PPTA on Education Policies 2014 Election: Part Two

Tena koutou katoa,

In order to support our access to knowledge about party policies that impact upon our people we have decided to find as many policies as we can over the next weeks and include into a series of blogs.   The issues that are currently topical in terms of the #dirtypolitics are highlighting more clearly the insidious nature of politics in this country and the depths that some will sink to in order to control and determine our futures.  We must challenge those ways of being.  They do not align to the fundamental values of our tupuna.  They do not reflect what our tupuna had in mind for the wellbeing of their tamariki and mokopuna.  Many of our people are suffering in poverty both materially and in terms of denial to te reo, tikanga and our ways of being.  Where voting in a western democracy is not our ideal and it is only one way of engaging these issues, it is something we can’t remove ourselves from at this time in history.  Kia kaha whanau.  Make sure our whanau are enrolled and if necessary drive them to the polls on voting day to vote! 

Te Wharepora Hou shares the PPTA survey and questions & answers here for your reference and to provide more insights in to party policies so that we can make informed decision in this Election 2014. This blog includes the second series of 5 Questions and Answers from those that participated in the survey and some general comments made.  The PPTA site that provides this information is: http://www.ppta.org.nz

6. Do you support performance pay for teachers?

ACT

No

Green

No. The international evidence on performance-pay doesn’t stack up. It doesn’t help educational outcomes, and it doesn’t provide teachers with the professional support they need and want. It drives competition, rather than collaboration between and within schools. The Government needs to listen to teachers. https://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/centrally-fund-school-support-staff

Internet

No

Labour

No. Rather than reinforcing the managerialist model that the National Party seek to create with their new Executive Principals and Expert Teacher roles, the Labour Party will be focused on how we can strengthen collaboration and bring in outside expertise in a way that will make a real difference.

Mana

No

Māori

No

National

I support greater collaboration among teachers and providing a mechanism to share expertise across communities of schools, help recognise highly effective teachers and principals, and provide teachers with opportunities for advancement while remaining in the classroom and for which exceptional skills they should be remunerated. IES is not performance pay.

NZ First

No

United Future

Yes

 7. Should teacher professional learning and development be contracted out to private providers?

ACT

This should not be a nationwide decision. Teachers and school administrators should be able to take advantage of professional learning and development options regardless as whether they are public or private. The reality is that students are teachers alike are getting their information from a wider range of sources than ever and attempting to corral their access into ‘public’ or ‘private’ is futile.

Green

No. The Government needs to be taking responsibility for the needs of the education workforce who are public servants, rather than seeing it as an opportunity for private-sector profit

Internet

Unsure

Labour

It depends on the circumstances and definition of ‘private provider’. Labour will establish a comprehensive school advisory service, which will have the power to second excellent teachers and school leaders for a period of up to 3 years so that they can share best practice and act as mentors and advisors to teachers throughout New Zealand.

Mana

No

Māori

Yes

National

PLD is currently under review by a group led by the profession and including the PPTA.

NZ First

No simple answer to this. This is a large question without a simple answer. Our comment would be that there is a continual institutional knowledge loss by applying a market philosophy to all areas of government provision.

United Future

Possibly. If it is the best option in individual circumstances.

8. Do you think employers should be able to opt out of collective bargaining?

ACT

Yes

Green

No. Collective bargaining is a key process for maintaining positive industrial relations, and the ability for employers to walk away undermines good faith bargaining and the equality of the bargaining relationship.

Internet

No

Labour

No. Labour is committed to a productive and innovative economy that has employment relations legislation that promotes collective bargaining, protects minimum standards and guarantees working people and their unions a voice.

Mana

No

Māori

No

National

Yes

NZ First

No

United Future

This doesn’t seem to apply to teachers.

9. Will you stop charter schools? 

ACT

Absolutely not. We believe that the policy should continue and should be expanded so that state and integrated schools can opt to become Partnership Schools Kura Hourua. The results of expanded autonomy will be a boon for teachers and students alike. The only losers in this change will be the teachers unions. Their role will be greatly diminished in a world where teachers are employed in the same manner as lawyers, engineers, and accountants rather than like 1970s wharfies.

Green

Yes. Charter schools are not as accountable as public and integrated schools yet have vast amounts of public money invested in them. There is no evidence they improve educational outcomes and are a dangerous social experiment being undertaken on our most vulnerable children. https://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/charter-school-cover

Internet

Yes

Labour

Yes. Charter schools don’t have to employ registered teachers, don’t have to teach to the curriculum, and aren’t subject to the same accountability as state schools. There is no doubt at all that many of the prospective school operators are well intentioned and focused on addressing real needs and gaps in our current system. However Labour’s priority will be ensuring those needs can be catered for within our existing public school system. Every school should be meeting those needs, not just a handful or new experimental ones.

Mana

Yes

Māori

No

National

Our policy is to fund Partnership Schools which take the best features from international models of charter schools and which are targeted at students who have not been successful in the wider state sector.

NZ First

Yes

United Future

UnitedFuture opposed the original legislation.

10. Do you think teachers have an important contribution to make to education policy through their unions?

ACT

They may well do but at present it is difficult to tell because the unions are doing such a terrible job of conveying it. They lack the ability to be non partisan. More importantly, the unions are tied down by the fact that they must maintain their role as industrial negotiators who negotiate as close as possible to a one-size-fits-all contract. There is no future for them in a world with more competition, choice, or modern employment relations so the policy options they can promote are inherently limited.

Green

Yes. Our industrial relations policy recognises that workers are integral to industry policy and planning, and seeks to restore their power and status under law. https://www.greens.org.nz/policysummary/industrial-relations-policy-summary

Internet

Absolutely

Labour

Yes. No government can achieve its goals in education without the support of the teaching profession. Labour is committed to working in partnership with teachers to deliver on our shared commitment to a quality public education for all young New Zealanders. We will do this by working together to agree shared priorities for future investment in the teaching profession. This will include investment in professional development, workload, and class sizes. Labour will convene an ‘Education Summit’ to identify future challenges and map out a shared vision that all those involved with the education system can support and champion.

Mana
Yes

Māori

Yes

National

I respect the role that unions play representing their members’ interests.

NZ First

Yes. Members of unions are there by choice. Therefore these are their representatives and it would be and obvious yes to this question from us.

United Future

In principle – yes

11. General comments 

National

Ensuring every child gets a good education is one of the most important things this Government can do to raise living standards, and build a more competitive and productive economy.

We have an education system that is in the top half in the world. That has not happened by accident, and nor will it continue without attention. It is successful for most, with our best students being right up there with the best in the world, but it has not been successful for all, and we are focused on ensuring that we lift up those who have been falling behind, while also pushing those who are doing well to do even better.

To do this, we must meet the needs of all students, and enable each and every one to fulfil their potential in education and in life. We must focus our attention on the potential of our children and the importance of effective teaching in realising that potential. Such an approach requires that we build our education system and the curriculum around the student, rather than the student having to fit the system.

This Government is committed to every New Zealand child getting a better education so they can be successful here at home as well as globally competitive.
We are focused on raising achievement for all young New Zealanders. We value the voices and aspirations of parents, are committed to strengthening and celebrating the profession while also investing in infrastructure, a modern learning environment, and digital technology.

Mana

MANA is advocating for a 100% free, high quality public education system, from early childhood and kōhanga reo through to tertiary. A significant funding increase is needed to support such a system.

We are committed to schooling policies that are known to raise achievement, such as embedding learning in a framework of student wellbeing that includes breakfast and lunch at schools and free health care, keeping class sizes small (teacher: student ratio of 1:15), and the provision of culturally supportive and relevant learning contexts – and to addressing the wider context of poverty and inequality that impacts greatly on learning achievement. We will abolish the charter schools policy and instead invest in developing schools as hubs of community development and whanau engagement.

MANA will also abolish National Standards and replace with information that lets parents know how well their children are doing compared to others without the bad effects of the current policy. We are calling for additional funding for special education, including for kura kaupapa Māori and wharekura and for gifted and talented children, and for te reo Māori to be a core curriculum subject in all English-medium schools. MANA will also work to increase the number of kura kaupapa Māori to greatly improve accessibility for 5 year olds finishing kōhanga and invest in ongoing curriculum development and an assessment system that is consistent with Te Aho Matua.

Teachers need to have the autonomy to determine and develop their professional body free from political interference, and accordingly, MANA opposed the Bill to establish Educanz. We support the role of unions in representing teachers’ collective interests, and support changes to employment relations laws to give teachers greater bargaining power to negotiate wages and conditions – including the right to strike. We do not support performance pay for teachers or any other moves to privatise the sector such as by contracting out teachers’ professional development. Instead, MANA will invest in the on-going training and professional development of teachers and school leaders, supported by research, to ensure the provision of culturally supportive and relevant learning contexts to engage all learners and help them succeed.

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PPTA on Education Policies 2014 Election: Part One

Tena koutou katoa,

This week the PPTA released an overview of party education policies to provide information for the upcoming election. Education is a critical area for our people.  We have grave concerns about the neo-liberal drive of the National Government. Newly instigated policies such as Charter schools and the Investing in Education Success are based upon flawed assumptions of what will work for our people.  We have been sold these policies on the back of ‘Maori underachievement’.  Maori education has been used to sell these policies as if they will make a difference, yet there is no evidence of that.  Charter Schools have not worked to make any significant change and the neoliberal market approach to them does not empower communities but rather places funding and economic pressure on many.  We have a range of structural ways of having diverse forms of schooling. Market driven developments will not make a huge difference in Maori Education.  Kaupapa Maori approaches, curriculum and pedagogical reform, removal of colonial power and ideologies in the system must be our points of engagement for our tamariki and mokopuna.

 

Te Wharepora Hou shares the PPTA survey and questions & answers here for your reference and to provide more insights in to party policies so that we can make informed decision in this Election 2014.   Below is the PPTA table that provides an overview of key areas.  This is then followed by 5 of the Questions and Answers from those that participated in the survey.  Another 5 questions will be included in the next blog.  The PPTA site that provides this information is: http://www.ppta.org.nz

 

ppta table

 1. Should we target more support and resources to schools and students in poor communities?

ACT

ACT supports different funding levels based on levels of need. We do not have a policy to change the current balance, however we are open to evidence that it should be changed. The amount of resource that a society should invest in human capital is an open question.

Green

Yes. The Green Party has a plan to put ‘Schools at the Heart’ of communities, https://www.greens.org.nz/schoolsattheheart which initially targets all decile 1-4 primary and intermediate schools, to provide wrap-around services in health, welfare, and social support. Under a Green Government, these schools will have a dedicated school-hub coordinator to run the ‘one-stop-shops’, free afterschool and holiday care programmes, a lunch programme, and a full-time school nurse. We’d also build high quality ECE centres onsite where there is demand. We know that hungry kids, sick kids, and kids living under the stress of poverty don’t reach their potential in school because their basic needs are not being met. The Green Party’s Schools at the Heart plan will help these children out of poverty through improving the quality of their learning time at school. Our policy is to increase the Operations Grant which funds all state and integrated schools to reflect the real cost of providing education. Our overarching social policy goal is to reduce inequality by investing more in communities and families who have been struggling under the National Government.

