Iwi and asset sales – taihoa!

Rotokākahi (Green Lake) – Te Arawa


Whānau Māori – we have the potential power to stop the asset sales from happening. But we need to act now!


Government asset sales cannot go ahead yet because of our water rights.

The Waitangi Tribunal says that the Government must halt its asset sales programme until water rights can be sorted out. This is annoying for the Government because they want to get the asset sales programme off the ground now.


Government now need the approval of Iwi.
To quickly sort out water rights the Government may approach certain Iwi with a deal. Iwi with water interests that our Government are likely to approach include Waikato, Tūwharetoa/Te Arawa and Ngāi Tahu. But decisions made by any one Iwi will impact on all other Iwi and hapū.


The Government wants to move fast.
In exchange for letting the asset sales go through, those Iwi may be offered cash and/or shares following any asset sale.



These are the things for whānau and hapū to consider:

  • That we have the responsibility to protect and sustain our environment.
  • That no one can own water (least of all the government) but we as hapū declare our responsibility to be kaitiaki.
  • That the importance and value of water is far beyond any cash or share value.
  • That Iwi representatives do not make decisions until whānau and hapū are clear what any deal might involve.
  • That it is local hapū who are the custodians of rivers, springs, lakes and wetlands. Hapū should make the decisions.
  • That we reject any timeframe or process that does not allow all of the above.


We need to do the following in the first week of September 2012:

1. Contact your Iwi representatives as soon as possible to ask what their plans are with any potential deals.

2. Get this message out to all whānau and raise it wherever you can. Use social media, ask to speak on your local Iwi radio stations, raise it at any other hui.

3. Show up in force to any ‘consultation’ hui and ask all the questions so we are absolutely clear what is being given up and what is being gained in any deal.

Iwi contact details:

Whānau can email any of the authorities below and ask them to forward this question directly to the Iwi representative.

“What are the plans for involving whānau and hapū in any deals around water rights and asset sales?”

Te Arawa Lakes Trust – http://www.tearawa.iwi.nz/contact

Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust  – info@tst.maori.nz

Te Rūnanga O Ngāi Tahu – info@ngaitahu.iwi.nz


Waikato River Authority – enquiries@waikatoriver.org.nz

 Kia ora whānau

From Te Wharepora Hou

Marama Davidson

021 025 88302

Marriage Equality : First Reading

Dr Leonie Pihama

Today marks the first reading of the Marriage Equality Bill sponsored by Louisa Wall.  The Bill was drawn from the Ballot on July 26th and since that time there has been increasing debate and discussion around the fundamental question of what constitutes marriage.  As a Māori lesbian woman with six (well grounded and secure!) children the question is very simple and has been articulated with both strength and dignity by Louisa and those who are a part of the conversation promoting the Bill. It is about peoples fundamental right to marry, to commit to a lifelong relationship and to have their relationship acknowledged in all levels of society.  All people have that right. It is not only a right for straight people no matter what fundamentalist and other social conservatives seem to want us to believe.

The ‘marriage is between a man and a woman’ platform is extremely weak but continues to be the dominant (oppressive) argument in opposition.  There are some vague references to the undermining of family values, the negative impact on children and the potential for Gay and Lesbian marriage equality to somehow bring an end to marriage ‘as we know it’ – by which I am assuming they are referring to the oppressive definition of marriage.

Of course, any thinking person would know that there are basic flaws in such assertions.  Firstly nuclear colonial family values are not the values of all. The imposition of the nuclear family model was instrumental in colonial oppression  and the creation of a context whereby oppressive gender relationships reigned. If those are the values that this country is meant to adhere to then we are in serious trouble.  If we are talking about family values that are about extended and collective care for each other, about being supportive of relationships and providing manaaki for those around us within our whānau, then critical to that care and manaaki is an acknowledgement of all relationship forms.

Secondly, there is no legitimate evidence of negative impact on children born and raised with Gay and Lesbian parents. In fact the evidence shows the complete opposite.  What counts in the raising of  children to be well-rounded, secure, honest and good people, is a context that is loving and supportive and truthful.  Those values are not the domain of any group,  irrespective of sexuality or family type.

And thirdly, I have been amazed at the power that those in opposition to the Bill seem to give Gay, Lesbian, Takatapui people.  That we are all powerful in our ability to destroy an institution that has been a part of western culture for thousands of years. And yes, I do say western culture, as the notion of marriage is not the same across cultures. In Te Ao Māori we had particular ways of acknowledging and legitimating relationships with our whānau, hapū and iwi – and yes, before anyone jumps too quickly –  we have always had takatapui and Gay and Lesbian and Bisexual relationships with the Māori world.  The context that we find ourselves in at this point in time is that the construction of marriage within a legal system is the means by which relationships in this country are now legitimated fully. The struggle for Civil Union was a first step, but the reality is that all couples, all people have a fundamental right to determine and to chose the way in which they wish to formalize and legitimate their relationship.  Those social conservatives that seek to deny that right whilst at the same time argue for ‘one law for all’ need to seriously consider their position, as they say ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too!’.  There is no place for a two-tiered system that relegates Gay and Lesbian relationships to a lesser status than that of all other relationships.  Marriage Equality is well overdue and we hope to see a strong stand tonight in Parliament for social justice. No reira, nga mihi nui ki a koe Louisa, kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui i tenei ahiahi po.

Dr Leonie Pihama (Te Atiawa, Ngati Mahanga, Nga Mahanga a Tairi)

Māori women call media to account

23 August 2012

āori women call media to account

Māori women’s group Te Wharepora Hou is calling for media to stop prioritising negative stories about Māori. The women highlight the recent multiple attack on Te Taura Whiri, The Māori Language Commission, by the Dominion Post as misrepresentative and offensive. The Māori women say that Thursday’s article headed “Work Rift Ahead of Cocaine Conviction” is a clearly manipulated piece. They state that the article makes a highly unsubstantiated link between a previous staff member being convicted overseas (which they say in itself is being challenged) and that person’s employment with Te Taura Whiri. Te Wharepora Hou member Marama Davidson says “We consider such reporting to be gutter media. This ongoing misrepresentation of Māori contributes to the racism and discrimination in our communities.”

 Te Wharepora Hou asserts that the involvement of Māori Television in such misrepresentation must also be challenged. They maintain that the Māori Television news programme Te Kaea simply upheld this unacceptable media approach when it recently made groundless accusations also against Te Taura Whiri. Māori Television has all but admitted their original story was factually incorrect and has yet to apologise to those concerned. They ask that Māori Television preserves its space to provide a Kaupapa Māori analysis of issues rather than reproducing the same racist propaganda of the Dominion Post and other media.

Marama Davidson also draws attention to the recent media analysis done by Whariki Research Group entitled “Māori News is Bad News”. The research affirms the ability of Maori-language news bulletins to deliver a wider range of stories about Māori. In contrast the study shows that English-language media prioritises violence and criminality for Māori stories. Davidson conveys that there are countless other story choices that show Māori in a more rounded manner, as with the reporting of Pākehā New Zealanders. She states “While we might expect mainstream media to employ a harmful agenda, we have seen Māori news bulletins do better than what they have done recently. All media, especially Māori media, can play a part in building a healthier society and should choose to do so.”


Marama Davidson

021 025 88302

Te Reo Spokesperson

Mera Penehira

021 478 194