Ka hao te RakatahiTrumped?

Jul 7, 2016

TK-69-Nuku-TauNā Nuku Tau

“Make America great again. Donald J. Trump is the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence in business, real estate and entertainment…”

I’m worried about where America is heading. I thought the baby boomers were meant to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one they were handed. It’s not just about the haircut, although it does look a lot like the flannel moth a.k.a. the puss moth, because it resembles a tiny Persian cat and, like Donald Trump, it often has a streak of bright orange running through it.

If the Don was to ring me up tomorrow and ask what I thought about his strategy to build a wall and keep the Mexicans out, I’d advise him that a 15.24 metre-high wall would use the same amount of concrete as about four Hoover Dams. That’s 13,333,836.724 cubic metres. The cement industry is one of the primary producers of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. So its expensive and bad for the environment.

What would the Tuahiwi rangatahi strategy be to beat the wall? Would it be:
a. to pick the appropriate prickly shrubbery and tunnel underneath, or
b. build a mōkihi out of Mexican feather grass and paddle down the Rio Grande under the cover of darkness?

“I love the poorly educated,” Trump patronises his supporters, and no one seems to notice. How does a billionaire trust fund baby who inherited $40 million manage to convince thousands of working-class white people that he understands their struggle and feels their pain? He is the Republican Party contender, a one-trick pony with an uncanny ability to reflect the nation’s rage, vowing to pay for his campaign all out of his own pocket.

How does this affect us as Ngāi Tahu? For a start, Trump makes no bones about his opposition to the TPPA. “The new trade deal is a disaster,” he said in Florida. This is the only issue that I agree with him on – although I am sure it’s for different reasons. From a Māori perspective we do not know yet if the TPPA leaves the rights and interests of Māori vulnerable to foreign states and corporations who have no obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi. We don’t know because it has not been tested.

Only time will tell if Trump will be the next president of the United States and if our hard-won Treaty rights will be consumed into the hubris of international trade. Is this the challenge of my generation – cleaning up after the baby boomers?

Sixteen-year-old Nuku Tau (Ngāi Tahu, Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri) is a Year 12 student at St Thomas of Canterbury College.