Te Putatara
a newsletter for the kumara vine

Issue No 1 / 99 - 15th November 1999 ISSN 0114-2097

"Te Putatara" is published online by Te Aute Publications, P.O.Box 408, Te Whanga-nui-A-Tara / Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand. Edited by Ross Nepia Himona. "Te Putatara" is published on the World Wide Web at http://maorinews.com/putatara

Copyright: Ross Nepia Himona. Feel free to print, copy and re-transmit but please acknowledge source.


Putatara! Putatara!
Ki te whaiao, ki te ao-marama,
Tihei mauriora!

E nga iwi o te motu, e nga hau e wha
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

Putatara! Let the trumpet sound !
At the first glimmer of dawn
And into the bright light of day
I sneeze, there is life!

To the people of the land, of the four winds
Greetings, greetings, I greet you all.


Kia ora tatou koutou

"Te Putatara" has been having a long moe / sleep since its heydays from 1988 to 1990. In recent years most of my writing effort has gone into my website "from Hawaiki to Hawaiki", one of the very first Maori websites on the World Wide Web. It's at http://maaori.com . There were a couple of email issues of "Te Putatara", one in 1996 and another in 1997.

Having now overhauled virtually the whole website, I've decided to re-launch the newsletter based in the website itself. Subscribers will get a short email notification whenever there is a new issue posted to the website. Those who only have email access will be able to ask me for an email copy, if you really can't access the Web.

And if you want to print it off the website for your whanau, well that's OK.

I've taken the liberty of spamming (mass emailing) a whole lot of you who might be interested in getting notified whenever there's a new issue available. If you would, please use the form below to confirm that you would like to subscribe. Tell your friends and whanau about it too.

FREE - subscribe to "Te Putatara"
putatara archive Hosted by eGroups.com

This email list will absolutely, definitely not be used for any other purpose at all, at all. It will be about one short email each month.

This issue is a light-hearted look at the elections. Nothing heavy, nothing too serious. Slightly humorous actually. Politics is like that for some of us.

heoi ano, na



The Voting Season
A Pox on all your Parties


The other day, I was idly contemplating the Wellington Central electorate, where National has withdrawn to allow ACT's Richard Prebble a better run at himself, and the Alliance has withdrawn to allow Labour's Marion Hobbs a better run at himself too (Prebble that is).

And I thought to myself, I mostly think to myself you know, why don't I have a lash, make a run through the middle, and sneak through, in front of both of them. "A Pox on all your Parties" would make a great campaign slogan, sure to fire the imagination of Centralian Wellingtonians.

Now I know e hoa ma, that this story has rapidly progressed from idle contemplation into the realms of fantasy, but it's a great fantasy.


What I really need is for someone to fire my imagination, to make this voting thing interesting or important; exciting even. It's so boring, isn't it.


I haven't a clue who I'm going to vote for. I never do. Some would label me a swinging voter, but I don't swing, I dither, wondering whether I should vote at all. I always do. And I leave it to the spiritual powers to send me divine inspiration, and I wait until I get into the little cardboard polling booth right at the last moment before I finally realise that the spiritual powers ain't all that interested either. And I have to make up my own mind.

You see, it's not easy for those of us who don't align ourselves with any party, don't pay our party dues and check our brains at the door, don't become voting fodder regardless of the fools the Party dishes up for us to vote for, don't surrender intellect to ideology, or to dreams of hob-nobbing in the company of the pseudo-powerful.

We have to think about who to vote for, and therein lies the problem. This voting stuff is not the thinking man's stuff. This voting stuff, like politics, is all about perceptions, e hoa ma, nothing at all to do with substance.

"The greater majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they are realities, and are often even more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are."

- Niccolo Machiavelli

(The truth about my attitude to political parties is that I've never found a party that would put up with me for more than two weeks, so I've never joined one. I'd have to start my own party if I wanted to join a party, wouldn't I).

Anyway I still set out to try to think my way through this decision.


So, when I get into the booth, I go through this little set of rules I have, to see if that makes it easier.

Rule Number 1. Vote against the sitting MP on the grounds that as soon as they get into that place they become increasingly arrogant, obnoxious, self righteous, self promoting pitiful prats; and they deserve to be tossed out. Leave them there too long and they expect to be treated like somebodies, instead of the nobodies most of them are (see, I said "most" just in case I do make that run through the middle). This rule is a bit flexible, just in case.

Rule Number 2. Work out who I can't or simply won't vote for. This bit's easy but it mostly leaves no-one at all to vote for, especially in my electorate, Te Tai Tonga, or even in Wellington Central if I did vote there. E hika ma, especially in Wellington Central because there's almost no-one left to vote for anyway.

