There’ve been some melodramas occurring on the political scene with the defections of Meka Whaitiri from Labour and the resignation of Elizabeth Kerekere from the Greens. Journalists are wary of comment as are the Labour and Green hierarchies. Yet it has been strange behaviour, with ambition, envy and opportunism poking their heads in the door. Meta Whaitiri was on the wrong side of an employment dispute five years ago, was demoted to the back bench, reinstated to ministerial ranking, but lower than some younger Māori women MPs who have been promoted. She suddenly decided to move to Te Pāti Māori, forgot to tell her leader or colleagues of her intentions and fudged the issue with the speaker to stop her possible expulsion from parliament. Instead she is portrayed as victim by her new party, as someone casting off the shackles of the colonist. After a week of silence she proclaims that she had ‘a feeling in her puku’ that it was the right thing to do. Hard to discuss that.

It seems that Dr Kerekere got miffed when her private member’s bill wasn’t pulled but Chloe Swarbrick’s was and pushed the wrong text button and the well-mannered Greens reacted. It was rumoured that she hadn’t been nice around the office either and other allegations surfaced. A long winded enquiry began, taking place during the list ranking process; she being surprisingly high on the recommended list. She had been recruited because she was Māori with strong rainbow connections. The Greens meanwhile had tiriti-aligned their constitution with the new structure giving a sprinkling of Māori members quite a lot of say, unsettling some of the older hands. In a closed zoom call arranged by her supporters within the party, Dr Kerekere made the case to members that she was being shafted by the co leaders and a colleague-leaker. Once again she was victim. There was no room for question or comment and immediately afterward she resigned. Don’t mess with me was the message.

The good old persecutor/victim/rescuer pattern is in play, that pattern which is at the heart of warrior cultures, mythology and the major religions; an elemental pattern but one that causes an awful lot of grief. If there has been any enlightenment it is to realise that the pattern needs to be sidelined if the human species is to realise some form of social ecology.

Rather than promoting tino rangatiratanga and resourcing Māori driven structures, this drive to tiriti align mainly Pākeha organisations is, from my experience, a minefield; for you have the trickster syndrome to cope with, plus a robust confrontational style but with no grudges at the end of the day – something Pākeha need to learn; plus a tolerance of pushing-past-the-boundaries behaviour. And then there’s the religious acknowledgement of higher forces which takes me back to a childhood where grace was said before a meal, prayers said at bedtime and the bible referred to for guidance. But what of Marxist or Freudian rational enquiry (which in turn has its problems)? These questions, this debate, is facile unless the driving force of capitalism is made articulate and acknowledged as the major issue – with its tolerance of anything – as long as a buck is being made.

The final shenanigan was the gob-smacking coronation, where a 16th century ritual (when oaths of fealty muttered reluctantly by recalcitrant princes would have been riven with tension, when the surrounding of the king by Anglican clergy in order to make sure he didn’t fall into the hands of the Papists would also have been highly charged, where one of the princes was turned into something remote and symbolic as an act of God), was re-enacted five centuries later without any attempt to take into account current cultural and political realities. Quite extraordinary. All those soldiers in comic uniforms, the gold coach, the robes, the table of symbolic objects, the kitsch screens for the anointing, the bass profundo, the angelic choir boys… what did they currently signify? A lack of intellect? A final gasp from a broken imperial nation?

I preferred the prologue, a documentary about the soap opera love of melancholic Charlie and jokey Camilla, which has prevailed through divorce, scandal and parental frowns – but without the trials of poverty.