essential tremor 

“Essential tremor” is an involuntary trembling that affects millions of people. In October 2008 Eddie Adcock, 70, a bluegrass maestro whose career was being hampered by a hand tremor was asked to pluck his banjo during brain surgery, so surgeons could pinpoint the right part of the brain to work on. During the procedure surgeons prodded and inserted electrodes into his brain to suppress the nerve cells causing his tremors. When the surgeons found the right part of the brain, the plucky Adcock instantly regained his ability and was able to play at full speed once again*. 

The Canterbury land mass above and below the waterline seems to have developed a chronic case of the sesmic ETs. In this case the geotechnical explorations and explanations can’t by their nature be as precise as Adcock’s half hour. Nor can they give the same instant feedback in any predictive sense, let alone bring about a cure.

For that reason the latest tremors have literally sent shock waves through the psyches of people here who were just starting to relax into the Christmas spirit and contemplate a happier and more stable New Year. For some it was the last straw:
“Had enough now   #52   17 min ago   Thats it. We cant do this any longer, the kids are upset, wife and I cant sleep, the best of the city is gone, we are going too. Sorry to those we are leaving behind to rebuild and tough it out. Family and prospects in Melbourne.*” 

But most, not so badly affected, will stay and hopefully display the spirit and dogged determination needed by new pioneers. Before this latest blitz about half the commercial buildings in the central city have either already been demolished or are about to be, including our former offices. There could well be some new candidates.

This Yuletide in this part of the world it’s just got that much harder to sleep in heavenly peace. But many of us still have a lot to celebrate so best wishes for the festive season, no matter how restive. 

*Blinks
http://www.carols.org.uk/silent_night.htm 
http://www.canterburyquakelive.co.nz/
 http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/6186421/Christchurch-continues-to-rattle
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/6185073/Residents-left-scared-and-emotional
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6185025/Tremors-will-last-for-some-time-GNS-says 
http://www.stuff.co.nz/oddstuff/675837/Banjo-master-plays-during-brain-surgery 
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6186421/Rattled-Cantabrians-hope-for-normal-Xmas
 

#Lyall Lukey 24 December 2011
http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz
https://bluggerme.wordpress.com  My other less serious blog

 

 

 

 


Teachers Pay-Thinking outside the soapbox

May 16, 2010

“… the committee considers that teaching is a profession and that teachers are, and should be encouraged to regard themselves as, members of a profession.”  1978 Marshall Report 

“We have a mandate from… teachers who have said they want us to look at planning for industrial action if faced with the prospect of nothing but clawbacks from the Government….”    Kate Gainsford, PPTA President   Press 15 May 2010 

“Industrial action”? In the post-industrial 21st Century?

By largely middle-class  tertiary educated people who have climbed their way out of whatever blue collar lifestyles their families may once  have  had?

By an occupational group whose salaries have done quite well  (not before time) in the last decade, thank you, and which hasn’t  suffered a loss of  income over the last three years  through reduced overtime or the casualisation or loss of their jobs, unlike many of the parents of the children they teach?  (Unless, of course,  they also taught one  of the Community Education courses now canned).

According to international studies such as PISA, New Zealand has one of the most effective education systems in the world.  The  albeit graying cohort of professional teachers  has  played a large part in this success.  But one has to ask the question: is this comparative success in spite of,  or because of,  the rhetoric of the self-styled teacher unions?  

Before negotiations begin tomorrow on secondary school salaries the PPTA’s President Kate Gainsford has predictably announced that a strike plan was already being worked on.  While the last time secondary teachers went on strike was in 2001/2 during a 16 month battle with the government, which led to three one day strikes,  there have been several strike threats in the meantime, for example over salaries in 2007  and now once again over remuneration.

The PPTA is employing the same political reflexes and flexing of muscles rather than minds that it used in the almost decade of annual surpluses inherited by the last Labour government. But the economic context has changed dramatically. There may be some silver clouds on the horizon as well as gold in the Coromandel, but neither can be gainsaid. The budget larder is pretty bare, as the patient English has been pointing out for some time,  in a  futile effort to dampen public sector salary expectations.

Collective pay negotiations are the raison d’etre of the PPTA and the reason why the advocates of bulk funding in the nineties were stomped on in the resulting  political ruckus*.  But if all is fair in love, war and negotiations it may also be counterproductive in the long run if it damages professional credibility.

In 1978, the year of the Marshall Report, I left teaching after a 12 year secondary classroom career, interspersed with secondments for teacher recruiting and a teaching fellowship at UC, partly because the PPTA, of which I had been an active member, was about to embark on its first strikes.  

