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.