(Original article posted Dec 2010, updated Jan 2012)
How can we help push a constitutional review towards this vision?
We hope whānau will have a say in what rules and guidelines this country should be governed by. We urge people to find out what the current constitutional review process is all about.
Te Wharepora Hou would like to offer the following information to start kōrero among whānau.
What is a ‘constitutional review’ and why should I care?
Starting in 2011, the government will take a step back and look at the ‘bigger picture’ of how we run this whole country. This is the ‘constitutional review’ that you will hear about.
This could be very important for Māori, but it certainly won’t fix everything. The government’s laws and policies have always impacted on our right to live as Māori. Politics affect our day to day living; what education our tamariki can receive, what sort of healthcare is available, whether your whānau still own your tūpuna land, what support is available for you when you are jobless and homeless or struggling to access basic needs, whether your land will be mined or fracked, whether your seas will be drilled for oil and many many more situations in life. As Māori, political power has often played a big part in our right to our identity and our unique place as Tangata Whenua of Aotearoa.
What do we have currently?
At the moment we do not have a single document that is ‘our Constitution’. We have a collection of different documents and laws that guide how we make laws and policies. The Treaty of Waitangi is considered to be one of those documents. This review will consider the place of the Treaty of Waitangi. The review may have an impact on how we assert ourselves as the Tangata Whenua of this land.
What is at stake?
Together as Māori we could seize this opportunity to design a set of rules according to tikanga and kawa. Our collective wisdom could offer an improved system of political power. Positive change for whānau is good for the future of all New Zealanders.
Who should keep me informed?
The government have called for this review. There is a government panel who will lead the public discussion. They are called the Constitutional Review Panel.
There is also an iwi group lead by iwi representatives Moana Jackson and Margaret Mutu. They are called the Constitutional Transformation Working Group.
How can I take part?
Both the government panel and the iwi group will be asking for your whakaaro and ideas. There will be hui held around the country in 2012.
It is important that whānau understand that this korero is not just for academics, lawyers, politicians and iwi leaders. As Māori, we have a right and also a responsibility to have our say. Our experiences in our every day lives and our ideas for how to improve our right to live as Māori is the information that we should be asking the government to value.
Your iwi are not the only way to have a say, make sure you know how to be involved no matter where you live or who you are connected to.
Who is putting out this article?
Te Wharepora Hou is a collective of wāhine who are mainly Tamaki 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 all those who are too often silenced. We are concerned primarily with the wellbeing of whānau, hapū, iwi and all that pertains to Papatūānuku and the sustenance of our people.
We want to ensure that whānau are well informed of important issues so you could contact us if you would like further information.
Te Wharepora Hou
021 025 88302