09 Dec 2010
A group of Maori women urge government to adopt the recommendations outlined in the alternative welfare report launched today.
Te Wharepora Hou, a mainly Auckland based group, agrees with the findings of the report “Welfare Justice for All”. The report, released today by the Alternative Welfare Working Group, concludes that “there is no immediate crisis in New Zealand’s social welfare system”.
Te Wharepora Hou says that Maori women and children will be disproportionately affected if Government instead adopts the recommendations proposed by the official Government appointed Welfare Working Group. Te Wharepora Hou urges the Government to abandon its policies of benign neglect.
Te Wharepora Hou maintains that the Government group continues to stigmatise and punish beneficiaries. Spokesperson Marama Davidson says “Successive government policies have failed to address and have contributed to growing inequalities. The Government group report is an abdication of State responsibility that places the blame on beneficiaries who are living the consequences of wider societal problems.”
Te Wharepora Hou asks Social Development Minister Paula Bennett to explain how the adoption of the Government group recommendations will enhance the care and protection of the vulnerable when its core aim is to further reduce the safety net of the welfare system?
Te Wharepora Hou urges the Government to instead work with the informed analysis of the Alternative Welfare Working Group report. It urges the Government to outline its job creation policies and commitment to reducing inequalities, especially for Maori women, before the next election.
CONTACT: Marama Davidson
PHONE: [021 025 88302]
10 December 2010
Three wahine Maori , Robyn Winther, Huia Tamaka and Billy Taylor fighting Housing NZ attempts to evict them from their homes because of their gang connections. They have had their appeal dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
This has been a long and arduous fight through the court system. Te Wharepora Hou would like to congratulate these women for their tenacity & strength in fighting these evictions all the way to the Court of Appeal.
Attacks on the civil rights of ‘gang’ members & their so called ‘associates’ are thinly veiled attacks on flax roots Maori.
Housing New Zealand is a public body. The Bill of Rights applies to every decision it makes. The right to housing is a basic human right. These wahine have fought for shelter for themselves and their tamariki. Housing New Zealand has no right to trample over the freedom of expression and freedom of association of these women and the 13 tamariki that they care for between them.
We are witnessing the abandonment by the government of any responsibility for people’s welfare. The treatment of these women looks like another step towards the future privatisation of HNZ.
Huia Tamaka, 33, said today she was trying to keep her spirits up for her six children.
“I’m a bit shattered. It’s so unfair. I haven’t done anything wrong. [HNZ] know no-one’s going to house us after this. I’ve got nowhere else to go, so it’s to the bitter end for me. I can’t give in, I’ve got the kids to think of.”
After hearing the ruling yesterday the three women vowed to fight on.
Te Wharepora Hou wishes to give them and their tamariki our unqualified support
06 December 2010
Te Wharepora Hou, a group of Maori women based in Auckland, supports civil society groups from Australia and New Zealand in opposing the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
As wahine Maori, our long and deeply-held traditional values and understandings of collectivity, of manaakitanga, of kaitiakitanga (Caring for Earth Mother), for Tangaroa (god of the sea) and for their children, is in direct opposition to what is being proposed in the TPPA. The New Zealand government has a responsibility to ensure Tangata Whenua have a voice in these negotiations as part of our Treaty partnership and our rights as Indigenous peoples.
The TPPA represents a significant and disruptive challenge to Maori.
Similar free trade agreements have had devastating impacts on the lives of Indigenous peoples around the world. These agreements have by-passed indigenous involvement at any level. The lack of consultation with Tangata Whenua also contravenes the rights in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is more neoliberal economic restructuring. Maori and Pacific Island communities have already borne the brunt of such policies from the 1980’s and 1990’s.
The TPPA will intensify and increase these negative economic impacts in our communities. Such programmes around the world have successfully extinguished Indigenous rights to lands and resources.
The selling off of our mokopuna and their future must stop.
You can download a fact sheet “Maori, Treaty and the TPPA” here:
Helen Te Hira
Wed 01 December 2010
“We must fight for a better role in ensuring the wellbeing of our people!”
A newly formed Maori women’s collective is also calling for better representation of wahine across leadership forums. The Auckland based group “Te Wharepora Hou” also has national and international links.
The group says Maori women have been “shut out” of key decisions by the Government and the Iwi Leadership Group. They say that current cultural and Government processes are being used to “silence wahine” and must stop.
The group notes that many recent Government, political and Treaty processes and decisions have far-reaching consequences. They say these decisions are being driven almost solely by political and financial incentives rather than the needs of whanau, whenua, hapu and future generations.
In its inaugural November hui in Grey Lynn, the historical location of early activist meetings in the 1980s, the group acknowledged Maori women as “one of the most vulnerable groups whose indigenous and human rights are far too often not realised”.
Te Wharepora Hou is a platform for Auckland wahine to plan local action to complement national activities. The group’s focus is on political activism and social justice focusing on immediate issues.
They echo the challenge highlighted just this week by the newly formed national organisation of Maori women, Te Whaainga Wahine.
Phone 021 025 71789
Phone 027 222 7507
Letter sent to Bill English, Pita Sharples and Iwi Chairs Forum
Te Wharepora Hou is a collective of wāhine who are mainly Tāmaki Makaurau based, but we have strong participation from wāhine based elsewhere in Aotearoa and the world. We have come together to ensure a stronger voice for wāhine and are concerned primarily with the wellbeing of whānau, hapū, iwi and all that pertains to Papatūānuku and the sustenance of our people.
We would like to flag our early interest in the upcoming constitutional review. Our main concern is for the representation of all Māori in this process. We anticipate that there will be ample discussion with Crown defined iwi ‘leadership’ and wish to ensure that engagement with Māori is not limited or restricted.
Our concern is that grassroots whānau and particularly wahine are often marginalised in these processes. The Crown has continued to seek the option of attempting to speak with only a very small group of iwi representatives. We wish to ensure that all Māori, and wāhine in particular, are given profound opportunity to have their ideas well represented and valued in this process. Currently we have little confidence in this happening as Māori women and flax-roots are often denied a central voice in negotiations.
We represent only our group of wāhine who are involved in Te Wharepora Hou activities, but we flag that a forum be made for wāhine to participate at all different levels and using meaningful approaches. We ask that particular consideration be given to stimulate debate with those groups of Māori that are least unlikely to engage with such processes. We ourselves will be developing resources for flax-roots dissemination to encourage participation in the discussions. We believe that constitutional change is essential for the wellbeing of all that live in Aotearoa.
We will be watching and monitoring this process with the utmost commitment and interest and look forward to an acknowledgement of this letter. Thank you for your time.
Te Wharepora Hou
021 025 88302