An Open Letter To Occupiers of Mother Earth

Dr Leonie Pihama


E ngā reo, e ngā karanga, e ngā whanaunga, e ngā iwi o te ao. Tēnā koutou katoa. Ko Te Wharepora Hou tēnei e mihi atu ana ki a koutou katoa. E tika ana me mihi ki a rātou mā kua wehe atu ki tua o te arai, haere haere haere, moe mai ra. Ka huri ki a tātou te hunga ora. Tēnā tātou.
He karanga tēnei ki ngā iwi e noho porotehe ana kite ao. He inoi hoki tēnei ki ngā kaiporotehe kia tautoko i ngā iwi taketake o te ao me o mātou whawhai mo te tino rangatiratanga. No reira, tēnā koutou tēnā koutou tēnā tātou katoa.

As the anti-capitalist movement builds the many ‘Occupy’ actions grow in number and intensity around the world. On this day, October 15th, we celebrate that non-Indigenous populations have begun to ‘see’ what Indigenous Nations have known for many hundreds of years; that the western capitalist structure is not only corrupt but is grounded in a colonial imperialism. This imperialism has at its roots the oppression and genocide of Native Peoples around the world.

In supporting the call for the dismantling of capitalist and corporate greed we, Te Wharepora Hou, call for the dismantling of colonial imperialism that imposes injustice and ethnocidal actions on our people in Aotearoa. There has been some debate on sites around the world as to the ‘intent’, ‘aims’ and ‘goals’ of the Occupy movement. Here in Aotearoa many articulate those as a ‘99%’ movement, that we are all in this movement together, that we challenge the privilege and greed of the ‘1%’ . The groups “Anonymous” and “Occupy” articulate their voice for ‘the’ 99%. We support this movement of the people. But the movement must not continue to reproduce the oppression of Indigenous Peoples. It must instead embrace the experiences of those that have been occupied for many generations and who have fought against colonial oppression. The greed of capitalism is the greed of colonialism. The benefits of those who accumulate wealth far in excess of their needs whilst many of our people live in abject poverty is fundamental to that system. Capitalism and colonial imperialism are ‘brothers in arms’. They feed each others greed. They support each others destruction of Papatūānuku, this great Grandmother Earth.

Te Wharepora Hou call to all Occupy groups in Aotearoa to know and affirm the tribal lands upon which they protest. To contact hapū and iwi directly. To provide support to those hapū and iwi that struggle with this system for the acknowledgement of past and ongoing injustices. To support hapū and iwi in the return of stolen lands, or stolen language. To support the call for Tino Rangatiratanga, for honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi. To remember the past. To remember the injustices that were imposed by exactly the colonial capitalist corporate oppressive system that Occupy movements protest against.

Aotearoa will never be free of this system until past injustices are addressed.  To achieve a great future that honours the 99% fully must begin by redressing the acts of injustice upon which this system is based.  For some in the Occupy movement this has been referred to as divisive.  It is not.  If foundations for movements are not set from a solid and just foundation then they will flounder and will never be sustainable on this land.  To achieve justice for Indigenous Nations is to achieve justice for all. This is the call.  This is the vision.  This is what is needed for the 99% to achieve justice.  This is what Te Wharepora Hou support.

What a real revolution would look like!

Marama Davidson

Around the world many are rising against oppressive neo-liberal policies that benefit only 1% of all people. An “occupation” on Wall Street in New York has inspired other cities and countries to take action against this repression. A slogan borne from this protest has been”We are the 99%”. Aotearoa (New Zealand) now joins this movement in solidarity.

This is what I wish our country would say.

“We are with you now Tangata Whenua (People of the Land). We are now ALL fighting what you have been fighting since we arrived on your shores. We join with you to say that this system does not treat people or the earth kindly. We echo your call that this way of treading on people is not of Aotearoa. It is not our way. We stand in solidarity with the world against a regime where only  1% are the lucky ones. We are 85% who realise that we must join with indigenous people who have long fought these issues. Then our number will truly reflect 99%. We remember that your responsibility as guardians of these lands was stripped from you under this system we now oppose. We acknowledge that to this day you fight for the status of authority and caretaker that you lost on your lands of ancestral origin. We ask for your blessing that we may all become better caretakers together. We understand we can only gain STRENGTH from standing with you, from the outset. We realise that we will ALL benefit when we collectively affirm your unique responsibility as hosts of this land. We understand that we need not fear your voice anymore.  We are with you now Tangata Whenua. Let us fight this fight together.”

Marama Davidson (Te Rarawa, Ngaapuhi, Ngaatiporou)