Tuesday, July 26, 2011

visual poem

The bush steams as
I crouch in burning frost
brushing my face in ice 

Is it me that begins, or you.

Friday, July 22, 2011

tour lessons for today

One of the most influencial people in my life was a man called Steve Biko. I found this book when I was young and it affected me greatly. Then along came the tour and I carried a handmade sign saying, 'Remember Steve Biko' throughout all my protest marches.

I have added some different thoughts to this original post which was discussing employing iwi members - still a subject dear to my heart :) But I wanted to talk about Steve Biko again and the Tour because it happened 30 years ago today and it changed my life.

I marched in Dunedin and Wellington, I stormed the Southern Cross and ran up and down stairs all over Wellington, I wore my HART badge to the rugby club and graffitied local walls. I argued with friends and family and never really enjoyed or watched rugby again. I believed in the cause - equality, and I was connected to many who believed the same. 

I believed in the words Steve Biko wrote.
This is a quote from a paragragh of an article Steve Biko wrote in 1970
"Does this mean I am against intergration? If by integration you understand a breakthrough into white society by blacks, an assimilation and acceptance of blacks into an already established set of norms and code of behaviour set up and maintained by whites, then YES I am against it. I am against the superior-inferior white-black stratification that makes the white a perpetual teacher and the black a perpetual pupil (and a poor one at that). I am against the intellectual arrogance of white people that makes them believe that white leadership is a sine qua non in this country and that whites are the divinely appointed pace-setters in progress. I am against the fact that a settler minority should impose an entire system of values on an indigenous people".
That was written in a different time, place and context I agree, but once you get over the fact that we are not black south africans, and allow your mind to slide over the black/white terminology, the message still resonates.
Steve Biko died on the floor of a empty Pretoria Central Prison cell on 12 September 1977, aged 30 - murdered.
A lot has been written about the Tour from the angle that it fractionated us and created division. At one level that is true but at another - as we marched arm in arm down the street shouting our slogans and believing in our cause we were exhilarated and connected - there was no division - there was intent and belief and concentration and conviction on our goals. Once you have experienced that mixture of emotions it is hard to forget. It doesn't happen that often in a lifetime - and it is happening again now and we can once again join arms to continue the stuggle for equality - it is called The Mana Party.

The Tour taught us that we can speak up against injustice, we can make a difference. People power works - we only need look around the world to see people power in action today. During the Tour we put away our supposed differences to work cooperatively. The cause didn't differenciate on ethnic or colour lines, age, genger or sexuality, class or political persuasion - all worked towards the goal of equality because that goal was in alignment with our values - nothing has changed and everything has changed. The cause is the same but the vehicle to effect change is different.

I call on all those who marched and opposed the Springbok Tour to consider that cause and the challenges we face today. Which political party today, aligns with our marching and protesting back then. I know what john Minto and Hone think - it is the Mana Party. I agree with them - what about you? It's time to stand up again and put energy into our core beliefs and values. The exhilaration and connection we experience occur because we are in alignment with our values.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

pretend happiness

Tariana Turia says she was pleased to see the Green Party on 10% in the latest poll and that Mana was on 0.5%. She says that The Greens are the true party of the left - this is a theme for her and i imagine it will be one of her 'lines' in the election.

“They are the ones that raise all the significant issues that the Mana Party says they have been established to take up here, the Greens do it on a daily basis. They are a great party when it comes to addressing the issues for the poor, for those who are part of the union movement, those who are out of work,” Mrs Turia says."
Yes the Greens are great but there is still a gap and Mana will cover that and work with the Greens to help the disadvantaged. The gap is Māori who are represented in the groups mentioned by turia and spurned by her party. Soon we will have two real parties of the left with good MP's in the House - and when that occurs the likes of turia will quake in their sheepskinned seats. Get ready it's already happening.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

it's life jim, but not as we know it

It’s hard to imagine how low some people will go sometimes – that is until they show you. don brash has shown us. During his debate with Pita Sharples on Native Affairs he pulled out the $50 and waved it in all our faces. Lew at Kiwipolitico remarked at the time
To appeal to Sir Apirana Ngata in a newspaper advertisement — as Brash did this weekend — is merely crass. To bring that actual visage in as a prop in an argument to dismantle the Aotearoa that Ngata and others had worked to build — that, as Sharples said, Ngata was criticised for being a “radical” by rich white guys like Don Brash — and seeking to imprint his divisive and offensive policies with Ngata’s mana is offensive to the man’s memory. To seek to take personal credit for Ngata’s mana being properly recognised — “I made the decision” — is obscene. To play a statesman’s memory like a chip on a weak hand at the last-chance saloon is no sort of respect. It is the ultimate “I’m not racist” gambit — “look, some of my best banknotes have Maaris on”.
Well don has gone further he is saying this about Sir Apirana Ngata, "In our current context, I'm confident he would feel his values were best embodied in the ACT Party's philosophy and policies.” I feel incensed with rage at that comment. Na Raihana expresses it well.