In the eighties the Association soon managed to rival the Cooks and Stewards Union for the predictability and unpopularity of its threatened or actual strikes and stopwork meetings-not that they were ever strikes in the classic long-term absence from the chalkface sense. It was three strikes but they were never really out.

As somebody who, as a student working in the freezing works from 1959 to 1963,  had watched the standover tactics of the freezing workers union (“all those in favour say ‘aye’,  scabs ‘no'”), and who had written a history thesis in 1965 on Industrial Conflict in New Zealand 1951 to 1961, I thought teachers should use more articulate ways of engaging the public and winning the public relations war  than open votes on “industrial action” which were wide open to group think and intimidation. I still do.

Anachronistic language and inappropriate political behaviour devalues the professional standing of teachers and turns off many natural allies, especially if it is irrelevant rhetoric that  the real industrial unions themselves no longer employ. Some of it would have made real industrial battlers like John A. Lee, on a real soap box, turn pink with embarrassment. 

The EMPU, New Zealand’s largest private sector union, understands that its success as a union is inextricably linked to the performance of the enterprise and the whole economy. Its leaders have to take a whole systems view and be aware of the hard realities of a volatile economy, not just look at one side of the equation out of context. To be credible  the EMPU can’t afford to act like an emu- or emulate the ostrich.

By way of contrast, the teachers’ unions are running some  ineffective we’ll-bring-our-own-crowd protests over issues like National Standards which address the converted, rather than the issues, and miss the opportunity for engaging the wider public in an informed debate.  These campaigns miss the bus entirely and alienate popular opinion.

In Finland there has been a revaluation of the public’s estimation of the teaching profession, brought about by tougher entry standards and a cross-the sectors consensus of the role of education and training in a fast evolving society. This forward-looking approach is demonstrated by the way Nokia has shifted its focus from pulp and paper to cellphone communication technology.

The Nokia knock-on effect runs deeply through other parts of the Finnish economy and is well understood by Finland’s education leaders who would be hard pushed to understand the strategy and tactics employed by education union leaders in New Zealand in their approach to the triennial negotiation ritual.

But then, as the negotiating spoof below shows*, subtlety is not a prerequisite to getting into the negotiating team of either side in any negotiation nor a skill necessarily employed in the actual negotiations.

At least this year the teacher pay talks will feature an interesting contest between performance and skills based elements which may introduce a long overdue meritocratic dimension to counter pockets of entrenched mediocrity.

 #Lyall Lukey 16 May 2010 

http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz

 *Blinks

 http://www.teachersmatter.org.nz/ 

 http://youtube.com/watch?v=WMl4kYmkx94   Puppets not Muppets: good faith negotiation?

 http://youtube.com/watch?v=85NF9NnHRBo&feature=related  The Top 10 Moves of Ruckus


TV or not TV: is that the question?

May 9, 2010

 “My daughter likes playing with my iPhone, but this was her very first encounter with an iPad. As you’ll see, she took right to it.”  Todd Lappin  7 April 2010

People concerned with the passive exposure of under two-year olds  to television viewing, like Estelle Irving, keynote speaker at the Early Childhood Council’s conference in Christchurch last week*, may be interested in how not much older children interact with other electronic devices, if given half a chance but no prior instruction.

Below are links to two videos recorded a decade apart, from different countries and socio- economic groups, demonstrating the playful learning virtuosity of young children.

The first features NIIT, an Indian educational-software company, whose headquarters in Delhi borders the Klkaji slum. The two worlds are divided by a simple wall. Ten years ago, Sugata Mitra came up with the idea of putting a computer in a hole in the wall with an Internet connection*. It soon became clear that children, who had never seen, let alone operated, a computer, could work out by themselves how to surf the Net and open up whole new worlds. 

The second shows the first iPad encounter of a 2.5 year old girl* already familiar with the iPhone. Some viewers who posted comments on YouTube were sceptical that it was her very first iPad experience, but she’d learnt the touch-screen tricks on the smaller device.

I’ve had my own experience of how pre-schoolers regard the iPhone as a fascinating plaything to touch, push buttons and get instant feedback. For eighteen months my now 4 year old granddaughter has developed deft tactile skills by handling my  daughter’s -and more recently my- iPhone, taking photos and opening interesting applications with a high visual component.

It’s a sign of the times that the Apple of her eye is somewhat different than the apple of mine. The child’s play game of Touch is a whole new educational  ballgame.