Internet

Yes. Education is key in reducing inequalities and schools are an essential feature of a community. Schools and teachers in poorer communities must be supported. It is estimated that 100,000 children go to school hungry each day. Internet MANA will introduce a government funded breakfast and lunch programme into low decile schools to ensure that all children are fed and able to learn each school day. This would be part of a wider health and well-being package for schools that would also include health, dental care and support services.

Labour

Yes. Labour knows that socio-economic background has a larger impact on student achievement in New Zealand than in any other OECD country. Labour will partner with community and voluntary organisations to provide free food in every decile 1-3 primary and intermediate school that needs and wants it. Labour will also develop a network of high quality centre-based early intervention programs addressing the needs of vulnerable children in the most deprived areas. We will also fund schools $100 per student per year if they don’t demand donations from parents.

Mana

Yes

Māori

Yes

National

We should target support and resources to where it will have impact on lifting achievement for all. The Government has made year on year increases in schools operations grants, despite tight fiscal circumstances, at or above the level of inflation. I have received a lot of feedback from the education profession that the decile funding system is well intentioned but could be improved. However, any changes would have to be well thought through, be well foreshadowed and would require a lot of discussion and work alongside the profession and sector groups.

NZ First

Yes. New Zealand First believes in “front ending the spend” and providing support and resources to students with “need” no matter where they are in New Zealand. We should target the support and resources to where the child is – what is logical is that this likely to be top heavy toward those in less affluent communities.

United Future

Yes

2. Will you resource and support secondary schools to become hubs for health and social services for students and their communities? 

ACT

We support greater flexibility in funding so that schools can decide which services to provide. Under such a model many schools might decide to offer more health and social services than they do currently.

Green

Yes. Our intention is to start with decile 1-4 primary and intermediate schools, but roll this model out much wider, including to secondary schools. We will work with them to develop a hubs plan that suits the particular needs of their students and communities.

Internet

Yes. Schools are an essential focus of a community and schools being used as hubs for other community services complements this fact.

Labour

Yes, Labour will recognise and support the role of schools as community hubs by:

• Working with local councils to better coordinate provision of public services and facilities such as libraries, swimming pools, recreational facilities and community halls

• Actively encouraging the co-location of other social services on school sites, including health services and programmes that support parents

• Encourage greater co-location of schools and early childhood centres

• Making better use of school facilities by re-instating funding to adult and community education programmes.

Mana

Yes

Māori

Yes

National

The core focus of schools is to lift the quality of learning and raise achievement for every student. There are some secondary schools that are operating in an integrated way. Future schools like the new Aranui campus in Christchurch are an example of communities who have chosen to do this. Vote Education will continue to resource and support secondary schools to raise achievement.

NZ First

No. Our concern here is that the pressure on our schools to be the cure to all social ills will be increased if they are now the delivery agents for social services and health – what are the possible unintended consequences – we are open to a discussion around this issue.

United Future

Yes

3. Will you reverse the quarterly funding of school operations grants?

ACT

No we support the principle that funding should follow the child, calculating student numbers and funding on a quarterly basis is in line with this principle.

Green

Yes. Schools need sustainable and predictable funding that meets their real costs and allows them the flexibility to plan ahead.

Internet

Yes, back to annual funding

Labour

Labour will conduct a full review of school operations grants, including quarterly funding.

Mana

Yes

Māori

No

National

No – Schools’ operational grants will further increase by 2 per cent at a cost of $85.3 million over the next four years bringing the total spend on school operational grants to $1.23 billion during 2014/15. The increase will take financial pressure off schools and help them continue to focus on raising student achievement.

NZ First

For secondary schools yes as this has had a negative impact – for primary schools we would first like to review if this has been a positive before we would remove.

United Future

No

4. Do you support eliminating large class sizes?

ACT

We support parents, teachers, and boards’ right to decide what the optimal class size is, which may vary from teacher to teacher. If a teacher can teach 25 per cent more students with equal or better results, the school should have the option of paying them more, rather than attempting to make one size fit all.

Green

Yes. Quality learning time should not be a privilege of the rich. Kids benefit from more time with their teachers. This is why smaller class sizes is a key marketing platform for private schools. Teachers also want to be able to give their best to every student, and large classes and higher workloads are contributing to burnout.

Internet

Yes

Labour

Yes. There is a consensus amongst education researchers that smaller class sizes make a positive difference to children’s learning. Children in smaller classes get more personalised attention and are more focused on their learning tasks. Teachers with smaller classes have higher morale and are more able to undertake professional development, which has positive flow-on effects for children’s learning. Labour will reduce class sizes by funding an extra 2000 teachers using resources freed up by scrapping National’s flawed ‘executive principals’ policy.

At the secondary level, Labour’s changes will draw upon the work of the Secondary Schools’ Staffing Group (2011-12). Our aim is to address the approximately 50 percent of schools whose class size across all years exceeds 23. This will be done by implementing a Maximum Average Class Size (MACS) provision, similar to the one in place in primary schools, but across all schools, not just smaller ones.

In practice, almost all secondary schools currently have an average class size, across all years, of 26 or less. Labour will introduce a secondary MACS in 2016 with a maximum average class size of 25. This will then fall to 24 in 2017 and 23 in 2018.

Mana

Yes

Māori

Yes

National

We support lifting the quality of teaching and leadership, creating modern learning environments and at a secondary school level funding an average class size ratio of 1 teacher to 23 students.

NZ First

Yes. New Zealand First was actually the first party to stand in the Parliament and in a speech suggest that an answer to the large number of newly trained teachers that were unable to find employment could be placed in classes with more experienced teachers thereby cutting class size in half, addressing an aging teaching workforce, passing on the experience of the older teacher, passing on the digital knowledge of the younger teacher. This could be an interim measure while we establish how many physical spaces we would require to lower class size.

United Future

Yes.

5. Will you scrap the Education Amendment Bill that introduces Educanz?

ACT

No, after the abysmal performance of the NZTC over many years we are keen to see something new.

Green

Yes. Educanz is undemocratic and a cynical move by the Minister to hand-pick politically appointed representatives.

Internet

Yes

Labour

Yes. Labour is concerned that the lack of democratic representation undermines the integrity and independence of the whole organisation. The level of ministerial influence exercised by this Bill compromises the universities’ autonomy, will harm their reputation and undermine their social critic and conscience function.

Mana

Yes

Māori

No

National

No. We are committed that the education profession has the characteristics and tools of a profession, including its own professional association. That is what EDUCANZ is.

NZ First

Yes. We would remove the areas of the Act that 100% of the profession has objected to and that we believe is devaluing teachers and the profession.

United Future

No

 

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Te Atiawa Treaty settlement …. This is Not Justice…

On Saturday August 9th Te Atiawa Iwi Authority and the Crown led by Chris Finlayson have arranged to finalise the Treaty settlement process for Te Atiawa Iwi.  It is a process that has been fraught with issues for many years.  Irrespective of the dominant view that it has been ‘troublemakers’ within the hapu of Te Atiawa that have created the issues, the fact is that the settlement process from the outset has worked against the interests of our whanau, hapu and iwi.

    It is important to acknowledge the incredibly difficult job that Iwi negotiators over the years have faced however there is no doubt that the current settlement on the table is a result of ongoing colonial manipulation on the part of the Crown.  The settlement is one of many that is being rushed through parliament before the elections, even at the cost of the wellbeing of many of our whanau and hapu of Te Atiawa.  We have seen ongoing debate that has highlighted that this process has split our people.  We see attacks on whanau and hapu, we see hapu being totally marginalised in the process, we see the Crown and the NP Council at odds with each other over key lease lands and our people are being set up against each other.  As with other iwi, the position taken by our tupuna ‘riro whenua atu, hoki whenua mai’ has been difficult to achieve in a context where the Crown control the resources.  We, as Iwi, have been in negotiation with the same institution that illegally seized our lands and who now take the position of determining what they will return. 

There are many analogies for this type of relationship. One is that after stealing the land, it is now the thief that says when or if it will be returned to its rightful owners. Then the thief says how much land will be returned, and to add salt to the wound the thief then tells us that they gave some of the stolen land to another mate (the council) who now says its their land and you can’t have it back – except of course if you buy it back – but even then the thieves mate has already given some to their mates… 

    Get the picture… yes exactly, the Crown has given stolen lands to the council and some of that land has already been made freehold, and guess what, the freehold owners are their friends, relations and some are even ex-council workers. Go figure….  And how do we know that. Well our whanau have lived on lease lands in Waitara for nearly 50 years.  My father, of Ngati Rahiri, Te Atiawa worked for years as a Freezing worker and paid lease to live on his own land.  And suddenly the section  that we have lived next door to for all that time is now freehold… and who owns it… and ex-council worker.  So how does that happen in a context where the Crown and Council are telling the Iwi we can not have those lands back.  And then, add another layer to it, the Council, seeing the potential for the leased lands to be returned to the Iwi decide to increase the leases by exorbitant amounts increasing tension even more for both iwi and lease holders.  These are lands that the Council were given freely by the Crown, who have made clearly millions from the leases over many many years and who now have hiked up the prices during a Treaty Settlement process.  There must be some very loud ‘ching ching’ and $$$$ signs echoing around the NP City Council whenever the topic of stolen lease lands are raised.  This is all appalling. This is insulting not only for current and future generations but of the memory of our tupuna.

    Another way to see these relationships is in the form of domestic violence.  The taskforce on Whanau violence indicated some years ago that violence perpetuated by the Crown upon whanau is a form of domestic violence. The Crown partner continues to be abusive.  Throughout the colonial process the crown imposed violence upon our people. The Crown – Iwi relationship operates as an abusive relationship. The Crown imposes its will continually upon our people irrespective of the appearance that they are negotiating in a fair or just manner.  The Crown has since colonisation imposed its processes and defined how we as Maori, as whanau, hapu and iwi will be viewed within Aotearoa.  In contemporary negotiations the Crown imposed the construction of the ‘largest natural grouping’ which it did through the Fiscal Envelope process.  That alone has created significant issues for our people.  Te Tiriti o Waitangi refers to hapu, and yet the Crown processes have consistently denied many hapu their voice or the return of their own lands.  The privileging of the ‘largest natural grouping’ has had a significant impact on the Te Atiawa process as we can see by the marginalisation of three hapu within the Iwi.  This is unacceptable, and it should not be tolerated by any  of our people.  Our whanau and hapu are the foundation for our iwi. Without them we do not exist as an iwi.  Te Atiawa iwi is a confederation of our hapu.  Our whakapapa and whanaungatanga determine our relationships and our rights as kaitiaki of our lands.  The Crown definition of the ‘largest natural grouping’ does not reflect our tikanga.