Na Raihana, the Maori Party's Ikaroa Rawhiti candidate, says Dr Brash's conjecture that Sir Apirana would be an ACT supporter if he were still alive is "despicable."
Despicable, obscene – take your pick. Nothing is sacred to brash – he is still trying to own Māori now, today. I loathe don brash.

The image is from a listener article by Diana Wichtel - well worth a read
We have one of those futile exchanges we’ll hear a lot of this year when the question of the unique place of Maori arises.
Brash: Who do you now mean?
Me(Diana): People who identify as Maori.
Brash: If I had one 32nd Maori, could I call myself Maori?
Me: Fine by me.
Brash: I discovered to my surprise when I was Governor of the Reserve Bank two of my senior colleagues were Ngai Tahu. I couldn’t tell. They look as European as I do.
Me: What do looks matter?
Brash: Okay, it doesn’t matter. But how do you define people who get the privilege?
Me: Privilege?
Notice his technique of shifting position when his pathetic racism against Māori is exposed. Classic.

The really sick thing is that brash will be back in parliament after the election and in a position of power. The gnats have done the deal in Epsom and will campaign for the Party votes while Act will campaign for the Electoral votes. The maori party have been set adrift by key. Labour with goff will get devastated and won’t be able to do anything – it will be up to Mana and the Greens to hold the line – they will be the impenetrable barrier to blunt their assault.

Monday, July 18, 2011

the way to do it and the way not to do it

This is the way to do it. So much history just under the surface and Māori will reveal it when it can be accepted - which it has been in this very effective research and name change.

For more than 110 years Hawera-based Matangarara Rd has wrongly been called Matangara Rd and although the slight error was overlooked by just about everyone else, Normanby resident Henare Ngaia was not going to let the issue slide. "Because of the wrong spelling the word meant nothing. But with `ra' added to the end of it a piece of our history can be remembered." The story goes that a woman rejected the man she was betrothed to because of his looks, and the union, perhaps designed to unite two marae, didn't take place. "She called him lizardface: `Mata' means face, `ngarara' means lizard."
He then met with both the Iwi Liaison Committee and the Hawera Community Board with a signed petition and a detailed history. "There was no objection to our proposal. In fact the Iwi Liaison Committee consisted of descendants from both the lady and the lizardface so they all knew the story." Mr Ngaia has now set his sights on roads in Normanby and Manaia.
Yes very good Mr Ngaia - thank you for your hard work in getting these spellings correct and revealing the history within. How many streets and names in this land have hidden history waiting to be revealed? Just about everywhere, just about everywhere.

The ownership of Māori names and intellectual property should be vested with Māori - end of story and the sooner the Wai 262 recommendations are implemented the better - then we won't have shockers like this french effort. I wish they would just leave Māori alone - they embarass themselves and insult all Māori.

Friday, July 15, 2011

always something there to remind me

Dramatic day in the House? yeah - nah. I agree that Hone should be able to pledge allegiance to Te Tiriti o Waitangi rather than the queen, as No Right Turn posts. That he couldn't, when other have adjusted the pledge without comment in the past, shows the inequity of our system. Mana are going to highlight those inequities whenever they can and yesterday was theatre to bring attention to that inequity. The Speaker and National have their own agenda and the wording of Hone's pledge was able to be used by them to stymie attention from Labour's CGT and tax announcment. They appear to be very frightened by the CGT and i like that and support the idea of a CGT.

Did everyone achieve their goals?

