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Bicultural Fragments: A Pākehā Perspective

Ian Culpitt

The Treaty of Waitangi establishes a partnership which presupposes two partners, and therefore a biculturalism in social policy. The issues being fought out are not essentially about political accommodation, but about equitable distribution. The strength of the counter reaction reflects the enduring “we are one people” myth, but subsuming Māori expectations for Treaty of Waitangi claims in policies that reinforce the normative power of our essential New Zealandness will be politically foolish. Future policy debates will increasingly be about the legitimation of different ways of delivering services to Māori that allow for a withdrawal from a position of welfare dependency into that of a fully resourced Treaty partner.

In this paper the question of parallel or separate systems of social service delivery is examined in the light of distinctions between procedural and substantive inequality.

The paper concludes that recognition of the essentially bi-racial and bicultural character of New Zealand society requires a clear commitment to the parallel development of social services in New Zealand. Such new fiscal arrangements will not be cheap, but the issues raised by a true bicultural approach cannot be resolved by a policy designed to accommodate a troublesome indigenous minority.

Cover photo of Social Policy Journal


Social Policy Journal of New Zealand: Issue 02

Bicultural Fragments: A Pākehā Perspective

Jul 1994

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