Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NO to the development in the Waiareka Valley

I am not going to make too many comments on this.

The basic gist is that Holcim wants to set up a cement plant, 2 quarries and a coal mine in the Waiareka Valley, just out of Oamaru. Holcim liased with the relevant Ngai Tahu runaka and has eventually got the resource consent.

Te Runanganui O Waitaha Me Mata Waka Iwi Authority oppose the development and they say they have not been consulted and have not had a chance to put their case forward because they don't want to lose their knowledge to Ngai Tahu.

"Waitaha has spoken publicly for the first time about its deep spiritual and cultural ties to the Waiareka Valley as it opposes in the Environment Court a cement plant, two quarries and a coal mine planned there."

"Waitaha is adamant Ngai Tahu and its Moeraki runanga cannot speak for it because it does not have the knowledge about those ties."
"Waitaha opposes the cement plant and its associated developments in the Waiareka Valley. Ngai Tahu supports it, subject to conditions.

Mrs Te Maiharoa-Dodds explained the sensitivity of the Waiareka Valley to Waitaha. It held many trails to access the hinterland. The valley contained settlements, places and geological limestone formations sacred to Waitaha, including the escarpment next to the plant site. "

"We need to tread lightly when we go into these places," she said.
While it was fair to extract limited amounts of Oamaru stone for buildings and sculpture where it was revered and treated with respect, it was quite another to remove such a large amount to grind up for cement.

"The bulk of the proposed white stone extraction [by Holcim] is similar to that of a small mountain. Once removed there is no possibility of returning to its natural state," he said.

Te Runanganui O Waitaha Me Mata Waka Iwi Authority kaumatua Barbara Olsen said the "bottom line" for Waitaha was moving the whole Holcim operation to "other parts".
She did not agree Waitaha and Ngai Tahu were one people, nor that under legislation Ngai Tahu spoke for Waitaha.

Ngai Tahu's Moeraki runanga had been described by Holcim as the official iwi representative. The Moeraki runanga did not contact Waitaha to discuss any issues relevant to the project.
As a result, Waitaha's stories and knowledge of the area were not heard. It had special knowledge of its ancestral lands and connections, but did not want to share it because it effectively removed its exclusive connection with its heritage, Mrs Olsen said.

On the TRONT website it says the following,

"Ngāi Tahu are the iwi comprised of Ngāi Tahu whānui; that is, the collective of the individuals who descend from the five primary hapū of Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe and Waitaha, namely Kāti Kurī, Ngāti Irakehu, Kāti Huirapa, Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki."

"Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu was established by the Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Act 1996 and services the tribe's statutory rights and ensures that the benefits of the Settlement are enjoyed by Ngāi Tahu whānui now and in the future."

What happens if you don't descend from one of those five hapu?

History is written by the victors and when written becomes the way it was - but that doesn't make it right.

My view is that this development should be STOPPED. Ngai Tahu whanui should support these Waitaha. The runaka, while having legal authority to negotiate doesn't necessarily have the moral authority and they should work with the Waitaha grouping and at the very least consult with them.


Anonymous said...

Kia ora Marty

I appreciate very much your blog and that you try to have balanced views on things. Usually I don't mind if I agree or not because other views should be aired.

What gave me cause to respond to this is that somehow you have made the assumption that this Waitaha grouping has some kind of mandate or moral authority to speak for members of Ngai Tahu whanui that does not exist within the papatipu runanga of that area.

Almost all, if not all of the members of the papatipu runanga represented at that hearing are also of Waitaha descent as am I.

This current crop of Waitaha groups (and they appear and disappear over time) are mostly made up of a group of folks who choose, for some purposes at least, not to recognise the other strands of their whakapapa. Some of them are in fact made up of pakeha who think that Waitaha were in Australia pre the aboriginal peoples and that the rocks talk to them. A fair few of these groups are based in the North Island and just arrive on the scene from time to time whereas our papatipu runanga and members are there every day.

These groups are selectively active in resource consent hearings and other actvities where they try to convince people that they have some "secret ancient knowledge" and that neither Te Runanga nor the papatipu runanga can speak for them. Often they offer, for a fee of course, to use this secret knowledge to make everything right.

The TRONT Act and system is not perfect. The key advantage for Ngai Tahu whanui (which includes those of us of Waitaha descent) is that we can come together on our marae and have our different views discussed and then go into the world with one voice and that voice has the authority and recognition of an Act of Parliament. Before the TRONT Act, developers and local authorities could and did just pick off (or pay off) one or two Maori and tell the world they had consulted with Maori and all was good.