Hone was able to get the headlines and give his speech outside - some supporters have been turned off by the stunt politics - I know it doesn't really do much for me personally - and other supporters are "yeah right on-ing" - but no doubt the goal was achieved of highlighting the issue as evidenced by the call now from Turia for the wording of the pledge to be incorporated in the constitutional review - and how that must hurt a bit. National and smith the speaker, got to show their authority and power so their supporters are satisfied. Labour announcment still got cut-through and the pledge incident didn't deflect from their positioning, plus it offers reinforcement of goffs message that Hone isn't reliable. So, overall everyone is happy!

What about Hone's speech?

It was much more effective giving that speech on the steps of parliment rather than in the chamber - to have supporters there in front of you adds so much for all parties. The speech is here and i just want to highlight a couple of wee points that i like

Because I think that for the first time in a long, long time, ordinary people are sensing that they may finally have a voice in Parliament that represents a growing sector of New Zealand society - those who are poor, those who are marginalised, and those who have to struggle every week just to scrape together enough money to feed the family and pay the bills.
And right now in this country there are a growing number of people living in poverty. It’s not that they want to be there – it’s just that there isn’t the political will to stand against the tide of international takeovers and ruthless free-market economics that are crushing our people.
And that’s what MANA’s here for …
Tomorrow we turn ourselves to the challenges that lie ahead of MANA - of building branches dedicated to the needs of the members rather than the demands of party politics, with electorates actively demonstrating their capabilities so that MANA MPs can see where the real power lies, building a national movement based on honesty and integrity, and selecting MPs chosen for their demonstrated commitment to kaupapa and their willingness to put the needs of their people before the expectations of parliamentary procedure.
From kaumatua and kuia in Kaitaia, to millworkers in Kawerau, the homeless in Auckland, students in Palmerston North, public servants in Wellington, farmers in Canterbury and oyster-shuckers down the Bluff - everybody will know what we stand for.
There’s not a lot of time from now to the election, so we aim to keep our messages simple, we want our messengers to be people you know and trust, we plan to use every form of media we can, but most importantly, we want to win the hearts and minds of ordinary Maori and non-Maori in this country, and we want you to add a spice of MANA to the korero you have with your whanau, your friends and your neighbours, as you debate the upcoming elections and the fastest growing political movement in the country – your movement – MANA.
Our past is us, as is our future. It is time to put our backs into the mahi and build our movement.

Hone asks us all to

  • Let us commit ourselves to policies that bring a sea change to the way in which we do politics in this country
  • Let us commit ourselves to a programme of hard work and honest endeavour so that our people believe what it is we say.
  • Let us commit ourselves to a future where the treaty lives, where rangatiratanga sits comfortably alongside kawanatanga, where Maori are lifted to a place of genuine equality in all spheres of life, and where every other citizen can thrive in this most blessed of countries
  • Let us commit ourselves to developing a set of principles that will guide us in all we do, not as a political party but as a movement of the people
  • Let us commit ourselves to changing our own lives so that we become the leaders that our people want to follow, and
  • Let us commit ourselves to one another, to our families, to our children, and to those generations yet unborn
I am committed to this kaupapa, to these ideals and this vision. I want this country to be better for all our sakes - we have so much to offer the world - Mana is the waka for me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

the truth and nothing but the truth

I have said before that John Minto is one of the people I look up to. He is honest, sincere and very smart and his latest post on ACT, their advertising and brash is genius. It is brilliant that John is interim co-vice president of the Mana Party.


There was the obligatory reference to wanting the best for Maori and the need to do something about the awful social statistics which bedevil indigenous communities worldwide, but that was just the cover for a vicious attack on Maori who dare to stand up for a better deal. Maori privilege is a sick joke and Maori benefits from the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process are no better.
Since the first Treaty settlement 19 years ago, the total amount paid out so far to iwi groups is barely half last year's $1.7 billion taxpayer bailout of South Canterbury Finance.
And the total value of settlements is well below 1 per cent of the actual value of the land stolen from Maori by the dirty dealings of the Crown, even before the Crown denied Maori the right to argue their case for title over parts of the foreshore and seabed.
He warns of creeping separatism but it's not the gap between Maori and Pakeha which is the problem, but the chasm between the tiny elite who claim most of this country's wealth and income as their own and the majority of New Zealanders who struggle with the leftovers.