Rule Number 3. This is the clincher. Don't vote for a politician, it only encourages them.

Rule Number 4. Try again. Go back to Rule Number 1.


That's just the electorate vote. Now we get to the party vote. It's nowhere near as straightforward as the electorate vote.

Rule Number 1. Vote tactically. How can I cast my party vote in a way that will do the most damage to the most political parties.

Rule Number 2. Of all the leaders in the running to be PM who would annoy me the least.

Rule Number 3. Look for somewhere on the form to vote for the abolition of all political parties. If there were no parties, would we only have 60-something MPs in the House? Fantasy again! Keep your mind on the job.

Rule Number 3. That's it. Don't vote for a political party, it only encourages them. This is the "pox on all your parties" rule.

Rule Number 4. Try again. Go back to Rule Number 1.


Rule Number 5 is the one that always wins out. Rule Number 5 says, "Hurry up, just vote for someone, anyone, and get out of here. Get a life".

True, e hoa ma. That's how it goes for me. How goes it for you? Does the Earth move for you? Or is your vote guided, like mine, by divine desperation? Have a happy election day.




The Maori Electorates
Hoppity Skippity Jump

Now the Maori electorates are something else again.

Given the record of our MPs in the last Parliament, political parties don't really matter much, do they, because 25% of them jumped parties anyway. So for us in the Maori electorates maybe we need to become qualified high-jump and long-jump referees.

Jim and Sandra probably reckon that Alamein's a low-jumper.

Tuariki John Delamere used to be a very athletic high-jumper in a previous life eh. These days he's into the hoppity skippity jump. The ultimate hoppity skippity jumper, given the number of parties he's been through. I could vote for a Hoppity Skippity Jump Party, just to relieve the boredom.

But maybe there is a way of getting this voting thing done without too much divine desperation. So let's look at the electorates. And forget for the moment that I can't stand voting for politicians and political parties.

Te Tai Tokerau where Dover Samuels (Labour) and Tau Henare (Mauri Pacific) are the front runners. This is an easy one. Dover's already in Parliament at No.3 on the Labour list, so vote Tau, get two for the price of one. Parties don't come into it.

And if things are not well with you on election day you could always vote for Dun Mihaka (Independent). If you couldn't bring yourself to cast an invalid vote, that is.

Or if you're really into divine desperation you could vote for Nellie Rata of the ACT Party. Ka aroha.

Hauraki. Same thing as Te Tai Tokerau. Two for the price of one. Willie Jackson's high on the Alliance list at No.9, so vote for John Tamihere (Labour). Now we've got four for the price of two.

Te Tai Hauauru. Nanaia Mahuta (Labour) is the only one in this race, I think [and she's at No.10 on the list]. Sorry Tuku, maybe you'll make it on the party vote Five for the price of three. Doesn't matter what you do with your party vote. Give it to Mana Maori for Tame Iti. Parliament needs a good shake-up.

Waiariki. Shaping up to be a contest between Tuariki John Delamere (Te Tawharau / Mana Maori) and Mita Ririnui (Labour). So forgetting about parties, if you put Delamere in, then maybe you'll get Tame Iti as well. Tame's No.1 on the Mana Maori Party list. Seven for the price of four. Sorry 'bout that Mita.

Ikaroa Rawhiti. Getting difficult. We've got my cuz Rana Waitai (Mauri Pacific), and my other cuz (and Army colleague) Des Ratima for the Alliance, up against distant cuz Derek Fox (Independent), and his cuz Parekura Horomia (Labour). Some other cousins as well.

I remember Derek Fox once writing that Ngati Porou are the Greeks of Maoridom. E hoa ma, would you vote for a Greek in a Maori electorate? Well, some people in Ngati Kahungunu do need a polite excuse not to vote for Ngati Porou you know. Just as well Fox is Ngati Kahungunu too. He can leave his Greek passport at the Wharerata Hills.

See what I mean about difficult. But anyway, Parekura (Greek Party) is already in Parliament high on the Labour list (No.25), so vote for Derek. To hell with parties. Nine for the price of five. And if Tau manages to get enough party vote, maybe Rana's in as well. Ten for the price of five.

Sorry Des, cuz, but maybe you might sneak in at No.13 on the Alliance list. Eleven for the price of five. And four MPs from Ikaroa Rawhiti. Wouldn't that be something else.

Te Tai Tonga. The really tough one. Mostly because it's where I've got to make up my own mind, and you know by now that I'm a chronic ditherer in the poll booth.

