When the great white hope docked their vessels in Aotearoa, and proceeded to ‘discover’ the already occupied land; they brought with them alcohol, tobacco, lawlessness, drunkenness … and disease.
Our indigenous population prior to 1840 was approximately between 90,000 and 100,000, and pakeha population was approximately 2000.
Not quite 50 years later, indigenous population had declined by nearly 60%! And pakeha had the cheek to quote our ‘savage’ beliefs as the cause of our decline and suggest we embrace christianity. Our population decline however, had nothing to do our belief system, and everything to do with our immunities not being equipped to deal with the infestation of foreign diseases. Other Indigenous cultures throughout the world, experienced similar ‘die offs’, which at the time, were also attributed to their ‘pagan’ practices.
So as we died off by the thousands and christianity was implemented as the saviour, the Crown systematically set about destroying what was left of the Indigenous identity. The Tohunga Suppression Act 1907, is but one of the Acts, the Crown has used to oppress, assimilate and dictate how Tangata Whenua should behave, act and respond. This little shit stain Act of Parliament, attempted to kill the practice of ‘healing thy self’, which I might add, we were very good at prior to colonisation.
So by the time this Act was Repealed in 1962, it had semi done what it was designed to do.
Recently this ugly Act and it’s ‘intent’, have raised its horns again. Once again the Crown is trying to define what is ‘right’ and what is ‘safe‘ for Tangata Whenua, by their own ethnocentric understanding and standards, and to sanction and punish, how Tangata Whenua practice their own forms of healing.
“In a written statement, the Ministry of Health told The Hui that “certain activities are restricted to particular health practitioners, because of the risk of serious or permanent harm to members of the public if those activities are carried out by other persons.”” (News Hub)
The thing with one group believing they are superior to another, is they believe they also have the right to decide how ‘the others’ should moderate, regulate and heal themselves. Need I remind the Crown that a. Tangata Whenua were healthy before they sailed in on their colonial vessels and b. the Crown has not down a great job overseeing their own peoples health let alone Indigenous health.
I suggest they fuck off and mind their own business, but considering they probably won’t; I suggest We re-learn, if necessary – or continue to practice, if known – the holistic techniques our ancestors used prior to the colonial invasion. We are a resourceful people; well equipped to dismantle the ideologies forced upon us, and well equipped to embrace wellness.
This is the Act of Decolonisation, which we need to do in every area of our thinking if we want to thrive, not just survive.