And talk of Treaty rights being a form of apartheid is so much rubbish. Apartheid discriminated against people on the basis of race. Redressing Treaty abuses and entering dialogue with Maori groups is the opposite.
Won't it be great to have John Minto in parliment as a member of Mana - his voice is strong, his heart is true and his aim is deadly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

looking towards the light

Well I have watched Pita Sharples and Don Brash on Native Affairs and I do think Pita handled it well - he kept on his message and used it as a Party political broadcast and that doesn't bother me. As for the don - jeepers some history lessons would be good but nothing will assail his ivory tower - his mind is made up - end of story. Lew has a great post up at kiwipolitico on the debate and Phoebe at Tumeke calls it for Pita.

I noticed that Pita also once again mentioned the people coming up to him saying "go for it". In his letter to don brash he also said the same thing and that many were not Māori . Maybe that is a natural consistuency for the maori party. They could focus on getting the party vote from people who support their approach, whether Māori or not.

Hone was also good on Native Affairs and I'm looking forward to his visit to this region. I think it is time for Mana to ignore Labour and just get on with winning the hearts and minds of voters. The seats are there to be won, and the party vote too. Simple messages repeated that confirrm and affirm the kaupapa and the inclusiveness of the struggle. It's time to look towards the light.

Monday, July 11, 2011

tosser doesn't give a toss

The greens have rightly asked if the prime minister of this country is going to do or say anything about the racist ads from their coalition partner, the soon to be extinct Act.


"They're his coalition partner, does he support the racist campaign they are running?" party leader Russel Norman asked NZPA. "The Prime Minister speaks on behalf of all New Zealanders, and the vast majority of New Zealanders are not racists and are very uncomfortable with what ACT is up to and I think it essential he condemn this kind of racist campaign."
And what does key say?
This morning, Mr Key told reporters there was nothing new in either the Act advertisement - which was "factually incorrect" or Mr Ansell's subsequent comments and he was not bothered by them. "What happens with him and the Act Party, frankly I don't give a toss about, but at the end of the day I don't think any of us would be surprised that he's making those comments." He said the comments would not sour National's relationship with ACT. 
Yep the prime minister doesn't give a wank about it - no issue, not bothered. He should care but smile and wave can't see the votes in it, so out of sight - out of mind.
Mr Key said the advert and comments would not affect National's intentions regarding the Epsom electorate where it has essentially allowed ACT to win a seat, giving it a presence in parliament. 
I suspect this position will change as we get closer to the election. Act are going down and brash is going with them. Brash does not realise that kiwis like their racism more downbeat than this - a bit more under the carpet. I don't think kiwis will vote for these Act idiots and i hope they see the truth of key before it is too late.

Pitas Dear Don letter

Pita Sharples has written an open letter to don brash. Pita is sad and disturbed by the Act racist divisive tactics but the telling off is pretty weak. It does give us a glimpse of pita's thinking and he is still comfortable in key's team. (Bolditalics = my emphasis)
Dear Dr. Brash,

How sad and disturbing to read your negative ACT party advertisement in the NZ Herald's Weekender - July 9, as you once again bring the Maori peoples aspirations into contempt and ridicule. Your views are not only inaccurate and ill-founded, but are totally out of tune with middle New Zealand's ideals and aspirations for our country.
It is clear that since your exit from Parliament, you have learnt zilch about fostering an inclusive culture to take our nation forward. Your entire article while posing as an advertisement for the Act party, is devoted almost entirely towards discrediting the Maori drive for a measure of equity within our distinctive genre de vie. Your own culture of ‘Maori bashing' is totally designed to appeal to that negative minority within our community (‘for party votes') and has absolutely no place in a modern society.
So, it is with some amazement, that I note the very positive measures that have been achieved through responsible negotiations between the National government and the Maori Party, have been listed and labelled by you, as negative. Surely, co-governance of the country's greatest river, Waikato, reflects and respects our history and our aspiration for the river; and equally, the inclusion of a Maori voice in the EPA and the RMA reflects our bi-cultural origins as a base from which to service all our NZ cultures.
In turn, the establishment of the Auckland Maori Statutory Board, recognises our largest city's unique history while promising a united future for the growth and development of the place that is home to the largest grouping of Maori in the world.
Dr. Brash, your divisive style of leadership that is used to discredit one section of our community, has no place in today's politics. As we emerge somewhat slowly from an economic recession, and give our attention to the revitalisation of Christchurch city and its community, and as we work to reduce our overseas debt, it is clearly a time for our nation to be united and working within an air of positivity.
And ironically Dr. Brash, the measures which you have condemned as negative in your party advertisement, are the very issues for which I am approached and congratulated for (on behalf of the Maori party's efforts in Government) by members of the general public EVERY day - sometimes by as many as 10-12 a day.
In closing, I would like to draw your attention to the various social, health, and human rights reports that summarise what many of us already know - that is, that Maori people are still amongst the most impoverished, the most marginalised, and the most socially at-risk communities in New Zealand. I do not see much evidence of Maori privilege in these statistics. Please do feel free to review such reports at your earliest convenience.
Kati mo tenei wa
Heoi ano
Na Hon Dr Pita R Sharples CBE, MA, Dip Tchg, PhD, TH, JP
Well at least he gave it a go, but not much teeth in there. The 12 general public comments a day must be nice.