 #Lyall Lukey 9 May 2010 

http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz 

*BLINKS

Parents get TV advice – life-style | Stuff.co.nz

http://youtube.com/watch?v=fSoWSLNMX3E   Indian children discover the Internet 2000

A 2.5 Year-Old Has A First Encounter with An iPad  2010


Slumdog Paupers-One child at a time

May 8, 2010

 Such a beautiful, inspiring woman and a great leader. I especially liked what she said…about being the one who is transformed, by the children… I’ve come to believe that we can learn just as much from children, they are our teachers too. And sometimes it’s more so a matter of relearning what is vitally critical to our hearts and happiness, that we’ve lost under the layers we’ve gathered as we’ve grown up.” Sussana-Cole King

It wouldn’t do for the policy analysts closer to home, but educating the poor is more than just a numbers game according to the remarkable Shukla Bose, the founder and head of the Parikrma Humanity Foundation, an Indian not-for-profit organisation which runs four extraordinary schools for poor children.

On TEDTalk* she tells the inspiring story of her groundbreaking Foundation, which brings hope to many families in some of India’s slums by looking beyond the daunting statistics and focusing on treating each child as an individual.

This is quite a different way of ensuring that no child is left behind-by lifting their eyes to the universe of opportunities revealed by learning.

#Lyall Lukey 8 May 2010 

http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz

*BLINKS

http://www.ted.com/talks/shukla_bose_teaching_one_child_at_a_time.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2010-03-31 

Full bio and more links Shukla Bose

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtZKwp6cjd4  Nat King Cole Stardust


China 6oth: Road to Well-being or Blind Alley?

October 1, 2009

We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.”  Mao Tse-Tung 

It’s 60 years today since Chinese Communist Party set up the People’s Republic of China, but  the well-springs run  deep. The party princes and the military toads will be able to see clearly,  now  the rain has gone,  the intimidating display of  military firepower and fireworks  from the top of the biggest Beijing wells  later tonight when the Anniversary cranks up.

The view from further down the well will be increasingly more constricted for those who have been shafted.  Well-being in the People’s Republic depends very much on your place in the respective party, army, and economic hierarchies.  Several family dynasties have hit the trifecta.  Chairman Mao would be spinning in his grave today if his embalming arrangements were less constraining.

It’s been a  monolithic  regime of two halves, with the referee firmly in control.  The first 29 years, from the 1949 earthquake and tsunami,  included the not so Great Leap Forward of 1958 and the Great Leap  Backward of the Cultural Revolution for a decade from 1966. The second half has seen the young Red Guards replaced,  with impeccable timing, by geriatric new and true blue capitalist theorists who made political capital out of economic and social necessity and saved the country from falling apart under the weight of its socialist aspirations and inefficiencies.

New Zealand-and especially Canterbury and Otago- connections with China are historically strong.  They started with the arrival in the South Island of Chinese miners and merchants during the ninetenth century gold rushes.  But the strongest reciprocal link was forged by  Rewi Alley,  Springfield-born old and new China hand . Alley was a  writer, educator, social reformer and potter  and probably wrote more than any other foreigner about 20th century China before and after the Communist revolution.  

 He dedicated 60 years of his life to the cause of the Communist Party of China, well before it took over in 1949 and was a key figure in the establishment of Chinese Industrial Cooperatives, and  technical training schools, without university pretensions.

He was named after Rewi Maniapoto, a Maori chief famous for his resistance to the British military during the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s.  Alley’s father was a teacher, and Rewi attended primary school at  Amberley and Christchurch Boys’ High School. His mother, Clara, was a leader of the New Zealand suffrage movement.

In 1916 Alley joined the New Zealand Army and served in France. While there he met some Chinese men who had been sent to work for the Allied Armies.  This piqued his interest in China.  After the war,  Alley tried farming in New Zealand. In 1927 he decided to go to China.  He moved to Shanghai  and became a fireman.

It wasn’t long before he was fuelling political conflagration. He gradually became aware of the poverty in the Chinese community and the racism in the Western communities. After a famine in 1929 made him aware of the plight of China’s peasants,  his politics turned from  sentimental imperialism to urgent social reform. 

In the words of Edgar Snow’s job on Alley’s work: “Where Lawrence brought to the Arabs the distinctive technique of guerilla war, Alley was to bring China the constructive technique of guerilla industry….”    

Following the Communist victory over the Nationalists in 1949,  Alley was urged to remain in China and work for the Communist Party of China. He strengthened his ties with the famous Yangste downstream  swimming champion.  Alley didn’t just go with the revolutionary flow; he helped irrigate it by pumping out political and vocational tracts  praising the Party and the  People’s Republic of China. 

Alley remained unaware of-or blind to- China’s problems, including the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese peasants from famine during the  brutal Great Leap Forward. This was reflected in his increasing isolation from the mass of China’s population as he lived in a special neighborhood and was specially looked after by the Party.  Although imprisoned and “struggled with”  during the Cultural Revolution, Alley remained committed to communism and bore no grudges. (His  practical vocational  instincts  could have sparked some interesting discussion  at the  Jobs Summit earlier this year where a sense of urgency and a  bit of  gung-ho wouldn’t have gone amiss).