    The issue of the Pekapeka Block and its return is the essence of ‘riro whenua atu, hoki whenua mai’.  That Block, of all blocks should have been the first to be returned, and we should not as hapu or iwi be forced to purchase back that Block, nor should we be forced to adhere to the manipulative processes that the Council have imposed illegally on lands that are not and were never theirs.  We must also in the return of that Block maintain the integrity and manaaki inherent within our tikanga and care for those whanau who live on our lands. In the same way that our tupuna would expect us to.

    We do not have to buy in to Crown imposed processes.  If the Crown is truly apologetic and is truly seeking to correct fundamental injustices in Taranaki then the return of those lands must be done and done now, and done with no cost to the iwi.  We should not buy in to the idea that the Crown can not afford to do that.  There is currently more that $1.5 billion annually put into research that deals primarily with Crown and Pakeha defined research areas, so the argument that the Crown can not ‘find’ an additional $23million or more to buy back Te Atiawa lands (that they gave freely to the local council) has no substance.  Even doing that the Crown is still getting off lightly in terms of the oppression and abuse that has been imposed on our people, both in the wars over Waitara lands and on successive generations that have lived our lives landless and denied our reo and cultural knowledge through the development of mono-cultural education systems in Taranaki.  The list of failure of the Crown to actually give meaning to their apologies or to provide meaningful and just redress could go on and on. 

    The advocacy of our people for Te Tiriti o Waitangi was to protect our people, our whenua, moana, awa, our taonga.  It was a protection mechanism that affirmed our rangatiratanga and provided the ability for the Crown to rule over its own people through the process of kawanatanga.  Our tupuna knew that. Wiremu Kingi knew that.  it was Wiremu Kingi in 1859 who in response to the Crown manipulation of ‘sales’ in Waitara

“They say that to Teira only belongs that piece of land. No, it belongs to us all: to the orphan and to the widow, belongs that piece of land.”

As a signatory to Te Tiriti o Waitangi it was Wiremu Kingi who wrote numerous times in 1859 to the Governor and made it clear that Waitara was not for sale and would not be relinquished.

“E kore au e whakaae kia hokona a Waitara… kei roto a Waitara i te kapu o tōku ringa, kore mō te tuku. Kore, kore, kore rawa mō te tuku

I will not permit the sale of Waitara … Waitara is in my hands, I will not give it up; I will not, I will not, I will not.”

“I will not agree to our bedroom being sold (I mean waitara here), for this bed belongs to the whole of us;and do not you be in haste to give the money…If you give the money secretly, you will get no land for it. You may insist,but I will neVer agree to it…it is an old word;and now I have no neW proposal to make, either as regards selling or anything else. All I have to say to you, 0 Governor, is that none of this land will be given to you, never, never, not till I die. I have heard it said that I am to be imprisoned because of this land. I am very sad because of this word. Why is it? You should remember that the Maories and Pakehas are living quietly upon their pieces of land, and therefore do not you disturb them•…”

    What is clear is that the upcoming signing does not provide justice for Te Atiawa.  It does not provide justice for whanau, hapu or iwi.  It reproduces the same abuses by the Crown that we have seen in the past, albeit in a new form of insult and injury.  The negotiations guidelines for the settlement process states, amongst other points, that Te Atiawa and the Crown enter into negotiations acknowledging

“the Waitara purchase and the wars constituted an injustice and were therefore in breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

the confiscation of land, as it occurred in Taranaki, also constituted an injustice and therefore was in breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.”

The negotations guidelines also noted that the parties agree

“To observe high standards of integrity, honesty, and sincerity, including fair dealing and fostering a negotiating environment of mutual trust and confidence.”  The guidelines also note an inclusiveness and empowering of Te Atiawa Tikanga.

    It is difficult to see how these guidelines have been fulfilled by the Crown when looking at the Deed of Settlement and in the approach of the Crown and the Council in regards to the Waitara lease lands and in particular the Pekapeka Block.  As a descendant of Te Atiawa, as a member of Ngati Rahiri hapu, who my father was committed to for many years, as a whanaunga of all of the hapu of Te Atiawa, I can not support either the content or the process that is being referred to as the Treaty Settlement process for our people.  It is fundamentally unjust, it is oppressive and it has been divisive and has created another level of trauma and pain for our people in this generation that adds to the historical trauma that was experienced by our tupuna and has been carried by generations of Te Atiawa descendants since the invasion of our lands.

    The vote that has been taken to affirm this settlement has no validity.  The outcome of the vote is recorded by TAIA as follows:

“You will be aware that the ratification vote for Te Atiawa’s Deed of Settlement closed on Thursday 17 July 2014. Following the close of voting, a process for verifying special votes was conducted and the independent Returning Officer (Electionz.com) issued the final results on 24 July 2014, which were then provided to the Crown for consideration.
We have not been able to release the final results until Minister Finlayson and Minister Sharples provided confirmation of the ratification results. We have now received this confirmation from both Ministers allowing us to proceed to the signing of a Deed of Settlement with the Crown on Saturday 9 August 2014.
The final voting results from the Independent Returning Officer are that 40.22% of the adult members of Te Atiawa participated in the vote and 77.08% of those votes supported the Deed of Settlement.
The signing ceremony will be held on Saturday 9 August 2014 at Rangiatea, 131 South Road, New Plymouth. We ask that our Te Atiawa whanau arrive at 9.00am to prepare for a 10.00am powhiri for the Crown. Further details on the signing ceremony will be made available shortly.”

The numbers for the vote are:

Total Eligible adult voters: 5296

Ae/Yes       1631

Kao/No        485

Blank papers 14

What these numbers tell us is that less that 40.22% or 2130, of the defined number of eligible voters actually cast a vote.   As such the yes vote only represents only 30% of the total voters. Additionally the total Te Atiawa population in the latest census is recorded as 23,091.  As such we have 1631 yes voted being presented as adequate and acceptable to make a deal on behalf of 23,091 Te Atiawa people.  That is not acceptable in anyone’s terms, and it reflects the inability of this Crown colonial ‘democratic’ ‘one vote per registered adult’ process to provide ways of ensuring just outcomes for our people. 

    Our whanau and hapu are those that must be the decision makers.  We need to return to those fundamental processes. We can not allow the needs of some hapu to be denied or marginalised and allow the Crown to force them to be a part of something that does not provide for healing and justice for our people.   The marginalisation of our cousins of Ngati Tawhirikura, Otaraua and Manukorihi is not acceptable to our whanau and we call on Te Atiawa to find our own way through these issues. For that to happen the signing must be put on hold and the baselines for what must be returned be revisited.  If we move forward with a flawed deal then we place the issue of resolving that on the shoulders of our tamariki and mokopuna.  Our tupuna did not do that to this generation. We do not have the right to do that to future generations.

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Sections from the Taranaki Report related to Waitara and Pekapeka.

3.6 WAITARA

No sooner had some peace been made to end the three years of Puketapu fighting in 1857 than one of the combatants, Ihaia Te Kirikumara, offered to sell lands at Waitara and at Turangi, further to the north. His relation Pokikake Te Teira did the same, but owing to the opposition of Wiremu Kingi and even of Te Teira’s father, Te Raru, those offers were not pursued at that time.

Responsibility for the Waitara problem (that is, the settlers’ anxiety to ‘recover’ that which Kingi would retain) now rested with Colonel Thomas Gore Browne, who had replaced Grey as Governor in 1855. Browne lacked Grey’s knowledge of Maori language and culture and was more reliant on the advice of his officials. His resolve to secure Taranaki lands for settlement was no different from Grey’s policy, but his decision to challenge Kingi and to push the purchasing into Waitara was probably due more to bad advice than to his own assessment.

Settler opinion was undoubtedly influential. In their eyes, Kingi was the leader of a land league and was not only intransigent but acting unlawfully. Because deaths had resulted from the Puketapu feuding between sellers and non-sellers, by implication he was also an accessory to murder.

Initially, the Governor was cautious. In 1856, he appointed a board to inquire and report, inter alia, on the nature of customary tenure and the rights of individuals in relation to the group. Although today’s scholars would refine some of the board’s conclusions, its main advice on the interplay between the individual and the group was correct in substance, if not detail, and the real concern is that the Governor did not heed it.

In the board’s view, it was the ‘tribe’ that had the only authority to dispose of land, and while the individual had certain possessory rights, ‘there is no such thing as an individual claim, clear and independent of the tribal right’. The Governor’s alternative policy of favouring individual sellers against tribal representatives went against this finding and led to war.

The Governor’s first visit to Taranaki on 8 March 1859 was eventually to bring this issue to a head. Speaking to a mixed audience of settlers and Maori at New Plymouth, he announced a policy but then, within a few days and to Maori confusion, changed it. He initially announced that:

  • (a) any person committing violence or outrage within ‘European boundaries’ would be dealt with under the criminal law; and
  • (b) he would not buy land with a disputed title and ‘would buy no man’s land without his consent'; but
  • (c) he would allow no one to interfere in the sale of land, ‘unless he owned a part of it’.

Because of later events, it is the second item, that the Governor would not buy land that was in dispute, that has most to be remembered. Wiremu Kingi was later to remind the Governor of this undertaking when he proceeded to buy the Pekapeka block while a dispute was unresolved.

The reference to ‘European boundaries’ in the first item was also significant. It needs to be clear that, at the time, both Maori and the Government thought in these terms; that is, that some land was European land and some land was Maori land. Even in Britain, matters were seen that way, and by section 71 of the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 (UK), the Governor was authorised to declare Maori districts where Maori law would prevail. As shall be seen, this acceptance of distinctive areas was to become significant during the war. At the height of hostilities, and in demonstration of their ‘right’, Maori were cautious to ensure that their own attacks were conducted on Maori land, where soldiers were trespassers, and to take careful note when soldiers erected stockades or effected manoeuvres on other than the ‘Europeans’ land’. In Maori law, where aukati, or demarcation lines, were usual devices for the management of war, armed trespass across the line was an act of aggression that justified retaliation.

Soon after the Governor had spoken, Te Teira, a co-resident with Kingi on the Pekapeka block at Waitara, offered the block for sale. According to the translation in the Taranaki Herald , Te Teira said that:

he was anxious to sell land belonging to him, that he had heard with satisfaction the declaration of the Governor referring to individual claims, and the assurance of protection that would be afforded by his Excellency. He minutely defined the boundaries of his claim, repeated that he was anxious to sell, and that he was the owner of the land he offered for sale. He then repeatedly asked if the Governor would buy this land. Mr McLean on behalf of his Excellency replied that he would. Te Teira then placed a parawai (bordered mat), at the Governor’s feet, which his Excellency accepted. This ceremony, according to Native custom, virtually places Teira’s land at Waitara in the hands of the Governor.