I say no deal for The Mana Party on the seats with the maori party
No Mana deals with the racists of Act - they are nutters who believe there were people in this country before Māori as well as their usual racist claptrap.

On another note Maps has written an interesting post on the term kupapa and how it is used willy nilly by people. I never use the term and will not.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

good riddance to bad rubbish

It is good that ansell has resigned - he is a hatemonger and a racist. Act are goneburgers and the sooner the better.

"These guys (Maori) have gone from the stone age to the space age in 150 years and haven't said thanks. That's the nature of the thing. In Maori world, if one tribe conquers another you eat the guys' eyeballs. The Brits were pretty civilised by that standard," Ansell said. Ansell, who designed the Iwi/Kiwi billboards, attacked "white cowards" for not standing up against the "Maorification" of the country, the NZ Herald reported.
That is some of the tamest bile he spouts - I can't be bothered putting more of it in. Good riddance to bad rubbish and he is very bad rubbish. Act as a party have no ideas and so desperate to stay in they will say and use anything to get a vote. Act are finished as Irishbill explains at The Standard. Their latest campaign is so useless it is a joke - but a dangerous joke and a joke that must be stamped on. Lew at Kiwipolitico does his usual masterful job disassemblying the bullshit. 

Great post by Danyl at The Dimpost which covers all the ground.

Ansell still has the Coastal Coalition and i'm sure some other equally dim yet offensive friends. Bring it on racist - all you are doing is helping our cause.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

historic moments

Sometimes it's good to stop and take stock and I am optimistic at the moment. Mana has been registered and Hone has won Te Tai Tokerau and will be sworn in as the new member for Mana on Thursday 14 July 2011 at 2pm. Historic days indeed. I have been a bit picky with the Wai 262 report from the Waitangi Tribunal but the significance of the report cannot be underestimated - wouldn't it be great if the powers that be said, " yep! okay we will implement all of the recomendations in total". Imagine how great that would be.

New commission to hear objections to commercial uses of intellectual property such as the haka. Registrar of haka to be established. Resource Management decisions between tangata whenua and local authorities to be compulsory, formal and proactive. Iwi and hapu would not have ownership rights to indigenous species, but reasonable protection would be given to knowledge of flora and fauna. Maori advisory committee to work with Commissioners of Patents and of Plant Variety Rights. Commissioners would have right to refuse patents which interfere with relationships between "kaitiaki [Maori] and taonga". Decisions about any prospecting activity in DoC areas would be made jointly by the department and tangata whenua. New national and regional partnership structures to give Maori an equal voice with the New Zealand Conservation Authority in setting conservation objectives and priorities. Wildlife Act to be amended to give Maori and Crown shared management of protected species. Expand the role of Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori (the Maori Language Commission) to deal with the crisis the Maori language is in. Maori health is in crisis. Urgent action needed. Expand health system to include rongoa (traditional healing) services. Amend Crown strategy for engagement with Maori on international treaties to require engagement over both binding and non-binding instruments.
Dreams are certainly free. Is it possible to realise that you are part of a historic moment? I suppose the berlin wall breakers knew - I wonder if we know. Notwithstanding arguments of what actually is a 'historic moment', we are part of a historic moment in time that really will create change. Mana is a Party that will effect change and we are part of the beginnings. Just like this crowd were part of the beginnings of Oasis. 

A historic moment and we are there.

underreported struggles 51

Ahni at Intercontinental Cry has some very important underreported struggles this month.
Citizens from the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk and other Indigenous Nations, essentially turning a traditional practice into a protest, came together to gather seaweed, mussels and clams along California's North Coast. If the state of California pushes through its proposed MLPA Initiative, the customary practice of gathering these and other subsistence resources would be outlawed.

