Monday, January 31, 2011


The battle within the maori party for the future of the party is a unhappy development for Māori. The maori party came into parliament to represent all Māori and provide a voice at the table. Unfortunately the slim gains made don’t stack up compared to the loses for Māori and that include the lose of mana and independence by supporting the gnats in their agenda which has resulted in hardship for Māori and others with minimal resources. Now that the battle lines have been drawn between the four maori party members of parliament and Hone we are hearing calls for them to sort it out via kaupapa māori not pakeha ways. But what does that mean?

What actually denotes kaupapa māori compared to something else. Well the kaupapa must be drawn from our tūpuna, our ancestors and our gods. There are numerous examples within these spheres of the way to sort out differences and ultimately if the arguments used don’t incorporate those elements then it is not following kaupapa māori. Of course there are examples that can be used to justify positions on both sides and that is good. Both sides need to bring to the battle their precedents, their histories and their ancient knowledge.

I don’t have so many issues with bringing legal people into it mainly because I see their particular expertise as having a parallel with traditional knowledge of kawa and tikanga. They are just an iteration of that process. But I do think the lawyers need to have a strong understanding of Māoritanga. If their arguments are just based upon pakeha law or contracts then they are a waste of time. They must bridge between the past and the future and offer interpretations as to best practice and correct procedure.

I am concerned that the maori party is outsourcing gnat advisers to formulate their statements – that is damning if true. The various political parties use māori issues to further their own aims and they are not congruent with māori aspirations. What happened in the past when a junior person didn’t like or approve of the situation – they went off with their followers and set up separately. There are many examples of this, and this is what hone should do. But I am opposed to him joining a left party because his voice will be lost and maori aspirations will be subsumed as they are within labour. No - the better way is to set up an alternative maori party to contest the position and ethos of the existing party.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

forget insults Hone

Isn't it strange that over 100 people and a 'large media contingent' knew where the hui about Hone was but not Bird and Flavell. They claim no one told them. Wasn't the hui instigated by them. Couldn't they just ask. Did someone forget to invite them deliberately to show who's boss.

From Stuff
Maori Party MP Hone Harawira may be taken straight to his party's disciplinary disputes committee after he failed to invite party representatives to a hui to discuss a complaint against him today. A hui was originally set for last Friday but the party's Te Tai Tokerau electorate committee asked for an extension until today. That was granted and a hui was expected to be held today but neither Flavell nor party president Pem Bird were invited. About 100 people, including MPs and constituents of Mr Harawira's Te Tai Tokerau electorate, have today gathered at the Whakapara Marae, about 23km north of Whangarei, along with a large media contingent, which is not allowed to go into the marae.
The same article said that Hone called Prime Minister Key a 'smiling assassin' again. It does seem that hone is feeling emboldened of late and that is a double edged sword. He needs to get worked up for the people to follow him but we don't want a Hone that insults for no good reason. What do you think about asset sales Hone? What do you think about polluted lakes and maori being ignored even with co management rights? Forget the insults on Key - we know who and what he is and you will not dent his public persona - he will do that himself - get stuck into maori issues and go hard. Focus on what we really care about Hone. Be the man.

the greater good

I am against the privatisation, even partly, of state assets. These energy companies already charge too much and bringing more profit motive won't help that. Of course to generate profit you can either increase revenue or decrease costs (in the guise of creating efficiency). Doesn't decreasing costs lead to redundancies and the like. Don't you increase revenue by raising prices?

Key has put the carrots out there of 'mum and dad' investors but they already own state assets and they won't be the investors it will be the corporates. He also mentioned that maori could buy in - and our Kaiwhakahaere has come out very, very, very quickly with a "yes it's a good idea."
Ngai Tahu says it supports the plan because it could be good for iwi investors.
Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon says the privatisations of Government assets - such as New Zealand Rail - in the 1980s and 90s were poorly handled. But he says this proposal is a new chapter.
So Ngai Tahu as a corporate investor buy in and prices go up - what then - we make profit from others difficulty, even our own people?

The old 'if we don't someone else will' argument will be put - it is illusion and false hopes. It suits the agenda to have maori capitalists - they just support the system of oppression and make money while their cousins struggle on nothing.

80% oppose state assets - including many Ngai Tahu whanui.

