A Newsletter for The Kumara Vine
P.O.Box 408, Wellington, New Zealand
ISSN 0114-2097 - Issue No 6/90 30 September 1990
Toi te hapu, toi te iwi, toi te mana:
te mana wairua, te mana whenua, te mana tangata; te mana Maori.
Ka whawhai tonu ake! Ake! Ake!
E nga iwi o te motu, e nga tai e wha,
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
The silly season is upon us once again. Who will you vote for?
I shall not vote.
Even if I were inclined to vote for a candidate for Parliament, I would find it very difficult. For the National and Labour two-party power culture has created a sham democracy around this bastion of privilege called Parliament; an illusion of representative government.
Right from the start the Parliament has never represented the nation tribes. But it has never represented the Pakeha nation either, our treaty partners. For it does not represent women, or youth; and it does not represent "ordinary" working people. It does not represent most New Zealanders. It represents only the power culture.
In proclaiming the "sovereignty of Parliament", and in claiming to represent us through the farce of Parliament, both major political parties display their true moral and ethical principles. What they are about is not representation, but power. And the less accountable they are to those they claim to represent, the more complete is their power.
In the coming election campaign they will argue that one has more "integrity" than the other. They will argue that one is more "competent" than the other. They will argue about the "decent society" that National claims to represent. They will argue about who cares more for the "people". None of that matters.
They are but two halves of the same dragon; there is no difference between the parties. Neither party has integrity. Neither party can claim to be competent representatives. Neither party has a vision of a decent society without themselves in the seat of power. Neither party gives a damn for the people.
The dragon is the same two-arsed dragon, no matter which one sits on the treasury benches.
They are politicians, kept in place by their secretive power brokers, and they care only for power. In some countries there are constitutional safeguards to curb their excesses, but in New Zealand there are none. That is why power-fuddled politicians like Muldoon, Douglas and Prebble have been able to so completely terrorise the country for the last fifteen years.
The Pakeha nation is desperately in need of a written Constitution which places democratic controls on their political power brokers.
The nation tribes of Aotearoa already have a constitution in our mana, our rangatiratanga. Under our system, when rangatira no longer represented us they were replaced. Or we left under our preferred rangatira and started a new hapu. We didn't wait for the elections to replace him with another time-serving fool, or power-crazy tyrant, just like the last one. We chose to follow the one we wanted; not some unknown political hack.
The Treaty of Waitangi guaranteed to us the continuation of our democratic system, our rangatiratanga. Instead, we have had this version of kawanatanga forced upon both Maori and Pakeha. The Pakeha nation fondly and foolishly believes kawanatanga to be "civilised", and rangatiratanga to be "barbaric". Some Maori have been brainwashed into believing it too. The truly barbaric system is the New Zealand version of kawanatanga and a mythical "Sovereign-in-Parliament." E hoa ma, some of our New Zealand politicians would have given the Barbarians a bad reputation.
Both kawanatanga and rangatiratanga were guaranteed by the Treaty of Waitangi, but Parliament has seen to it that kawanatanga is the only survivor of that covenant; and then only in a form which dis-enfranchises all Maori, and most Pakeha.
Many Maori believe that in order to advance our political cause we must participate in this parliamentary kawanatanga, and force change from within; even after the evidence of nearly 150 years of parliamentary oppression. So we have many loyal Maori supporters of both the National and Labour parties (and now New Labour), working and voting for a system which will never change, if it is left to the politicians. And we have a Maori party, Mana Motuhake, believing that they will slay the mighty dragon from within; if only they can convince it to devour them first.
Working from within will never restore rangatiratanga to the nation tribes. Nor will it ever gain the Pakeha nation their own rangatiratanga, so they won't need to steal ours. The dragon called Parliament has a vested interest in keeping us all in a state of powerlessness.
St George defeated the dragon. We must overthrow Parliament.
Since its inception, Parliament has ruled through the invisible "unwritten Constitution", through the creation of a myth about the "Sovereign-in-Parliament", and through the control of information. It has been able to keep most of the country in ignorance about the parlous state of democracy in New Zealand. It has been able to keep most of the country in ignorance as it dipped into the coffers and delivered power and wealth to the favoured few.
