Anne Tolley : Hands off Te Whare Tangata ! Guest Blog by Te Ao Pritchard Te Awhi Paa Trust


“Ka Ora te wahine Puapua Ka ora te Whānau – Pūāwai Ka ora te Hapū – Pūāwānanga Ka ora te Hapū – Pūāwānanga.”

If the woman is cherished, then the family will have wellness –  In turn the communities will be strong, thus the beauty of the tribe will be seen.  na Ngatai Huata

In 1988 the groundbreaking report, PUAO-TE-ATA-TU, into the Institutional racism of the the Social welfare Department noted “ At the heart of the issue is a profound misunderstanding or ignorance of the place of the child in Maori society and its relationship with whanau, hapu, iwi structures.”This was in response to the deprivation that Maori whanau face and the mass removal of our children from whanau into the ‘care of the state’. (1)

Twenty seven years later Anne Tolley the  Minister for Social Development wants to find a way of stopping the most at-risk beneficiaries from having more children.

The purpose of this vicious campaign has been to avoid any probing of the deeper social causes . Anne Tolley’s ‘final solution’ for our struggling whanau is aimed at directing any real examination away from where the real responsibility lies—with successive governments of all stripes and their social agendas.

This is offensive and racist social engineering.  35 % of all children taken into the ‘care of the state are Maori. Maori are easy to be forgotten as the rubbish of structural adjustment. Maori still haven’t recovered from the extremist economic “reforms” of the eighties when an entire generation of Maori & Pacific Island children and youth has suffered under those reforms, and to this very day remain stigmatised, marginalised and brutalised by harsh economic conditions.

Anne Tolley’s attack on Maori women, and our ability to control our own fertility and decide when we want to have children is a return to the assimilation agenda of the 1950’s.

Māori culture aligns women with the land, because the land gives birth to humankind just as women do. As the world was born from Papatūānuku, so humankind is born from women. A woman’s womb, called te whare tangata (the house of humanity), is seen as the same as the womb of the earth.

As te whare tangata and te whare o aituā Māori were (and are) clearly engaged in the production of culture.  Our reproductive bodies represent the continuation of whakapapa, and the survival of whanau, hapu, and iwi. (2)

‘Whereas the woman’s body is a sacred place and in protection of sacred places, the woman’s body, the woman’s womb and the birthing places of all the female nations, must also be protected, and this is the first step to protect the child, to protect the future’ . In the waiata, the purakau, the whakatauaki o Aotearoa, we are familiar with the notion that ‘Ko te wahine te kaitiaki o te whare tangata’ (women are the guardians of the house of humanity).

Women are therefore imbued with a status which requires care, protection and respect in honour of the expectation that in protecting the child, we are indeed protecting the future. (3)

Maori women’s place in their whanau, culture and society shows the impact of  colonisation, assimilation and urbanisation which had resulted in the loss of Maori culture and the low socio-economic position of many of the women and their whanau find themselves in today.

Even though great stress often placed on whanau, against the odds the strength and maturity of the Maori women, has overcome the hardship and difficult circumstances they experience.

Our wahine require protection and our whanau need to be uplifted, they need to be supported not judged. Maori must be empowered and resourced to care for and look after our women, our children and our whanau.

Let us give the support our mothers,  babies and whanau need and keep these vultures away from their mission to destroy and assimilate us. Haere atu Anne Tolley Hands off our Whare Tangata !

By Te Ao Pritchard

Ngāti Kahu, Ngā Kuri, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Vaigaga, Aleisa

Te Awhi Paa Trust

For comment please contact : 0274578326

References :

(1) PUAO-TE-ATA-TU (day break)


(2) Ngāhuia Murphy, 2013, Te Awa Atua: menstruation in the pre-colonial Māori world.  He Puna Manawa Ltd


Reflections on our Pacific regional consultation for COP 21 #roadtoparis #cop21

“Against all the odds, and the threats we face to our lands, our cultures, and our ways of life in the Pacific, we have survived and we continue to resist. The time has come for us to reach out across the vast ocean that binds us to support each other’s’ struggles and start to organise against the climate crises that we as Pacific peoples are facing”

Indigenous peoples of the Pacific have called Te Moana Nui a Kiwa our spiritual and cultural home for thousands years. We lived in harmony with our environment and each other; we were self-sufficient and had 100% of our lands, culture, custom and language.

Climate change is a clear and present danger to the Pacific peoples, land, lives; culture and peoples are at risk. Climate change is not a distant threat it is happening now. Rising sea levels are eating up our islands and the resulting salination means more and more arable lands for cultivation become untenable.

Preparing to build a strong Pacific presence at the climate change conference in Paris later this year we met for a  preparatory meeting at Te Piringatahi o te Maungarongo Marae. We had Indigenous activists from Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Hawai‘i, Kiribati, The Federated States of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and of course Aotearoa.


We spent our days planning different strategies to ensure that the Pacific will have a strong, visible and vibrant presence both inside the formal climate change negotiations but also out on the streets of Paris.


Keeping with that theme on Friday morning we collaborated with in a street theatre action.This action was to highlight and put pressure on the ANZ to divest from their investments in fossil fuels. The Pacific faces prospect of future climate change refugee camps if the ANZ continues to invest billions of dollars in fossil fuel industries and that this is “literally sinking the Pacific”.

11864932_10156107695610331_3140526288366231053_o  12033067_1010198985668176_7756302200771850468_n

The highlight for many of our delegates was our solidarity night. We got to share our culture and frontline stories about climate change and its impacts on us as peoples.  We have built our strength and unity to represent our peoples to the best of our abilities while being mindful of our obligations to the values of our ancestors.

11041167_1010304755657599_7454211645244691330_n 12036516_1010304648990943_3176419502625945023_n

Together we can ensure those most responsible for climate change are held responsible and that those most impacted are supported. In defence of our land rights we are indigenous pacific peoples standing together for our collective self determination our tino rangatiratanga.

I for one am certainly strengthened by the time we have spent together. Building our friendships and unity as we stand up together to fight for our beloved Pacific. My thanks and appreciation to the organisers, to the wonderful people at Te Piringatahi o te Maungarongo Marae and their amazing manakitanga.  My respect and deepest regards to my fellow Pacific Climate Warriors, even though this kaupapa is a heavy one we lessen our heavy load by sharing our struggles and supporting each other with our strong and loving Pacific hearts

One heart, one ocean, one home. – Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.

Onward to Paris and COP21 !

Sina Brown-Davis

Te Roroa, Te Uriohau, Samoa, Tonga.