The Standard have come out with some strong posts outling the reasons this selling of the family jewels is crazy. Here, here and here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm not voting for you

There are some facts of life around the maori party that we have to accept. sharples and turia have wedded themselves to the gnats and they aren't going anywhere. They should stand down - but they won't. The lines that the maori party have achieved much more by hanging with the gnats than by being in opposition, is true - to a point. Yes there have been some gains but the cost has been too high - the cost to mana and independence and the cost in votes - coming up. The maori party have stood by while iwi and maori have been insulted and ridiculed and they have done this deliberately so that they didn't upset the gnats. They have supported moves that disadvantaged maori and made life harder for many. sharples and turia have been sucked in and they don't even realise it. They actually think the gnats like them but the gnats like the support and the votes and they would scrape them off like shit from a shoe given the opportunity - like nearer the election for instance after a poll comes out. What will sharples and turia do then apart from cry and knash their teeth? Too late - who cares.

The smiley leadership of the maori party think it is all a big joke - the opposition to them via Hone, the multiple submissions on their shit replacement for the F&S Act but they are in for a big shock because they will shed votes as maori realise what a disappointing joke they are.

As a previous maori party supporter I will not give any of my two votes to them.

I have completed the maori party survey so that are fully aware of my views.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Te Waihora is worth more than money

This is a scandal. Ministers of Conservation and Agriculture influencing the decision to extend, on conservation land, a polluting grazing licence that DOC had told the farmer was not going to be renewed - meanwhile no consultation with iwi and the joint management plan for Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere), ignored. The protection of Te Waihora mocked by conservation minister wilkinson. The Greens are on to this, sadly the maori party are nowhere to be seen, as usual.

The Green Party has accused Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson and Agriculture Minister David Carter of leaning on the Department of Conservation (DOC).
Greenpark dairy farmer Barry Clark was told by DOC in May that his grazing licence on conservation land near Lake Ellesmere, south of Christchurch, would not be renewed. DOC's decision not to renew the licence was overturned at a meeting in August involving Canterbury-based ministers Wilkinson and Carter, Clark and Mahaanui area manager Bryan Jensen, and a five-year extension was approved. Extending the lease contravened DOC's policy of removing grazing from the lake edge to protect the environment and upset some DOC staff. It also contradicted what Clark was told by the department in 2004 – that the next five-year term of his lease would be his last. Clark's lease is the last for grazing cattle on conservation land around the lake's edge. Internal DOC emails said it was embarrassing and unfortunate Clark was invited to reapply for his concession.
The decision was made without thinking about the environment or conservation of this lake or the relationship that DOC is supposed to have with Ngai Tahu. Within the Te Waihora Joint Management Plan it clearly states

"The rangatiratanga and kaitiaki of Ngai Tahu are upheld by Ngai Tahu and respected by the department within the management of Te Waihora and that that management is in accordance with tikanga and kawa.”
Is this respect for Ngai Tahu?

In September, more than a month after it was decided Clark's lease would be extended, Ngai Tahu contacted DOC to ask why it was not consulted. DOC staff replied "no concession had been processed or issued" and Clark's application would be sent to the Canterbury Conservation Board and Ngai Tahu for comment. Norman said it was extraordinary that the Government "lied" to Ngai Tahu by suggesting the decision had not been made.
No that is not respect - it is the opposite. How can any iwi or hapu have any confidnece in DOC or the dim minister? This joint management plan was the first and it was completely ignored. If there have been lies - then what the hell is going on. The sooner full control of the Te Waihora is given back to Ngai Tahu the better.

Friday, January 21, 2011

it just takes communication

The issue of respecting maori cultural beliefs has come to the attention of the media recently with the carrying of a couch and barbecue up Mt Taranaki and then cooking it up on top. It is interesting to read the responses.

Local Iwi have said this - Taranaki Daily News - Stuff
Climbers standing at the top of many New Zealand peaks, including Aoraki Mt Cook and Mt Ruapehu, are trampling over Maori protocols, according to a Taranaki Maori leader.
Toka Walden said yesterday there were "cultural values" at many sites around the country which tangata whenua would like to have upheld. "The core part to this is about whakapapa – the people's link back to the land, the family tree that stems from our ancestors out into the land, that is what ties the iwi back to these sites," he said. The summit of Mt Taranaki was the the head of a Taranaki iwi ancestor and the head was sacred, he said. People were free to stand and cook in other places on the mountain but should stop short of the highest points, he said.
He stopped short of saying climbers should not stand at the summit of New Zealand's mountains. "We would encourage people not to even go near the summit, but we know that is not realistic," he admitted.
Climbers make some interesting points
New Zealand Alpine Club executive officer Ollie Clifton told the Taranaki Daily News the organisation did not have a stance on cultural considerations and did not specifically advise climbers not to stand on summits. He said that was "a big ask" of climbers. "For climbers, standing on the summit is the whole point," he said. But climbers need to be aware of the culture of the places they are going and should respect them, he said.
Taranaki mountaineer Ian McAlpine said he has been approached by a number of people who said they knew nothing of cultural rules and customs. "A lot of people don't know the protocols – including Maori," he said. Mr McAlpine told the Taranaki Daily News he had been leading parties up the mountain for 40 years, and had never heard of the summit protocol.
He is calling for a meeting to be set up between all Taranaki iwi, DOC and park-users. "We didn't know about cooking – what else is there? "We need to know what other issues there are that might cause offence," he said.
It is all about information and communication. Let us all learn together.

