a newsletter for the kumara vineIssue No 1/96 - 24 December 1996
Te Putatara is published monthly by email by Te Aute Publications, P.O.Box 408, Wellington, New Zealand. Edited by Ross Himona.Copyright: Ross Himona. Feel free to print, copy and retransmit but please acknowledge source.
Putatara! Putatara! Ki te whai-ao, ki te ao-marama, Tihei mauriora!E nga iwi o te motu, e nga hau e wha Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.Rebirth of a Newsletter =======================Te Putatara was launched in January 1988 during times of great change for Maori people, and in an era when information was a scarce commodity, and tightly controlled by agencies such as the late (and entirely unlamented) Department of Maori Affair. It dropped into an information void and exploded throughout the motu. It became a very popular publication, loved for its political analysis and comment, satire, humour, and straight out cheekiness.At the same time it became a very unpopular publication in some quarters, and it's publisher, editor, writer and ti-boy (all me) became even more unpopular. So much so that a former senior public servant (who shall remain forever nameless) hired a very expensive Pakeha private defective to try to track down the sources of my "inside information". The private eye failed but he cost the public sector heaps of public dollars.I stopped publishing Te Putatara at the end of 1990, largely because of the cost; and also because it was a one-man band and it became difficult to keep going. The information void has since been filled by Mana Maori Media, iwi newspapers, iwi radio, and a pilot Maori TV station. Maori people have never before been so information rich. And information, we are often told, is power. But is the void being filled? And is the information empowering?For several years I have been under pressure from my very loyal readership all over the country to start Te Putatara again. So with the increasing spread of internet communications throughout Maoridom I have decided to re-launch Te Putatara as an email newsletter.These are interesting times with the advent of our first MMP coalition government, and with 15 Maori MP's in Parliament, some of them as cabinet ministers in the Beehive, Te Whare Miere, named by the late Rev Maori Marsden The House of Honeyed Deceit. Will they make a difference? Or will they too become addicted to the sweetness of that honey called power? Who will be watching them?Have we become bogged down in Treaty analysis and Treaty grievances? Just how much have ordinary Maori people benefited from all the "advances" of the last ten years: fish, forests, settlements and the like? And if ordinary Maori people are not sharing in the gains, who is?These and other questions will be addressed by the new Te Putatara.No reira, rau rangatira ma, nga mihi nui, nga mihi aroha ki a koutou katoa mo tenei wa o te Kirihimete, na Ross Himona.Ten Years Ago =============In the two weeks leading up to Christmas 1986 the so-called Maori Loans Affair "scandal" burst upon a nation eager to hear of Maori incompetence and corruption. Ten years ago on this day, on Christmas Eve 1996, I was at a hui of Maori Affairs staff when Don Hunn of the State Services Commission told them that their Secretary and one of their Deputy Secretaries had been sent on leave while their roles in the breaking scandal were investigated. It was the start of a period of great turmoil in Maoridom, the beginning of the end of the Department of Maori Affair, and just the beginning of a flood of anti-Maori feeling which was unleashed throughout the country.Indirectly that was the genesis of Te Putatara, for I was amazed, appalled and horrified by the incompetence, dishonesty, petty corruption, and naked power-seeking that I was witnessing in and around the old Department of Maori Affair. I was equally amazed, appalled and horrified by the methods used by the then National Opposition spokesman for Maori Affairs, Winston Peters, to expose the whole affair. Perhaps I was a little politically naive in those days. Perhaps Winston and I have both come a long way in ten years. He certainly has.Winston of course went on to become Minister of Maori Affairs himself, left the National Party, and is now Leader of NZ First, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer.Koro Wetere, then the target of Winston's campaign, completed six years as Minister of Maori Affairs, went into Opposition, and has retired from Parliament with his honour and respect intact.Tamati Reedy, then Secretary for Maori Affair, retired from the public service when his department was disbanded in September 1989. He is now at Waikato University, a post more suited to his talents.Neville Baker, then a Deputy Secretary, survived longer than Tamati, became Maori Trustee under Wira Gardiner, then was removed from office by Gardiner. Neville is now back on contract to Te Puni Kokiri (Te Puni Koretake) and heads a "Special Projects Team" advising the CEO, Ngatata Love. Neville is keeping a very low profile.In 1986 Ngatata Love was Dean of the Business Studies Faculty at Massey University, a member of the Board of Maori Affairs, Chairman