Communications and education have put paid to all that secrecy and myth making. Now we all know that the mighty dragon is really just a lizard putting on an act. Like all actors, it can't survive without an audience.
The best way to overthrow Parliament is to ignore it. Don't vote.
Kia ora tatou,
Where you been Ross?
E hoa ma, sorry about the long holiday with no panui. I've been away from Wellington for a few months, out in the provinces earning a few dollars to pay the bills, doing a bit of consulting. What's that? Did I hear someone say that no-one noticed?
By my calculation you haven't had a newsletter since the May edition, so that leaves seven editions for me to write before the end of the year. So I'd better get my skates on eh. And wind up the trusty computer. There's nothing much been happening anyway, but you all knew that I make everything up didn't you?
Where I been? I been everywhere man. I've been quietly slipping around the provinces spying on you all (and Neville Baker). Actually I've been doing some communications skills training, mostly for Pakeha. You know what? When you need to go to work for some moni, you got to work for tauiwi. He's got it all. Sad eh. Never mind, I called my consultancy firm "Ali Baba & his 40 Consultants" (P.O.Box 408, Wellington just in case you need a high-priced consultant).
I found out that some of you think that I work for the Iwi Transition Agency, or Manatu Maori, or some other arm of Government. Some think that "Te Putatara" is a subsidised publication. Let me put you straight. I have not been a public servant since I left the Army in 1982. I'm a free-lance writer and consultant, and I work from home. "Te Putatara" is wholly and solely paid for by your subscriptions and koha. The only grant or subsidy so far has been from my army pension! I like it that way. I can say what I want.
- Kia ora.
"The Master said, Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, to recognise that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to recognise that you do not know it. That is knowledge."
- The Analects of Confucius
TE PUTATARA is published monthly by TE AUTE PUBLICATIONS, P.O.Box 408, Wellington, New Zealand.
Copyright: Ross Himona, 1990
All material appearing in TE PUTATARA is copyright. Contributions are welcomed. Letters to the tea boy are also welcomed.
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Subscribers please note that your subscriptions cover up to and including the month which appears on the address label of your envelope.
Vote Rangatiratanga ............... 1
Where you been Ross? .............. 3
Wellington Watch .................. 4
The Neville Baker Affair .......... 6
Ruby and Rata: A Review............ 9
Dispatches from the Dungeon Bar ...10
a round-up of capital events
Don't vote, but...
Paikare e hoa ma, whanaungatanga is great until you get into tauiwi politics. In the Maori politics, whanaungatanga is politics, eh.
No reira, the very best actor in all the world (or at least te Tai Rawhiti), my friend and whanaunga Wi Kuki Kaa, he's the Mana Motuhake candidate for Eastern Maori. Well now, I'm not going to vote for him am I. But since he's my friend and whanaunga I'm going to support him; particularly since he's running against that useless Peter Tapsell.
So you people in Eastern Maori, if you really must vote; if you really can't resist the urge to cast a vote for the oppressive tauiwi parliament, then vote for Wi Kuki Kaa. But only if you must vote, you understand!
I'd prefer you not to vote at all. Vote Rangatiratanga.
About a million years ago when Tamati Reedy "retired" as Secretary for the Department of Maori Affair I suggested to him that he could start up his own newsletter. Well he's finally taken my advice, but instead of being a reporter, he's now writing fiction.
Reedy Holdings Ltd has just released Tamati's version of a political opinion poll in which he claims to have surveyed Maori opinion about the Vote Rangatiratanga issue. He also claims that it has only got a 5% margin of error. Pure fiction.
Ta Kereama, he reckons he cannot see any sense in the No Vote movement. He says, "If anything, it dishonours the Treaty. In signing, we accepted a system of running this country."
As Tonto said to the Lone Ranger, what you mean "we" paleface? Sounds like the National Party line to me! Poor old Sir Graham can accept an Article One solution if he likes, but I'm an Article Two man myself. Vote Tino Rangatiratanga!