None of these groups has sought my mandate to speak for me in the way TRONT went through the process to get that legal status. None of these groups have given me an opportunity to participate in the organisation as of right as I can do with the papatipu runanga I have whakapapa rights to belong to.

So Marty, when you say the development should be stoppped until these people are consulted I would like to know why you say that. Why should we encourage a return to the bad old days where the energy of Ngai Tahu whanui (including those of us who are Waitaha) is spent arguing over who has the right to speak rather than supporting the properly mandated representatives (our papatipu runanga) to speak for us and to protect our collective interests.

Anonymous said...

The notion that people can be Waitaha and not Ngai Tahu is completely false. What we have here are people choosing to emphasise only certain lines of descent over others. The phrase Ngai Tahu Whanui is a pepeha that recognises Ngai Tahu shares descent from other pre-Ngai Tahu peoples such as Ngati Mamoe and Waitaha. Anyone of Ngai Tahu descent can trace their whakapapa from Waitaha. Waitaha whakapapa caps Ngai Tahu whakapapa and all the whakapapa from those Waitaha tohunga schooled in Te Maiharoa's wharekura include the early Ngai Tahu chiefs and their unions with Mamoe or Waitaha.

The movement to create a separate cultural identity for Waitaha might be based on new-age hippies but there is no basis for it in tribal whakapapa. Let us not forget Te Maiharoa's father was Te Rehe the great fighting chief of Ngai Tahu.

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora,
Your points are very true and thank you for making them.
I have zero time for the bogus pakeha Waitaha groups.

I too recognise that although the TRONT act and system are not perfect - it is the system we have and it encompasses and represents nearly all of Ngai Tahu whanui and we should support it.

There are groupings of our people who choose to highlight certain lines in their whakapapa as opposed to other lines - we have always done that.

We do have to work through our papatipu runaka and elected reps. They do hold the legal mandate, and, as you rightly say, they give maximum opportunities for participation for runaka and iwi members.

It is an interesting point to consider where the line is; to go from a papatipu runaka issue into an iwi-wide issue.

It may be that i have got it wrong and this group should not be consulted, it may be that they have no extra knowledge about this particular area, and it may be that we just don't have to think or consider them. Ultimately ahi ka, the rep and the papatipu runaka members will determine that and apparently they already have.

My view may also be coloured by the fact that i just aren't in favour of these developments - full stop. I don't buy into the 'job creation' line, it seems too short-sighted.

Your korero is important for all of us of Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe and Waitaha descent, we need to hear it, and discuss it - kia ora again for your strong words.

Arohamai if I have crossed the line - I don't really mean to be too provoking or controversial, I am interested in creating a forum for debate about these and other issues affecting and of interest to us all. And often enthusiasm needs to be tempered with wisdom...

As a final point I am also interested in the conditions that the papatipu runaka have placed on the development. Please feel free to point out where they are - I've struggled to find the info.

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora ano - hard to tell if i am speaking to the same person but keep using the anomymous button.

The second comment is very interesting. Kia ora for commenting.

Our people have always chosen some descent lines over others for all sorts of reasons.

I dislike greatly brailsford and his ilk.

Are maori who claim Waitaha descent and choose not to recognise or accept other lines delusional? Or is this just a continuation of a standard practice.

Anonymous said...

Kia ora Marty
(anonymous 1 here)

Please don't stop commenting on any Ngai Tahu matters that take your fancy for your passion and openness are refreshing.

My perspective is my own - like yours it is formed by our other learnings and your forum gives us a chance to share our views.

I do not know why some choose to do this. Aunty Sissy Te Maiharoa is just as likely to be found in the kitchen at Arowhenua and Waihao as in the environment court distancing her self from the whanau. I mean no disrespect - it is just the way it is. But it is not true to say she could not have her say on matters via a papatipu runanga.

Others who are clearly members of NTW are much more distant and choose not to engage at all with the rest of the whanui at any level.

This is not really any different to Bevan Wilkie and his "Ngati Mamoe Fishers" banner. Further south there is a number of our people who also choose to identify as Ngati Mamoe.

In most instances the kaupapapa they follow is about the interests of a few at the expense of others. They seldom have responsibilities. That is my experience.

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora anon1
Thanks for your support and contribution - your views, experience and knowledge are valuable and appreciated.
Blogging is quite refreshing, certainly empowering and definately addictive - I'm really enjoying it.
I sometimes will get it wrong but I've decided it's easier to beg forgiveness rather than ask permission. And I won't change the posts once posted although i may add in footnotes and updates.
Nga mihi