New Plymouth District Council have decided not to have two Māori wards. They are an embarrasment and a joke because they give lip service to Māori but when it comes to actual progress they waiver and falter. Wikitoria Keenan of the Te Atiawa Iwi Authority says,
"In a way we are not surprised they did not support the wards because New Plymouth is quite a redneck town. "To a lot of people Maori are invisible and they don't want to give Maori respect for anything."
The council have decided to permanently fly the tino rangatiratanga flag but Howie Tamati, a Māori councillor, calls it "tokenism". The fallout has started, as relations between the District Concil and tangata whenua break down and we have seen a major hui moved and discussions on whether the iwi komiti will even work with council in the future.
Local grey power have opposed the wards because,
"Not only was the plan condescending to Maori, but Maori were able to stand for seats on their own platform and did not need dedicated seats, he said."Maori are free to stand the same as Europeans are free to stand. "If they turn around and say we are allocating two seats for the Maori race what about the Chinese race. What about the Scottish race ... They can get it on their own. Plenty get it on their own," Mr Watts local greypower president said.
That is the level of ignorance and racism that Māori face every day in this country. Māori want the wards but watts explians that that is condescending to Māori - well thank you so much for your patronising racist attitude - we'll get back to you on that one. And as for the 'races' argument - i can assure watts that it is never too late to gain knowledge, age is not a barrier - educate yourself and your members, become part of the solution not the problem. Try manifesting the wisdom of your years not your ignorance.
The council decision leaves us where we often are - with Māori being marginalised and disregarded - put to one side for the apparent betterment of the of the majority but the shortsightedness of these people will just create more conflict and less community. Tangata whenua are the people of the land - no ifs, buts or maybes - reject this idea and you reject everything that makes us us.