In his new book "Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou", Ranginui Walker had this to say of Latimer, who in 1979 sided with the Pakeha against Hirini Mead, after Hirini had called for a Maori Parliament.
"Herein lies one of the the fundamental problems of the Maori struggle against Pakeha hegemony; the tendency of conservative leaders to side with the dominating class against their own people." (Page 227).
Latimer is still at it eh.
Department of Social Welfare
Now you've all heard about that poor "Maori" unit in the Lower Hutt DSW? About how the Minister of Social Welfare ordered them to be disbanded? No doubt you all felt outraged with the Minister for bowling yet another "Maori" initiative.
Some of us here are quite happy to see them go.
Here's why. Some of these "Maori" people in DSW have been playing their own power games at the expense of the rest of us. Now, that unit at Lower Hutt was actually a takeover by a very small group, quite close to the rangatira of Ngati Maori International.
And there were some others in DSW Head Office also playing along with them. One of those "some others" is called Harry Walker and he's the head of the Head Office "Maori" unit. Sometimes I think he's the one been making up the rules for these hardcase "Maori Unit" games.
So what's been happening in Lower Hutt (and Porirua) is when iwi apply for DSW funding they don't get it; they don't even get a reply. Sometimes their applications get mysteriously lost! Sometimes the applications even find themselves being leaked all over the place so that other iwi can get upset at the cheeky ones who wrote the applications. It was so bad at Lower Hutt that the "Maori" unit even made up some terrible lies and rumours about an iwi group that had the cheek to apply for some funding from DSW. True e hoa ma, true. Then they spread those lies around the hui they went to.
Paikare! No wonder Dr Cullen told them to pack it in, eh. Then the DSW Director General John Grant gets himself a free holiday; a long one too. The kumara vine reckons our friend Mr Harry Walker might have had a hand in getting Mr John Grant that long holiday. The kumara vine reports that Harry Walker is definitely in line for a long holiday himself. Kaitoa.
My whanaunga the French Arab
Some of you may have met up with Piri Tomlins. Last year when he was over here from Australia to set up his big "deals", his story was that he represented the French Bic empire (Bic pens, French Kiss yacht, etc). This year he's turned himself into an Arab, and he has some truly wonderful stories to tell about his life in Arabia as a big-time wheeler and dealer. He looked real neat in Auckland with his Arab headgear. The taro vine reports that he's also been to Fiji, dressed as an Arab.
E hika ma, if you meet him, you tell him "kia ora" from me. He's my whanaunga from Ngati Kahungunu. He's a con-man.
News from Hastings
Te TAI in Hastings has been very active lately. Sonny Keepa has been busily spreading the word about all the new government devolution policy, and exciting the people with his inside information (I hope the Government know about this new policy). Sonny must have decided to settle in Ngati Kahungunu; the kumara vine reports that he's just bought a house and some furniture with a loan from Te TAI.
His boss Peter MacGregor had a long meeting with Neville Baker the other day. Must have been discussing some new policy too.
Maori Development Corporation
The MDC has just announced a write-off of $2,190,000 due to bad debts. They only made $193,000 profit for the year. They have loaned $35,200,000 so far, and by my calculations 6.22% of that has been lost. The wheel fell off some deals!
The Neville Baker Affair
My old mate Neville "IOU" Baker has featured quite often in the columns of "Te Putatara" this year. You know Neville eh. He's the one that used to be Deputy Secretary of the old and not much lamented Department of Maori Affair; and he kept trying to become the Secretary, but Tamati Reedy was already the Secretary.
He's the one that's been trying since 1986 to get control of all the budget that's been going to the iwi authorities, instead of into his own little public servant empire. True, he even broke down and had a tangi in 1987 when the SSC "restructured" the Department of Maori Affairs and took his budget away from him. Budget is power when you're in the public service. He's crazy but you got to hand it to him; he never gives up.
He's the one that tried to become the General Manager of Te TAI Iwi Transition Agency, but missed out to Whirlwind Wira Gardiner. He's the one that Wira hired to be an Assistant General Manager, then as well as that, he was appointed Maori Trustee by Wira.
