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.”