of the Labour Party Maori Policy committee, and a close personal advisor to the Minister, Koro Wetere. He advised the Minister against borrowing offshore. Interestingly and ironically, he is now CEO of the Ministry of Maori Development under a National/NZ First Government, with Neville Baker as a close advisor; some say his main advisor.I shall digress a little. In 1988 I remember that Winston Peters made a great fuss in the media about a "committee" that Ngatata set up in Manawatu as a sub-committee of the Board of Maori Affairs to process all Maori ACCESS funding for that region. As I remember the facts, the "committee" members didn't know that they were on this "committee" and when they found out, they complained to Minister Koro Wetere about all this funding being distributed without this "committee" having any meetings at all. That was a little embarrassing for Ngatata but he got away with it, then went very quiet for a few years.Back to 1986. Wira Gardiner, who was on contract to the Board of Maori Affairs in 1986, had advised Neville Baker not to pursue the loans through the Department of Maori Affairs. Wira went on to run unsucessfully for Parliament, became CEO of the Iwi Transition Agency, then CEO of Te Puni Koretake, the Ministry of Maori Development. He has since retired to Ruatoria to raise consultants.Bert Mackie, in 1986 a member of the Board of Maori Affairs and a close personal advisor to Koro Wetere, was involved in stopping the loans also. Bert has hung on at the centre of power, and has been employed by Wira Gardiner and now by Ngatata Love. Bert is Winston Peters' cousin.John "The Survivor" Paki was a lawyer in the Department of Maori Affair in 1986. He is now Maori Trustee and Deputy CEO of Te Puni Koretake. In the late 1980's he and Rana "The Sheriff" Waitai used to vie for the name of "Jake", because the other one of course would be called "Fat Man". Rana is now in Parliament for NZ First. Kia ora Jake! John Paki is Winston Peters' cousin. John's brother Ben is also a senior official in Te Puni Koretake.Dennis Hansen, who was involved with Rocky Cribb in setting up the loans in Hawai'i, seems to have disappeared from sight. It was Dennis who had lunch with Winston Peters and told Winston all about the whole loan scheme. Rocky is running his own business.At one stage in the early 1990's Tukuroirangi Morgan became a target of the Pakeha private defective who tried to find out where Tuku was getting the information for a story he was researching for TV3. I think the story was about some of the Old Guard from the Department of Maori Affair. Tuku is now in Parliament for NZ First, and is the new Chair of the Maori Affairs Select Committee. He is Tau Henare's brother-in-law.And Now =======The really interesting thing about this whole story is that the wheel has turned full cycle. With Ngatata Love and Neville Baker ensconced in Te Puni Koretake, the Old Guard is now back at the helm with their old ideas, their old methods, and perhaps with the old agendas and the cronyism of the Old Guard.And the New Guard sits in and around the Minister's office.The Future ==========I have been watching with interest as new Maori policies and funding are unveiled by Tau. Much of it seems to be based on Winston's policy document of February 1991, the one that eventually got him sacked as Minister of Maori Affairs by Jim Bolger; the one called "Ka Awatea". No doubt Winston has a deeply personal interest in implementing "Ka Awatea" now that he is back from exile.The problem is that although the research behind "Ka Awatea" was quite well done, I believe that the conclusions and recommendations were and still are seriously flawed. One has only to look at Te Ohu Kaimoana (Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission) to see why. One needs to have an appreciation of Maori politics and of the power-seeking antics of would-be rangatira to know why. One needs to have worked at the flaxroots to understand the uselessness of much of what passes as Maori policy.We don't need to empower and enfund any more in-between agencies and units and commissions and pseudo-iwi and Maori politicians and bureaucrats and Maori corporatists. We need to empower the people to analyse their own situations and needs, to dream their own dreams, to plan their own plans, to program their own programs, to create their own futures, and to live their own lives, rewardingly and successfully.And for my part I have never trusted the Department of Maori Affair, or any of its successors including Te Puni Koretake, to resist the temptation to play political patronage and slush funds with any public funds channelled through it.Nga Kupu Whakamutunga =====================But for the moment, a te wa. I hear Hana Koko landing on my roof. She brought us 15 MP's and 3 cabinet ministers for Christmas. But the pohutukawa flowers late this year in Wellington. He tohu pea?Kati ra mo tenei wa."Keep me from the man who says, "I am a candle to light the people on their way"; but to the one who seeks to make his way through the light of the people, bring me nearer."- Kahlil Gibran
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