Down south they are more advanced along the path - The Timaru Herald - Stuff
South Canterbury mountain guides say they are well aware of Maori protocols when it comes to Aoraki-Mt Cook, but it could be a different case for private climbers.
Mountain guide Charlie Hobbs said the climbers should have checked with the local iwi before taking a barbecue and couch up the mountain. Mr Hobbs said his climbers were reminded of what was expected of them while climbing. "You can't defecate or leave rubbish or do anything with the intention to destroy or alter in any way the beautiful, pristine, spiritual place. "The only thing we can leave there are our footprints."
Climbers were not taken to the summit, out of respect, Mountain guide Bryan Carter said. "For Ngai Tahu, the mountain represents their ancestors. "If you stand on the summit, it's as if you're standing on the head of their ancestor."
Mr Carter said climbers had to keep the waterways clean, and scattering ashes was frowned upon. There was no prohibition for cooking, but anyone who did that "wouldn't be very popular", he said
Well there you go - it can be done, it is being done - what a fantastic challenge and opportunity for all alpine clubs to upgrade their knowledge and add another dimension to the absolute purity and connectedness of climbing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Left Maori Party

The more i think about this Left Maori Party the more I see the potential of this. If the party vote entitles the party to get more seats - they get them. That means that anyone who agrees with the policies of the party can vote for it. What type of policy areas would I imagine such a party having.

A belief in tino rangatiratanga

A belief in protecting the disadvantaged in society

A belief in the kaitiakitanga

A belief in equality

These are just off the top of my head - the kaupapa can be developed.

Lets deal with the big one for many. Tino rangatiratanga - somehow if maori become empowered - everyone else becomes disempowered. This is just not true. When one group is empowered it empowers other groups. It is self empowerment not an imposition on someone else. Sure the signposts may become bilingual and the weather-map, but that is empowerment of maori to be able to see their landmarks and country as at least equal with the current dominant culture. That is fair and equal for all.

Some will just not believe that maori could represent them - they forget that every party has a range of personalites that represent them - oh that's right - it actually is because they are maori. These people have been brainwashed to believe the distortions thrown at them that maori are somehow different to them, somehow not as good. Newsflash - that is racism and it is there because you do not wish to accept and acknowledge your position of privilege. Every party in parliment is full of diversity - skin colour means nothing. "But, But, But - they believe in following maori stuff don't they - that will impinge on me, that is not right" - hey it is everyones right to believe what they want just like you do. There will be no impinging on your rights - you will still be able to go to the beach. When you really think on it there is no actual reason why a Left Maori Party could not represent many people: people who believe in the kaupapa.

It could be done.

time for quiet heads

Hone - now is the time to taihoa, now is the time for quiet heads - do not be precipitate, do not instigate, do not make any more public statements. Let the world turn a bit and see what happens. If you are to be censured by the party - wait for them to do it. Let the cards fall - you have done all that needs to be done, for the moment. Do not be hasty - many victories have been lost by action when stillness is required.

The reason I say this to Hone is that I do not believe a left party has the legs, much as I'd welcome the move. If Hone is expelled from the maori party then fair enough, but the goal is to get the maori party on track and that will take some reshuffling at the top. You have the people behind you and your ancestors in front of you, kia kaha.

There is an alternative option which should be considered - a left maori party to compete with the existing maori party - that would get some votes, that would get some seats and that party would hold the balance of power and hold fast to the kaupapa. That party could be set up and it could get candidates and it could be ready for the elections this year. Maybe Matt McCarten could get behind that and Sue Bradford would be welcome too. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

off his head

This story about young christians carrying a couch and barbecue up to the top of Mt Taranaki for a feed and relax is disturbing. This mountain is sacred for maori, but unfortunately that sentiment is either not known or not cared about.