He's the one that hired a Pakeha private detective to try to gather evidence about some people, and used public funds to pay the Pakeha well over $20,000 for not finding any evidence about people Neville didn't like. That detective was the one that Neville used to "interview" junior staff to try to make them spill the beans about things that didn't exist; only in Neville's head eh.
He's a bit of a Brown Colonial our Neville. He's the one that the old guard in the Brown Colonial network supports, because he's their man at Wellington. They're the ones that could always find some Maori Affairs funding for projects they supported.
He's the one that Gardiner restructured out of the position of Maori Trustee; then he took Gardiner and the Crown to the High Court.
E hika ma, you all know how you get your mana from the people eh; from your marae. Well on 21st August I went along to Neville's marae and watched Neville trying to find his mana there. This hardcase marae where Neville was looking for his mana was called the High Court, and there was a Pakeha sitting on the paepae all by himself. His name was Mr Justice Heron (te kotuku rerenga kotahi mano).
Well, e hoa ma, there was another Pakeha who was Neville's kaikorero, and his name was called Mr Tizard te Roia. This kaikorero was asking the fullah on the paepae to get back Neville's mana from the Crown, which had taken it away from him. Apparently this Crown had given Neville his mana in the first place, then taken it away, and Neville wanted it back. Another kaikorero whose name was called Mr Banks te Roia, he spoke on behalf of the Crown. He said that what the Crown giveth, the Crown may taketh away, and he asked the judge fullah on the paepae not to give Neville his mana back.
Engari, one of the strange things about this hui was they kept calling Neville's mana something else. They called it "Maori Trustee", and Neville's kaikorero kept asking for Neville to get his "Maori Trustee" back.
Now I always thought that "Maori Trustee" was a thing created by the tauiwi oppressors in Parliament to help steal the land off the iwi, and I always understood that "Maori Trustee" was an evil kararehe of the same order as "Parliament" and "Maori Land Court". That's what my kuia and koroua told me never to forget anyway.
Well, you can imagine how surprised I was when Neville Baker's Pakeha kaikorero asked the rangatira in the woolly wig sitting on the paepae all by his lonesome, to give Neville his "Maori Trustee" back. I thought Neville was there in his High Court marae to get back his mana, but he was there to get back his "Maori Trustee". And then I worked it all out. Neville was trying to get back his Pakeha mana! His Pakeha mana is called "Maori Trustee"!!
I suppose Pakeha mana is important if you need it eh? E hoa ma, you know how I know it was mana Neville was after? Well, last year Neville was appointed "Assistant General Manager" of ITA, then given the extra job of "Maori Trustee". Then, when he was no longer "Maori Trustee", he still had his job as "Assistant General Manager".
He never got fired; he just had less work to do for the same pay as before - $85,000. Ae, $85,000. Aue hika, that's more moni than 99% of all us Maori get. So he can't have been looking for moni eh. He must have been at that Pakeha marae looking for his mana!
Well you know what. The rangatira on the paepae at the High court marae, he said taihoa, I'll need a couple of days to think about tenei meanui, and then he left while some fullah sang a really short waiata for him called "The judge be leaving, all rise!"
A couple of days later, ten actually, the kaumatua from the High Court marae gave back to Neville Baker his "Maori Trustee" mana.
Uncle Sir Ralph Love was there with Neville; and Wira Gardiner was there with Ben Paki, Leith Comer, Erima Henare and Faloli Toma. At half time Faloli went over to sit with Neville and Uncle Ralph. Donna Hall popped in for a little while. She was wearing a woolly white wig too! Te Putatara was there.
Actually the whole hui was very boring, and the two Pakeha kaikorero didn't sing any waiata at all. I saw Wira Gardiner trying to catch a fly that was almost falling off the rail because it was bored too: the fly, not Gardiner. I wonder if the fly found his mana there too. It was a tauiwi fly eh; a Maori fly wouldn't be looking for it's mana at a High Court.
How did he get to be Maori Trustee?