Local populations around the world are standing up to the coal-fired power industry, resisting private and public-sector pressure to cast aside their rights, homes and livelihoods for projects that are clearly not intended for their benefit. As Grist.org highlights, hundreds of thousands of people in Malaysia, Bangladesh, India, Australia, Colombia and elsewhere are standing up and saying NO.

Despite Argentina's blanket ban on evictions of Indigenous communities, the Quilmes community of Colalao del Valle is facing its third eviction attempt in three years. Police officers already tried to disperse the community on April 29th; but the community, which is attempting to reclaim ancestral lands, resisted.
Word got out that the Canadian government started spying on Indigenous people almost immediately after Prime Minister Stephen Harper took office in January 2006. Information obtained by Access to Information requests revealed that the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) was permitted to start monitoring First Nations engaged in direct action to protect their lands and communities and to gather and share intelligence on "First Nation leaders, participants and outside supporters of First Nation occupations and protests." 
Communities in the Transkei Wildcoast's Xolobeni area of South Africa successfully pressured the government to halt mining operations in the area. The Xolobeni area is considered the traditional home of the AmaDiba people who claim to have occupied the land for centuries. The AmaDiba Crisis Committee (ACC) said that, if the Xolobeni Mineral Sand mining project had proceeded as planned, the AmaDiba would have "faced permanent and significant changes to their traditional way of life and their connection to the land."  
And many more - please visit Intercontinental Cry and read about these struggles.

Wai 262 - kaitiakitanga - some thoughts

Reading the fact sheets associated with the Wai 262 report has been great but also raised some questions for me. It isn't my job to microexamine the report and point out flaws but on the other hand I can't let somehing go when I think it needs said. The term kaitiakitanga is used and given some activation through the recommendations, but how can the role be fulfilled if the power and authority of the role isn’t there. I am taking the report as a starting point for discussion which I think is in the spirit of he report.

Kaitiakitanga is a term that has no equivalent English meaning. It encompasses conservation in the western sense of protection and guardianship but also is measured by the strength of the mauri of the area, demonstrated by the abundance and variety of the resources available.

Kaitiakitanga means interaction and exemplifies the Māori world view where everything is connected because of whakapapa to Rangi and Papa. This holistic view realises that we are part of the environment, we are nature too and this is in contrast to the dominant current worldview where we are the ‘other’, alien and distant from nature.

There is no such concept as ‘own’ in regards to resources – it is ‘right to use’, within the Māori worldview. That ‘right to use’ is tempered with communal thinking and social structure based on tapu and mana, whakapapa and tikanga.

Exercising kaitiakitanga is exercising mana and it reflects the mana of the people and their leaders. Rangatira couldn’t lead without having the people supporting them and they reflected the mana of their people. The traditional attributes of leaders included the ability to fulfil kaitiakitanga responsibilities. These could only be fulfilled with the power and ability of mana derived from the Gods, ancestors, the whenua, the people and personal actions. This is a circular relationship where each part supports and strengthens the other parts.

The key is that there was absolute authority - derived and supported by mana. You cannot fulfil the responsibilities of kaitiakitanga without having the authority and power over those responsibilities.

The Wai 262 report says anumber of things on kaitiakitanga. My views are just my own – others will disagree with me.
The interests of kaitiaki in their taonga are entitled to protection, but that does not mean that kaitiaki are entitled to a veto over uses of IP in taonga works in all cases. Rather, kaitiaki interests must be fairly and transparently balanced alongside other interests, such as (a) the interests of those who own IP rights, such as authors or film-makers whose work may depict taonga works or related knowledge, or business owners whose trade marks are based on taonga works, and (b) the interests of the wider community in the information and artistic and cultural works available in the public domain.
If you do not have the authority and power to enact kaitiaki responsibilities then you cannot fulfil your duties – you don’t have the power to.
‘Taonga species’ is a term the Tribunal has used to refer to species of flora and fauna that are significant to the culture or identity of Māori iwi or hapū. The exercise of kaitiaki responsibilities towards those species is a fundamental aspect of Māori culture, and kaitiaki relationships are important sources of identity.
The Treaty allows the Crown to put in place laws and policies relating to research into and commercialisation of the genetic and biological resources in flora and fauna. This includes IP laws, and laws controlling aspects of the research process such as bioprospecting and genetic modification. But in doing so the Crown must to the greatest extent practicable protect the authority of iwi and hapū in relation to their taonga species, so that they can fulfil their obligations as kaitiaki.
How can it be ‘significant to the culture or identity of Māori’ and ‘kaitiakitanga is a fundamental aspect of being Māori’, and then expect Māori to filfil their obligations when the Crown has control and power over those very things that are considered taonga?
The Treaty entitles kaitiaki relationships with taonga species to a reasonable degree of protection. It also entitles Māori to a reasonable degree of control over traditional knowledge relating to taonga species and how that knowledge is used. But it does not entitle kaitiaki to ownership of taonga species, and nor does it mean that kaitiaki are entitled to a veto over uses of IP in those species in all cases.
Rather, kaitiaki interests must be fairly and transparently balanced alongside other interests. Those include the interests of those who conduct research and hold IP rights, the public interest in research and development, and of course the interests of the species themselves.
Reasonable what the hell is that word! I absolutely disagree with their conclusion – it does entitle Māori ownership and a veto over uses of IP in all cases.