A group of 25 young climbers took the North Egmont route and hauled a couch and barbecue up the mountain so they could relax in style. ... The group spent 12 hours on the mountain, three of which were spent cooking and relaxing at the summit.
I'm all for people having fun but the lack of knowledge of maori customs and beliefs is really a stumbling block to creating a country for all of us.

There is a strong response here
Barbecues and graffiti on top of Mount Taranaki have outraged Taranaki DOC boss Phil Mohi. "The act of cooking over an ancestor is tapu – it's something that you just don't do," he said.
He said the summit barbecue was disappointing because the young people there probably didn't realise or hadn't learnt that the mountain and especially the summit is a very sacred place for iwi of Taranaki.
"We discourage camping at the summit and try to make people aware that the very highest part is the most sacred of all – and ask climbers to avoid standing there.
"There's a difference too between eating prepared food for sustenance and actually cooking on the summit," he said.
Barbecue organiser Jordan Millen said climbers were not trying to offend and were unaware they were doing so. "We are sincerely sorry for any offence we may have caused during this trip on Mt Taranaki, we were unaware of any tapu or the sacred nature of the summit and that it was not respectful to cook there," he said.
A good apology - I don't blame the kids, the knowledge is not mainstream but it should be.

you have hurt my ears

So the maori party response to Hone is a complaint laid with the party president signed and agreed by all other maori party mp's.

Radio NZ
Maori Party President Pem Bird has received a complaint against MP Hone Harawira from inside the caucus.
Mr Bird says the complaint was laid by Te Ururoa Flavell and supported by co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, as well as Rahui Katene.
Mr Bird says both Mr Harawira and the chair of his Te Tai Tokerau electorate council have been informed of the complaint.
Mr Bird says the party's National Council is seeking legal advice on how to deal with the complaint and has asked the Te Tai Tokerau Electorate Council to call an urgent hui for this Friday.
He says both Mr Harawira and Flavell have been asked to attend the hui.
What will happen? We'll have to wait and see i spose but they must be getting close to trying to kicking Hone out again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

it is time

I like Hone and what he believes in and in this article he lays it out pretty plain. The fight for the maori to be adequately represented in parliment is on - I hope the current leadership of the maori party realise that they have done what they have done and now it is time to step aside for the next phase of tino rangatiratanga and in this phase being treated like idiots and played by the gnats is not on the agenda.

The legacy is there, the wins have been noted - now is the time to think of the bigger picture - to truely display leadership and allow the younger shoots to come forth - they are there, under your shade and they can make further gains for maori aspirations.

From SST
The downside of being in government with National is having to put up with all the anti-worker, anti-beneficiary and anti-environment (and therefore anti-Maori) legislation that comes as a natural consequence of having a right-wing government. ... Whether our views have been unduly influenced by our coalition obligations or not, the fact is that our public positions on some issues have changed a lot since we were in opposition.
Suggestions for the Maori Party -
Be clear about who our constituency is and define our policies and positions on that basis. Stop pretending that we are a mainstream party – we're not. The Maori Party operates on the basis that what is good for Maori is good for the nation so we should highlight policies that benefit Maori but also help the rest of the country.
Be bold in our positions. When governments say "Maori need to be realistic" what they're really saying is "no". But that shouldn't make us afraid to say what it is our people want, and commit ourselves to doing our best to achieving it. If we are not successful, don't let it be because we let somebody else stop us from daring to succeed.
Speak out strongly against National's anti-social initiatives.
Oppose National's Marine and Coastal Areas bill.
Develop strategic relationships with the Greens and with Labour.
Stop trying to make us all be the same. When some of us say one thing and others take another view, learn to celebrate the difference rather than try to crush the dissent. Maori are a vibrant and diverse people – our strength as a party is in reflecting that diversity and appealing to all sectors of our society. And remember, the kaupapa is always more important than the coalition.
And, most importantly, go back to the people.

Tell you what Hone I may vote again for the maori party if they did all that.
Socialist Aotearoa blog has a very good analysis of Hone's article and whilst I don't agree with all of it - I do agree with a lot of it.
The problem in Harawira's plan is its incoherence in relating to the National Party's "anti-social" agenda. Harawira calls for the Maori Party to speak out strongly against it in Parliament, "at public meetings and on the streets if necessary", yet also calls for the Maori Party to accept and celebrate a diversity of opinions within its caucus and organisation.
This is where Harawira's analysis falls apart. With a deep chasm within the party over supporting the Nats renewal of the new right agenda (and that is what voting for the Marine & Coastal Areas bill is) the party will have no ability to oppose this agenda - either in Parliament or out on the streets.
... So Hone faces a stark choice. Continue to watch the political gains of the Maori Party and all his hard work wash away as the tide goes out on ordinary Maori aspirations for honourable and reliable political representation. Or lead a minority position into a faction fight with the conservative wing of his party for the soul of the Maori Party. Or defect to form with Bradford and McCarten the much hyped new left party. Or retire from parliamentary politics altogether and return to grassroots activism a la Nandor tanczos. The choice is his. The stakes are high.

