Syd Jackson

Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou


Syd Jackson was born and raised in Hastings and was educated at Mahora Primary School and Nelson College. He continued his studies at Victoria and Auckland Universities and graduated B.A. in Political Science and Psychology and M. A. in Political Studies. Jackson’s thesis topic for his masters was ‘Māori politics in the Eastern Māori Electorate: a study in Māori voting motivation.’ He worked in industrial relations as a union official and advocate, and was Tumuaki of Te Ropu Kaimahi Māori o Aotearoa. Jackson was a founding member of Nga Tamatoa, Te Ropu Matakite o Aotearoa, HART and Te Ahi Kaa. He was a columnist for the Listener for some months and also had a column in Metro. He hosted his own ‘Liberation Talkback’ show on Aotearoa Radio. He worked for 17 years as secretary of the Northern Clerical Workers' Union. He formed Turuki Healthcare and was chair of Te Kupenga o Hoturoa and Director of Te Roopu Huihuinga Hauora.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation with Syd Jackson, Sept. 1998.
  • Te Ao Mārama: Regaining Aotearoa: Māori Writers Speak Out. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 2: He Whakaatanga O Te Ao: The Reality. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 113.
  • "Poroporoaki: Syd Jackson." 4 Sept. 2007.


  • "Should We Go? A Māori Student Speaks his Mind." Te Kaunihera Māori: New Zealand Māori Council Journal Autumn (1969): 17, 19.
  • A speech given at a public meeting in Auckland organised by the Citizens’ Association for Racial Equality.
  • "Māori Representation." Young Māori Leaders’ Conference Report. 1970. No further details.
  • "Integration - A Māori View." Listener 3 July 1972: 15.
  • "Education and Integration." Listener 10 July 1972: 57-58.
  • "The Second Great Migration." Listener 24 July 1972. No further details.
  • "The Great Land Robbery." Listener 21 Aug. 1972: 58-59.
  • "Polynesians and the Law." Listener 4 Sep. 1972: 56-57.
  • "Myth and Māori Seats." Listener 27 Nov. 1972: 60-61.
  • "We Want a Truly Non-Racial Society." Te Māori 5.3 (1973): 32-33.
  • Jackson writes a strongly-worded articulation of the policies and activities of Nga Tamatoa. He is the chairman of the Auckland branch.
  • "Law Office Goes to the People." Mana (1977): 1.
  • Jackson writes of the establishment of New Zealand’s first neighbourhood law office in Grey Lynn, Auckland, which was set up by the Law Society and run by a Community Advisory Board. Observing that many Māori, Pacific Islanders and new immigrants often do not get sufficient legal assistance, Jackson writes of other countries’ schemes to provide legal aid to disadvantaged groups in society.
  • "Man of Steel." Metro 7.78 (1978): 334-336.
  • "Puppet Show." Metro 6.70 (1987): 174-175.
  • "The Bottom Line." Metro 7.71 (1987): 190-191.
  • "Mana Gobblers." Metro 7.73 (1987): 190-191.
  • "Why You Shouldn’t Vote." Metro 7.74 (1987): 224-225.
  • "Dishonourable Intentions." Metro 7.75 (1987): 236-238.
  • "Following In Te Whiti’s Footsteps." Metro 7.76 (1987): 272.
  • "In Danger Zone." Metro 7.77 (1987): 328, 331.
  • "An Ugly Wave of Racism." Metro 8.88 (1988): 204-207.
  • "The Sham of Biculturalism." Metro 8.89 (1988): 212-214. Rpt. in Te Ao Mārama: Regaining Aotearoa: Māori Writers Speak Out: Volume 2: He Whakaatanga O Te Ao: The Reality. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing editors: Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed Books, 1993. 252-256.
  • This article is an exposé of the double standards of government departments which profess to be bi-cultural. Jackson specifically examines three cases where Māori sensitivities were deliberately ignored and where Māori were the recipients of much harsher treatment than their Pakeha counterparts. These cases are: the Department of Justice’s plan to build a medium-security prison at Whakapara in direct opposition to Ngāti Hau, tangata whenua of the area; the arrest and charging of a Māori protester during protests at Paremoremo prison; and the heavy-handed treatment of Māori staff working at Carrington Hospital.
  • "Māori Views on Māori Crime." Metro 8.92 (1989): 146, 149.
  • Jackson writes of the opposition by the media, academics and members of parliament in the research methodology and conclusions of the Justice Department’s report "The Māori and the Criminal Justice System - He Whaipaanga Hou: A New Perspective, Part 2". This report was researched by Moana Jackson and research assistants Dean Hapeta and Hinemoa Awatere.
  • "Hurry Ra." Metro 8.93 (1989): 138, 141.
  • Jackson writes a response to an Australian television network crew’s visit to New Zealand to research claims by Pakeha migrants to Australia who assert they are migrating because of their fear of deteriorating Māori/Pakeha relations. Jackson proffers a series of tongue in cheek solutions to the Māori "problem" and suggests that discontented Pakeha could be repatriated to Queensland or South Africa.
  • "Union Blues." Metro 8.94 (1989): 142,144.
  • Jackson provides an account of the failure of unions to accommodate and cater to Māori issues. He discusses the decisions made at the first hui at Nga Maimahi o Aotearoa in Rotorua in March 1986. This focussed on the relevance of the union movement to Māori, and the second hui of Nga Kaimahi o Aotearoa which was held in March 1989 (?).
  • "White Wash Report." Metro 9.91 (1989): 150-151. Rpt in Te Iwi o Aotearoa 19 (1989): 27.
  • Jackson writes a critique of two papers purporting to address Māori issues. The first is Partnership Response, a governmental response to criticisms of Partnership Perspectives published in May 1988 and presented by Koro Wetere. The second is a report by Hiwi Tauroa on the decision to close Carrington Hospital’s Māori health units, Whare Paia, Whare Hui and Kohanga Reo at Carrington Hospital.
  • "Principle and Practice." Metro 9.95 (1989): 176-177.
  • "Farewell to a Great Man." Metro 9.96 (1989): 176-178.
  • "Principle and Practice." Metro 9.99 (1989): 174-176.
  • "The Death List." Metro 9.102 (1989): 208-210.
  • "Why I Won’t be at the Party." Metro 104 (1990): 152.
  • "The Long, Hard Struggle of Ngāti Te Ata." Metro 105 (1990): 144. Rpt. as "The Long, Hard Struggle of Ngāti Te Ata." Te Ao Mārama: Regaining Aotearoa: Māori Writers Speak Out. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 2: He Whakaatanga O Te Ao: The Reality. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 112-114.
  • Jackson writes of the long battle by Ngāi Te Ata to regain their tribal burial ground at Maioro. The land was initially part of the 43,700 acre Waiuku Block which was confiscated in 1864, then returned a year later, but again taken by the New Zealand Forest Service under the 1959 Public Works Act and gazetted in 1966. By 1969, New Zealand Steel began opencast mining at Maioro.
  • "The Law of the Land." Metro 110 (1990): 146-149.
  • "Huia Tuia, Tui Tuia." Metro 112 (1990): 189-181.
  • "The Way Ahead." Metro 113 (1990): 172-175.
  • "The First Language." Metro 111 (1990): 158-161. Rpt as "The First Language." Te Ao Mārama: Regaining Aotearoa: Māori Writers Speak Out. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 2: He Whakaatanga O Te Ao: The Reality. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 215-218.
  • Jackson gives a background to the introduction of Māori Language Week in 1973 which emerged through great concern that the Māori language was dying out and with it the link with Māori history, culture and whakapapa. Jackson looks at the issue of Māori being spoken in Parliament, since it is an ‘official’ language of New Zealand. He notes that in a number of other countries more than one language is used in government circles.
  • Other