It appears to us that Te Teira and the reporter of this conversation were not of one mind. There was no part that Te Teira could call his own, so the description he gave could not have been of his own land. It was more likely a description of the whole block (or larger, in the usual Maori way), in which he was one of many with an unpartitioned interest. We think it is actually doubtful that Te Teira intended to offer the whole block, but consider he was speaking only for his undivided interest. Three days later, he sent a letter to the Governor suggesting he was selling an undefined interest in the block and that it was not necessarily large. He wrote, with typical Maori imagery where the whole speaks for the part:

Friend, it is true I have given up Waitara to you; you were pleased with my words, I was pleased with your words. It is a piece of land belonging to Retimana and myself, if you are disposed to buy it never mind if it is only sufficient for three or four tents to stand upon, let your authority settle on it . . .

Later, the matter became distorted into an assumption that Te Teira and his followers were the owners of the whole block. At the time of the meeting, however, the Governor consulted his advisers and announced he would accept Te Teira’s offer, provided that Te Teira could prove his title. Kingi was present and recorded a brief objection:

I will say only a few words and then we will depart . . . Listen, Governor. Notwithstanding Teira’s offer I will not permit the sale of Waitara to the Pakeha. Waitara is in my hands, I will not give it up . . .

Kingi left, in the Governor’s words, ‘with some want of courtesy to myself’.

Te Teira’s motives in selling are not clear. It has been conjectured that he sold from personal animosity. Archdeacon Williams, Archdeacon Hadfield, and E Shortland each considered that Kingi had sheltered a girl whom Te Teira had abducted to marry to a relative and that Te Teira had vowed revenge by selling the land of the hapu. J Cowan recorded Maori opinions that Te Teira sought revenge for his relative Ihaia Te Kirikumara, who had earlier endeavoured to sell Waitara and who had other unrequited grievances. Te Teira had returned to Waitara as an insignificant member of Kingi’s heke in 1848. He supported Te Kirikumara in the Puketapu feuds. Domestic incidents may obscure deeper frustrations, however, and a hidden ambition to wrest the leadership from Kingi by aligning with Pakeha cannot be discounted.

Three days after the meeting with the Governor, a deputation of settlers persuaded the Governor to change his mind about buying disputed land and to prefer Te Teira on the basis that the individual right to sell was paramount. At heart were questions of representation and the relationship between the individual and the group, but if the Governor had begun well in having those issues impartially examined by the Native Affairs Board, he was now about to discard the board’s opinion. The Governor was urged to individualise Maori titles generally in order to destroy the tribal system and break the land league that Kingi allegedly supported. Earlier, Taranaki and other settlers had promoted the Native Territorial Rights Bill to individualise Maori land. This had been enacted in 1858 but was later disallowed by the Imperial Government, and now the settlers were proposing the policy once more. The Governor was convinced. He considered ‘the surest remedy for existing evils was to prevail upon the natives to individualise their claims and obtain crown grants for their lands’, directed the survey of ‘Teira’s piece’ as though it were legitimately severable, and ordered negotiations for the identification of each person’s part. This was now a radical departure from the previous practice of total block buying. (b) As matters turned out, the whole of the Pekapeka block was to be surveyed and acquired.

Both in terms of Maori law and in terms of providing an economic unit for European settlement, ‘Teira’s piece’ was a figment of the imagination. It was impossible to cut it out. The land was jointly occupied by Te Teira, Kingi, and others. Kingi had separate pa on the land surrounded by numerous kainga. Near to the pa was a patchwork pattern of cultivations, in which, in the usual Maori way, families held several small plots throughout a horticultural mosaic, none of which constituted a sizeable, sellable unit. Kingi’s ‘pieces’ and Te Teira’s ‘pieces’ were intertwined. Beyond the cultivations, all was held in common. So strange was this notion of individual pieces that there was no Maori word for it. Officials used ‘pihi’, a transliteration of ‘pieces’.

McLean did not return to Taranaki before the outbreak of the Waitara war, more than a year later. Instead, he went to Queen Charlotte Sound, Nelson, Wellington, and the Kapiti coast to have the Taranaki Maori there sign a deed. It was now convenient to recognise the absentees in the expectation that their signatures to a deed would ‘very much weaken the opposition of Wm King and others’ to the sale. Once more, it was an attempt to divide and rule but no one signed the deed that was presented. Thereafter, McLean still did not return to Taranaki; he went to Hawke’s Bay, where he sought to facilitate the Pekapeka purchase by correspondence. On 18 March, he wrote to Kingi, Wiremu Ngawaka Patukakariki, and ‘nga tangata katoa o Waitara’, asking them to point out:

your pieces of land which lie in the portion given up by Te Teira to the Governor. You are aware that with each individual lies the arrangement as regards his own piece; in like manner Te Teira has the arrangement of his piece.

With McLean absent, it was left to Robert Parris, the Crown purchase agent in Taranaki, to attempt to complete the Waitara purchase. Te Teira complained that Kingi and the others would not agree to mark out ‘their own pieces of land without our line’. Parris was instructed to reassure him that:

The Governor consents to your word, that is, as regards your own individual piece, but be careful that your boundary does not encroach upon the land of any person who objects to sell . . . consent will be given to the purchase of land that belongs to yourself.

Another letter was addressed to Kingi:

The Governor has consented to his [Te Teira's] word, that is, as regards his own individual piece, not that which belongs to other persons. The governor’s rule is, for each man to have the word (or say) as regards his own land; that of a man with no claim will not be listened to.

Te Teira and Kingi replied to these letters. Te Teira said:

The land that I and Richmond consented for you to have, belongs to myself, Richmond, Hemi Watakingi, Paranihi, Rawiri, my father Thomas, and Nopera. It belongs to all of us . . . the seven consent to our offering it to you . . . I am not rashly interfering with other people’s land, the land is ours.

Te Teira urged the Governor to settle for the land at once.

Kingi, aware that Te Teira had asked for payment, wrote a few days later:

I will not agree to our bedroom being sold (I mean Waitara here), for this bed belongs to all of us; and do not you be in haste to give the money. If you give the money secretly, you will get no land for it. You may insist, but I will never agree to it . . . All I have to say to you, O Governor, is that none of this land will be given to you, never, never, till I die. I have heard it is said that I am to be imprisoned because of this land. I am very sad because of this word. Why is it? You should remember that the Maoris and Pakehas are living quietly upon their pieces of land, and therefore do not you disturb them.

The correspondence went to the core of the Waitara problem. The Governor would break tribal opposition to land sales by promoting the right of individuals or individual whanau to sell their ‘piece’ of land in defiance of rangatira responsible for the collective interests of all. Maori tenure recognised individual whanau rights of occupation and use centred on kainga, cultivations, and resource sites, but any admission of strangers that might prejudice the integrity of the group, as might occur on the sale of part, required communal sanction at a hapu or even wider level. This ‘tribal right’, as it was then called, was known at the time and had been spelled out in the 1856 report of the Board of Native Affairs.

The different views of Kingi and Te Teira became more evident as the crisis grew, which developed because the Governor forced the issue. Reporting to the Colonial Office after the March meeting at New Plymouth, he wrote:

progress has been made in ascertaining Teira’s right to dispose of the land (of which there seems to be little doubt), and, if proved, the purchase will be completed. Should this be the case it will probably lead to the acquisition of all the land south of the Waitara river, which is essentially necessary for the consolidation of the province, as well as for the use of the settlers.

It is also most important to vindicate our right to purchase from those who have both the right and the desire to sell.

. . . I have, however, little fear that William King will venture to resort to violence to maintain his assumed right; but I have made every preparation to enforce obedience should he presume to do so.

By so gravely misinterpreting Maori law and Kingi’s determination to uphold it, the Governor was expediting the crisis he would avert. Throughout, however, he was misadvised and misinformed. The Crown purchase agent, for example, purveyed the view that Kingi had no possessory interest in the land, omitting to advise the Governor that Kingi and some 200 of his followers lived there. It is clear that the agent knew of this, because he had earlier claimed that Kingi had returned to live at Waitara only with Te Teira’s permission. This opinion was spuriously based on advice that, on his return from Cook Strait, Kingi had waited on Te Teira before occupying the land. In fact, however, Te Teira had accompanied Kingi. Kingi was returning to his father’s pa and cultivations and had no need to seek Te Teira’s permission to settle there. The point, however, is that the agent obviously knew of Kingi’s residence on the land, but he reported only that Kingi was simply dictating ‘authority over [the] land’. Accordingly, the Governor was to assume that the question was whether Kingi had the right to exercise a chiefly veto, when that was not the question because Kingi had an interest in possession.

Kingi refused to point out his ‘piece’. He could not have done otherwise. It is helpful to understand the attributes of rangatira to appreciate why this should be so, but it is not practicable to explain that immediately. Suffice it to say for the moment that the rangatira were not merely the leaders of the people – they were the people. They were inclined to use ‘I’ where others would use ‘the people’ or ‘we’. They owned everything and yet might claim nothing personally. They were entitled to be first and yet might put the least within the tribe ahead of themselves. They placed importance on honour and were keen to honour others but were most insistent on maintaining their own. As part of keeping honour, they would not demean themselves by doing less than was expected of them. As the name ‘rangatira’ implies, their primary function was to unite the people as one body. In our view, Wiremu Kingi was the epitome of a rangatira. It was not possible for him to countenance a division of the land or to accept that one person could take unilateral action to the detriment of any others.

Perhaps not appreciating the cultural sensitivities, the Crown agent complained that Kingi, ‘full of dogged obstinacy’ and ‘assuming the right to dictate authority over the land’, would not or could not point to his part. The Governor replied:

If Mr Parris is satisfied that Teira and the others who offer to sell have an indisputable title to the land, an advance should be made to them at once in part payment for it. They should, however, be told that the purchase will not be completed until Mr McLean reaches Taranaki.

The agent was thus authorised to make an ‘immediate advance’ once he was satisfied that the ‘parties offering it, have an indisputable title’. After waiting in vain for McLean to arrive, he eventually made a deposit on 29 November 1859, having duly announced it beforehand. The ceremony took place in New Plymouth, in the presence of both parties to the dispute and several settlers. The agent read out the boundaries of the block and promised that anyone who had land within it (‘his own strip of cultivation ground’) and did not want it to be sold would have it ‘distinctly marked off and his portion left to him’. It was added that, when the boundary lines had been cut and the price fixed, the remainder of the payment would be handed over.

The agent then recorded his questions to Kingi and Kingi’s responses:

Q: Does the land belong to Teira and party?

