Open Letter to Pita Sharples, Bill English, Iwi Chairs Forum – Constitutional Review

Letter sent to Bill English, Pita Sharples and Iwi Chairs Forum

Te Wharepora Hou is a collective of wāhine who are mainly Tāmaki 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 are concerned primarily with the wellbeing of whānau, hapū, iwi and all that pertains to Papatūānuku and the sustenance of our people.

We would like to flag our early interest in the upcoming constitutional review. Our main concern is for the representation of all Māori in this process. We anticipate that there will be ample discussion with Crown defined iwi  ‘leadership’ and wish to ensure that engagement with Māori is not limited or restricted.

Our concern is that grassroots whānau and particularly wahine are often marginalised in these processes. The Crown has continued to seek the option of attempting to speak with only a very small group of iwi representatives. We wish to ensure that all Māori, and wāhine in particular, are given profound opportunity to have their ideas well represented and valued in this process. Currently we have little confidence in this happening as Māori women and flax-roots are often denied a central voice in negotiations.

We represent only our group of wāhine who are involved in Te Wharepora Hou activities, but we flag that a forum be made for wāhine to participate at all different levels and using meaningful approaches. We ask that particular consideration be given to stimulate debate with those groups of Māori that are least unlikely to engage with such processes. We ourselves will be developing resources for flax-roots dissemination to encourage participation in the discussions. We believe that constitutional change is essential for the wellbeing of all that live in Aotearoa.

We will be watching and monitoring this process with the utmost commitment and interest and look forward to an acknowledgement of this letter. Thank you for your time.

Ngā mihi

Te Wharepora Hou

Marama Davidson
021 025 88302