Evading the Neo-colonial State Without Running to the Hills: Nearly-Illegal Food Harvesting in Aotearoa
by Brad Coombes.
For decades, I evaded self-identification as a lawyer. While I recognize the emancipatory work that legal professionals can accomplish, I do not include my law degree on my business card and only raise that training in acts of revealingly self-deprecating humour. The shame reflects a deepening suspicion of law as a colonizing order, but it also flows from experience that neither grand courtroom deliberation nor any other form of extraordinary discourse is likely to sustain what is important for Maori. Conversely, I have also come to recognise the limitations of bellicose protest, blatantly illegal activities and other attempts to dismantle neo/colonialism through acts of belligerence. Hence, this think-piece is my homage to the subversive activities of Maori that inhabit the space between what society deems legal and illegal, for it is such everyday and not spectacular practices that most inconvenience the neo/colonial state.