Neville was appointed by Wira in October 1989. At the time I thought it was a generous appointment. Only a few days earlier, over a few beers with his cronies, Baker had publicly stated that he had fought Gardiner for the job of ITA General Manager, and that he thought it had been the hardest fight he had ever fought. On that same occasion Baker publicly called Gardiner a "boy", to his face. It was very forgiving and generous of Gardiner to appoint him as Maori Trustee I thought. Given also that Baker has no obvious financial qualifications for a financial job. Generous indeed.
I reckon Neville's only qualifications for the job of Maori Trustee are his naked ambition, a Diploma of Social Work, and an insatiable desire to go wheeling and dealing; with someone else's money.
The "Arthur Daly" of Maoridom
Back in the days of the Maori Loan Affair that didn't happen, it was Neville that did some of the wheeling and dealing that set it all off. He and Rocky Cribb are natural allies. Rocky is highly skilled at setting up deals, and Neville likes to think that he is too. Rocky's deals so far haven't lasted very long, but Neville's have yet to happen. Unless he's pulled off some deals with the Pakeha/Maori Development Corporation?
All sorts of wheelers and dealers are attracted to Neville; mostly because of his access to public funding, but also because of his known addiction to the "deal". Sometimes they turn out to be cons. Helen Kotua and Rangi Whakaruru are two cons who managed to have their travel and hotels funded by Maori Affairs as they conned their way around New Zealand, collecting "investments" from unsuspecting Maori people.
Sometimes those wheelers and dealers are called "Maori Leaders". Sir Graham Latimer and Professor Ngatata Love are two that used to deal with Neville. Sir Norman Perry, the poor man's Ron Trotter, he used to do a lot of deals with Neville too.
One thing Arthur Daly has over them all: at least he has a go with his own money; not public funding.
Top Secret Rumour
The rumour on the kumara vine says that Neville has got his hiku high in the air after he "wiped" Wira in the High Court marae. Apparently, or so the rumour goes, Neville is going to have a go at taking over Te TAI (or whatever is left after National becomes government). They reckon that he'll try to slow down the handover of resources to iwi authorities to make sure that he's still got a big job as Te Arikinui by the time he finally makes it to the top. They even reckon that some of his network believe it, and are looking forward to big time mana kawanatanga jobs themselves.
They reckon the plan is to spread a new "policy" that iwi authorities are not ready, and will need at least five years to be trained. The odd investigation on selected iwi will help too; like the still unproven investigations on Te Arawa (1987/88) and Tamaki (1989).
Now I'm not saying that I believe this rumour off the kumara vine you understand. Sounds a bit devious to me, even for Neville. But my old mate Neville has been very busy lately. My sources report that he's been holding strategy meetings with his network around the country. Its easy to see how rumours start when you hold so many secret meetings with people who can't keep a secret eh.
I reckon Neville's real strategy is just to try to hang on to his Maori Trustee pakeha mana for as long as he can, and hope that under a new government his whetu will rise again. Mind you, his contract with Wira Gardiner is due to end in October 1991, so his chances might be better if Wira disappears by then. You wouldn't try that would you Neville?
"Ruby and Rata"
an eccentric comedy drama from Preston-Laing Productions in association with the New Zealand Film Commission.
Producers: Robin Laing & Gaylene Preston.
Cast: Yvonne Lawley, Vanessa Rare, Lee Metekingi, Simon Barnett.
Director: Gaylene Preston.
Writer: Graeme Tetley
Cultural Advisors: Keri Kaa, Dulcie Bolton.
Music: Jonathon Crawford
Five years after producing their first feature film "Mr Wrong", the Preston-Laing team have another winner. E hoa ma, the "Te Putatara" film critic was there to see its world premier at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington.
"Ruby and Rata" is about mana. The mana of Ruby, an 83 year old fiercely independent Pakeha woman (Yvonne Lawley) scheming to stay in her own home against plans to move her to a retirement home; the mana of Rata (Vanessa Rare), a young and fiercely independent Maori solo-mother living on her wits and staying ahead of the powers that be; and the mana of her hardcase but child-wise eight year old son Willie (Lee Mete-Kingi). To add balance and to give us someone to despise, pity, and laugh at, it is also about the sad strutting stuff that masquerades as mana in young men; and in some older men too. In this brave role is Simon Barnett as Ruby's nephew, young Buckle (sounds like Bucko).
