Friday, July 31, 2009


There will soon be one flag that represents them all.

All of Maoridom that is.

The Maori Party has invited iwi to 21 hui across the country to vote for one of the four flags on offer. Hui started in the far north in Kaitaia and will finish in Dunedin the middle of August. The results of each hui along with any written submissions will be presented by the Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples to Prime Minister John Key later in the year. The most popular flag will legitimately fly high on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, at Parliament House and anywhere else and on occasions Maori deem important, significant and worthy starting with Waitangi Day 2010.

But not all Maori are united in the one flag for all notion. Most noticeably vocal in their opposition is the opposition. Labour MP’s and cousins Shane Jones and Kelvin Davis make up the Tai Tokerau trio along with their maverick whanaunga, Maori Party’s Hone Harawira. If they were All Blacks they would form an impressive front row. They are fearless in their drive to succeed, they can be intimidating particularly when debating race, poverty and justice and of course they are physical heavy weights. Not all brawn without brain, their collective minds are outstanding, each one an astute community leader and shrewd politician, even Davis who’s only been in Parliament eight months is holding his own. While they may cringe at being described metrosexual they do have a softer, feminine side. All three sons have no hesitation in showing their passion for their people and their love of whanau.

On the flag issue however, the line is drawn. Mr Jones says the whole exercise reeks of shallowness and insularity that the debate should be about a national flag for all New Zealanders. While Mr Davis quizzed the Minister of Maori Affairs in the House earlier stating that, with 400 to 500 Maori joining the dole queue each week, would it not be better to hold 21 hui on job creation or educational underachievement instead?

The two Labour MP’s brought up relevant points. Mr Jones speaks of collectivism, inclusiveness while Mr Davis makes legitimate references to the economy and education. What is of interest is not what they said but rather that these two centre-lefties, rurals from struggling working class backgrounds had the audacity to deny what they know to be true and correct for Maori. Pita Sharples says these flags are beacons of hope; a signature flying high, telling the world who we are. “There is probably no stronger picture of this in my mind than that incredible sight of the flags proceeding down Lambton Quay in the Hikoi of 5 May 2004.” Says the MP.

There’s nothing these Labour boys can do about the hui or the outcome. Well actually they can go along and vote for their flag of choice, it may very well tip the balance.

The issue for them is not the hui or the flag but the Maori Party’s position as coalition partner with the National Government. These Maori Labour MP’s just don’t like being in opposition – who does?

The last flag or haki hui is in Dunedin 13 August. Let’s see what the people come up with.


Friday July 31, 2009
5:54PM NZT
An apology from the Crown and an historic statement of forgiveness were exchanged on Thursday night after Parliament passed legislation enacting a Treaty settlement covering the wider Wellington region.

Prime Minister John Key read the Crown apology and said the statement of forgiveness, the first to be delivered formally by iwi to the Crown, marked a new phase in relationships.

The apology says the Crown is "deeply sorry it has not always lived up to its Treaty of Waitangi obligations and its principles" in its dealings with Taranaki Whanui ke Te Upoko o Te Ika.

The statement of forgiveness was delivered by former governor-general Sir Paul Reeves, a trustee and chairman of the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust.

It says the Crown is forgiven "for its breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles ... and for its failure to protect our interests in the acquisition and administration of our lands."

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the enactment of the legislation was the final stage in the settlement of Taranaki Whanui ke Te Upoko o Te Ika's historical claims.

The claims relate to breaches by the Crown of its obligations under the Treaty, particularly the Crown's dealings over and acquisition of the Port Nicholson Block, and its long delays in ensuring there was appropriate administration of reserved lands.

The Taranaki Whanui ke Te Upoko o Te Ika is a collective comprising people from a number of Taranaki iwi whose ancestors migrated to Wellington in the 1820s and 1830s and signed the Port Nicholson Block Deed of Purchase in 1839.

The settlement provides commercial and cultural redress, a $25 million financial package, and the vesting of various culturally significant sites around the Port Nicholson area.

The cultural redress package includes the transfer of three islands in Wellington Harbour, with public access rights preserved.

The police shot Rob Mokaraka. In the chest….kaaaapaow! But he didn’t die – thank the lord!

Rob Mokaraka, 36, was shot in the chest outside his home in Pt Chevalier on Monday after allegedly lunging at police with knives and a meat cleaver.

The Actor got a bedside hearing at Auckland Hospital Wednesday night where Police charged him with possession of an offensive weapon and assault with a weapon. He’s been remanded on bail to appear on August 19.

What’s with the Police?

Why did this officer have a firearm in his vehicle and not a taser?

Is it easier for the police to sign-out guns than it is tasers? Why aren’t tasers standard issue in police cars? Why did the police feel the need to shoot him?

According to a witness police tried to negotiate with Mokaraka for more than 15 minutes before he was finally shot in the chest. "All of us who saw it think he must have been trying for suicide by cop." Commented the witness.

The police then went on an impressive public relations and media drive, which basically transferred blame for the situation squarely on Mokaraka. Every radio news service ran the police account of events as its lead (except Maori Media on Waatea Radio who have a unique, anomalous definition of what’s news). Even television midday and six o’clock news ran Detective Superintendent Rod Drew detailing Mokaraka’s ‘odd’ behaviour.