Well, here we've got front runners Mahara Okeroa for Labour, and Tutekawa Wyllie for NZ First. Neither is on the list, so only one of them is going to Parliament. And to cast my vote I'll definitely be relying on divine inspiration, my little set of rules, and eventually divine desperation. Sorry about that folks, I'm still dithering. But, we're at twelve for the price of six.

I'm good at telling everyone else how to vote.

Then we've got Sandra Lee who's a shoo-in on the Alliance list (No.2), and Georgina Te Heuheu at No.6 on the National list, and Donna Awatere-Huata is a shoe-in at No.4 on the ACT list. Tariana Turia's already there at No.16 for Labour. And then perhaps we've got Winston Peters, Ron Mark and Pita Paraone in NZ First.

And maybe Georgina Beyer for Labour in Wairarapa. Should Labour turn the whole thing into a landslide there'll be one or two more Maori off their list too, like Joe Hawke and Eru George.

You still counting? Or do you reckon I'm still deep in that Wellington Central fantasy. Maybe.

So how shall I vote
in Te Tai Tonga
how shall I vote
hoppity skippity jump
ini mini maini mou
hoppity skippity jump
hoppity skippity jump

political parties websites
New Zealand election study at Waikato University (NZES)



book review

"Ishmael, an adventure of the mind and spirit"
a novel by Daniel Quinn, 1992, Bantam / Turner, New York.


TEACHER seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.

So begins the novel, and in entering into this novel one becomes the pupil, learning of the past and future of mankind. I have gone on from this first novel through his next two novels, and other writings, and now consider myself to be a pupil of Daniel Quinn, and to see him as an important mentor.

I think that Quinn has some important things to say to us, about our own "old" culture past, and about the deep origins and premises of the "new" Western culture against which we have clashed these last two hundred years, and against which we continue to clash. In order to properly understand this clash we need to seek out the deep origins and premises of these cultures. Quinn lays out a simple and convincing hypothesis.

These two forms of culture have been at odds with each other for the last 10,000 years, with the new gradually exterminating the old, and in the process, gradually exterminating all life upon the Earth, and even the life of the Earth itself. This clash of cultures is the same clash enacted in the biblical story of Cain and Abel. It originated 10,000 years ago in the "Fertile Crescent" of Mesopotamia, between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, in what is now modern day Iraq.

Based on the hunter/gatherer and pastoralist/agriculturist origins of the two cultures, Quinn calls them the Leavers and the Takers.

I think we need to see our own cultural clash in these terms. I have for quite a while been dissatisfied with the analytical frameworks of colonial oppression, treaty analysis, and gap or disparity analysis. We have used these inadequate tools to guide our struggle for Tino Rangatiratanga, Maori Development or Maori Advancement. I have felt them to be too shallow, too much based in our own narrow and subjective perceptions of the colonial experience. Quinn provides me with a much deeper and a much more satisfying analysis.

"Ishmael" was the winner of the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship, a prize honouring fiction that produces creative and positive solutions to global problems. The Fellowship was initiated by media magnate Ted Turner. You know, Turner of CNN, the one that married Jane Fonda. "Ishmael" was chosen from among 2500 entries worldwide.

It took Quinn from 1977 to 1990 to write this work, going through seven versions before the eighth and final version. Amazingly it was a work of non-fiction until Quinn decided to enter it for the Turner prize, so it only became a novel in its final version.

It is an extraordinary novel that became an underground bestseller and a spiritual testament. Its success lies I think, in the new ideas it contains. Have you ever been struck by a simple and new idea, that is so obvious and so true that no-one has ever said it before? Have you ever experienced that great Aha!! experience? This novel is full of them.

some of my earlier writing on inadequate analytical frameworks
the "Ishmael" website



"from Hawaiki to Hawaiki"
website updates

there's a whole new section that is an online workshop on website creation, written for "Te Hiringa i te Mahara" project contracted to Gardiner Parata Ltd by Ministry of Education, to provide assistance and resources for Maori secondary school teachers. http://maori2000.com/hiringa

if you've been away a long time take a look at the new contents page http://maaori.com


FREE - Scoop daily news
service - click on the logo


you can have your say too - leave your comments in the guestbook

Sign My Guestbook

View My Guestbook

and don't forget to subscribe

FREE - subscribe to "Te Putatara"
putatara archive Hosted by eGroups.com

This email list will absolutely, definitely not be used for any other purpose at all, at all. It will be about one short email each month.

Email the Editor at editor@maorinews.com



Click Here!