MAUNA KEA REPRESENTATIVE ARRIVES TO IHUMĀTAO AS MĀORI RIGHTS DELEGATION ARRIVES AT MAUNA KEA

Indigenous land rights movements at Mauna Kea, Hawai’i and Ihumātao, Aotearoa, have hosted each other today in an exchange of solidarity and support for Indigenous rights.
Dr. Emalani Case, neice of Mauna Kea leader Pua Case, arrived at Ihumātao this morning bearing support from the Hawaiian campaign for the ongoing occupation movement in South Auckland.

“Mauna Kea and Ihumātao are not isolated moments” says Dr. Case. “They are movements that speak to each other across oceans. Although we may be in different places, we are linked in our shared commitment to protecting our lands, our peoples, and our futures. From Mauna Kea, we recognize the struggle at Ihumātao because we know it, we’ve felt it. We’ve lived it and we are still living it. From Mauna Kea, we’ve also felt the Māori recognition of our struggle. We’ve felt the prayers, we’ve been inspired by the actions, and we’ve been empowered by the solidarity.
As peoples linked by history, genealogy, and a shared commitment to our lands and waters, we stand with you, and we stand by you, to help you shoulder the weight of this movement. We know that our stand for one mountain is really a stand for all of our mountains, for all of our rivers and landscapes, for all of our sacred places, and for our rights as indigenous peoples.”
At the same time, a delegation of Māori scholars and rights advocates led by Dr. Leonie Pihama were welcomed onto Pu’uhonua o Pu’uhuluhulu at Mauna Kea bearing messages of support from multiple Māori rights campaigns including the S.O.U.L. Ihumātao movement, “Hands Off Our Tamariki” who are opposing state removal of Māori children from Māori whānau, Protect Aotea who are campaigning against government sanctioned marine dumping of toxic sludge, and the Kia Mau movement which opposed the government sponsored anniversary celebrations of the arrival of James Cook to Aotearoa New Zealand.
Dr Pihama says: “We are here to stand in solidarity with our Hawaiian relations who are taking a position of self determination in protection of this sacred Mauna Kea. As Māori we have deep ancestral connections to Hawaii and to the Mauna. We carry the movements of Ihumatao and Hands Off Our Tamariki to support the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Indigenous nations have been protectors of our sacred lands and life ways for generations and continue to do so as our ancestors have done before us.”
Earlier this week the various movements issued a joint declaration of a “state of crisis” within the Māori nation under the current government who has failed to meet the high expectations set by the Ardern government and it’s Māori caucus, in spite of holding the highest number of Māori seats of any government to date.
Kia Mau movement spokesperson Tina Ngata says that while investment patterns may have shifted in this government, problems for Maori will persist until the government undergoes a fundamental systemic shift in decisionmaking.

“What we are seeing here is a range of flashpoints around the nation and around the world that indicate a consistent failure of settler colonial governments to meet the basic needs of Indigenous peoples, and we are then forced to take action in order to protect what remains, whether that be in relation to our lands, our waters, or our families. The government needs to face up to its role in colonization and the very first demonstration of that would be the Prime Minister coming to Ihumātao, standing the police forces down, meeting with Hands Off Our Tamariki, or even watching the twelve minute clip that has deeply impacted our country. Her refusal to do any of these things indicates a continuation of settler colonial patterns of ignoring Indigenous voices and whilst still determining our futures. We will continue to voice our opposition and solidarity with other nations who experience the same challenges under settler colonial occupation of their sacred spaces.”

MULTIPLE CAMPAIGNS DECLARE A NATIONAL CRISIS FOR MĀORI RIGHTS

By Tina Ngata

New Zealand’s Indigenous rights record is being called to account from numerous campaigns following weeks of flashpoints around the nation. Campaign leaders are citing a lack of government leadership and protection around Māori land alienation, state removal of children, and water pollution as indications that the Māori nation are “under threat from the deeply entrenched colonial racism of the New Zealand government”.

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Image from Twisted Treaty Portraits

At Auckland’s Ihumātao, local Māori descendants and their supporters continue their occupation of lands in opposition to government eviction for a proposed housing development. Tensions have increased as police escalated their activity on the site in spite of a consistently peaceful approach by the movement. Local leader Pania Newton says these new developments have eroded the trust and good faith in the process. A national day of action for Ihumātao has seen protests and community expressions of solidarity across the country.

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Large numbers showed up in acts of solidarity with Ihumātao around the country

Kelly Klink from Aotea (Great Barrier Island) has highlighted that the government’s lack of leadership is not only impacting upon human and land rights, but also water rights. Earlier this year, despite widespread opposition from local Māori, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), granted a large corporation consent to dump 250,000 cubic meters of toxic marine sludge off the coast of Aotea, a move that has resulted in largescale protests in the Auckland CBD.

“This is an abuse of our fundamental rights including the right of free prior and informed consent when big corporations dump toxic waste in our moana – it will cause irreparable harm to our beautiful marine environment which our people have relied upon for countless generations” says Klink.

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Marine dumping led to marches in the Auckland CBD for Māori rights over marine territories

The Ihumātao and Aotea uprisings accompany further nationwide protests last week regarding the excessive state removal of Māori children from homes and abuse while in state care. ‘Hands Off Our Tamariki’ Campaign organisers Leonie Pihama, Paora Crawford-Moyle & Rihi Te Nana have highlighted the United Nations definition of genocide, which includes the forceable transfer of children from one group to another, and described this ongoing issue as New Zealand’s “Stolen Generation”.

Dr Pihama notes:
“We were told in 2016 that a change in legislation would make Child Youth and Family (CYFs) more accountable to Māori for their absolute incompetency in supporting our people, yet there continues to be a denial by the government of the need for significant change to be made.”

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Hundreds gathered in the rain on the steps of Parliament to hand over a petition of 17,000 signatures calling for a halt to “child theft” by the NZ government.

Last week’s nationwide protests were spearheaded by a rally in Wellington which included a large march to Parliament steps to deliver an Open Letter with over 17,000 signatures to the Government calling for an end to the forced removal of Māori children. It also highlights that Māori are continually stifled by government legislation, limited resourcing and structural racism. The connections across these campaigns is recognised by Dr Pihama.
“What we see is a government that has said it is committed to the Treaty but fails to make any meaningful engagement with critical issues such as Ihumātao, Aotea, or the destruction of our children’s lives by its own Ministry. There is too much denial and defensiveness over the past months by this government, as was the case with the previous National government. There continues to be a denial of fundamental Treaty rights to do with our whanau, our lands, our seas, everything. Hands Off Our Tamariki voices our solidarity with all Māori and Indigenous Nations that are standing in protection of sacred places, sacred spaces, sacred future generations.”
Tina Ngata, spokesperson for the Kia Mau campaign opposing the 2019 anniversary celebrations of Captain Cook’s arrival notes that these are clear examples of why the events are an inappropriate and insensitive investment by this government: “We were promised a kind and progressive government under Jacinda Ardern, but these multiple flashpoints amount to a nation in crisis. The deeply entrenched colonial racism of the New Zealand government presents an ongoing threat to our lands, waters, and to us as a people. It’s appalling and insulting that the government would pump tens of millions of dollars into celebrating our “dual heritage” whilst continuing the Imperial project of Indigenous dispossession and genocide. This all demonstrates clearly how far away this government is from truly appreciating the depth of the issues we need to address before we can even claim basic respect for our human, environmental and Indigenous rights, let alone any semblance of bicultural harmony or political kindness.”