Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Learn why there is a hikoi on 25 May

This is an awesome article (reproduced in full) by Rawiri Taonui, who makes the case for the inclusion of Maori seats on Auckland's "Super-City" council.

"On May 25, Maori will march from Bastion Point to be accepted as equals in the Super City of Auckland. They will walk in the footsteps of Apihai Te Kawau, who invited Pakeha to settle the Waitemata, the shadows of those who trod the Maori Land March and Foreshore and Seabed Hikoi, and in memory of Ngati Whatua twice evicted from Okahu Bay and Bastion Point, and 85 ancestors desecrated in the name of Runway 2.

The royal commission recommendation establishing endorsed Maori seats within the Super City council was consistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. In 1994, the Court of Appeal said Maori parliamentary seats were an expression of the Crown's sovereignty obligation to actively protect and ensure Maori participation in political life. The same follows at council level.

Both central and local Maori seats are an expression of Maori tino-rangatiratanga - self-determining decision-making within over-arching kawanatanga structures. Te reo Maori is a taonga under the treaty. This not only includes the day-to-day right to speak and hear your language spoken, but also the right to a political voice via an elected cultural representative of your choosing in the forum of equal partners. Maori seats would recognise the contribution of tribes to Auckland's prosperity.

When Maori invited Governor Fitzroy's Pakeha to Auckland, they did so as one equal to another - none envisioned their descendants squatting as second-class citizens in a back room consultative committee of the city they gifted. All iwi lost land, rivers, harbours, natural resources, marae and cemeteries so that the big city could flourish. Ngati Whatua gave the CBD and rich Kohimarama-Mission Bay waterfront; Ngati Tai gave East Auckland; Ngati Paoa, Waiheke; Te Kawerau a Maki, Waitakere; Ngati Maru, the North Shore; Te Wai o Hua, Ngati Oho, Ngati Tamaoho and Ngati Te Ata lost South Auckland. More recently, they gave 50% discount ground rent to establish Vector Arena.

The irony is that the descendant owners of stolen suburbs may now also take from Maori the franchise right for their own voice.

Democracy is weak in multicultural societies. Electoral boundaries cut across tribal lines.
Dominant groups rarely vote for candidates from ethnic minorities unless they are celebrities or culturally assimilated parodies. New Zealand Pakeha voters have a demonstrated 150-year record of not electing Maori in central and local elections. There are no Maori on the Auckland City Council or Auckland Regional Council and only10 of 250 members of all local bodies are Maori - none is an advocate for Maori.

This cultural veto denies participation by the best leaders from all cultures, the myth of one-person one-vote equality a thin disguise for majority dominance. The argument that consultative committee process will be better for Maori is patronising. This implies that elections are for Pakeha and sub-committees for Maori. Those that attest that Maori seats are racist ignore historical Pakeha prejudice.

The UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racism allows affirmative actions that promote the equal footing of an ethnic group in political life. Not having Maori seats excludes Maori; having Maori seats does not exclude Pakeha. The worst rednecks resent Maori voting for Maori in Maori seats because they fear equality means losing monocultural monopoly control when endorsed bicultural representation recognises the equality of large and small appropriately sharing degrees of power in the interest of all. Balancing majority and minority participation secures and ensures individual and collective freedoms.

New Zealand is falling behind international trends to enhance indigenous political participation. Dedicated seats are also consistent with UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The preamble and Articles 8 and 18 recognise the need to affirm and promote the collective right of indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making through representatives of their choosing.

The Nisgaa and Nunavut tribes are self-governing provincial governments in Canada.
The United States affords limited domestic sovereignty for the Cherokee, Sioux and Navajo.
Norway and Sweden have Sami parliaments, and, with Finland a cross-border regional Sami Parliament. The Ainu of Japan are asking for dedicated national seats after the Maori example. Mexico and Nicaragua allow autonomous self-governing regions. Bolivia has a revolutionary new constitution guaranteeing indigenous representation at all levels, including applying principles of regional, participatory and community democracy electing indigenous peoples via dedicated seats to local and central government.

In a multicultural world, the tyranny of the majority that excludes is ending.

A recent survey shows 46% of all Aucklanders are ready for Maori seats.

Pasifika communities have come out in support and many say they will march in the hikoi.
Prime Minister John Key showed great courage to dump generations of baggage and form a partnership with the Maori Party.

Now is the time to be visionary in a decision that would stand the best leaders of two cultures in a great country side-by-side in Parliament and face-to-face in the Super City.

National shelved the royal commission recommendations last month, as we remembered a time when the Anzacs fought for their country and the Maori Battalion fought to be accepted as equals by their country.

That struggle continues"

Go here for information and meeting points for the Hikoi and Citizens’ March, May 25. I wish i was going to be up there for this hikoi. Kia kaha!!!

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