A: Yes, the land is theirs, but I will not let them sell it.

Q: Why will you oppose their selling that which is their own?

A: Because I do not wish for the land to be disturbed; and although they have floated it, I will not let them sell it.

Q: Shew me the justness or correctness of your opposition?

A: It is enough, Parris, their bellies are full with the sight of the money you have promised them, but don’t give it to them; if you do, I won’t let you have the land, but will take it and cultivate it myself.

Leaving aside the self-serving opportunities presented to the Crown agent, and assuming the faithfulness of his transcript and translations, in cultural terms the answers support Kingi’s position. As a rangatira, he excluded no one. He included Te Teira and his party and he claimed nothing for himself, because, as rangatira, all that he had was the people’s. It is instructive, then, to compare those responses with that which Kingi put in his own hand. His confusion and anger over the Governor’s perspective, which could only have been incomprehensible to him, and his expectation that the Governor would adhere to his original undertaking not to buy disputed land are evident in his letter to Archdeacon Hadfield:

Father, hearken, this is to ask you to explain to me the new system of the Governor; I heard it from Mr Parris when I went to town to close (stop payment of) the money of the Governor, the payment for Waitara, one hundred pounds . . . I said to that Pakeha, ‘Friend, keep away your money.’ That Pakeha said, ‘No’ . . . I also said to Mr Parris, disputed land the Governor does not desire. That Pakeha replied, ‘That was some time ago: now this is a new system of the Governor’s.’ From what I know (in my opinion) the Governor is seeking a quarrel for himself, for he has fully exhibited death. I therefore ask you to explain it to me, perhaps you have heard of the Governor’s new system . . . insisting upon disputed land and unwarrantably paying for disputed land, which has not been surveyed. Do you hearken. I will not give the ground. If the Governor strikes without cause, then death, then he will have no line of action (tikanga) for this is an old word, ‘man first, the land next.’ My word is therefore spoken, that you might distinctly hear what my offence is, and also the error of all the Pakehas, of Mr Parris, Mr Whitely, and the Governor.

He then emphasised, by metaphorical reference to the most needy of his hapu, the nature of communal ownership:

They say that to Teira only belongs that piece of land. No, it belongs to us all: to the orphan and to the widow, belongs that piece of land.

Feelings ran high as events moved to war. Even prominent settlers were expressing views that Kingi should be surrounded, deported, and, if he fired one shot, hanged. Te Teira insisted that the Governor ‘consummate the marriage’, writing on 19 January 1860: ‘We are sad because our marriage with this woman [is] being deferred so long.’ A week later, the Governor gave instructions that the survey proceed, that Kingi be informed ‘indirectly, but not officially’ when it would start, that the surveyors be protected by an adequate military force, and that the senior military officer be authorised to declare martial law. Once the survey was complete, the military were to keep possession of the land to prevent any occupation. The Native Minister instructed that, were the survey to be interrupted, the surveyors were to retire, the military were to occupy the land, and the survey was to then be completed under military protection. The Crown agent had discretion as to when to pay the balance purchase moneys.

The Crown agent kept Kingi informed, seeking again that he disclose the pieces in which he was interested. Kingi responded, ‘I will not consent to divide the land, because my Father’s dying words, and instructions were, to hold it.’

There is no evidence that Kingi wanted war. The evidence is rather that, while the Crown prepared for military operations, Kingi attempted to avert any fighting. On 20 February, three surveyors sought to survey the external boundaries of the block, but some 60 to 80 of Kingi’s people, unarmed and mainly women, refused to let the survey proceed. Colonel Murray then sent an ultimatum:

William King, it has given me much pain to hear from Mr Parris that the Government surveyors sent down to survey the land purchased from Te Teira were stopped by your people. This is rebellion against the Queen. I am most anxious that no harm should come to any Maoris caused by your conduct; but I must tell you plainly that the Governor has ordered me to take possession of the land with the soldiers, and I must obey him if you continue in opposition. As I wish to keep everything peaceable between the Europeans and the natives, I will wait till 4 o’clock to-morrow afternoon, for your answer, whether I am to go or not.

Kingi replied:

Friend Colonel Murray, salutation to you in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . You say that we have been guilty of rebellion against the Queen, but we consider we have not, because the Governor has said he will not entertain offers of land which are disputed. The Governor has also said, that it is not right for one man to sell the land to the Europeans, but that all the people should consent. You are now disregarding the good law of the Governor, and adopting a bad law. This is my word to you. I have no desire for evil, but on the contrary, have great love for the Europeans and Maories. Listen; my love is this, you and Parris put a stop to your proceedings, that your love for the Europeans and the Maories may be true. I have heard that you are coming to Waitara with soldiers, and therefore I know that you are angry with me. Is this your love for me, to bring soldiers to Waitara? This is not love; it is anger. I do not wish for anger; all that I want is the land. All the Governors and the Europeans have heard my word, which is, that I will hold the land. That is all. Write to me. Peace be with you.

Colonel Murray then declared martial law. The Maori text of the proclamation read:

HE PANUITANGA. Na Te Kawana, Colonel Thomas Gore Browne, Tino Rangatira, aha, aha, na te Kawana o tenei Koroni o Niu Tireni tenei Panuitanga. Ko te mea, meake ka timata nga Hoia o Te Kuini ta ratou mahi ki nga Maori i Taranaki, e tutu ana, e whawhai ana ki to te Kuini mana – Na, ko ahau tenei ko Te Kawana, te panui te whakapuaki nui nei i tenei kupu, Ko te Ture whaw[h]ai kia puta inaianei ki Taranaki, hei Ture tuturu tae noa ki te wa ka panuitia te whakarerenga.

Of some interest is the use of ‘tino rangatira’ for ‘governor’, an awkward slip of the pen, because ‘tino rangatiratanga’ was precisely that which the Treaty of Waitangi had guaranteed to Maori.

The English translation of the operative clause was:

. . . Whereas Active Military operations are about to be undertaken by the Queen’s Force against Natives in the Province of Taranaki, in arms against Her Majesty’s Sovereign Authority, Now I, the Governor, do hereby PROCLAIM and DECLARE that MARTIAL LAW will be exercised throughout the said Province from publication hereof . . . until the relief of the said district from Martial Law by public Proclamation.

It should be noted that, as a matter of law, a formal proclamation of martial law is not necessary for the exercise of martial law powers. The exercise of power by the military may be undertaken whenever a state of war in fact exists. In this case, the proclamation has more the character of a notice of Crown attack. The statement that Maori were ‘in arms against Her Majesty’s Sovereign Authority’ is singularly unsupported by the evidence.

The Maori text, however, especially reads as a declaration of war. Maori were accustomed to settling the rules of war prior to battle, and ‘martial law’ had been rendered as ‘Ko te Ture whawhai kia puta inaianei ki Taranaki’, so that the document proclaimed ‘the law of fighting now introduced to Taranaki’. Indicative of Maori expectations was the consequential withdrawal of women and children from the disputed area.

A deed of purchase for the Pekapeka block was executed on 24 February with 20 Maori signatories of Te Teira’s family. It appears that, because no one else identified their ‘pieces’, Te Teira and the other signatories were accepted as owners of the whole. Boundaries were listed but no reserves were mentioned. A payment was made, the deed reciting the price as £600, and the Crown assumed that title had passed hands. Three years later, a new Governor was to admit the error, declaring the Government was unaware that Kingi was a part-owner and lived upon the land, but by then the war, which had lasted a year, had just been resumed. Te Teira was later to claim that full payment was never made and that reserves had been promised but not given.

The Governor arrived from Auckland with some 200 men of the 65th Regiment to reinforce the troops already there and the settler militia, who had been called to arms. He sought a conference with Kingi at New Plymouth and offered him safe conduct. Kingi proposed a council at Kaipakopako, midway between Waitara and New Plymouth, but the Governor regarded this as a subterfuge while Kingi waited for reinforcements and thus no meeting took place. The Governor, however, spoke to a gathering of Maori in New Plymouth, and in a mixture of blandishments and bluster, he told them that the Treaty of Waitangi secured their rights and property and assured them of the Queen’s disinterested love for them and of her power and many soldiers. He continued:

Yet William King presumes to say that he will not respect the Queen’s promise to her subjects. The Queen says each man shall keep his property if he pleases, and sell his property if he pleases. William King says, Teira shall not sell his property as he pleases. Is this wise? Is it right? . . . Teira’s title to the land is a good title, and William King and you all know that it is so . . . I desire peace and hate war. It is with William King to choose between peace and war. If he chooses war the blood will be required at his hands, and not at mine, and it is for him to consider the consequences while there is yet time.

The Governor then circulated a manifesto asserting the correctness of his position and that the mana of the land was not with Kingi, that Browne had accepted Te Teira’s title on the condition that it was undisputed, that an investigation showed it was ‘not disputed by anyone’, and that, since Te Teira had received payment, the land was now Crown land and Kingi would not be permitted to interfere with it.

3.7 WAR

On 4 March, the Governor instructed Colonel Gold, who was in command of the troops, to occupy the land. The approach was by sea. Some 400 men landed at Waitara the next day to fortify a position. The Governor then arrived with the blue jackets and marines to occupy what was described as ‘Kingi’s pa’ near the river mouth. On 6 March, it was discovered that Hapurona and others of Kingi’s supporters had thrown up a stockade. They were given 20 minutes to evacuate, which they did, and the pa was taken. That same day, Te Teira’s people destroyed Kingi’s pa at Kuhikuhi on the Pekapeka block.

The survey of the block began on 13 March and there was no resistance. On the night of 15 March, however, Kingi’s people constructed an L-shaped pa at Te Kohia, at the south-west extremity of the block, commanding the road access. On 16 March, they uprooted the surveyor’s boundary markers. On 17 March, Gold marched his troops to Te Kohia Pa and demanded that Kingi and his people surrender. When they refused to do so, the troops opened fire. The long war had begun. It was only 12 months after the new Governor had visited New Plymouth for the first time and promised those present that disputed lands would not be acquired.

Some 500 troops effected the artillery bombardment of Te Kohia Pa, but in the night the defenders quietly disappeared, without loss of life, and the next day all that was captured was an empty pa. If the Governor had anticipated a quick, decisive victory to bring Kingi to heel and to deter others from joining him, he had miscalculated. In Maori terms, however, the engagement had other significance. By Maori law, Kingi’s action was a necessary stratagem. Outnumbered and outgunned, he needed allies to fight from several places, but by Maori tikanga, support is not regularly available to an aggressor or to someone in the wrong. Te Kohia Pa, at the extremity of the disputed block and with a ready escape route by road and into the bush, had been hastily constructed with an apparent view to its abandonment if attacked. It appears to have had no other purpose than to evidence the Governor’s ‘wrong’.