This year is crunch time and Hone is going to be put in very difficult positions - he is our hope, even as he has flaws, his light is still bright and strong.

our feet are bound

I'm not really interested in smashing Ngai Tahu Property - I think they have a role to play in the success of the iwi but sometimes I do wonder. The 1348 hectare Rakanui station, 10 kilometres south of Kaikoura has just been sold by NT Property to a Californian couple who plan to 'keep Rakanui private for the family'. NT property have taken a half million loss to flick the property on, their plans for a 'residential farm park containing 64 sections of 0.5ha each' was approved but Tony Sewell says they are moving out of 'large scale lifestyle developments'.

From The Malborough Express- Stuff
A sales history of the property shows the then 1348 hectare Rakanui station, 10 kilometres south of Kaikoura, was sold in 2005 for a gross price of $8 million. Last year, the reported 1345 hectares was sold to the American couple for $7.5 million by Ngai Tahu Property Ltd. The property had changed hands in 2004 for $2.3 million, and in 1983 for just $117,500.
So we have sold 1348 hectares of our land and we did it because it was considered another transactional item in the market place. The justifications are/will be many and varied but the facts remain.

There is something wrong with the model if that can happen - there is something in the tension between maintaining the putea and our kaitiakitanga role that needs to be really looked at and considered IMO. This is precious life giving land and i mean life giving in the spiritual as well as the practical sense. If this sale is okay - what next?

Perhaps mana whenua approved this sale, maybe they consider it a good thing - I hope not.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

blue moon

Statements by Pita Sharples at the opening of an international conference on international development in Whakatane yesterday state the importance of the indigenous worldview. The speech is linked on TV3 and well worth a read. Within the speech are outlines of the maori party positions and also a good overview of many aspects such as the foreshore and seabed act, the colonisation process and the role of the maori party as Pita sees it.

From TV3 - quotes from the speech linked on TV3
We are not the Crown’s Treaty partner. As a parliamentary political party, we are part of the kawanatanga – the Crown side of the Treaty. All MPs swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown.

So it is not our role to be settling the foreshore and seabed issue. We are not a customary owner, and the Maori Party should not be making decisions for the owners. Tangata whenua must make their own decisions based on their own circumstances, and negotiate their own settlements with the Crown.
Yes the maori party are advocates for tangata whenua but they must reflect the views of the people not try to get the people to reflect their political solutions.

Pita also talks about the role of indigenous peoples
We have a responsibility and a duty to promote our culture of “sharing” community rights, and community ownership. It is important that all indigenous nations must accordingly rise up, and promote those communal sharing and caring values.
Indigenous cultures mean communal support and sharing – not user pays, not individual free enterprise, but enterprise that feeds back to all members of the community, of the society, of the nation, of the world.
We indigenous people of the world must survive and promote our sharing values within all nations. We have responsibility to do so – we can save the world from its own self destructive consumption, non sustainable, individualistic pursuits.
Well I can't argue with that but i do wonder if the compromises made by the maori party and the negative effect of those on maori nullifies the fancy words somewhat. "a prominent expert" in Maori culture and history Senior lecturer in Maori Studies at the Auckland University of Technology, Dr Paul Moon takes a swipe at Pita's speech
But a prominent expert in Maori culture and history says this is "outdated, 1970s-style thinking", lacking in specifics.
"To imply indigenous people across the world have a shared view of things is perhaps outdated," he says.
"When you start talking about indigenous world views, you're presuming indigenous people have one way of thinking, that there's no pluralism."
Thanks for that mr prominent expert - we now know what we already know - that maori have different views and different indigenous cultures have diferent views - quick hold the front page!!!

Moon didn't say if he considered that indigenous viewpoints could offer hope to the world - maybe he has a speech coming up where he can get a bit more facetime on TV.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

loved ones lost

There are many people suffering catastrophic natural events around the world at the moment. In Australia there are fires in the west and floods in the east. The floods have wiped out communities and killed people. Are we going to become desensitised to all of the suffering. The floods, the fires, the earthquakes, the mudslides, the volcanoes, the snow, the droughts, the tsunami's and everything else going on. I don't think we will even if we try to because there are going to be more and more of these events and within all of them are people - like you and me - fighting for their lives and their loved ones. This story made me cry - the horrible last moments for this boy and his mother can barely be comprehended and even then it is just too much to fathom.

