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We have been tip-toeing around a strange, unsettling event that challenges our identity as a nation. It's not about rugby. It is more fundamental than that.
This is actually a compliment to our media who have agreed to the compact. Their voluntary restraint is actually an affirmation about who we are as a society.
Earlier this year an intruder killed many of our people and wounded many others. He wanted to spread a nasty message, a message of hate and intolerance. He lacked any real understanding about what has created successful societies throughout history.
Traditional media are under huge commercial pressure to attract public attention, regardless of ethics these days. But allowing someone to falsely cry ''fire'' in a crowded cinema would be gross.
This sad unsettling event may actually help define us as a society. What makes our country unique? It's not the All Blacks, despite their proud tradition. It must be tolerance and acceptance of difference. We are a very young society. The impact of immigration in recent decades has been huge.
We were one of the last landmasses on this planet to be permanently settled by humans. We are a nation of migrants. We must respect the Maori as the Tangata Whenua. Recent migrants are part of this process.
This state of flux demands us to confront what we mean by ''national identity''. All of us should know our own national history, because it is an interesting and relevant story. But most importantly, it is crucial to understanding ourselves.
Arguably, the most successful young nation in the past few centuries has been the United States. It has been an amazing historical experiment, warts and all. It's a far from a perfect story. But it shows what can be achieved by a nation that embraced migrants, diversity and eventually freedom. It feeds creativity, enterprise and prosperity. But it also creates tensions.
Those who deny this reality have a big problem. Those who believe in the concept of racial purity lack any credible historical evidence to support their arguments. Diversity and openness can create strength and innovation and enterprise. Economic history teaches this over and over. Countries that adopted the opposite have declined and decayed. Spain under the Hapsbergs, China and Japan from the 15th century and North Korea in the modern era. Isolation and rigidity of thinking invites stagnation and retardation.
Those who suggest their race or religion or creed is inherently superior lack any appreciation of history or Darwinian evolution. If there was such a superior human genetic type, evolution would suggest a convergence rather than the obvious diversity among humans.
Migrants are an easy target in difficult times. They are usually younger, sometimes better educated and often more motivated than many locals. This can fuel resentment.
I am proud of how our media has maintained their compact to ignore this guy and his deluded vicious message. They have not provided a further platform for him.
He was not one of us. His message is not about who we are as a nation. But his grotesque crime could be used to help define us as a nation.
We strive to be tolerant. We strive to accept diversity. We recognise we can only succeed if we accept and embrace tolerance, openness and diversity. We are a small, isolated nation, of a few million people. We are all in the same waka. If we choose to hate we will retard our future. We need to learn about our past to safeguard our future.
-Peter Lyons teaches economics at St Peter's College in Epsom and has written several economics texts.