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PoliticsSeptember 28, 2016

Hobson’s Pledge: just a bunch of diverse, united, anti-separatist New Zealanders


A new ‘one nation’ New Zealand movement has sprung up, albeit from the usual suspects. Toby Manhire is captivated by the unique face of modern, anti-separatist New Zealand.

Like sands through the hour glass, so are the anguished screams of “Māori special treatment fnarrrrrr!”

The latest caterwaul comes in the form of Hobson’s Pledge. You can find it via popular internet search engine Google. indoctrination

I clicked, naturally enough, on “indoctrination”, only to be disappointed.


No indoctrinating today. But never mind that.

Mercifully, indoctrination page notwithstanding, the site is up and running.

The Hobson in question is not the 17th century stable owner Thomas Hobson that Milton mocked and who gave us “Hobson’s choice”, but in tribute to William Hobson, the first governor of New Zealand, who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi and, the site tells us, “greeted each Chief who came forward to sign the treaty with the following pledge: ‘he iwi tahi tatou’ – ‘we are now one people’. Hobson’s pledge to the chiefs laid the foundation of New Zealand’s democracy: One citizen: one vote, regardless of race, colour, religion or gender.”


Curiously, the logo appears to owe at least a passing nod to the UK-based free-speech lobby group Article 19:
But never mind that, either. Let’s focus instead on the uplifting front-page image of diverse, united, anti-separatist New Zealanders.


Yes! Yeah! Yes! Yes. Look at the beaming, contented faces of these diverse, united, anti-separatist New Zealanders – Pākehā and Māori alike. Struggling at this stage to pick out the Māori, if I’m honest, but I Am Not An Expert and anyway yes! Go equality! Go New Zealand!

Just like a normal guy I looked on the internet to find out more about these people. Here they are again, as viewed from the top of a ladder. Must be some tangata whenua in there.

Yes! Go New Zealand! I kept looking. Turns out these diverse, united, Māori and non-Māori, anti-separatist New Zealanders have been travelling.

Here they are in America.

And in South Africa.

Diverse, united, anti-separatist Pākehā and Māori New Zealanders welcome you to England.

And Norway. Or is it Denmark?

Think it’s Denmark.

Anyway, looks like these diverse, united, anti-separatist New Zealanders are on a really amazing OE and they love taking group shots with flags. Or they’re actually a passport-promiscuous-multicultural-but-almost-certainly-not-including-any-real-life-Māori-person stock image – and, look, we at the Spinoff can hardly complain about the use of stock images.

What’s more, who can blame the Hobson’s Pledge team for choosing a random stock image, when the other available uplifting image of diverse, united, anti-separatist New Zealanders, is this:


Call it Hobson’s choice.

More from the Spinoff on Hobson’s Pledge

Deborah Mahuta-Coyle: ‘You’ll never undo the hurt.’ A Māori woman’s open letter to Don Brash

Keep going!