Toowoomba boy Jordan Rice, 13, has been remembered as a hero after he let his younger brother be rescued first, seconds before he and his mother Donna were swept to their deaths in the CBD.
Ms Rice, and sons Jordan, 13, and Blake, 10, were driving at the intersection of James and Kitchener streets about 2pm on Monday when they drove through water which at the time was only up to their car wheels.
However, their car engine stopped and Ms Rice called triple zero for help. She was unable to call anyone else as she had no phone credit.
The triple zero operator told the family to stay put and they were forced to climb on to the roof of their car after the floodwater rose rapidly.
A old scrawny guy grabbed a bit of rope, wrapped it around himself and jumped in," Mr Tyson said.
"Jordan can't swim and is terrified of water.
"But when the man went to rescue him, he said 'save my brother first'."
Mr Tyson, the father of the boys and partner of Ms Rice for 28 years said the man rescued Blake and tried to tie the rope around Jordan and Ms Rice but it broke.
They were swept downstream. The pair was able to briefly cling on to a tree, but was overcome by the force of raging floodwaters.
What a very brave boy. My heart goes out to Mr Tyson and his son that survived and to all families that have lost loved ones.

Within every disaster there are stories and accounts like this - for every person lost there are the family and friends left behind. The people lost are remembered and we are part of the remembering.

The water is still rising and this disaster is still unfolding. Kia kaha to all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

get the rats

Rats found on Ulva Island are very bad news. This is now an emergency situation where the authorities have to go into overdrive. They still haven't caught the stoat/s on Kapiti Island.

From The Southland Times - Stuff
Endangered birds in one of New Zealand's leading wildlife reserves are under threat again after a small population of rats was found on "rat-free" Ulva Island. Twelve rats have been found in traps on the island in the past fortnight. A juvenile rat was found, which means a breeding population has been established on the island. The island had been rat free for 12 years. If the island was not cleared of rats within six months then the protected birds that had been released there, including the mohua and saddleback, would disappear.
This is very serious and the likely way these rats got to the islands is via boats. This island is open to the public and this will need to change. The island is a window to our past and our future if we want it. As Busted Blonde says on Roarprawn in a very good post on the issue
If they have caught 12 in a fortnight then there is a strong possiblity that there are hundreds already established on the sanctuary. Ulva is a window on what Stewart Island once was -alive with the haunting melody of a myriad of nativel birds and lush rich flora.
I have just sat outside taking photos of a pair of kereru in the tree. Whilst they were sitting there eyeing up hopefully their new home, a pair of piwakawaka flitted around them and the tui looked on from above. I want my son to be able to experience the cooing of kereru and the mad antics of tui. Let's plant great swathes of new bush and get serious about eradicating pests - it could be done if we had the will and the heart.

Hat tip - Roarprawn

Monday, January 10, 2011

what would you do

You probably get lots of spam like me - often it is easy to sort it out although the gmail ones are getting irritating - i keep wondering if they will cut me off but so far only multiple requests for my password - ummm no sorry, I don't think so.

I got an email today from someone/thing I don't know with no subject line just saying in the body,
"I need your help"
That was it - nothing else. Not the usual type of spam and the name does appear on a google search but I think I will consider it spam until the third or fourth one comes through and a little more info is forthcoming.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

who is stopping you

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn sums up this article in the nzherald very well. The article is about who actually is restricting access to beaches. It is not maori stopping people going to the beaches - it is private owners just as we have been saying. The spin by those opposed to maori getting back the foreshore and seabed has been spearheaded by the campaign based upon the fear of the majority of this country not being allowed to go to the beach. Will those same fear-mongers now turn their attention onto this group of real culprits - somehow I don't think so.

From NZ Herald
So it's from a small industrial building in Penrose that the New Zealand Herald launches a "Please let me swim at your beach" road trip. The plan is simple: to ask landowners if they mind letting us stroll through to their piece of paradise to dip our toes.
From No Right Turn in response to the article
...The problem isn't Maori, but millionaires. The people putting up gates and shutting the public out are farmers and the residents of exclusive gated communities, both of whom effectively privatise public space by restricting access.
If we think this is a problem - and I agree, it is - then the answer is not to restrict justice to Maori, but instead to legislate for free access regardless of who owns the adjacent land. But a solution where Pakeha are allowed to privatise public space while Maori are denied justice and have lesser property rights is not acceptable, and can only be regarded as racist.
The conclusion of racism is correct IMO. Lessor rights for maori is as obvious as it gets - this is not subtle or hidden - it is there baldly - lessor rights for maori. That is just not acceptable.