Strangely, the Governor was sensitive to this tactic but still ordered an attack. This is apparent from an initial caution to Colonel Gold:

The first blood shed is a matter to which the natives attach great weight, and other tribes would join William King in a demand for utu if he could satisfy them that he had not been the first aggressor.

The aggressor having been identified in accordance with Kingi’s ploy, others were then free to launch reprisals under Maori utu laws. In a sense, they were obliged to. The popular rendition of utu as revenge is a misconception. Utu concerns the maintenance of balance as a mechanism for harmony and peace. This includes punishment for wrongdoing, which, to remove any connotation of revenge, was regularly exacted by other than those directly aggrieved and, for the same reason, was effected against other than the immediate offender. The strength of utu in personal affairs lay not in giving effect to it but in the certainty of it happening if a wrong were perpetrated. Accordingly, those who responded in this case were able to claim, in their terms, not only that they were justified in attacking but that they were obliged to do so, for by such means is tikanga, a proper line of action, maintained.

By this strategy, the war against Kingi became a Taranaki war and that was the more important factor in securing a measure of Maori success.

3.8 CONCLUSIONS

It is tempting to generalise matters to conclude that the war was a result of a desperate shortage of land for European settlement, as settlers were forever claiming. In reality, there was no shortage of land in Government hands in 1859. The most compelling evidence for saying so is the number of settlers the Government had to introduce later to fill the available territory. The Tarurutangi purchase, completed in January 1859, was made over for selection soon afterwards, and added some 14,000 acres for settlement. There was much other unoccupied Crown land nearer to New Plymouth. In comparison, the landholdings of many Maori hapu had been reduced to small reserves.

The causes of war are many. In this case, however, they point generally to the conclusion that the Governor started it. Most especially, he disregarded Maori law and authority. Contrary to Maori law, and in disregard for Maori authority, he presumed to buy from one group, though to do so would affect all and when, by their own collective process, not all affected had agreed. Maori law and authority with regard to the ownership and possession of land were Treaty guaranteed, and thus the Governor’s actions, which caused the war, were contrary to the Treaty.

The disregard of customary tenure, institutions, and process occurred despite the advice of the Board of Native Affairs. In that respect, the Governor’s actions were contrary not only to the Treaty but also to principles of law. That Maori ownership should be determined in accordance with Maori custom had been recognised by the New Zealand courts in a celebrated case of 1847, still quoted internationally in indigeneous rights fora, R v Symonds , with Chief Justice Martin presiding. It had been subsequently noted by the Board of Native Affairs. Commenting on the board’s review later, Martin noted:

Among the questions put by the Board to the witnesses was the following:

Has a native a strictly individual right to any particular portion of land, independent and clear of the tribal right over it?

This question was answered in the negative by 27 witnesses, including Mr Commissioner McLean; and by two only in the affirmative.

The determination of ownership in accordance with custom was further recognised in the Native Land Act 1862, even though that Act proceeded to change that tenure once ownership was ascertained. Previous Crown purchase policy had also recognised the same principle, though it was imperfectly observed. As for some recent statements of the same position, reference may be made to Justice Brennan in Mabo v Queensland No 2 :

Native title . . . has its origin in and is given its content by the traditional laws acknowledged by and the traditional customs observed by the indigenous inhabitants of a territory. The nature and incidents of native title must be ascertained as a matter of fact by reference to those laws and customs.

It is clear that at all material times the Governor was obliged to negotiate for Maori land on the basis of the incidents ordinarily accruing to native title, but he did not do so, despite being informed of them.

The matter was confused when officials debated whether Kingi had ‘a chiefly power of veto’. In our view, this was the wrong question. First, Kingi had an interest in possession and his consent was required in that capacity. Secondly, as a rangatira, Kingi was expressing not a personal veto but the majority view. The question was whether individuals could presume to alienate land or whether a collective decision was required, as expressed through the rangatira, which would bind individual members.

In this way, the ‘rangatiratanga’ guaranteed by the Treaty was very much in issue, because the question was one not of ownership but of the customary process for managing land and its disposal. We have no doubt of the appropriate custom law principle. Any disposition that could introduce outsiders to the community, as in this case, affected everyone, and accordingly a community decision, as expressed through the rangatira, was required. If there were two rangatira, no disposition could be made if they did not agree.

Consequently, Te Teira was acting contrary to custom law principle in selling a part when not all were agreed. We suspect he was using the novelty of a sale to make a new law and to claim at the same time that he held more mana than Kingi, in that Kingi could not stop him. Kingi, on the other hand, was asserting the customary value, in our opinion, and was acting strictly in accordance with Maori law.

For his part, the Governor was also creating a new law. He presumed to deal with individuals, when, by English law and the doctrine of aboriginal title, he was obliged to follow Maori law when buying land, which required that he deal with the collective interests through their representatives.

In any event, the land having been acquired unlawfully, that is, without proper regard for Maori custom as required by English law, the Governor’s violent seizure of the block was also unlawful.

With regard to the war itself, it is further apparent that Wiremu Kingi was unjustly attacked. We have obtained the opinion of a senior constitutional lawyer in the matter, and we concur with his view that the opening of the war at Waitara was represented in an unlawful attack by the armed forces of the Crown on Maori not at that time in rebellion and that there was no justification for the Governor’s use of force. We note further his view that, at the time, the Governor and certain officers were liable for criminal and civil charges for their actions.

The evidence for the view that the Governor was willing to go to war to settle the question of authority but that Maori were keen for peace is compelling. What was not apparent to the Governor, however, was that, in opposing Maori authority in this way, he was in ‘rebellion’ against the Queen’s word in the Treaty.

Given the background described, when the war began in the north, southern hapu had little practical option but to join in. The Governor’s policy and intention were clear. They would not be able to retain their own homes or the status to which they were entitled under his policy and laws, and had thus to defend their own positions once Kingi was attacked.

Support for these conclusions is to be found in independent opinions. The 1927 royal commission to inquire into the confiscations was emphatic in its views that Te Teira could not have sold without Kingi’s consent, that Maori had no alternative but to fight in self-defence, and that:

When martial law was proclaimed in Taranaki . . . Wiremu Kingi and his people were not in rebellion against the Queen’s sovereignty; and when they were driven from the land, their pas destroyed, their houses set fire to, and their cultivations laid waste they were not rebels, and they had not committed any crime.

The commission placed weight on the views of William Pember Reeves, who considered that the Waitara affair ‘would always remain for New Zealand a blunder worse than a crime’. More particularly, the commission stated:

The Natives were treated as rebels and war declared against them before they had engaged in rebellion of any kind, and in the circumstances they had no alternative but to fight in their own self-defence. In their eyes the fight was not against the Queen’s sovereignty, but a struggle for house and home . . . The government was wrong in declaring war against the Natives for the purpose of establishing the supposed rights of the Crown under that purchase.

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A Māori CoRE Funded: A Thank You To Our Supporters

Greetings,
On the 10th, 11th and 12th March this year I sent out some thoughts to be distributed ‘far and wide’ drawing to the world’s attention what I thought would be the impact on Māori research for Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga to lose it’s CoRE funding. Along with the concerns expressed by other Māori leaders, researchers and communities our emails and posts did indeed go far and wide eliciting strong reaction and mobilising an amazingly positive response both here at home in Aotearoa and from our colleagues around the world.

The combined, creative and powerful use of social media, hui, formal letters, discussions, meetings and high level advocacy, seasoned with an appropriate dose of cynicism and sprinkled with the occasional outbursts of outrage seemed to have focused the minds of those in Government. So, yesterday it was great to hear that the New Zealand Government’s Budget included funding of $5 million a year for a Māori Centre of Research Excellence. It was good to hear Dr Pita Sharples, the Minister of Māori Affairs talk about it this morning, as of all Ministers I am sure he understood how much it takes to build research capacity.

The Budget did not guarantee that this funding would be ring fenced for Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga but would instead be subject to a contestable process. Quite frankly, I see that as a massive win from what on the 11th March looked like certain doom. It is a win in a very specific space of research and today it gives me hope that Māori scholars will have opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills to meeting the knotty and wicked challenges of our times. The CoREs present but one pathway for research and in the scheme of things they are just one of the many ways that research is funded. I know we need to influence those other processes.

Today I might have a little rest and bask in some rare success. I even have warm and fuzzy feelings about our scholars of the past and am greatly relieved that our generation haven’t messed it up on our watch. Whew!

So, let me thank all of our indigenous and non-indigenous colleagues from around the world, many of whom wrote powerful letters of support. Many thanks to our Māori research communities who have stepped up to offer support and our Pākehā colleagues who have been steadfast behind the scenes. Thank you to our iwi leaders and organisations from whom we have received unequivocal support. I thank those in Government who influenced the budget and responded to our concerns. Tomorrow we start work again as there is much much more that needs to be done for our people.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Pro Vice Chancellor Māori
Dean of Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao The School of Māori and Pacific Development
The University of Waikato, Aotearoa

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Racism and Cultural Misappropriation

Over the past month I have been made aware of three clear acts of racist misappropriation of Native American imagery here in Aotearoa. This is not new, we know that, but it is rare to have so many examples here in such a short period of time. All of those actions were engaged directly and raised critical issues about the deep lack of understanding or awareness of the insidious nature of cultural misappropriation.

Around a month ago a Māori woman student indicated that the Waikato Law Students Association was have an event within which a section was themed ‘Cowboys and Indians’, after complaints this was changed to a theme that it is said related to the University colours ‘I See Red’ and explanation for the initial theme seems to never have been given. The question must be asked how a Law Students Association who should, theoretically at least, have some understanding of oppression and cultural misappropriation and commodification of Indigenous representation, can in 2014 be still advocating a theme of ‘Cowboys and Indians’.

