The Pohutukawa Tree

The Pohutukawa Tree

  • Submitted By: isabelcjy
  • Date Submitted: 03/15/2014 3:25 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 656
  • Page: 3
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Describe at least ONE relevant key idea(s) in the text(s).
Explain why the key idea(s) in the text(s) could still be relevant today
The Pohutukawa Tree (1987) is a play written by Bruce Mason which examines the prejudice bubbling under the surface of the European toward Maori. This stems from European self-centeredness, ignorance and superiority complex. Through the idea of racism, Mason helps us to understand the relevance of how the Pakeha treated the Maori during the 1950s in New Zealand to today.

The idea of racism shows the selfishness of the Europeans. Roy McDowell is a young and “cheeky” Pakeha that causes Queenie, a “hot” Maori as he describes, to become pregnant. Instead of marrying her as expected in Maori culture, Roy disregards Maori values by rejecting Queenie because their relationship is inter-racial. He states, “Queenie’s a Maori, don’t you understand. It’d be a mixed marriage. Brown kids! I couldn’t have brown kids.” Roy is acting selfishly and with racial prejudice by not wanting to accept responsibility just because Queenie is Maori. He is only caring about his own dignity even at the expense of another individual. This is still relevant in New Zealand as shown from European taxpayers (as they are the majority of New Zealand) refusing to take responsibility for the ‘other’ – such as with poverty stricken Maori children. They prejudge Maori thinking that Maori are the cause for their own poverty and refuse to provide Maori children with the essentials, such as food. Instead, the Europeans would rather spend their money on helping other countries – showing the Europeans selfishness.

The culturally insensitive actions of the Europeans show their ignorance towards another culture. A patriotic European, Claude Johnson, jokes casually about a respected ‘elder’ within Maori culture. During Sylvia’s wedding, Johnson delivers his speech which includes a disrespectful reference to Aroha’s highly honoured grandfather, Whetumarama, “…an old Maori...

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