I don't fully agree with the other conclusion that the remedy is to legislate for free access, although I do think it is a good interim solution - the long term answer, in my view, is that the foreshore and seabed be vested with maori. Access is available for everyone and no more private ownership of the foreshore and seabed.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

History from Maps

I enjoy history, learning about the past and this post from Maps is extraordinarily. There is so much to learn - the issuing of maori bank notes and the setting up of a maori parliment. If you enjoy learning then this post from Maps is essential.
As well as hosting Te Peeke o Aotearoa, Rewehetiki became the site, in the early nineties, of Te Kauhanganui, the parliament of the Kingite movement, and of the printing press which produced Te Paki o Matariki (The Girdle of Pleiades), the official newspaper of the movement. The functions of these institutions were carefully connected. Te Kauhanganui passed laws and levied taxes, Te Paki o Matariki made these laws and taxes known to Tawhiao’s still-scattered followers, and Te Peeki o Aotearoa was a place where the income the King received from levies and fines and the like could be stored.
The story of Tawhiao’s restoration of his sovereignty in the northern Maungakawas in the 1880s mocks the old thesis of Maori acceptance of Pakeha hegemony. Decades after the Kingitanga was supposedly irrevocably defeated at Paterangi and Orakau, Tawhiao and his followers emerged from their exile in the south and took up residence in these hills and in other fragments of the old kingdom, establishing a set of institutions – a bank, a currency, a police force, a parliament – which represented, together, a concerted symbolic attack on the authority of the settler state.

Enjoy reading this excellent example of the history that many of us do not know. Thanks Maps.

i'm leery

I have been having a real think about this proposal for Ngai Tahu to get into dairying after reading this article in Te Karaka. I don't want to knock ideas but I am not sure about this  - maybe my concerns are illusory, I hope so. I know the arguments in favour of this idea of dairy farms and I agree with some of them but I am one of those who are very leery of this.

Mark Solomon
Ngai Tahu plans a dairy farm totalling nearly 1000 hectares in Canterbury in a bid to develop a "new model" of sustainable farming.
If the pilot is successful, the iwi could develop a dairy operation totalling 16,000ha in Canterbury.
Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon said the three-year trial would be monitored to see whether a dairy farm could be developed that did not pollute water and land.
There are a number of people in Ngai Tahu who are very leery about dairy farming and have a negative view," he said.
Our property firm believes we can run sustainable dairying, so we will have a look and see how they do. If they can show to Ngai Tahu that it's sustainable, then we will do it.
Is it possible to develop a dairy farm that doesn't pollute water or land - surely pollution is inevitable - just the amount is variable. It is a pilot for sure, but I worry about the effects on the land and river. Runanga have been fighting for years to protect the mauri of the waterways and rivers from water use for dairying and pollution. I struggle to see how this proposal and these fights can be reconcilled but apparently they have been.

The sustainability targets are very important - what is success? This is obviously the nub of the 'sustainability' angle and is part of the measurement of the success of the pilot, so a fair bit of work must be going into this area already. The difficulty is words like sustainability which often means different things to different people. "No pollution" is pretty clear though.

If dairy farms are going ahead then surely organic farms, where best practices for the treatment of the cows, water and land are met, should be strongly considered and piloted. Sure organic farms are not perfect but in combination with a permacultural approach they can produce product of high quality that is needed and wanted. Why not create the model within this sector. And plant trees for the cows to shelter under.

Are we potentially putting at risk the land and the river and the downside of getting it wrong is great.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Te Waikoropupū Springs

I am blessed to live close to a natural wonder that is world renowned - Te Waikoropupū Springs. At the moment over 500 people a day are visiting this cultural and environmental sacred area. Didymo is the biggest environmental risk and the waters cannot be touched but there is also a risk in offering only a part of the cultural interpretation that is also important. With context we create bonds and connections and explanations of cultural aspects have something to hang off.