How can this report imply that Māori kaitiakitanga wouldn’t naturally include considerations of all aspects including research and the taonga species.
The Treaty entitles kaitiaki to fulfil their obligations to protect and care for taonga in the environment. But, while Māori interests and kaitiaki relationships are important, this does not mean that iwi and hapū should have a generally applicable veto. In a modern resource management context, other interests should also be considered, including the health of the environment, and the interests of property owners, resource users, those affected by resource use, and the wider community.
I ask again why wouldn’t Māori kaitiakaitanga also include aspects of the health of the environment, owner rights, resource users and the wider community?
Relationships with the environment are fundamental to Māori culture. Every iwi and hapū sees itself as related through whakapapa to the landforms, waterways, flora, fauna and other parts of the environment within their tribal areas. These parts of the environment are taonga, for which iwi and hapū are obliged to act as kaitiaki. They have inherited knowledge relating to these taonga, explaining their whakapapa relationship and their kaitiaki obligations. Kaitiakitanga is a form of law, controlling relationships between people and the environment.
How can this be reconciled, when the power and authority to enact and perform the duties and responsibilities of the kaitiakitanga role, are not there. The role cannot be fulfilled because the Crown has power and authority over the role.

The report is significant because it is setting the agenda for Crown/Māori relationships and their vision is one of partnership. But partnership must be real if it is to have any meaning. I think Māori have had enough of tokenism, we want real change and equality and that means self determination. I am sure that that can be structured to keep everyone relatively happy. It is entirely correct that Māori should be recognised as kaitiaki of their taonga and given rights and protection to enable them to fulfil their duties, based upon the Māori world view.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wai 262 - it's big

Well the Wai 262 report has been published and it is a wide ranging long document that unfortunately I have not been able to read yet. But I have read the fact sheets and I’m getting my head around what the report is saying. So this is just an initial reaction and I’ll continue to add thoughts and other commentary as it comes along. I don't mean to be too negative with the report as it was needed after such a long wait, but some of the language makes me feel a little uneasy - have I got it wrong and are seeing shadows? 

It is time for the Crown–Māori relationship to evolve from one based on historical grievance to an ongoing partnership based on mutual advantage. This partnership must secure the place of mātauranga Māori in New Zealand law, and in government policy and practice. This partnership is what the Treaty of Waitangi envisaged. But it is also necessary for New Zealand’s future – for its prosperity and its sense of nationhood.
This term ‘historical grievance’ is a problem for me – it seeps some sort of blame and is a loaded term. Yes there is a ‘historic’ nature to the claims and relationship but the same exploitation is happening today to Māori. As it always is in the Māori world the past is there, and the future, within the now.