Then over the last week one of the largest festivals in this country Rhythm and Vines promoted an poster of two young women with costume shop type ‘Native Headdresses’ as a part of promoting the festival. This quickly received a challenging response and within a day the festival organisers removed the image and apologised on twitter.
“We sincerely apologise for the image used and any offence this may have caused. The use of this image was inappropriate and has been removed,” Rhythm and Vines
The challenge to Rhythm and Vines saw a shift in thinking by the organisers and without doubt provided a learning to those involved in the promotion about the need to have more awareness about such issues. The quick removal of the image is a clear indication of that acknowledgement by the organisers and was affirmed by many as a result.
Some have commented that such responses are over the top or question how such actions can or are offensive. Put simply they are offensive because (i) they denigrate sacred symbols and sacred ways of being; (ii) they maintain colonial representations of Native Peoples as ‘savage’ (iii) they reproduce notions that Indigenous cultural symbols and taonga (our treasures) are open and available for anyone who desires them with little or no awareness of their significance. Those are three simple reasons for why such actions are offensive and there are many others.
http://www.bluecorncomics.com/wannabes.htm provides a wide range of analysis of the issue of cultural appropriation of Native American taonga and images and the increasing phenomena of ‘wannabes’ :
In Z Magazine, December 1990, Janet McCloud (Tulalip) explained the basic problem with wannabes:
First they came to take our land and water, then our fish and game….Now they want our religions as well. All of a sudden, we have a lot of unscrupulous idiots running around saying they’re medicine people. And they’ll sell you a sweat lodge ceremony for fifty bucks. It’s not only wrong, its obscene. Indians don’t sell their spirituality to anybody, for any price. This is just another in a very long series of thefts from Indian people and, in some ways, this is the worst one yet.
In his book Red Earth, White Lies, Vine Deloria, Jr. discussed why Americans wish they could be Indians:
They are discontented with their society, their government, their religion, and everything around them and nothing is more appealing than to cast aside all inhibitions and stride back into the wilderness, or at least a wilderness theme park, seeking the nobility of the wily savage who once physically fought civilization and now, symbolically at least, is prepared to do it again.
Critiques and challenges to such racist appropriation has been consistently voiced by Indigenous Peoples for generations however continued ignorance and cultural arrogance continues. This week Stephanie Key, the daughter of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, added her offensive imagery to the many other racist representations through her representation of a image described by the New Zealand Herald as follows:
“But already one of the pop-art style self-portraits — Key wearing an elaborate pink, feathered, war headdress, lacy pink knickers and a pink modesty star over her nipple — has been criticised for being culturally inappropriate.”
(http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/image.cfm?c_id=6&gallery_id=142933&gal_objectid=11252997#15108369)

A more appropriate description would be that Stephanie Key has indulged her white privilege with soft porn imagery that not only misappropriates Native American imagery and taonga but which demeans and defiles the sacredness of both the Headdress and the Pipe.
These representations and acts of misappropriation are grounded in colonial thinking of Native and Indigenous Peoples more broadly as the ‘savage’ other’. They are racist and ignorant. They highlight white privilege and the ongoing assumption that anything is available to their use and abuse. This is not art. This self indulgent white racist appropriation. The fact that it comes from such a privileged place such as the daughter of the Prime Minister of this country makes it more disgusting.

This is not the first time such arrogance has shown itself by children of white men in power. Christina Fallin, the daughter of the Governor of Oklahoma also used a Headdress to promote herself and her band. This was also responded to directly by a range of commentators. On the Native Appropriations site an open letter to Fallin was penned that informed her of the history of Oklahoma, where Andrew Jackson enforced the Indian Removal Act which brought about genocidal, ethnocidal actions against the Cherokee and many other Native nations around the country:
“Cause here’s the thing. There is nothing about this that is “innocent” or “respectful.”
Let me tell you a story. I’m a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Though I’ve never lived in Oklahoma, I have a lot of family there, and claim it as one of my “homes,” because that’s where my community is based. But here’s the thing: my tribe is not there by chance or by choice, my tribe, and the vast majority of the other Natives peoples in Oklahoma, are there by force and by trauma. In 1830, the US government and Andrew Jackson passed something called the “Indian Removal Act,” which resulted in the removal of thousands and thousands of Native peoples from their homelands in the southeast. You know where those Native peoples were forced to march? Oklahoma. Though it was referred to as “Indian Territory” then. So all that “Native American culture” you’ve been able to come in contact with? It’s thanks to violence, colonialism, and genocidal policies. It’s not an innocent cultural exchange.” (http://nativeappropriations.com/2014/03/dear-christina-fallin.html)

The decontextualisation racism against Indigenous Peoples is what enables such arrogant acts of cultural misappropriation. The removal of taonga, of sacred symbols, of Indigenous representation from an understanding of the historical and cultural context serves only to privilege those in power who believe they have a fundamental colonial white supremacist right to take from our people whatever and whenever they deemed necessary. The implications and the outcome of such colonial imperialist thinking is the ongoing perpetuation of racist oppressive acts against Indigenous Peoples.
“Notice the words I keep using here? Forcibly, stripped, prohibited, assimilated. This is not a happy history. This is a history marked by violence and by trauma. So while you may feel “eternally grateful” for your exposure to our cultures, you’re deliberately ignoring your own history if you think your donning of a headdress is “innocent.” Let’s fast forward to 2014. Now “tribal trends” are totally “in.” You can walk into any store in the mall and see “Native” imagery everywhere. As a Native person, when I look at them, I can’t help but remember the not-so-distant past when my people weren’t allowed, by law, to wear these things. It’s such a constant reminder of the colonial power structures still in place. Back in the day, white people had the power to take away our culture, and now they have the power to wear it however they see fit. These are our images, our cultural symbols, yet we are completely powerless to have control over them. It may seem extreme, but the best way I can say it is that your wearing of the headdress is an act of violence that continues the pain of colonization. “Please forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves with your beautiful things.” The privilege and violence of that statement astounds me. “Please forgive us if we innocently use your beautiful land,” “Please forgive us if we innocently educate your beautiful children,” “Please forgive us if we innocently sexualize your beautiful women.” These actions are not benign.” ((http://nativeappropriations.com/2014/03/dear-christina-fallin.html)

The online discussions provided on sites such as Native Appropriations provide much depth of analysis and are both challenging and informing. It is not difficult for anyone to access such critique if they chose to do so. Clearly those in such privileged positions such as Christina Fallin and Stephanie Key do not see that to be necessary. They clearly do not see that there is need for them to be informed about the cultures that they steal from or denigrate. Their positions of privilege assume a place of dominance for them over Indigenous cultures. So they appropriate and they abuse with no concern for the impact. And there is an impact. Racism has a devastating impact. Racism kills our spirit, our souls, our hearts. Racism also kills our friends, our families, our relations. The perpetuation of racist acts of misappropriation is one part of a wider system of ethnocide that impacts upon Indigenous Peoples minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day… and has so for generations.

For more information please read the following blogs and sites:

http://apihtawikosisan.com/hall-of-shame/an-open-letter-to-non-natives-in-headdresses/

http://nativeappropriations.com/2010/04/but-why-cant-i-wear-a-hipster-headdress.html

http://hipstersinheaddresses.tumblr.com/

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/may/18/native-americans-cultural-misappropriation

http://mycultureisnotatrend.tumblr.com/

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Limited Scope, Limited Vision, Limited Benefit: The Issue of CoRE Funding Decisions and the Marginalisation of Māori Research

This Blog from Associate Professor Leonie Pihama is a response to the announcement of  funding for six Centres of Research Excellence.

Today TEC announced the centres in the new round of Centre of Research Excellence that will be funded from the round initiated in 2013.

The six CoRE announced are:
The Maurice Wilkins Centre, Te Punaha Matatini – The Centre for Complex Systems, and Networks Medical Technologies CoRE, all hosted by the University of Auckland;
Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa, co-hosted by University of Otago and University of Auckland.
The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, hosted by Victoria University of Wellington,
The Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, hosted by University of Otago.

An interesting and sadly predictable line up. All the CoRE are Science, Biomedical or Clinical based centres. All but one of the CoRE are hosted by either the University of Auckland or the University of Otago. Both these universities also hold dominant positions in many of the upcoming National Science Challenges. A similar picture is being painted in the National Science Challenges with the University of Auckland and the University of Otago have assumed dominant positions in key health related challenges.

Even more significant was the axing of the funding to Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, the only multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary CoRE that provided consistent high quality research in regards to areas of concern to whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori concerns. One has to ask exactly where those concerns may be situated in these current CoRE. Well given the limited focus of each of the CoRE there is little likelihood of much benefit to Māori or to Māori research needs. I am not saying there will be no benefit, but I am saying that any benefit that may come to Māori, from the reductionist approach that clearly has determined what constitutes Research Excellence in this country, will be limited to biomedical or clinical fields. Inside those fields there are significant issues. For example it is clear that in the clinical developments we are more likely to be the ‘tissue samples’ and the ‘objects’ of the research than we will be the beneficiaries. What is also clear is that Māori will not be in control, will not define and will not have any ability to protect ourselves as this current obsession with a reductionist approach to issues in the health sector.

We have to ask why exactly do we need 6 CoRE all focused in these limited areas and hosted primarily by 2 Universities? Why do we need so many CoRE in such limited areas of research? Who determines what research is valuable? Who determined that Māori research has no value or contribution to make in the CoRE arena? Why are the fields funded determined to be more important than the lived social issues that currently face this country?

The absolute denial of Māori research interests, of Māori research needs and aspirations. The total invisibility of Kaupapa Māori, of social sciences, of research areas that provide for engaging with real lived social issues is appalling. Critical issues that face Māori and many other New Zealanders are clearly of no importance in the decision making in regards to these CoRE, Much the same can be said of the National Science Challenges. The obsession that all these initiatives be led by science and scientists (excluding Māori or critical social sciences of course!) mean that this government is committing over $1billion to a privilege select group of researchers. As a part of the decision today there has been comment by the two most awarded host Institutions:

“Auckland University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said hosting four CoREs was an “outstanding result” for the university.
“The CoREs are testament to the breadth and depth of research capability at the University of Auckland, and our involvement means we will be contributing to all six of the National Centres of Research Excellence.”
Professor Harlene Hayne, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago, saying the new CoREs were a “clear indication” of the university’s research standing.”

What these comments lead us to believe is that the meritocratic myth is alive and well. The meritocratic myth tells us:
Ability + Effort = Merit

Clearly the two universities believe that being awarded the CoRE’s is a merit result from their ability and effort. Where there are clearly highly skilled and excellent researchers involved in these CoRE there are also a range of broader factors that contribute to this decision including such factors as:
1. the focus for selection was clearly limited to the areas of research specialty they are involved in which is highlighted by the limited areas of focus for the 6 CoRE
2. Institutional racism means that there were no Māori on the panels and therefore there was no actual peer decision making in regards to Māori CoRE proposals
3. The marginalisation of Māori knowledge means that the policy of Vision Matauranga Māori is not scored and there were no panel members capable of assessing Vision Matauranga Māori
4. There is no investment in areas of Kaupapa Māori
5. There is no investment in areas of social science or broader societal issues

The list could go on. The point being that this decision is not solely about having proven research excellence or ‘research standing’, as there are key points that indicate that this process and decision making were predetermined by a whole range of beliefs and assumptions around what knowledge is considered important and what knowledge and research investigation would be privileged and prioritised.

This process and these decisions are appalling and reek of racist and neoliberal determinations of what constitutes research, what knowledge is privileged and what researchers interests are served by such decision-making. We should not accept that there are only fundamentally two areas that deserve research support which are basically (1) the biomedical/clinical fields and (2) the development of new technologies. Māori should not accept this. Wider New Zealand society should not accept this. This decision and the current approach to the National Science Challenges must be directly challenged. There are many critical issues facing this country and to be enabling of a narrow research agenda and supporting only a very select privileged group of researchers is the worst reflection of the impact of what is a neoliberal conservative approach to research in Aotearoa.

