06 September 2011
Auckland based Maori women’s group Te Wharepora Hou regret the media polarising of the issues that Professor Margaret Mutu is bringing to the fore. They agree that sharp analysis and critique is required following the recent release of the Department of Labour’s report on ethnic perceptions.
Spokesperson Mera Penehira says “The call to have Professor Mutu sacked from her position at Auckland university is ludicrous. She has a role as an academic to bring about informed and critical thinking into this important and timely conversation about immigration and racism in Aotearoa.”
The group support the call for a more in depth focus on how racism is manifested throughout the political systems, institutions and communities of Aotearoa New Zealand. Te Wharepora Hou suggests that the recently formed constitutional review panel and review process should be a clear opportunity for New Zealanders to discuss these issues.
“We would welcome the opportunity to talk further about the issues of immigration and racism. Māori women are often excluded from having a voice yet we know that many solutions and pathways forward reside among the hearts and minds of these women in our Māori communities. Professor Mutu has suggested the Treaty of Waitangi as a good starting point and we agree. These are the sorts of things the review panel need to be brave enough to address when they come to our people.” says Mera Penehira.
Te Wharepora Hou wants to ensure a stronger voice for wāhine and is concerned primarily with the wellbeing of whānau, hapū, iwi (family and community). The group well understands the multiple effects of racism particularly on Māori women and families. Te Wharepora Hou urges New Zealanders to be astute at a time when the whole world is watching us, stating, “we need to acknowledge racism and participate in constructive debates to develop solutions.”
Mera Penehira – 021 478 194