Current Essays

That's a Maori On:2009-03-20 04:25:26

The full title of this essay is actually:
"When some guy serves a writ
"'Cause you Haka-ed a bit,
"That's a Maori"
but there wasn't quite enough room to fit it in, and a good job too because if I had I'm sure that the descendants of (should there be any), or lawyers acting on behalf of the corpses of (bound to be a whatsit-load of them) Warren and Brooks (respectively composer and lyricist) would sue the pants (and not just the American ones) off me for making absolutely nothing at all out of their hit song "That's Amore ".

The reason that this turned out to be a good job was because, belatedly as usual, I just noticed the horrifying news that---and I quote the BBC ---'The government of New Zealand has now agreed that the Ka Mate haka belongs to a Maori tribe, the Ngati Toa." And further, again according to the Beeb "Its chief, Te Rauparaha, was recognised as the originator of the haka, written to celebrate his escape from death in a battle in the 1820s", thus de facto (and probably de jure too) extending the copyright on it to a hundred and ninety odd years!

Now I'm all for not being beastly to the natives, indeed my only quibble on that score is that those damned Norman bastards haven't been made to pay reparations to we poor native English for all the damage and double-dealing they have subjected us to for the last thousand-ish years, ever since William the Bastard proved to be one in more than one sense of the word, by cheating at the battle of Hastings. And don't even get me started on the historical grievances of the Ancient Britons against those bloody Imperial Romans poor Boudica , and all those slaves, and basically everyone else around in Britannia at the time---for which of course the modern Italians should pay. But we don't want to let the subtext become the text in these essays, do we?

No, no, what disturbs me is not that typically modern tendency to try the irrational and vindictive ploy of trying to make people in the present pay for the errors, or in extreme cases the crimes, of individuals in the past who (and this is the point at which the ploy goes plop) who aren't even the same individuals as those in the present. But, no what's worse, far worse, are the implications this has for the even more irrational and vindictive, and downright greedy, ploy of constantly extending the future of copyrights. Over the last half century or so copyright has become the inverse of Alice's jam ---here the rule aspires to being, 'public domain to-morrow and public domain yesterday - but never public domain to-day...' and while you may argue, or at least hope, that a copyright MUST sometimes come to "jam to-day"-ishness and so end; it can't without bloody revolution, mainly because of Lawyers, those slimy leeches battening upon the private parts of society, and their toadies the Congress of the steaming ostrich who keep making laws extending it.

So copyright never ends1.

You see, while a bit of copyright is a lovesome thing, excess of copyright cloys. This is simply because the purpose of copyright is not (despite all appearance now to the contrary) to make lawyers and the owners of packs of the buggers rich, but instead to foster and to reward the creativity of the creative. So how can we be happy or even tolerant when it so often ends up in the hands of the least creative and those in least need of fostering: or indeed in cold dead hands from which it needs a jolly good prying?
Copyright should only belong to living individuals and when they die it should follow suit, any nastiness by long-dead New Zealanders towards long-dead Te Rauparaha notwithstanding.
So all I can say is...

That's a Maori Haka

"Ka Mate! [slap!] Ka Mate! [slap! etc. throughout]
Ka Ora! Ka Ora!
Tenei te ta ngata puhuru huru
Nana neii [mumble, mumble]

Whakawhiti te ra
A upane ka upane!
A upane kaupane whiti te ra!
Oh! Dear! The best bits of that performance were wasted on the radio though since even the best bits weren't that good maybe the Maoris have a point

Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton


Purely for copyright reasons (and no other) my pronunciation of Maori throughout this essay is pathetic, and the management would like to stress that this is intentional2,---no, really.

1  ...and if I hear you say 'good thing too' under your breath again Dobson minor I shall drag you by the ear to see the Headmaster! [joke from my school days advisory]

2   I did say 'purely for copyright reasons', didn't I?

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