What the police did and what the media allowed them to do; was divert public attention away from the actual shooting.

We are now left with the impression that this sad, bad, mad man Mokaraka got what he deserved.

But did he?

Yes we understand and sympathise with police when they tell us they feared for their safety. But fearful enough to shoot him in the chest? Well apparently yes?

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified of the incident and a police investigation is under way. They will find in favour of the police. This Authority formerly known as the Police Complaints Authority has never found police at fault and they won’t in this case either.

Firstly nga mihi ki a koutou katoa mo te wiki o te reo Maori. I hope you all had a most fantastic week speaking Maori here, there and everywhere. Ka pai, ka mau te wehi, tumeke! Fantastic…

Each year’s there’s a theme so for 2009 it’s Te Reo i te Hapori - Maori Language in the Community. According to Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Maori the Maori Language Commission, the theme invites us “To help te reo to live and grow in our communities.” It sounds kind of desperate like they’re pleading us to let a struggling plant have its chance to stand in the sun and rain. Or worse they’re imploring us civilised human beings show compassion towards an alien species on the brink of extinction.

Well the Language Commission is right. Te reo Maori may as well be an alien species because it is in danger of extinction along with every other world wide indigenous language.

According to the UNESSCO approximately 600 languages have disappeared in the last century and they continue to disappear at a rate of one language every two weeks. Up to 90 percent of the world’s languages are likely to disappear before the end of this century if current trends are allowed to continue.

So why are the languages dying? Each case will differ according to their region and the environment in which it’s found. Here in Aotearoa/New Zealand, it could be attributed to the low prioritising of the language by the Ministry of Education at the Primary and Secondary School levels. Or the enemy could be nothing more than complacency says Maori Language Commissioner Erima Henare. We have Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa, Wharekura and Tertiary Institutions have a myriad of courses to do with both te reo and culture. There’s also Maori Television and on Sky 59 the 100% Te Reo Channel.

So what more do Maori want? The answer to that is: it’s the country that needs a lot more. Only 4% of us speak Maori to a fluent level, 130,485 are Maori and about 30,042 non-Maori. I’m really impressed with the latter figure it’s more than what I thought. But for all those who say te reo can’t get us export business in Asia or the Middle east or Europe – you’re wrong it can.

Language is all about identity, connection and expectation. We are defined by who we are by blood and history and regardless of what you think this contributes to our present shape. How we perceive ourselves is how we relate to others. International business may be ruthless but it also relies on contextual empathy and understanding of the people and environment. Being bi-lingual or multi-lingual especially if one of those languages is of your homeland affords you an insight into other peoples lives.

I hope that one day we will never have Maori Language Week. I hope that one day te reo Maori is spoken by all and sundry on the streets, at work, in bars, clubs and definitely in the home by all New Zealanders.

Te reo Maori mo koutou, mo ratou, mo tatou.
Maori language; for you, for them, for us all.
What a big week for Maori. We’ve seen a Maori man shot by police, a Maori Radical Group hold up Court proceedings, an apology by the Crown to Taranaki ki Whanui which reciprocated a statement of forgiveness and it’s Maori Language Week.


The High Court hearing bribery and perversion of justice charges in the former MP Taito Phillip Field trial was adjourned by Judge Rodney Hansen when he was interrupted by Te Tai Tokerau Kaumatua Tass Davis on Thursday. Justice Hansen immediately called for an adjournment, and when he returned 45 minutes later he warned people in the public gallery they would be removed if they interrupted again.

Times have changed.

Ten years ago even five years ago this lot would have been arrested, charged with public nuisance and causing obstruction fined and barred from the High Court (unless they’re appearing in the dock being charged with some offence).

Leading the protest group Mauri Nation State Hapu is Davis a 75-year-old former Auckland police constable. He claims to represent "rangatira of the land."

The group returned to the High Court today with a larger more ‘intimating’ group of black-t shirt wearing rangatahi youth. One of the protesters was apparently warned repeatedly by police to stop filming in the courthouse lobby but refused. Group spokesperson Tane Rakau told a court official to go back to China and claimed the group's members were able to film because they were tangata whenua. Why the police didn’t throw them out of the court house is unfathomable.

Davis reckons they’re embarking on a "non-violent campaign" aimed at illustrating "frustrations ... borne out of a legacy of 160 years of colonial oppression". Davis says the Government need to enter into serious discussions over demands for Maori self-determination.

The Mauri Nation State Hapu group had already carried out two protest practice runs. A 22-strong group of "mainly elderly with walking sticks" had marched past the homes of two judges in Auckland. The group stood outside the homes, then moved on. Some motorists honked, but Davis reckons the judges didn't realise they were there.

Black t-shirt wearing rangatahi causing mayhem is a big step up from 70-plus year old Kaumatua limping down leafy suburban lanes. If they’re going to use intimidating methods to put their case across, no one will support them.

On the one hand they support Taito Phillip Field and afford him tangata whenua status and then one of their group abuse an Asian Court worker!

This lot's seriously confused.