What are Te Waikoropupū Springs?
Research has shown that a huge system of flooded chambers exists in the buried marble under the valley. Overlying the marble is a thick layer of sandstones which do not permit the passage of water through them, and act as the ‘cap rock' over the waters within the marble. In the Waikoropupu Valley the surface river has eroded down through this cap rock to a point where the Pupu Springsunderground water, at great pressure, has been able to burst through and emerge as springs.
and from wikipedia
The freshwater springs are the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere and second only to the Antarctica’s Weddell Sea in clarity. Every second between 10,000 and 14,000 litres of water are released from the springs, whose depth has never been accurately determined.
The horizontal visibility of the water in the springs has been measured at an average of 63 metres, a world record for fresh water. This value, which was verified using specialist optical instruments, approaches the theoretical maximum for optically pure water.
Te Waikoropupū Springs is wahi tapu - a sacred place.
At the entrance to the walkway to the springs, the Department of Conservation has placed a sign: "Te Waikoropupu Springs are a taonga (treasure) and waahi tapu (a sacred place) for Māori, both locally and nationally. The legends of Te Waikoropupu are told in the stories of Huriawa, its taniwha (guardian spirit). In Māori tradition the Springs are wairou, the purest form of water which is the wairua (spiritual) and the physical source of life. The Springs provide water for healing, and in the past were a place of ceremonial blessings at times of birth and death and the leaving and returning of travellers."
This is the only current signage and intrepretation given on site to the visitors and this annoyed me because the DOC person has to go around to say to many visitors that they should not eat or drink near the waters and picnics are a no no too. There are no signs telling people about this and this is adding to poor perceptions. Imagine you are from overseas in a beautiful area next to a river of unbelievable clarity and power - the perfect place to have a picnic. Maori concepts of tapu are associated with eating and drinking because those activities are used often to break or release tapu. It doesn't seem good enough to try to respect maori concepts but only provide a fraction of the context needed to make the concepts understood. If someone tells you that you are doing something wrong - you feel bad and sometimes this feeling and externalise into negative feelings about a group. "Sorry but we ask that you don't have a picnic here because maori believe it is sacred and eating and drinking is not allowed." simply encourages people to have negative feelings about maori. Much better to put a fence at the top rather than an ambulance at the bottom. Much better to have a sign that explains the context of tapu.

Taniwha Scales

I did a bit of research and the management plan offers hope.
Vision - Moemoeä
The management of Te Waikoropupū Springs reflects the wähi tapu/sacred nature of this important taonga tuku iho/treasured resource.
The kaitiakitanga/guardianship role of Manawhenua ki Mohua is accepted and respected by all.
Te Waikoropupū is maintained in a natural state.
Excellent catchment management ensures that the waters of Te Waikoropupū remain pure and strongly flowing.
The cultural identity of Manawhenua ki Mohua is maintained through protection of the mauri/life force and wairua/spirit of Te Waikoropupū.
The community takes pride in sharing Te Waikoropupū with visitors.
Low profile facilities protect the area and enhance visitor experiences.
The natural, historic and cultural importance of Te Waikoropupü is clearly explained using carefully designed and located interpretation that is readily accessible to the public.
The plan is a 10 year plan that began in 2009 and i am looking forward to the vision being implemented. Already the name has been fixed from pupu or waikoropupu springs to the correct Te Waikoropupū Springs and this is good. But there is much to do and allowing guided walks which offered intrepretations and context is a good place to start. Meanwhile 50,000 to 60,000 visitors each year walk away from Te Waikoropupū Springs missing 75% of the story.

Footnote - I want to thank everyone involved in protecting this area - this post is about improving things and strengthening connections between people.

underreported Struggles - 45

Ahni at Intercontinental Cry has some very important underreported struggles this month.
Members of the Toba Qom community of La Primavera called off a hunger strike after the Argentine government agreed to listen to their demands for justice and the return of lands. the Hunger strike began roughly three weeks after the Toba were brutally repressed by the police, resulting in the death of three people.
Australia's Federal Environment Minister granted an emergency listing to a sacred site near Hobart, the state capital of Tasmania. The culturally important site is home to approx. three million indigenous artifacts, some of which are up to 42,000 years old. However, despite the now-protected status of the site, the government claims that it "cannot" stop the Brighton Bypass project... even though it will irreparably damage the site.
In the Sarawak region of Borneo, the Penan discovered that the rainforest to which they were planning to relocate, is being actively cleared for oil palm plantations. As reported by Aliran, "[1,000] Penan are being forced to move by the Sarawak state government to allow the billion-dollar Murum dam project to go ahead." With the relocation site site being destroyed, it is unclear where the Penan will be able to go.
And many more - please visit Intercontinental Cry and read about these struggles.