“Today I am a Māori woman carving out a space to reflect on our unique relationship with Papatūānuku and our roles as kaitiaki and defenders of our lands, seas and people. This discussion throws a light on how the voices of wāhine are held in certain political arenas and what this means for Aotearoa as we ponder our economic, social, environmental and cultural future.”
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.
THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO SEAL THESE DEALS QUICKLY!
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?”
Actually before I start on next year I better look at 2011 first. Woah – freaky year!
Around the end of 2010 I decided to pitch in with a few other like-minded wāhine and add our voice to the mix a bit more. Leading into 2011 I took life-long inspiration from those amazing fighters at all levels around me including; the kuia/kaumātua at home keeping it real, the whānau back at our marae burning the home fires, the people on the ground in our communities, our young people ‘halleluiah rangatahi’ who continue to inspire me, our academics, politicians, artists, gardeners, te reo warriors, teachers and especially our whānau raising our tamariki. There are so many people doing amazing work to strengthen our most precious resource that is whānau. There are so many people to thank for being brave enough to speak out for our right to live as Māori. There are so many people taking up our collective responsibility to care for each other and the environment around us.
My puku was telling me I could do more, so I tried. Facebook became a hugely important tool to start circulating my whakaaro via blog articles, press releases, Op Eds, radio and television interviews, community speaking and other engagements.
And I got shot down LOL! More than once. And it will happen again of that I am most certain.
But just today someone who I consider a stalwart fighter of our people reminded me that we need to do more of it – we must not stop. And as always, the other stalwarts of my life will support my need to keep contributing. I cannot contribute to my community without the tautoko of my family, and without having first assured their wellbeing.
This brings me to 2012.
I have huge hope for our future as whānau, hapū and iwi. Our strength and vigilance to maintain our identity on our own lands has not faltered. We have proved time and time again that we are born with what we need to keep ourselves alive – no one can remove whakapapa.
“And we will need more of the same” says our stalwart fighter (who shall remain nameless because a private facebook chat does not a public speech make).
I agree with him. It is nothing new but we are facing even tougher far right agendas which threaten our collective integrity and wisdom as Tangata Whenua. We need to be steadfast in keeping our waters clean, our whenua un-mined and un-fracked and our moana deeply undrilled. We need to be determined to keep our whānau out of poverty and safe from abuse. We need to keep sacrosanct our ability to grow, hunt and fish for kai. There is much to protect.
So I stand in awe of all of us as we continue to be resolute together and support each other. We fight in many ways. We should continue to sing waiata, write poetry, learn to reo, speak te reo, hīkoi in protest, grow gardens (so I can buy your organic veggies cos my gardening sux right now), care for our earth, write submissions, and press releases, and Op Eds, and blogs, speak out, stand up, speak out and stand up.
If we feel hurt enough, we may also need to think of other ways to resist. So let us think…..
But mostly, take care of our own whānau. Be kind to each other. Thanks to my ever wise mother who reminds me “Sometimes it is easier to save the world than to look after those around you.” Check myself.
Thank you to my husband and children for your ongoing tolerance and support.
Responses to the issue of Māori representation suggest some deeply rooted fear amongst opponents.
Last Friday it was reported that the Whangarei District Council voted against Māori seats. Over the past month councils around the country have voted similarly except for Waikato Regional and Nelson City Councils.
In a Gisborne Herald column (16 Nov) Gisborne District Councillor Manu Caddie addressed the most common concerns in relation to Māori wards.
Gisborne District Council and all local authorities around the country would do well to engage in more informed and meaningful dialogue around this issue. Robust conversations among communities, iwi leaders, hapū members and councils would result in better understanding of what Māori wards could deliver.
One example of where better Māori representation could benefit everyone is in the area of waste water and sewerage. Currently around the country Māori groups (often alongside Pākehā groups) are fighting to uphold their responsibilities as guardians over natural resources. Hapū are concerned with the long term well-being of rivers, lakes and harbours. Accountability to whānau requires hapū to protect that resource as a taonga, a source of food and spiritual nourishment. Yet hapū are battling short term planning that often favours cost-cutting and ‘developers’. At the core of these struggles is a reluctance to share power. There is a refusal to acknowledge expertise held by local Māori over hundreds of years of care for that resource. There have been ‘economic’ waste-water decisions made over 30 years ago that have done nothing but explode wider costs by ruining waters and ecosystems, eventually ending up in expensive litigation. Having proper hapū representation at the decision table 30 years ago may well have saved the natural resource and public finances. This would have been good for ALL of the community.
A letter to the editor in The Star (Dunedin) from Peter Aitken refers to Māori representation as ‘racist’. He further aligns the concept of Māori wards to the oppressive regime of South African apartheid. That apartheid system treated black people as subservient on the principle that they were lesser human beings. In fact through the ongoing denial of human rights, inhumane denigration, disgusting humiliation and outright murder, black people were treated as barely human at all. Affirming Māori rights in relation to natural resources guaranteed by the Treaty of Waitangi will not diminish any human rights for non-Māori. Māori representation will not subjugate non-Māori as lesser human beings. It does not deny non-Māori their dignity and existence, nor exclude their active participation in decision-making.
Another flawed line is that Māori should reject ‘special treatment’ as patronising. It is that argument in itself which is patronising. It comes from a level of ignorance and prejudice that uses the term ‘special treatment’ in the first place. The issue is instead about rectifying the systemic structures that have denied Māori having real input into resource management issues that they have always been entitled to under the Treaty.
The current democratic process has failed to deliver Māori representation. Whatever the arguments, we are still left with the fact that Māori are not recognised as sovereign stakeholders. This sovereignty was guaranteed under the Whakaputanga Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Waitangi and endorsed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is the basis upon which Tangata Whenua agreed to welcome other peoples to our lands.
Whatever the model, it is Māori upholding their rights and responsibilities as hosts of this land which has to be the outcome. Māori representation is not an outcome in itself.
Māori cultural values and worldviews offer this country a rich source for planning and development. At the heart of these values are notions of kaitiaki and manaaki – to look after, care for, and treat with respect. Those are the endeavours of tino rangatiratanga/sovereignty and sustainable economic development.
Those opponents of Māori representation need to come to an understanding that at the heart of the Treaty – is not what you think it is.