E hika ma, this is the plot. Just so I don't spill the beans and tell you all about the choice sort of Maori ending to the film, I'll tell it the way they do in the publicity. That way Keri Kaa won't be after my head.
"The small downstairs apartment is a dream come true for Rata, and Ruby encourages her agent to rent it to the suitable young business-woman she sees from her window. With a helpful and friendly tenant to keep an eye on her, Ruby is sure she can ignore plans to have her moved to the Sunset Villas retirement home.
"But nothing is as it seems. Far from being a business-woman, Rata is a mistress of disguise - practised in welfare fraud, a would-be rock singer and mother of eight-year-old Willie.
"Neither is Ruby the kindly child-minder Rata anticipated. Willie wants nothing to do with the "old witch" upstairs.
"And Buckle, the agent who is really Ruby's nephew in disguise, soon finds both women more than a match for him.
"From the ensuing clash of personalities and generations, emerges a story told with humour, warmth and charm - of two determined and manipulative women who have more in common than they realise..."
Did you follow all that? Go and see for yourself. It's a good movie. No violence. Not much sex. A good story.
Dispatches from the Dungeon
I been in lots of dangerous dungeons around the motu, but not down the Wellington one for a long time.
The last two Fridays I went down the Dungeon I took my life in my hands. E hoa ma, sometimes the cigarette smoke down there is thicker than the bull. And that's thick! Writing this column is a really hazardous job. Even without Neville's private detective snooping around.
Did you know that "Maori people have smoking rates and lung cancer rates approximately twice that of the non-Maori population, and among the highest in the world for any population group." And that, "Maori men and women have a death rate from lung cancer that is higher than for the population of any single country in the world. Nearly two Maori women in every 1000 in the age group 55 to 64 die each year from lung cancer."
"Ko te kai a te Maori, he hikareti."
E hoa ma, in this free market economy who profits from the smoking related deaths of Maori people, other than the owners of the Dungeon Bar?
Well, the print media, which doesn't do us any favours anyway, gets about $5 million annually from advertising. TV and other sponsorship and promotion gets another $5 - 6 million. The Maori contribution to this grim harvest is probably about $500,000.
Now we all know that the tobacco growers and cigarette manufacturers get their cut eh, but how much comes from Maori people paying Pakeha people to kill them? About $27 million each year!! True e hoa ma, true. But the real funny bit is that maybe $9 or $10 million of that Maori money ends up back with the Government. Did you fullahs know that you pay the settler Government to kill you? Are you still laughing (joke)?
I'm cunning eh. I don't smoke anymore. I used to but I gave up a few years ago. I found out that I could go down the Dungeon Bar and inhale my smoke for nothing. So you fullahs down there pay for me to die. That's smart thinking on my part eh.
That's enough of my famous Maori humour. Let's get down to business. Down the Dungeon I had a good korero with the Philosopher-in-Residence, and with the Academic-in-Residence. One of them told me that Te Putatara had lost its bite; that it had gone soft, and needed a bit of a shake up. What you think of this column then? Reckon I'll make some more enemies?
Actually, I've got quite a lot of friends and whanaunga who smoke. Some of them died of lung cancer already. Not very funny eh.
The next time I went down the Dungeon I met some porangi Ngati Kahungunu people who don't smoke either. They must have been down there to get some free lung cancer too, along with their free gossip.
E hoa ma, did you know that Winston "Perfect" Peters smokes like a train? A steam train silly, not a 'lectric train. Well Winston, rangatira lead by example, so it's OK for you to keep right on smoking, heavy as you can. You'll never be a rangatira eh. The rest of you really should give it up. Just think of all those unhappy tauiwi you'll deprive of the money you pay them to kill you.
I told you fullahs that writing this column was a really hazardous job didn't I. Don't laugh' I'm serious.