Gerald Hensley met Alley in China in 1973:  “He was in his seventies, a bald, pink-faced man with bright blue eyes, and an inexhaustible flow of conversation. We sat and talked for most of an afternoon, with Rewi occasionally jumping up to fetch a book or check a point. He had, he said, lost the best of two libraries, once to the Japanese and again to the Red Guards, who had thrown out his collections and torn up his pictures in front of him. He was still bitter over their behaviour.”

On a  more personal Wikipaedia  note:  “Anne-Marie Brady in Friend of China claims that Rewi Alley was a practicing homosexual. This is highly controversial, with people who knew him well saying they would have noticed.”[!]

Despite his amazing China Odyssey,  Alley is probably less recognised in his birthplace Springfield than the  couch potato odysseyist Homer Simpson, in whose dubious honour a  pink donut statue was erected  quite recently. That’s the way the historic cookie crumbles.  

Today  Chinese economics is a well grafted hybrid of Karl Marx and Adam Smith, with military crony capitalism in the ascendant.  Former peasants still work for peanuts.   The Little Red Book of Mao would blush to see what is being served up today in terms of economic orthodoxy in the The Little Blue Book.  A new Green Appendix was even launched last week in New York.  

Green bamboo shoots and economic and  military tendrils are snaking down into the South Pacific and elsewhere. There’s not only a green elephant in the ward-room,  you can see where it has been elsewhere. China has a pachydermic carbon footprint,  but doesn’t want to be a carbon copy of any country in its response to Kyoto and Copenhagen. It does want to flex all its muscles and they’ll be bulging tonight after all the bulking up. Big powers will be powers.

At home the  economic floor  has certainly risen, but it is hard to get a foothold on  the escalator to the penthose, which is inhabited by sons of the old military/party club. Today it’s a much more  unequal game of Snakes and Ladders for most than when Mao took over in the wake of  World War II and everybody shared the poverty burden.  The average per capita income is still only US6,000, one eighth of the US figure.

60 years since the revolution, Mao’s stocks have fallen, though young male bridegrooms often wear a Mao tunic  for the great matrimonial leap forward. The PRC is still politically very PC, while at the same time permitting new capitalist initiatives. However, the People are still awaiting Liberation from The Army and the other forces of the state.

 Western business interests have had a big part to play in opening up the minds of China’s leaders,  but business relationships, as Fonterra found out to its cost , can be too cosy and complaisant and lacking a clear articulation of Western values.  It may be no use crying over spilt milk but clever Kiwi companies on the China watch need to learn from this milk run and keep their powder dry.

Christchurch’s  regional academic links with China, forged by the University of Canterbury and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology,  include those with Hunan,  Mao’s home province.

With the ageing gerontracocy still in power, the search is on for a new upstream Yangste swimming champion to take over the leadership. The last power transition was bloodless. What are the chances for a smooth transition to the next? The next decade is China’s-if it can resolve its internal tensions.

Doors are opening for those who, unfroglike, open their minds to new possibilities. New Zealand’s  pioneering bi-lateral trade deal with China, put in place by the last Labour Government,  was built on the equally  pioneering  New Zealand connections of Alley and a range of diplomatic initiatives  and other contacts since the post-Korean years, when the red elephant was not just in the room, it was under the bed.  

In the meantime, as bankers to the Yanks, in US Treasury Bonds They Trust. Despite the new confidence last year’s Olympics brought, a handy dry run for today’s celebrations,  China is still porcelain fragile. The unresolved tensions are between a ruling and corrupt elite, worker rights  and internet freedom. The key is democratising access to economic resources and fostering the growth of personal freedom and rights.

China’s own unique internal tensions are  like the Pacific Tectonic Plate rubbing up against the Indian Plate. With a decent sized shake, the porcelain could still be split asunder and a new tsunami of political change unleashed. Then it would really be Red Sails in the Sunset.

 Blinks

Watch multi-language live broadcast of China’s 60th Anniversary celebrations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rewi_Alley 

Gung Ho – Rewi Alley of China – a 1979 full length documentary about Rewi Alley on NZ On Screen. Requires Adobe Flash

Chairman Mao Tse-tung: People’s Republic of China (PRC)

Young Chinese Opt       For Red Guard Look In Weddings – CBS News

Little Red Riding Hood: Favourite Fairy Tales

 The Beatles – Red Sails In The Sunset/ 

#Lyall Lukey  1 Oct 09        http://www.lukey.co.nz/    http://www.smartnet.co.nz/