  • "Decolonising Aotearoa." Interviewed by Ruth Jones. Race Gender Class 9/10 (1989): 42-56.
  • Jackson discusses with Jones the processes and effects of colonisation on Māori. He lists the number of Māori who have been killed without charges being laid on their assailants. He discusses the institution of Whare Paia at Carrington Hospital which provided a ‘Māori alternative to western medicine’ and he comments on the injustices of the subsequent imprisonment of Titewhai Harawira and whanau members. Jackson concludes by describing the processes of decolonisation in Aotearoa, the history of Māori nationalism and Te Ahi Kaa’s response to the 1990 Treaty commemorations.
  • Staff, Bryan. "Interview: Syd Jackson." Metro 9.101 (1989): 166-174.
  • "Te Ropu Kaimahi Māori o Aotearoa: Talking with Syd Jackson About a New Māori Trade Union." Race Gender Class 13 (1992): 16-19.
  • Jackson provides a background to the establishment of a Māori Trade Union, Te Roopu Kaimahi Māori O Aotearoa, in 1992. This has as its goals honouring the Treaty, liberating Māori from oppression, and asserting Tino Rangātiratanga. He describes the work of Te Roopu and lists its components: dispute resolution, assisting organisations to embrace a commitment to bi-culturalism, and ‘negotiating employment contracts’. Jackson also discusses some of the specific problems faced by Māori in the workplace.
  • Traditional

  • "Poroporoaki: Syd Jackson." 4 Sept. 2007.


  • Reid, Tony. "The Laughing Revolutionary." NZ Listener 16 Sept. 1989: 22-25.