‘Mutual advantage’ is a nothing term  and I just don’t feel very good about the language and tenor of that whole bit.
This lack of a place for Māori culture in contemporary law and policy compounds a wider picture of social disparity, reflected for example in educational performance, employment and incomes, and the current crisis in Māori health. It also continues a national story in which the Crown, either deliberately or through neglect, has largely supported one of New Zealand’s two founding cultures at the expense of the other.
Hang on, ‘one of two founding cultures’ what the hell does that mean? I’m sorry but that is not right IMO. That is diminishing the mana of Māori. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed by rangatira and the Crown. There was no settler government or culture. Yes the kiwi culture has developed since then but the Treaty was with the Crown. There is Māori culture, the indigenous native culture of this place and then there is everyone else. All others who have come and made this place home, all those who have been born here and died here, who have loved here and cried here. All have been welcomed, all are welcome to come to this place of Māori.
Yet these concerns mask the underlying good will and respect that characterises the relationship between Māori and non-Māori New Zealanders. This good will is making the settlement of historical injustices possible. And once those injustices are resolved, it can provide a basis for the nation to move forward, for the Crown and Māori to establish a relationship based on mutual benefit, and for New Zealand to develop a new national identity based on the partnership between our founding cultures.
I’ve already talked about the ‘founding cultures’ bit. The ‘goodwill’ is an amazing term considering the whole process from start to finish is designed and managed by the Government to help achieve their aims. Is this term supposed to imply some choice in the matter? The Government offers the settlement and the Iwi says yes or no – that isn’t choice or consultation or discussion or partnership – it is the same old same old.
The Treaty of Waitangi gave the Crown the right to govern and enact laws, but that right was qualified by the guarantee of tino rangatiratanga (full authority) for iwi and hapū over their ‘taonga katoa’ (all their treasured things). The courts have characterised this exchange of rights and obligations as a partnership.In this context, tino rangatiratanga means that iwi and hapū are entitled to exercise authority over their mātauranga, and to exercise authority over their relationships with taonga such as cultural works and parts of the environment that are significant to their culture and identity, so that they can fulfil their obligations as kaitiaki.
That is good and I have found while reading the documents that there are many good bits.
Ko Aotearoa Tēnei provides a framework for Treaty partnership in 21st century New Zealand. It makes recommendations for forms of partnership in many areas of Crown activity, including education, science, culture and heritage, conservation, resource management, indigenous flora and fauna, language, and patents.

Another good area but the next bit is not so good in my view.
This framework does not seek to elevate Māori cultural interests inappropriately above the interests of other New Zealanders. In a modern, democratic New Zealand, the ‘full authority’ envisaged by the Treaty will no longer be possible in every case. But the framework does seek to ensure that Māori interests are at least at the table when decisions are made – so they can be fairly and transparently balanced alongside other interests, rather than sidelined as they often are now.

I just don’t understand this language – ‘inappropriately’ WTF are they writing this with Don Brash in mind or what. I’ll goddam ‘transparently balance’ some other interests all right cos at least I’ll be at the table. I thought the Waitangi Tribunal had more grunt than this pacifying stuff – just be quiet or you’ll upset people.
The path that embraces partnership recognises and values Māori culture as one of New Zealand’s founding cultures. In so doing, it provides Maori with a positive platform from which they can address social issues and contribute to national prosperity; it moves the Crown-Māori relationship from one based on grievance and negativity to one based on mutual advantage; and it provides the basis for future in which all New Zealanders can look forward with optimism to a shared future. It is, the Tribunal says, time to perfect that partnership.
What can I say that I haven’t already said – told off I have been, I’m negative and just saturated with grievance, along with many if not most of my brothers and sisters – we just have to get off our arses and give it a go – instead of hitting the bottle, the bong or the kids – then we can have some mutual advantage and we can optimistically look forward to shared future – yay

As usual the Waitangi Tribunal can only recommend and the Government will decide what, if any, to accept and put into practice.

This is just the introduction because the other fact sheets are intriguing too – what do they mean when the say Māori don’t own indigenous fauna and flora? What do they mean by ‘own’? Lots of questions but lest it seem that I am completely down on this report – I’m not, I am pleased it has been released and it covers so many important areas – I thank the authors and researchers and I only wish that it could have been sped up because the time taken has been a disgrace.

Good response from these politicians

But Maori Party MP Rahui Katene, daughter of one of the original claimants John Hippolite, said the report had been watered down and politicised. "The claim is about tino rangatiratanga or Maori control of things Maori," she said. "The report goes nowhere near dealing with that." The tribunal identified only one breach of the Treaty of Waitangi - the Tohunga Suppression Act, 1907, which banned rongoa (traditional healing). The act was repealed in 1962. But Katene was scathing: "To say there is only one breach is really ignoring the reality of what happened to each of those claimant iwi, and iwi all around New Zealand."

Lawyer Annette Sykes, counsel for one claimant group, said her claimants had asked Mana Party leader Hone Harawira about taking their concerns to Parliament.
  Good stuff also from Joshua and Simon