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Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga: Issues with the Centre of Research Excellence Fund Round and Process 2013-14

Tena koutou,

This blog has been developed by Te Wharepora Hou to provide an overview of issues directly related to the TEC and Royal Society Centre of Research Excellence Fund Round and Process 2013-14.  We have brought together information from a range of sources and added some recommendations to associated Ministers.  We encourage readers to adapt this information and that from previous blogs by Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith and to write directly to Ministers calling for intervention. 

Some Key points on The Process

Peer Review

The application by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga was not assessed by its peers.  There were no Māori on the panel.  There were no members of the panel knowledgeable of tikanga Māori, te reo Māori or matauranga Māori.  There were no members of the panel knowledgeable of Kaupapa Māori and Māori research approaches.   There were no members of the panel who had connections to whānau, hapū, iwi or Māori organisations and broader communities who are the direct stakeholders of the work undertaken by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga.

Panel members not named till after shortlist notification

Royal Society was asked and  they advised that Selection Panel members were not going to be named.  Panel members were then identified on Royal Society website during week commencing 3 March (shortlist notified 1 March). Why were they not named prior to this? And why were Nga Pae advised they will not be and then they were named publically on the Royal Society’s website?

Positive International/National Reviews

Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga received three positive international and national reviews; one at least could be described as glowing. There was little to rebut. It is questionable as to whether these reviews given the level of significance that they should have, particularly given the inability of the panel to assess Māori research.

The role of Royal Society 

Here is a quote from the CoRE funding round guidelines[1]:

It is not the role of the Royal Society of New Zealand to make funding decisions. Rather, their role is one of facilitation and “guardianship” of the assessment process, ensuring that the process is credible and defensible. To achieve this, staff will: organise all logistical aspects of the process;

  • assist the Chair of the CoREs Advisory Committee in determining realistic timetables for meetings and visits;
  • record decisions and collate feedback for applicants;
  • record any conflicts of interest and actions taken; and
  • forward the final recommendations to the Tertiary Education Commission.

It is possible that the TEC did not see that an opportunity had been given to the Royal Society to make what effectively amounts to a funding decision. Nor that Royal Society expected this.  However, by not shortlisting have they made a funding decision?

Secondly, perhaps they did not see that the Royal Society could make a decision of this magnitude (not to fund 4 existing CoREs) without involving the funder, namely the TEC.

No indication in 2012/13 from TEC officials that fundamental change is required

Throughout the rebid process,  Nga Pae received consistent messages from Tertiary Education Commission officials that the Minister was “generally satisfied with the CoREs” and was not seeking major changes to them.  Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga were lead to believe that the Minister was seeking greater yields of value and productivity from them rather than fundamental change. The fact that four CoREs will not be funded is a decision of extraordinary magnitude and entirely contrary to the tenor of the discussions had with TEC officials.

Was it planned to consider existing CoREs in a different way?

The CoRE guidelines state:

Recommendations to the TEC :

As part of the Government’s commitment to supporting collaborative research the CoREs Fund was increased by 10%, bringing the total annual fund to just under $35 million. The 2013/14 CoREs selection round is for operating funding only, and is a fully contestable round.

The CoREs Advisory Committee will recommend to the TEC which proposals it considers should be funded, and the level of funding to award. The TEC Board will make the final decisions and report back to Cabinet after the selection round in 2014 to seek agreement for further operating appropriations for the Centres of Research Excellence, including disinvestment decisions if relevant, prior to announcing the outcomes of the selection round to the sector.

Perhaps there was some expectation that current CoREs would be considered somewhat differently.  Or at least get short listed and their outcome included in the final decision for TEC Board ultimate decision and consultation with Cabinet regarding funding or wind down funds if any. This highlights the issue without considering context and significance of this decision – particularly for Maori and Maori research. Note that TEC has not advised CoREs not short listed, now known to have their funding cease at the end of 2015 whether there is a wind down period or any requirements.  Suggesting it is unplanned/unknown at present.

Timeframe

CoREs were advised initially and formally (to be confirmed communication and medium) from TEC that the CoRE rebid submission process would be from September 2013- March/April 2014 (EOI to full proposal submission).  A decision was then made and concern create that the timeframe then changed to 6 December 2013 for full final proposals – this changing everyone’s strategies and plans.  The reason one understood to be the Minister wishing to make an announcement in June 2014 and prior to election along with other science investments.

This reduced timeframe, took CoREs by some surprise.  Ngā Pae had and has a very busy and full contract, annual programme and thus has to deliver current contracted and planned requirements while submit a proposal under a new tight timeframe.  Did the change in timeframe adversely affect the CoREs, the process and research excellence required and expected?  Ngā Pae missed out, other CoREs did.  What is the quality of those that remain?

The timeframe also pushed the Advisory Committees meetings and decision – there was very short turn around for review and consideration of documents then discussion of these documents and recommendations prior to having to announce the short list (those for site visit).  Was there adequate time to do justice to the process, the applications and consider the right decisions for CoREs in NZ?

Some Additional Questions

  • Short list number – why are there so few applications shortlisted?

Only 8 proposals were short-listed by the Royal Society’s Advisory Committe, yet it was indicated in the guidelines that 10-12 would be short-listed.

It is noted by the Advisory Committee guidelines for CoREs Fund 2013/14, dated October 2013.

“The purpose of this meeting is to review the ~15 applications on the long list provided by the Selection Panels and to generate a short list ~10-12 proposed CoREs for the Advisory Committee to a site visit.” (pg 8)

http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/media/20131021_CoREs_AC_Guidelines.pdf

They do also suggest that only proposals demonstrating research excellence will go forward to the 3rd phase.

 “Research excellence is a first priority; applications will be considered against this criterion and only go forward in the assessment if they meet the threshold for excellence.”  (ibid: pg 2)

It must be asked how research excellence is determined when dealing with ‘new’ CoRE applications  that have not established themselves within this context.

Why did the committee not visit Current CoREs?

Given the significance of the decision not to short list current CoREs, therefore have a site visit and not fund them further, jeopardizing their future and ceasing them as CoREs, why did current CoREs not get a site visit?  This means a decision to terminate 4 CoREs was made, perhaps without consideration of the context, lost investment, potential and huge effort to build and develop the collaborations and processes to get the significant outputs and outcomes the CoREs provide.  The decision was made solely on paper, one written proposal – which was under time pressure and some false understanding of performing well and no major changes expected/wanted.

The Royal Society Advisory Committee guidelines for CoREs Fund 2013/14 state:

March Site Visits

Following the February meeting, the Advisory Committee will conduct site visits to each host institution of the short listed proposed CoREs. These site visits will allow members of the Advisory Committee to ask further questions and raise issues that are not readily addressed in the written proposal. The visits also allow the Committee to assess the suitability of the host organisation’s provision of facilities, and to observe interactions between representatives of both host and partner organisations. Each site visit is anticipated to last for approximately half a day.

This appears to recognise the significance of further questions and information to address matters not included or requested in the application/written proposal.  Thus enabling questions of performance, how issues raised in assessment are addressed or even understood to ensure the correct and robust decision.

Given these are Centres of Research Excellence for Aotearoa, Why does the Scoring criteria include the ability to be funded by an international agency?

It is noted that grading will include if the CoRE would be funded by an International funder. This grading process denies the specific nature of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga as being a distinctive and unique CoRE that is grounded within Māori research approaches, methodologies and methods.  These are not elements that are understood fully by an assessing panel that has no experience or knowledge of Kaupapa Māori or Māori research approaches.

The Grading system is noted as follows:

Please see page 4 at: http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/media/20131209_CoREs_referee_guidelines.pdf

Grading System (Section 2; confidential)

In Section 2 of the report, please provide two grades. This section consists of radio buttons on the online portal. Note that the grades will not be made available to applicants, which is why this scale is included in “confidential” information in Section 2.

Grade A is an overall grade for the proposed research of the CoRE (the first criterion given above).

Please use the following scale:

Grade 1: Outstanding (almost certain to be funded by any international agency)

Grade 2: Excellent (very likely to be funded by any international agency)

Grade 3: Well above average (worthy of funding)

Grade 4: Average (to be funded only if money permits as contains minor flaws)

Grade 5: Below average (unlikely to be funded as contains moderate flaws)

Grade 6: Well below average (would not be funded as contains serious flaws)

Some additional points:

Performance of CoREs

A recent review of current CoREs, highlighted the performance to TEC’s standards.  TEC notes on its website:

Review of CoREs Funding

In 2012 and 2013, the Ministry of Education carried out a review of the CoREs Fund.

The review found that the CoREs policy supports high-quality research in a tertiary context, with positive social and economic benefits to New Zealand.

As a result of the review, a new performance monitoring framework is being developed by the Ministry and the TEC to show the contribution CoREs are making. The framework will provide for how the TEC will monitor each CoRE’s commitments.

More information about the review’s findings can be found at the Ministry of Education’s website.

Funding round advice

TEC also notes on their website:

Funding round : 2013/14 selection round

As part of its commitment to supporting collaborative research, the Government is holding a selection round for CoREs in 2013/14. The 2013 Budget allocation increased the fund by 10%, bringing the total amount of annual funding to just under $35 million. The CoREs funding is for operational costs and operational expenditure only.

The TEC has contracted the Royal Society of New Zealand to establish the necessary processes to provide the TEC with recommendations for funding future CoREs. The Royal Society of New Zealand provided similar support in previous CoREs selection rounds, and is recognised for its independence and understanding of research provision.

The above again highlights, as the Royal Society guidelines did, that the role of the Royal Society was to make recommendations to TEC, not funding decisions.  The non inclusion of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga in the final round is effective a funding decision.

A note to TEC and Minister Joyce, Minister Sharples and Minister English

There is clear evidence that the process undertaken in the selection of the CoRE applications to move in to the final round and to be considered for funding has been flawed from the beginning.

Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga has not been assessed by its peers.

Other CoRE have had specialists from their disciplines and research areas on the assessment panels.  Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga did not have specialist Māori researchers, whānau, hapū, iwi or Māori research development networks on the panel.   This is sufficient to order a judical review.  However, we submit that Ministers can intervene in ways that enable these issues to be addressed.

We submit to Ministers that:

  1. Intervene and move to have the Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga decision revisited with reinstatement into the final round.
  2. Ministers provide a clear Treaty partnership model through the funding of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga in this CoRE round to enable Māori development initiatives to continue to develop
  3. Ministers provide within the next five period of CoRE Funding an additional stable, secure financial and resourcing provision for the entrenchment of a National Māori Research Institute that is hosted collaboratively by Māori member entities and which will consolidate the work done by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga

[1]See file ‘20131021_CoREs_SP_Guidelines’

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